Prof. Iris Shai has been appointed as presidential adviser on the advancement of women in academia to BGU’s President Prof. Rivka Carmi. Shai has replaced Prof. Vered Slonim-Nevo, who has filled the role for the past 13 years.
Two years ago, the Council for Higher Education appointed a committee headed by Prof. Carmi to examine the status of women in academia, in order to formulate the recommendations required to promote gender equality in the higher education system. The Council endorsed the recommendations and sent clear instructions in this regard to higher education institutions, while strengthening the position of Adviser to the President and her role.
"This role is central," says Prof. Carmi "with defined goals and authority, and has serious potential to change and advance. An academic career is not easy for both men and women, but women, especially at the beginning of their way and some along the way deal with other tasks which make things even more difficult. I see great importance in promoting gender equality in general and academia in particular. This is a matter of values and is essential to the success of the academic system, as at the Faculty of Health Sciences has already been proved in other fields. "
Prof. Shai, is a researcher at BGU’s Faculty of Health Sciences investigating nutrition and the epidemiology of biological markers of chronic diseases. Since returning in 2004 from her postdoctoral work at Harvard University, she has led an international research group specializing in clinical trials dealing with the effect of different nutritional strategies and specific nutritional components (such as wine), the mechanisms of diabetes control, the withdrawal and transport of atherosclerotic tissue body fat. These experiments are unique in scope and are characterized by innovation, creativity and managing quality levels in the research of medication. Over the last six years, Shai's research group has had three articles published in world's most prestigious medical journal NEJM, an unprecedented achievement in medical academia. Her research findings are cited today as guides for updating medical guidelines on nutrition and chronic diseases, and the relationship between them and biological markers in blood.