Prof. Noa Shenkar
Curator of marine invertebrates, the Steinhardt Museum
Associate Professor at the School of Zoology, Tel Aviv University
Prof. Noa Shenkar is a curator of marine invertebrates at the Steinhardt Museum and an Associate Professor at the School of Zoology, Tel Aviv University (TAU). She completed her PhD in Zoology under the supervision of Prof. Yossi Loya (TAU) and postdoctoral studies at the University of Washington, USA. Upon her return to Israel in 2012, she established her own laboratory at the Steinhardt Museum. Noa specializes in ascidians (Chordata: Ascidiacea), a unique group of invertebrates that was poorly studied in the Red Sea and Eastern Mediterranean. With the rapid arrival and spread of non-indigenous ascidians around the world, and the increasing use of some species as model organisms in evolution and development research, a demand has arisen to understand ascidian ecology, physiology and taxonomy in greater depth. Her research team is currently engaged in three main topics: (1) Marine bioinvasion; (2) Ascidian ecology, phylogeny and regeneration; and (3) Ecotoxicology – ascidians as biological indicators of marine environments.
Noa is actively involved in international initiatives such as the World Register of Marine Species (WoRMS editorial board) and the European Alien Species Information Network (EASIN scientific board member), as well as in the organization of international scientific meetings. Noa finds a deep satisfaction in teaching and developing courses that expose students to the immense wonders of the underwater world, and specifically in leading scientific outreach activities at Tel-Aviv University, such as the course “Discovering the Sea” she developed for youth from lower socio-economic backgrounds together with the Unit for Social Involvement. She has been chosen several times as being “amongst the 100 excellent lecturers” on the Rector’s List. Finally, as the only woman marine biologist on TAU academic staff, she sees great importance in providing inspiration and support for other female scholars in the field of natural science, and offers advice and assistance to the Dean of Gender Equality and to the Dean of the Life-Sciences faculty.