Ayelet Fishman is a professor in the Technion Faculty of Biotechnology and Food Engineering, and head of the Laboratory of Molecular and Applied Biocatalysis. She also was appointed Dean of Students in January 2020, charged with overseeing the welfare, personal advancement, and cultural aspects of student life.
Prof. Fishman and her team address consumer interest in healthy foods and protein alternatives that do not rely on animal sources. Her research mainly centers on the structure-function relationship of enzymes, and protein engineering techniques that modify enzymes to render them more useful for industrial use. For example, she has experimented in developing vegan gels used to produce chocolate pudding with the same texture as its animal-based counterpart, and with less sugar and oil and higher protein than existing soy puddings.
Her group also conducts soil and water research. Working with the Technion Faculty of Civil and Environmental Engineering, she helped develop an innovative, patented technology to purify water from the pollutant formaldehyde. Formaldehyde is a carcinogen used to manufacture glue and therefore common in the wood, paper, and textile industries, where it accumulates in the water used for production. Earlier, Prof. Fishman helped peanut farmers in Israel’s Negev develop a solution to keep their crop disease-free after determining that the soil disinfectant they had been using had become ineffective.
Prof. Fishman earned her bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degrees in biotechnology and food engineering from the Technion. She was a postdoctoral fellow in the Department of Chemical Engineering at the University of Connecticut. Prior to joining the Technion faculty in 2005, she was a research scientist and project leader at the TAMI-IMI Institute for Research and Development, a daughter company of Israel Chemicals Ltd., located in Haifa.