For as long as she can remember, Moran Frenkel-Pinter has attempted to piece together puzzles both small and large such as how basic things function and how the world works. In a sixth-grade science project, she was determined to engineer purple strawberries and cows that produce chocolate milk. Three years later, when a friend’s mother spoke to her class about genetic engineering, she realized for the first time that nothing is set in stone, that humans can chart their own biological path.
Frenkel-Pinter’s restless scientific curiosity continued throughout her studies, leading from a BSc in biotechnology to a PhD exploring some of the chemical mechanisms underlying Alzheimer’s disease. Afterward, to truly understand biology, she felt she had to travel back in time. In her postdoctoral research, Frenkel-Pinter probed how life on Earth first arose. Now, as a chemistry professor at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and Azrieli Early Career Faculty Fellow, she is combining these biological and chemical strands into one by setting up a laboratory to create new chemicals that are economical, sustainable and conducive to drug development.