2019 Yeshayahu Talmon

Yeshayahu (Ishi) Talmon (Haifa)

 Ishi Talmon was awarded the 2019 Overbeek Gold Medal in recognition of his outstanding contributions. Yeshayahu (Ishi) Talmon pioneered the development and application of cryogenic techniques for electron microscopy, particularly in direct imaging techniques of cryogenic-temperature transmission electron microscopy (cryo-TEM), high-resolution scanning electron microscopy (HRSEM), including cryo-HRSEM and digital light microscopy (DLM). 
For biology, for soft and hard matter generally, his contributions opened up new vistas, previously impossible to imagine. 
His work is uniquely his own. Only cryo-TEM/SEM techniques can confirm with confidence the nature of nanostructures without artefacts. 
Without the sustained work of Talmon and his team Soft Matter, Biophysics and Biology would have made much less progress than they have. His contribution to Colloid Science and Electron Microscopy is massive, a game changer. 
More than that, and as did Overbeek, Talmon gave and gives freely of his expertise and knowledge to a veritable army of scientists. His numerous scientific publications over three decades span many fields and provide many exciting insights. 

Honors and Awards

  • 1975 Fulbright Travel Fellowship
  • 1978 Electron Microscopy Society of America Presidential Scholarship
  • 1985 The Henry Gutwirth Fund for Promotion of Research Award
  • 1989 The [Technion] New England Academic Award
  • 1993 The Ernst Ruska Award of the German Society for Electron Microscopy
  • 1997 The George T. Piercy Distinguished Visiting Professor Chair, Department of Chemical Engineering and Materials Science, University of Minnesota.
  • 2001-15 The Wolfson Chair in Chemical Engineering, Technion
  • 2003 The Meitner-von Humboldt Research Award
  • 2005 The Henry Taub Prize for Excellence in Research
  • 2006 The Japan Research Institute of Material Technology Lectureship Award
  • 2010 South Texas Section AIChE’s 2009 Best Applied Paper Award
  • 2011 Honorary Fellow, The Israel Institute of Chemical Engineers
  • 2014 South Texas Section AIChE’s 2013 Best Applied Paper Award
  • 2015 University of Alberta D.B. Robinson Distinguished Speaker
  • 2015 Doctor of Science honoris causa, University of Lund, Sweden
  • 2016 Honorary Fellow, The Israel Microscopy Society
  • 2017 von Humboldt Research Award

This is a partial list of his main achievements:

  • The Talmon-Prager statistical-mechanics model describing the phase behavior of microemulsions.
  • The on-going development of methodologies for cryogenic-temperature transmission and scanning electron microscopy (cryo-TEM and cryo-SEM), under controlled conditions. Extension of the methodologies to non-aqueous systems, including in strong acids, such as chlorosulfonic acid (CSA).
  • Development of time-resolved and on-the-grid-processing cryo-TEM to follow short-lived nanostructures in the liquid phase.
  • First direct imaging of surfactant micelles: spheroidal and thread-like micelles (TLMs), showing, among others, branching of TLMs and the shape of the end-caps in TLMs.
  • Identification of TLMs as a transition state in phospholipid solubilization by surfactants, and reconstitution.
  • The study of self-assembly of “gemini surfactants”.
  • Showing that TLMs are essential to surfactant-based flow drag reduction.
  • Finding the mechanism of gallstone formation in supersaturated bile.
  • Direct imaging of the self-assembly of block-copolymers in water and in organic solvents.
  • Demonstrating that lamellar structure is essential for transfection efficiency of of DNA-lipid complexes (lipoplexes), and that the lamellar structure is destroyed by blood serum proteins, leading to poor transfection efficiency. The former was later extended to the more general nanostructural study of the complexation of polyelectrolytes with oppositely-charged lipids and other amphiphiles.
  • First direct imaging of carbon nanotubes (CNTs) dispersed by surfactants in water.
  • Proving that CSA is a true solvent for CNTs, and that at sufficiently high concentrations, CNTs form nematic liquid crystals in CSA. Those are essential for wet-spinning of highquality CNT-based fibers.
  • Nanostructural studies of the effect of temperature on amphiphile self-assembly.
  • Nanostructural mapping of phase-diagrams of microemulsions.
  • Elucidation of the nanostructural basis of the deterioration of the myelin sheath of the axon in multiple sclerosis (MS).
  • Determination of the mechanism of extracellular vesicles budding from the cell membranes, a process enhanced under disease conditions such as cancer and diabetes.
  • Capturing by high-resolution cryo-TEM the protein a-hemolysin attack on lipid membranes, leading to pore formation and vesicle aggregation, mimicking biofilm formation.

Some of his most cited papers (those with more than 500 citations) are:
Individually suspended single-walled carbon nanotubes in various surfactantsVC Moore, MS Strano, EH Haroz, RH Hauge, RE Smalley, J Schmidt, Y Talmon. Nano Letters 2003, 3 (10), 1379-1382
Multicompartment micelles from ABC miktoarm stars in waterZ Li, E Kesselman, Y Talmon, MA Hillmyer, TP Lodge. Science 2004, 306 (5693), 98-101
Strong, light, multifunctional fibers of carbon nanotubes with ultrahigh conductivityN Behabtu, CC Young, DE Tsentalovich, O Kleinerman, X Wang, et al, Y Talmon. Science2013, 339 (6116), 182-186
Controlled environment vitrification system: an improved sample preparation techniqueJR Bellare, HT Davis, LE Scriven, Y Talmon. Journal of electron microscopy technique1988, 10 (1), 87-111
Dependence of aggregate morphology on structure of dimeric surfactantsR Zana, Y Talmon. Nature 1993, 362, 228-230
Alkanediyl-α,ω-Bis (Dimethylalkylammonium Bromide) Surfactants (Dimeric Surfactants). 5. Aggregation and Microstructure in Aqueous SolutionsD Danino, Y Talmon, R Zana. Langmuir 1995, 11 (5), 1448-1456