My name is Rob Lebowitz. I'm a former academic, entrepreneur and solutions architect. These days I'm self-employed and work out of my home in St. Paul, Minnesota. This blog, its contents, and any opinions I express are purely my own.


I started my professional career working at the מכון לחקר הנגב (Negev Desert Research Institute) in Be'er Sheva, Israel. In those days, I worked in the field of plant genetics and physiology. I left Be'er Sheva to complete a doctorate degree in Plant Biology at the University of Illinois in Champaign-Urbana where I studied the genetics and breeding of Coleus. For those of you who are not horticulturally-inclined, Coleus is an ornamental plant of tropical origin that is valued for its vividly colored foliage and not for its flowers.

My interest in these plants was primarily to determine the underlying cause of the variegation (mottling) found in the leaves of certain varieties. In an effort to quantify variegation and derive a method for comparing different patterns, I developed custom digital image analysis hardware and software which led to my shifting into the field of computer science as well as genetics. At the same time, I worked part-time for the Department of Modern Hebrew at the University of Illinois on development of a series of computer-based learning materials. I continued my research in plant genetics using imaging for my doctoral research.

Upon completing my doctorate at the University of Illinois, I accepted a faculty position at Minnesota State University with their fledgling Biotechnology program. I left MSU for the University of Minnesota where I ended the academic phase of my career and started a private company that worked primarily with non-profit organizations seeking to create web-based information facilities. I did this for several years before accepting a job offer at a Fortune 100 firm as a senior software solutions architect.


Though I no longer work professionally with plants, I am an avid gardener with a passion for ornamental plants. I spend a good portion of my free time in the spring and summer working in our yard planting and maintaining our annuals and perennial plants, as well as building raised beds and other garden structures. I periodically work on my Modern Hebrew vocabulary by keeping up with the Israeli news, listening to the Streetwise Hebrew podcast and try to engage in conversations on Biblical Hebrew passages with my far-more knowledgable wife who is a rabbi in our community.

My current passion project, as a former colleague of mine called it, is to develop a new series of on-line Modern Hebrew language study materials in the hopes that more people will become interested in learning the language, and possibly visiting Israel, which is an historically fascinating country with an incredibly diverse population (given the country's size) with a complex society that needs to be experienced to fully appreciate.

No comments:

Post a Comment