Collision of Stars Confirms Accurate Prediction

Two years ago, the LIGO gravitational wave detector stunned the world with the discovery of a merger of two black holes. This past August, LIGO did it again: with the help of a second detector called VIRGO, it discovered a new source of gravitational radiation. Seconds later, NASA’s Fermi satellite detected a gamma-ray burst from the same direction. Several hours later, a telescope in Chile identified the source at a Galaxy located 120 million light-years away. While this is an enormous distance for us, on a cosmological scale it is relatively close.

Since these initial discoveries, most of the telescopes in the world, including the Hubble Space Telescope, have observed this galactic event. The results, which have been kept secret until now (despite a partial leak), are reported today in several scientific papers published in the prestigious journals Physical Review LettersNature, Science, and the Astrophysical Journal.

These observations confirm a longstanding prediction made almost thirty years ago by a team headed by Professor Tsvi Piran at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. Piran is the Schwartzman Chair for Theoretical Physics at the Hebrew University’s Racah Institute of Physics. The prediction, published in Nature in 1989 (“Nucleosynthesis, neutrino bursts and γ-rays from coalescing neutron stars“), suggests that when two neutron stars merge they emit, in addition to gravitational waves, a burst of gamma-rays. They also synthesize and eject to outer space rare heavy elements, like gold, plutonium, and uranium. The merged neutron stars form a black hole in this process.

Neutron stars are rare types of stars that are produced in supernova explosions when a regular star dies. Unlike regular matter that is composed of 50% neutron and 50% protons, neutron stars are made just from neutrons. Due to their strange composition, they are extremely dense: a teaspoon of neutron star matter weights about 100 million tons, and a neutron star of 10 km (smaller than the width of Jerusalem) weights about a million times the mass of Earth.

The first neutron star was discovered in 1967 by Antony Hewish, who received the 1974 Nobel Prize in Physics. Later a binary pair of neutron stars rotating around each other was discovered by Hulse and Taylor, who were awarded the 1993 Nobel Prize in Physics.

Shortly after the discovery of a binary neutron star pair in 1975, researchers realized that such a pair would emit gravitational radiation and eventually merge. The question that Piran and colleagues asked in 1989 was: in addition to the gravitational radiation, what else will be emitted as a result of this merger?

They suggested that the merger will produce a burst of gamma-rays — which have the smallest wavelengths and the most energy of any other wave in the electromagnetic spectrum — and at the same time will synthesize and eject into outer space freshly synthesized heavy elements like gold, plutonium, and uranium. The ultimate result will be a black hole.

This prediction, which Piran and colleagues published in Nature, was met with skepticism and initially ignored. However, Piran continued to work on it, and indirect evidence in its favor mounted over the years. These last observations confirm it without any doubt.

“I am exhilarated by this confirmation of a prediction we made nearly 30 years ago,” said Professor Tsvi Piran following today’s announcement confirming his prediction. “I also remember how difficult it was to convince the scientific community of our idea: at the time it was against the standard model that was published even in freshman textbooks on astronomy. When we made this prediction in 1989, we did not expect it to be confirmed within our lifetimes. But with continued curiosity and the development of new technologies, we are able to learn ever deeper truths about the nature of our Universe.”

LIGO’s observations have now confirmed that the recent event involved a binary neutron star merger and the formation of a black hole. The Fermi satellite detected the predicted gamma-rays, and the optical observation confirmed the nucleosynthesis of heavy elements. All of this is published today in multiple research papers, with Piran’s participation in several papers published in the journals Nature, Science and The Astrophysical Journal. These observations solve several puzzles that have bothered astronomers over the years and open new ways to understand the nature of our Universe.


Low-Tech Bubbe, High-Tech Mission

So you’re a grandmother whose kids and grandkids apparently are too busy to keep in touch — how do you remind them? Handwritten notes. Email messages. Guilt-laden phone calls. Or, since late last month, a new app touted on the revamped website of the American Friends of the Hebrew University. A video on the website features an octogenarian identified as Judith Cohen who describes the “Would It Kill You to Call?” app she’s developed that will send periodic cell phone reminders to delinquent members of the mishpocha. “Do they ever remember to call their bubbe?” she asks. After seven days without a call, a text message goes out to the offender. It seems like a great way to reach out and touch forgetful ones. Just one problem — the app isn’t real. The 90-second video, one of three that the U.S. branch of Hebrew University ( unveiled a few weeks ago, is designed to spread the message of the school’s high-tech reputation. With a light touch. In online comments, many people said they thought the app “was real,” said Eileen Hume, chief marketing officer for the American Friends. Some asked, “where can I find the app?” Others responded with “a lot of laughing emojis and LOLs.” So far, Hume said, the video has gotten “nearly a million views. It’s a pleasant surprise.” People who have seen its closing message, “Bubbe may not have the most advanced tech, but the Hebrew University does.” “Hebrew University is at the forefront of technology,” Hume said. “It’s important to get the message out to new, wider audiences.” The video came out of a brainstorming session on new ways to get the word out about Hebrew University’s work. Then came an aha moment. Or, in this case, an oy vey moment. What about a bubbe-centered video? “Everyone has a bubbe,” Hume said. “It’s a shared cultural experience.” A casting call went out. More than a dozen actresses tried out for the role. Judith Cohen is played by Barbara Malley, an 84-year-old actress whose TV and movie credits include a nurse, a mobster’s mother and a “grandma.” Malley is not Jewish. She “nailed” the Yiddish accent and Jewish inflections, Hume said. Two other videos Malley did for Hebrew University have her “delivering desirable Jewish boys to loved ones’ doorsteps,” and reminding people “to put on a jacket when the temperature dips below 80 degrees.” All stereotypical bubbe behavior. Any complaints from the bubbe lobby? No, Hume said. “The reception has been nothing but positive. It’s all been taken in a good manner.” The American Friends are now planning their next videos. Bubbe Cohen may return, Hume said. “It’s certainly within the realm of possibility. We will build on the success that bubbe will bring.”

Read the source article at Jewish Week


Cleveland Clinic researchers find link between bacterial imbalances and breast cancer

October 5, 2017, Cleveland: In a newly published study, Cleveland Clinic researchers have uncovered differences in the bacterial composition of breast tissue of healthy women vs. women with breast cancer. The research team has discovered for the first time that healthy breast tissue contains more of the bacterial species Methylobacterium, a finding which could offer a new perspective in the battle against breast cancer. Bacteria that live in the body, known as the microbiome, influence many diseases. Most research has been done on the “gut” microbiome, or bacteria in the digestive tract. Researchers have long suspected that a “microbiome” exists within breast tissue and plays a role in breast cancer but it has not yet been characterized. The research team has taken the first step toward understanding the composition of the bacteria in breast cancer by uncovering distinct microbial differences in healthy and cancerous breast tissue. “To my knowledge, this is the first study to examine both breast tissue and distant sites of the body for bacterial differences in breast cancer,” said co-senior author Charis Eng, M.D., Ph.D., chair of Cleveland Clinic’s Genomic Medicine Institute and director of the Center for Personalized Genetic Healthcare. “Our hope is to find a biomarker that would help us diagnose breast cancer quickly and easily. In our wildest dreams, we hope we can use microbiomics right before breast cancer forms and then prevent cancer with probiotics or antibiotics.” Published online in Oncotarget on Oct. 5, 2017, the study examined the tissues of 78 patients who underwent mastectomy for invasive carcinoma or elective cosmetic breast surgery. In addition, they examined oral rinse and urine to determine the bacterial composition of these distant sites in the body. In addition to the Methylobacterium finding, the team discovered that cancer patients’ urine samples had increased levels of gram-positive bacteria, including Staphylococcus and Actinomyces. Further studies are needed to determine the role these organisms may play in breast cancer. Co-senior author Stephen Grobymer, M.D., said, “If we can target specific pro-cancer bacteria, we may be able to make the environment less hospitable to cancer and enhance existing treatments. Larger studies are needed but this work is a solid first step in better understanding the significant role of bacterial imbalances in breast cancer.” Dr. Grobmyer is section head of Surgical Oncology and director of Breast Services at Cleveland Clinic. The study provides proof-of-principle evidence to support further research into the creation and utilization of loaded submicroscopic particles (nanoparticles), targeting these pro-cancer bacteria. Funded by a grant from the Center for Transformational Nanomedicine, Drs. Grobmyer and Eng are collaborating with investigators at Hebrew University to develop new treatments using nanotechnology to deliver antibiotics directly to the bacterial community in breast cancer. Breast cancer is the second most common cancer in women (after skin cancer) in the United States, where 1 in 8 women will develop the disease in their lifetimes. The study was funded by a Clinical Research Mentorship Award from the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation, The Society of Surgical Oncology Foundation, Cleveland Clinic’s Taussig Cancer Institute,, and Randy and Ken Kendrick. Dr. Eng holds the Sondra J. and Stephen R. Hardis Endowed Chair of Cancer Genomic Medicine at Cleveland Clinic. Cleveland Clinic is a nonprofit multispecialty academic medical center that integrates clinical and hospital care with research and education. Located in Cleveland, Ohio, it was founded in 1921 by four renowned physicians with a vision of providing outstanding patient care based upon the principles of cooperation, compassion and innovation. Cleveland Clinic has pioneered many medical breakthroughs, including coronary artery bypass surgery and the first face transplant in the United States. U.S. News & World Report consistently names Cleveland Clinic as one of the nation’s best hospitals in its annual “America’s Best Hospitals” survey. Among Cleveland Clinic’s 51,000 employees are more than 3,500 full-time salaried physicians and researchers and 14,000 nurses, representing 140 medical specialties and subspecialties. Cleveland Clinic’s health system includes a 165-acre main campus near downtown Cleveland, 10 regional hospitals, more than 150 northern Ohio outpatient locations – including 18 full-service family health centers and three health and wellness centers – and locations in Weston, Fla.; Las Vegas, Nev.; Toronto, Canada; Abu Dhabi, UAE; and London, England. In 2016, there were 7.1 million outpatient visits, 161,674 hospital admissions and 207,610 surgical cases throughout Cleveland Clinic’s health system. Patients came for treatment from every state and 180 countries. Visit us at Follow us at Editor’s Note: Cleveland Clinic News Service is available to provide broadcast-quality interviews and B-roll upon request. The Lerner Research Institute is home to Cleveland Clinic’s laboratory, translational and clinical research. Its mission is to promote human health by investigating in the laboratory and the clinic the causes of disease and discovering novel approaches to prevention and treatments; to train the next generation of biomedical researchers; and to foster productive collaborations with those providing clinical care. Lerner researchers publish more than 1,500 articles in peer-reviewed biomedical journals each year. Lerner’s total annual research expenditure was $260 million in 2016 (with $140 million in competitive federal funding, placing Lerner in the top five research institutes in the nation in federal grant funding). Approximately 1,500 people (including approximately 200 principal investigators, 240 research fellows, and about 150 graduate students) in 12 departments work in research programs focusing on heart and vascular, cancer, brain, eye, metabolic, musculoskeletal, inflammatory and fibrotic diseases. The Lerner has more than 700,000 square feet of lab, office and scientific core services space. Lerner faculty oversee the curriculum and teach students enrolled in the Cleveland Clinic Lerner College of Medicine (CCLCM) of Case Western Reserve University – training the next generation of physician-scientists. Institute faculty also participate in multiple doctoral programs, including the Molecular Medicine PhD Program, which integrates traditional graduate training with an emphasis on human diseases. The Lerner is a significant source of commercial property, generating 64 invention disclosures, 15 licenses, 121 patents, and one new spinoff company in 2016.

Read the source article at EurekAlert! Science News


Israel: land of milk, honey and medical cannabis

In August, a joint feasibility committee of the Health and Finance ministries submitted a recommendation that Israel open its booming medical marijuana business to international exports. The market could be worth as much as $4 billion a year in revenue. In the expectation that the proposal will be approved by legislators, an Israel company – Breath of Life Pharma (BOL) – is positioning itself to become the world’s largest medical cannabis facility. BOL’s new production, research and development campus in central Israel has a 35,000-square-foot plant, an 8,000-square-foot storage room, 30,000 square feet of grow rooms and labs, and a million square feet of cultivation fields. BOL CEO Dr. Tamir Gedo says his firm can store enough medical marijuana to supply the entire United States. Gedo estimates that BOL will produce 80 tons of medical cannabis per year. “Just don’t call it ‘marijuana,’” Gedo told a group of visiting journalists under high security (marijuana is, after all, a controlled substance in much of the world, including Israel). The word “marijuana” was used by US drug enforcement agents in the 1930s to make it sound foreign and dangerous. Gedo, like most in his industry, prefers to use the plant’s real name, cannabis. He refers to BOL’s business as the growing, packaging and distribution of “medical-grade cannabis” (MGC for short). BOL has no interest in pushing the legalization of recreational cannabis, Gedo says. Rather, BOL works toward bringing pharmaceutical-grade quality and delivery systems to purified extracts of the plant. Because the chemical composition of cannabis flowers from different branches is not at all consistent, companies in the medical cannabis space don’t use the whole plant but instead isolate specific molecules and turn those into controlled, consistent drugs. That can be quite a challenge: Cannabis has 142 different cannabinoids – active components – and each targets different illnesses. The two best known cannabinoids are THC and CBD. The former is the psychoactive component responsible for marijuana’s “high.” It also helps with pain and nausea, which has made it a much sought-after medication for patients undergoing chemotherapy. CBD, on the other hand, works on the autoimmune system and acts as an anti-inflammatory. It is being tested on inflammatory bowel diseases (including Crohn’s and ulcerative colitis) and has shown to be effective with conditions as diverse as autism, epilepsy, diabetes and heart disease. Moreover, you can’t get high from CBD. In order to get FDA approval, a company like BOL, which was founded in 2007, must conduct the same kind of double-blind clinical trials any drug would go through. Some 120 trials are currently under way in Israel – more than in any other country. Gedo says that if even 10 percent of trials underway at his facility result in a patentable drug, BOL could be the Pfizer of MGC. BOL’s autism trial, under the supervision of Dr. Adi Aran, director of the neuropediatric unit of Shaare Zedek Medical Center in Jerusalem, will go to the FDA in 2018. If it’s approved, a commercial drug could be available as early as 2021. Medical cannabis drugs are delivered via pills you swallow, delayed-release gel capsules, sublingual tablets, drops, ointments, transdermal patches and metered inhalers. You don’t smoke MGC because that destroys the CBD and other components aside from THC. BOL is building on Israel’s reputation as one of the most cannabis-friendly countries in the world. Israel, which has the world’s highest ratio of cannabis users – 27 percent of the population aged 18-65 used marijuana in the last year – recently reduced penalties for recreational cannabis use to a fine. Prof. Raphael Mechoulam from the Weizmann Institute of Science was the first to successfully isolate THC. That was in 1964. Mechoulam, now 86, is still active in cannabis research at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem, and is on the board of directors of BOL. Testing medical cannabis on human patients has been part of the research landscape in Israel for years, but it’s nearly impossible to do in the United States. Only one facility, the University of Mississippi, is a licensed source for medical cannabis, and production is limited to just 650 kilograms per year. “We can produce that amount in half a day,” Gedo says. “Israel is a hotbed of quality cannabis research, because it has a much more favorable regulatory climate for doing serious scientific research on medical cannabis,” says Charles Pollack, director of the Lambert Center for the Study of Medicinal Cannabis at Thomas Jefferson University in Philadelphia. As a result, companies are increasingly turning to Israel to conduct their phase 1 and 2 clinical trials. If you can point to previous studies done overseas, the FDA is more likely to approve a phase 3 trial in US. Of the 15 companies signed up so far to conduct their R&D at BOL’s facility in Israel, at least six are American. And while importing cannabis into the United States remains illegal (even though 29 US states have legalized medical cannabis), if a product has FDA approval companies can circumvent that ban. Israel is also blessed with a climate conducive to growing cannabis, BOL’s Gedo said. “The many days of sunshine make it more suitable than many parts of the US and Europe.” BOL isn’t the only company in Israel to jump on the medical cannabis bandwagon. Tikun Olam was Israel’s first medical cannabis distributor and opened an American subsidiary in 2016. One World Cannabis Pharmaceuticals is working on a topical cannabis cream to treat psoriasis. NASDAQ-listed Therapix Biosciences is deploying THC to address Alzheimer’s and Tourette syndrome. And there are others. The Israeli firm iCAN sponsors CannaTech, a leading medical cannabis conference and trade show that started in Israel and is now on the road to London and Australia. While Israel’s medical cannabis industry is targeting the international market, big changes are afoot domestically. Last summer, 81 doctors completed a medical cannabis course from the Ministry of Health. And the number of licensed cultivators has increased from eight to 60, including several kibbutzim. The aim is to open up the Israeli market from just a few dispensaries serving the entire country to allowing doctors to prescribe MGC preparations that can be picked up at a local pharmacy. “There are 30,000 patients in Israel getting medical cannabis,” ICAN’s Saul Kaye told ISRAEL21c. “Most people know someone who’s getting it. The stigma is being removed.” Israel has gone so far as to publish a “Cannacopeia,” a guide to the use of MGC. “We call it the ‘Green Book,’” quipped Yuval Landschaft, director of the Medical Cannabis Unit in the Israeli Ministry of Health. Some 21 countries have requested a copy. In 2016, more than $250 million was invested in Israeli cannabis companies and about 50 American companies have established R&D operations in Israel or partnerships with Israeli companies like BOL. The medical cannabis industry in Israel may not eclipse high-tech, but the two share the common root of Israeli chutzpah and the belief that bucking the rules often yields the biggest payout. When Mechoulam first wanted to study cannabis, there was none to be had. So his boss at the Weizmann Institute called a buddy at the local police station and scored a confiscated stash of 11 pounds of Lebanese hashish (also from cannabis) that the cops were planning to burn. Mechoulam hopped on a bus to pick it up. This creative approach jump-started an entire industry. Now the only question is: how high can Israel leap? Four billion dollars in potential exports (and taxable revenue) certainly raises the bar. For more information, click here.

Read the source article at ISRAEL21c


Future Meat Technologies: The future of clean meat production is local

While it might be a while before steaks grown in bioreactors (instead of on the farm) become standard fare at your local steakhouse, ‘locally produced’ cultured meat could quickly gain traction in nuggets, burgers, meatballs, and hot dogs if the price is right, predicts Israeli biomedical engineer Professor Yaakov Nahmias.


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How to Cope With Tragedy When You Have Anxiety

Sammy Nickalls
OCT 3, 2017 4:00PM EDT
On Monday morning, thousands of Americans woke up to the news of a horrific mass shooting on the Las Vegas strip, in which more than 50 people were killed and over 500 injured on Sunday night at a country music performance. Social media was almost exclusively filled with responses of shock, horror, and grief as Americans attempted to wrap their minds around this gruesome event, while acknowledging a sickening truth: this is not the last time our country will experience senseless violence at the hands of a white man with a gun.

Which leads us to the question: When you have anxiety and want to stay connected to the nation’s events, how do you cope with increasingly disturbing news?

Talkspace advisory Board Member Iris Reitzes, Ph.D., a clinical psychologist, marriage and family therapist, and emeritus lecturer at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem, told Teen Vogue that the interconnectedness of social media “without a doubt” has an effect on people with anxiety. “We’re constantly being inundated with distressing news about the world, most of which is updated in real time,” Reitzes said. “When something like the Las Vegas shooting occurs, we not only read about it on news outlets, but are also forced constantly to read other people’s reactions all over social media.”

Reitzes pointed out that those who observe trauma via their newsfeeds are affected because they “aren’t even able to disassociate.”

“Social media puts us all in the position of being observers of trauma, forced to identify with other people’s anxiety, but without any ability to distance ourselves from it,” she explained.

Reitzes added that constant access to the news in the 21st century “makes us feel more out of control.”

A particularly disturbing aspect of the Las Vegas shooting was that victims were simply enjoying a seemingly innocent country music show. “Mass murderers like the Las Vegas shooting are unexpected, dramatic, and massive, making people feel like they can’t go anywhere safely,” she explained. “Yet statistically, there’s a great chance that one will die from a car accident, or even cancer, as compared to a terrorist attack.”

With that in mind, this is how to cope with tragedy when you have anxiety.

Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT).

Reitzes suggests using facts such as the aforementioned, which is considered a form of cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) — a technique used to challenge distorted thoughts. “Most people don’t realize they are accepting life’s uncertainties on a daily basis, whether that’s the potential for a car accident or a cancer diagnosis,” Reitzes said. “That’s because we don’t hear about everyone who gets cancer on the news.”

Sometimes, using concrete facts can feel cold, but it’s important to stay grounded if you want to stay plugged in and make a difference. “We always live in a state of uncertainty, and while that may produce anxiety, it helps keep things in perspective in the wake of mass tragedies,” she explained.

Read news outlets directly.

Instead of getting your news from Twitter or Facebook, Reitzes suggests making it a habit to read stories from news outlets directly. “That will help you avoid over-identifying with other people’s anxiety, as it provides a more direct pathway to the news itself,” she explained.

Address your emotions directly.

If news outlets still are making you anxious — understandable, considering the disturbing news constantly filling our feeds — Reitzes suggests making your emotions a priority. “[D]o your best to be aware of uncomfortable feelings as they arise, rather than avoiding or denying them,” she said. “And make sure to do so without judgement.”

Don’t use methods of brushing your anxiety off, Reitzes pressed, such as ‘It will pass with time.’” “The reality is that quite the contrary will happen,” she explained.

While that sounds anxiety-inducing in itself, Reitzes explained that the point is that pushing down your feelings will not help, but addressing them will. “If your behaviors are changing in the face of anxiety, you need to talk about what you’re feeling and seek support from others,” she said. “If your anxiety persists, you may want to seek counseling from a professional.”

Monitor yourself for physical symptoms.

Don’t just make your emotions a priority — watch how your body responds to traumatic news. “Look out for symptoms like having trouble sleeping, irregular heartbeat, or excessive sweating,” Reitzes said. “These are symptoms of more acute anxiety. Try to notice other manifestations of anxiety, like avoiding crowded places or isolating yourself more than you normally would.”

Surround yourself with loved ones.

Everyone is feeling shaky during these turbulent times, and spending time with friends and family would be beneficial not just to you, but to your loved ones. “Even when we aren’t able to identify our own discomfort as ‘anxiety,’ we’re still in a state of greater vulnerability and need support from others,” Reitzes explained. “Whether or not you’re talking about anxiety, the presence of others will help create a feeling of safety and security.”

Go on a walk.

If you’re feeling particularly disturbed after reading the news, try going on a light walk to concentrate on your physical state instead of your emotional state. “The same goes for seeing someone else in a state of anxiety — encouraging them to take a walk or do some light exercise — anything to get out of the state of emotional paralysis that anxiety can create,” she explained.

Read the source article at Teen Vogue


Physicists Confirm That We’re Not Living In a Computer Simulation

Scientists have discovered that it’s impossible to model the physics of our universe on even the biggest computer. What that means is that we’re probably not living in a computer simulation . Theoretical physicists Zohar Ringel and Dmitry Kovrizhin from the University of Oxford and the Hebrew University in Israel applied Monte Carlo simulations (computations used to generate probabilities) to quantum objects moving through various dimensions and found that classical systems cannot create the mathematics necessary to describe quantum systems. They showed this by proving that classical physics can’t erase the sign problem, a particular quirk of quantum Monte Carlo simulations of gravitational anomalies (like warped spacetime, except in this case the researchers used an analogue from condensed matter physics).

Therefore, according to Ringel and Kovrizhin, classical computers most certainly aren’t controlling our universe.

The notion of a simulated universe isn’t new. Scientists and philosophers alike have flirted with the idea for decades. Some even argue that the human mind could be a simulation. Here’s Andrew Zimmerman Jones, writing for The Nature of Reality:

In 2003, philosopher Nick Bostrom of the University of Oxford made the first rigorous exploration of the simulation argument. The simulations he considered are different from those in movies like “The Matrix,” in which the world is simulated but the conscious minds are not—that is, where biological human beings with human brains interface with the simulated world. In Bostrom’s simulations, human consciousness is just another figment of the simulation.

Bostrom assumes that the human mind is substrate-independent: that human consciousness isn’t strictly dependent on the biological brain itself, and that if we could physically replicate that brain in sufficient detail in another form (such as within a computer) it would also have the subjective experience of consciousness. The replication doesn’t have to be perfect. It just has to be good enough that the replicated being has a human-like subjective experience (a “mind”). An advanced civilization with sufficient computing power to pull this off would be classified as “posthuman.”

All this being said, some physicists say that we won’t ever be able to prove definitively that we’re not in a simulation, because any evidence we collect could itself be simulated evidence. It’s exhausting to think about—but somebody has to do the work of figuring out what’s real.

Read the source article at PBS: Public Broadcasting Service


Nobel Prize in Physics Awarded to LIGO Black Hole Researchers

Rainer Weiss of M.I.T. and his Caltech collaborators Kip Thorne and Barry Barish discovered ripples in space-time known as gravitational waves.

Rainer Weiss, a professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and Kip Thorne and Barry Barish, both of the California Institute of Technology, were awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics on Tuesday for the discovery of ripples in space-time known as gravitational waves, which were predicted by Albert Einstein a century ago but had never been directly seen.

In announcing the award, the Royal Swedish Academy called it “a discovery that shook the world.”

In February 2016, when an international collaboration of physicists and astronomers announced that they had recorded gravitational waves emanating from the collision of a pair of massive black holes a billion light years away, it mesmerized the world. The work validated Einstein’s longstanding prediction that space-time can shake like a bowlful of jelly when massive objects swing their weight around, and it has put astronomers on intimate terms with the deepest levels of physical reality, of a void booming and rocking with invisible cataclysms.

Why did they win?

Dr. Weiss, 85, Dr. Thorne, 77, and Dr. Barish, 81, were the architects and leaders of LIGO, the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-wave Observatory, the instrument that detected the gravitational waves, and a sister organization the LIGO Scientific Collaboration of more than a thousand scientists who analyzed the data.

Dr. Weiss will receive half of the prize of 9 million Swedish Kronor and Dr. Thorne and Dr. Barish will split the other half.

The prize announcement at the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences in Stockholm, on Tuesday. The detection of gravitational waves was described as “a discovery that shook the world.”CreditJonathan Nackstrand/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

Einstein’s General Theory of Relativity, pronounced in 1916, suggested that matter and energy would warp the geometry of space-time the way a heavy sleeper sags a mattress, producing the effect we call gravity. His equations described a universe in which space and time were dynamic. Space-time could stretch and expand, tear and collapse into black holes — objects so dense that not even light could escape them. The equations predicted, somewhat to his displeasure, that the universe was expanding from what we now call the Big Bang, and it also predicted that the motions of massive objects like black holes or other dense remnants of dead stars would ripple space-time with gravitational waves.

Read the source article at The New York Times


Energy demands in developing nations fuels storage technology

– The US Energy Information Administration (EIA) reports that energy demands from developing countries are going to grow by about 41 percent between now and 2040. By that year, these nations will be using 65 percent of the world’s total energy supply. Cambridge – The US Energy Information Administration (EIA) reports that energy demands from developing countries are going to grow by about 41 percent between now and 2040. By that year, these nations will be using 65 percent of the world’s total energy supply. In the world’s developing countries, the EIA is seeing strong economic growth, increased access to marketed energy, and quickly growing populations – all lead to a rising demand for energy. While new renewable energy technology is easily adaptable, the problem comes in implementing the technology when basic energy infrastructure is lacking. Because of the lack of reliable energy infrastructure, energy supplies are not as reliable. “In some places, we have hospitals that have 12 hours of blackouts a day,” says Enass Abo-Hamed, chief executive, and co-founder of hydrogen storage startup H2GO, reports the Solving the energy storage problem Storage of energy is the problem, and this is where the focus of a lot of technology is today. Ideally, if electricity could be stored on-site for when it was needed, outages would be few and far between. However, right now, the cost of existing battery technology is still fairly expensive. This is exactly what H2GO is working on. Abo-Hamed and her colleagues are working on an innovative way of storing hydrogen gas that can be burned in fuel cells. Their Powered by hydrogen, the Coradia iLint only emits excess steam into the atmosphere, and provides an alternative to diesel power. “Once you reach the required temperature, the structure gets distorted and releases the hydrogen,” says Abo-Hamed. H2GO Power uses a water electrolyzer to split water and produce hydrogen and oxygen. Hydrogen is then stored within H2GO’s solid-state hydrogen storage system until needed. When energy is needed during periods of unmet demand, hydrogen is released to a fuel cell where the output is only electricity and water. Abo-Hamed says that, based on their calculations, a medium to a large hospital in sub-Saharan Africa, would need about 50 liters of water per hour. The cool thing about this system is once the hydrogen is burned to make power, 80-90 percent of the water can be used again. Who is H2GO Power? Enass Abo-Hamed founded H2GO Power In July 2014 after her successful research with a novel porous catalytic material for the production and storage of hydrogen as part of her Ph.D. at the University of Cambridge. H2GO Power is an Investments in hydrogen storage technologies is growing. Shown here is a High power Ni-MH Battery used in the Toyota NHW20 Prius. Having previously obtained her BSc and MSc degrees from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem (Israel), she is currently a research associate at Cambridge and a Cambridge University Energy Champion. The company’s mission is to bring affordable reliable energy to millions across the globe in a green way for large social and environmental impact. H2GO Power’s entire containerized energy unit is a plug-and-play energy system the size of a standard shipping container. It is controlled using various algorithms to ensure maximum efficiency on both a device and system scale. H2GO Power’s patent-pending technology involved a highly porous nano-particle based smart material that combines production, storage and controlled release of hydrogen. This three feature approach allows for enhanced safety and complete fuel utilization. In the EIA report released in September 2017 , the agency projected world energy consumption would rise 28 percent between now and 2040 – Note this is different from the 41 percent rise in developing nations. And there is a reason for this.In the world’s developing countries, the EIA is seeing strong economic growth, increased access to marketed energy, and quickly growing populations – all lead to a rising demand for energy. While new renewable energy technology is easily adaptable, the problem comes in implementing the technology when basic energy infrastructure is lacking.Because of the lack of reliable energy infrastructure, energy supplies are not as reliable. “In some places, we have hospitals that have 12 hours of blackouts a day,” says Enass Abo-Hamed, chief executive, and co-founder of hydrogen storage startup H2GO, reports the UK’s Wired Storage of energy is the problem, and this is where the focus of a lot of technology is today. Ideally, if electricity could be stored on-site for when it was needed, outages would be few and far between. However, right now, the cost of existing battery technology is still fairly expensive.This is exactly what H2GO is working on. Abo-Hamed and her colleagues are working on an innovative way of storing hydrogen gas that can be burned in fuel cells. Their system uses nanomaterials to create a partially flexible sponge that is able to trap hydrogen atoms in its pores. The gas gets released after the structure is heated.“Once you reach the required temperature, the structure gets distorted and releases the hydrogen,” says Abo-Hamed. H2GO Power uses a water electrolyzer to split water and produce hydrogen and oxygen. Hydrogen is then stored within H2GO’s solid-state hydrogen storage system until needed.When energy is needed during periods of unmet demand, hydrogen is released to a fuel cell where the output is only electricity and water. Abo-Hamed says that, based on their calculations, a medium to a large hospital in sub-Saharan Africa, would need about 50 liters of water per hour. The cool thing about this system is once the hydrogen is burned to make power, 80-90 percent of the water can be used again.Enass Abo-Hamed founded H2GO Power In July 2014 after her successful research with a novel porous catalytic material for the production and storage of hydrogen as part of her Ph.D. at the University of Cambridge. H2GO Power is an award-winning spin-out company from the University of Cambridge developing safe and low-cost hydrogen production and storage technologies.Having previously obtained her BSc and MSc degrees from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem (Israel), she is currently a research associate at Cambridge and a Cambridge University Energy Champion. The company’s mission is to bring affordable reliable energy to millions across the globe in a green way for large social and environmental impact.H2GO Power’s entire containerized energy unit is a plug-and-play energy system the size of a standard shipping container. It is controlled using various algorithms to ensure maximum efficiency on both a device and system scale.H2GO Power’s patent-pending technology involved a highly porous nano-particle based smart material that combines production, storage and controlled release of hydrogen. This three feature approach allows for enhanced safety and complete fuel utilization.

Read the source article at Digital Journal


Hadassah Doctor Brings New Hope to Cystic Fibrosis Patients

Twenty five years ago, Dr. Batsheva Kerem and Dr. Eitan Kerem made a significant contribution to the scientific world’s understanding of genetic mutations and cystic fibrosis. Together—with their medical-research teams—they mapped the genetic mutation profile of cystic fibrosis among different Jewish ethnic groups in Israel. Since then, life expectancy for individuals with cystic fibrosis has shifted dramatically, thanks in part to their medical and genetic research and ongoing commitment to fighting the disease. These Israeli doctors, long married, represent two of the world’s major cystic fibrosis research centers: the Hadassah Medical Organization and Hebrew University. Today, the Kerems’ research serves as a map for the genetic counseling many Jewish couples undergo before having children. Cystic fibrosis, a fatal genetic disease, causes a thick mucus buildup in the lungs and other organs that leads to breathing difficulty and increases susceptibility to life-threatening infections. More than 10 million Americans carry a faulty CF gene, many unknowingly. Thanks to the Doctors Kerem, we know that for Ashkenazi Jews, there’s a 1 in 24 chance of being a carrier, while for Sephardi/Mizrahi Jews it’s a 1 in 26 chance. If two people who carry the mutated gene have a child, the child has a 1 in 4 chance of having cystic fibrosis. In the 1980s, when the Kerems made their breakthrough, CF patients generally didn’t survive their teens. Today in the United States, where more than 30,000 people are living with cystic fibrosis, the median life expectancy of someone with CF is 37. Roughly 1,000 new cases are diagnosed each year, most by age 2. A well-published research leader in cystic fibrosis medicine, Dr. Eitan Kerem’s life’s work has focused on developing drug therapies that help CF patients overcome genetic mutations. Currently head of the Division of Pediatrics at the Hadassah Medical Organization (HMO), he founded the Center for Children with Chronic Diseases at Hadassah Mt. Scopus. At the same time, Dr. Kerem embodies the best in benchto-bedside medicine. As the mother of two of Dr. Kerem’s CF patients in New York City—both healthy in their 20s—put it, he’s an “angel on earth, one of the greatest people I know.” Dr. Kerem has been recognized for his outstanding contributions, his advocacy for children in need, and his efforts to build bridges to peace through medicine, including creating a Gaza offshoot of the HMO Center for Cystic Fibrosis that trains Palestinian medical professionals while providing much-needed medical care. At the same time, Dr. Kerem’s team is raising crucial issues in the broader medical community. In The Lancet, for example, they wrote about CF treatment strategies to improve longevity and quality of life in resource-poor countries. “Growing up, my CF doctors had an upbeat attitude, but there was no planning for the future,” says LevaChaya Simon, 29 (pictured here with her sister, who also has CF). From the start, it was clear that Dr. Kerem was different, telling her: “We want Jewish women with cystic fibrosis to be grandmothers.” A newlywed and a recently licensed nurse, Leva credits Dr. Kerem with her good health. “Dr. Kerem gave me a future to look forward to.” Cystic fibrosis mutations occur in the CFTR gene, short for cystic fibrosis transmembrane conductance regulator. This fall, Dr. Kerem will lead a new HMO clinical trial on a drug that instructs cells to avoid mutation. In April, Dr. Kerem met with positive results in a phase II clinical trial for a drug that produces enzymes to make CF patients’ mucus less viscous. As we recognize the progressmade in the past 25 years, Kerem has a clear vision of what we can achieve in the next 25 years: Nothing short of a cure for the disease. But is that realistic? “There is a good chance,” he says, “that within 25 years we will have what we need to cure our CF patients.” For Dr. Kerem and the Hadassah Medical Organization, that’s just the beginning. “The true breakthrough in confronting CF,” says Dr. Kerem, “will only occur when everyone with this disease, no matter where he or she lives, can expect to achieve a normal life expectancy and quality of life.”

Read the source article at


Hebrew University Faculty of Medicine gets Ben-Yehuda as first woman dean

For the first time since the Hebrew University of Jerusalem’s medical faculty was established in 1949, a woman has been named as its head. Prof. Dina Ben-Yehuda will be the second woman to head an Israeli medical school, after Prof. Rivka Carmi – now president of Ben-Gurion University of the Negev – was named dean of BGU’s Faculty of Health Sciences in 2000. Ben-Yehuda, director of hematology at the Hadassah University Medical Center, will take office as the 23rd dean of Hebrew University’s medical faculty on October 1. She will succeed Prof. David Lichtstein, who held the position for four years. A graduate of the BGU Health Sciences Faculty, Ben-Yehuda completed her internship in internal medicine and hematology at Hadassah and her research at the Center for Cancer Research at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Hospital in New York City. Upon her return to Israel in 1992, Ben-Yehuda established a lab for the diagnosis and research of malignant hematological diseases. A decade ago, she was appointed professor at the medical faculty and since 2002 has been running the hospital’s hematology department. She is involved in innovative research in the treatment of malignant cells using nanoparticles of a protein inhibitor in combination with extensive clinical work. The new dean is the mother of three girls and is married to Prof. Arie Ben-Yehuda, head of Hadassah’s Department of Internal Medicine. Dina Ben-Yehuda lost her oldest brother to cancer when he was seven years old. The family tragedy was a formative event that led to her decision to study medicine. During the Yom Kippur War, she coordinated the treatment of casualties for members of the Armored Corps and their families and was awarded the Chief of Staff’s Medal in 1967. “Our faculty is unique in that it trains medical professionals: researchers, pharmacists, specialists in public health, occupational therapists and nurses,” Ben-Yehuda said. “Only with the cooperation of all sectors, including students, can we train the next generation of medical professionals and give them the ability to understand the nature of the profession, while striving for knowledge, professionalism and respectful and ethical behavior in the process of medical treatment.”

Read the source article at Jpost


Chinese millionaire to set up artificial intelligence lab in Haifa

Zong Qinghou, the CEO of one of China’s largest companies, announced plans to set up a research center at the University of Haifa focusing on artificial intelligence. The Chinese Academy of Sciences will also be a research partner. Zong will provide the AI center with at least $10 million over five years, the research partners announced at a signing event on Tuesday, with much of the funding going to construct laboratories and obtain high-end equipment, the University of Haifa’s President Ron Robin said. “For us, this is a game-changer. We get recognition by a major Chinese investor, that the work that we’re doing is significant,” Robin told The Jerusalem Post. Zong, who heads the Hangzhou Wahaha Group, China’s largest beverage company, has visited the University of Haifa’s campus four times. The research center will focus on improving the camera lens behind driverless cars – necessary for operating a vehicle when it’s raining or foggy – as major automobile companies and tech companies race to perfect the technology in the multi-billion dollar autonomous vehicle market. “We have developed a series of cameras that are able to reproduce very high-level resolution movies using a very small number of pixels. And coming from our marine sciences, we’ve developed a camera that works under water, its high resolution even when it works under water. One of our researchers developed a camera that can take underwater pictures at great depth with virtually no light,” Robin said. Other Israeli universities are jumping into the race to perfect driverless technology, from the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology joining forces with Korean auto giant Hyundai to the Hebrew University working with Israeli firm Mobileye, which was sold to computer-chip maker Intel for $15 billion earlier this year. Most major automakers have established a research foothold in the country. The University of Haifa research center will also specialize in other AI fields, including bio-technology, big data applications and biometric identification, where Israeli security contractors are increasingly active. Robin said that the intellectual property developed at the Haifa AI research center would be divvied up fairly between the academic partners, the Chinese Wahaha Group, and the researcher involved. He did not detail the financial arrangement. Some academic-corporate partnerships in Israel have unraveled into lawsuits over who would make money from marketable lab innovations. Some 15 Israeli graduate students will travel to China for a semester-abroad program, and 15 Chinese post-doctoral students will conduct research in Israel. Around 200 Chinese students are already studying at the University of Haifa, out of 18,100 students enrolled on campus. Robin, who was previously a professor in the university’s history and communications department, said that Zong’s donation could open the door to other investors and collaborations with China. “This means that we joined a small group of universities around the world with major Chinese investment in its infrastructure and its graduate program,” Robin said, adding that the new research center testified to the weakness of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement against Israel. “In China, BDS is a non-issue. It doesn’t exist. They have great admiration for Israeli academia,” he said. “The biggest problem is unofficial BDS, when someone takes a paper from one of our researchers, doesn’t even open it, and just throws it in the garbage. That’s the biggest problem in the Western world, not in China.” The University of Haifa is also engaged in two other Chinese research projects. With Shanghai’s East China Normal University, the Israeli school has set up the joint translational institute, which focuses on neuroscience. Another collaboration is with a group of Chinese investors who may invest $6m., mostly in bio-technology and pharmaceuticals. Zong said he chose to donate to the school because of Israel’s status as a start-up leader – with more hi-tech start-ups per capita than any other country. “Israel excels in having an advanced and innovative research ecosystem. We chose to collaborate with the highly accomplished researchers of the Haifa University… whom we believe can help us achieve our goal of creating revolutionary artificial intelligence technologies,” Zong said in a statement.

Read the source article at Jpost


Atox Bio Awarded Next Milestone-based Option by BARDA to Support Continued Development of

“We appreciate and continue to benefit from BARDA’s ongoing support in the development of Reltecimod as a novel, host-based, immunomodulatory therapy to treat severe infections,” said Dan Teleman, Chief Executive Officer of Atox Bio. “We have a very collaborative partnership with BARDA and look forward to continuing to work together.” Reltecimod (AB103) is a rationally designed peptide that binds to the CD28 co-stimulatory receptor to modulate the host’s immune response to severe infections. By limiting, but not inhibiting, the body’s acute inflammatory response, Reltecimod helps control the cytokine storm that could quickly lead to morbidity and mortality. Reltecimod received Orphan Drug status from the FDA and EMA as well as Fast Track designation. NSTIs, commonly referred to as “flesh eating bacteria”, represent the most severe, rare types of infections involving the skin, skin structure and soft tissues. NSTIs progress rapidly and often result in significant tissue destruction and systemic disease leading to multiple organ dysfunction, failure and death. Currently, there are no approved treatments for NSTIs – the standard of care includes prompt and repeated surgical debridement, aggressive resuscitation and physiologic support, in addition to antibiotics. About ACCUTE The phase 3 ACCUTE (AB103 Clinical Composite endpoint StUdy in necrotizing soft Tissue infEctions) study is an ongoing randomized, placebo-controlled study, that plans to enroll 290 patients with NSTI at approximately 60 level 1 trauma sites in the U.S. Patients receive Reltecimod or placebo, administered as a single dose during or shortly after surgical debridement, in addition to standard of care treatment. The primary end point is a clinical composite that evaluates both the local and systemic components of this disease. About BARDA The Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA), within the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, provides an integrated, systematic approach to the development and purchase of the necessary vaccines, drugs, therapies and diagnostic tools for public health medical emergencies. This project has been funded in whole or in part with Federal funds from the Department of Health and Human Services; Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response; Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority, under Contract No. HHSO100201400013C. Atox Bio is a late stage clinical biotechnology company with operations in the US and Israel that develops novel immune modulators for critically ill patients with severe infections. Atox Bio is exploring the potential of Reltecimod in NSTI and additional critical care indications such as Acute Kidney Injury. Atox Bio is supported by an investment syndicate including SR One, OrbiMed and Lundbeckfonden Ventures. Atox Bio was established by Prof. Raymond Kaempfer and Dr. Gila Arad from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and Yissum.

Read the source article at PR Newswire


Over the rainbow

Visiting Professor Wayne Horowitz from Hebrew University amazed his audience with his lecture on rainbows held at North Shore Temple Emanuel. Wayne told how the biblical story of the Flood had its origins in the misty Sumerian past, where rainbows more often than not portended disaster. He then linked the story with native traditions, such as the Gwich’in narrative of ‘The Boy in the Moon’ of Arctic Canada, where, curiously, they speak a language derived from Sumerian. The talk was co-sponsored by Macquarie and Hebrew Universities. Dr Gil Davis, Director of Ancient Mediterranean Studies at Macquarie University, introduced Wayne and spoke a bit about the achievements of the Ancient Israel Program and the joint cooperation between the two universities. Robert Simeon, President of the Australian Friends of Hebrew University made a vote of thanks to Wayne and to the NSTE which is a frequent and welcoming host to such events under its President, Mark Ginsburg. Many of the students in the audience will be taking part in courses that have been jointly set up by the two universities in Israel at Hebrew University over the coming summer break. These include a Biblical Archaeology course, an Ulpan, and a joint archaeological excavation between Hebrew and Macquarie Universities at the site of Khirbet el-Rai.

Read the source article at » J


4,000-Year-Old Jar of Headless Toads Discovered in Jerusalem Burial

In one of the rock-cut tombs, archaeologists made a rare discovery: a jar full of bones from nine headless toads. The toads had been decapitated before they were buried with the dead, possibly as a way to prepare the animals to be “eaten.” Finding a tomb that’s been sealed for thousands of years is always a treat for archaeologists —especially when that tomb contains a jar of headless toads. That’s what archaeologists discovered inside a 4,000-year-old burial in Jerusalem, the Israel Antiquities Authority (IAA) announced yesterday (Sept. 25). The excavators think the jar might have been a funeral offering to feed the dead in the afterlife. In 2014, archaeologists were excavating at a Bronze Age cemetery of more than 60 rock-cut tombs in Jerusalem’s Manaḥat neighborhood. They discovered a sealed tomb, and after they rolled back the stone that was covering its opening, they found one poorly preserved human skeleton. The person had been buried lying on their back among intact ceramic bowls and jars. Based on the style of the pottery, the researchers think the tomb likely dates to the early part of the Middle Bronze Age (about 4,000 years ago). [See Photos of the Burial and Headless Toad Remains] One of the jars held a heap of small bones from nine toads that had all been decapitated. “It is impossible to determine what role the toads played, but they are clearly part of the funerary rituals,” Shua Kisilevitz, one of the excavation directors with the IAA, told Live Science. Kisilevitz added that during this period toads were a symbol of regeneration for people in Egypt (the neighbors and sometimes overlords of the ancient Canaanites who lived in the Levant). But it’s also possible that the toads had a more practical function: At the time, the dead were often buried with offerings that would serve them in their passage to the afterlife. “Food offerings are a staple of burial customs during this period, and there is a possibility that the toads were indeed placed in the jar as such,” Kisilevitz said. The fact that they were decapitated is another clue: One way to prepare toads for eating is to remove the head and edges of the limbs so that the sometimes-toxic skin could be removed, Kisilevitz added. While rare, the jar of toads isn’t entirely unprecedented. Kisilevitz said she knows of a Late Bronze Age tomb at Wadi Ara in the north of Israel that also included a vessel with decapitated toads. Dafna Langgut, an archaeology researcher at Tel Aviv University, found that the vessels in the Manahat tomb came into contact with date palms and myrtle bushes, which do not grow naturally in this area. The researchers think it’s possible that these trees and bushes were planted in a special orchard where funeral rituals for food offerings to the dead were held. The findings will be presented Oct. 18 at an archaeology conference at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.

Read the source article at Live Science


Rosetrees Trust Interdisciplinary Prize Awarded to Hebrew University Scientists

September 18, 2017 — The Rosetrees Trust Interdisciplinary Prize for 2017 has been awarded to two scientists from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Professor Yaakov Nahmias and Professor Nir Friedman. This is the first group from outside the United Kingdom to win the prize. The award was presented at the 30th Rosetrees Trust Anniversary Symposium on September 14 at the UCL Institute of Child Health in London. Professors Nahmias and Friedman won for their research proposal to engineer a platform that mimics the physiological dynamics of human metabolism. The circadian rhythm or “body clock” is a daily cycle that regulates many physiological processes, such as telling our bodies when to eat or when to sleep. With funding from the Rosetrees Trust, the two scientists will lead a team of Hebrew University researchers in combining Professor Nahmias’ groundbreaking organ-on-chip platform with Professor Friedman’s key understanding of molecular networks. This interdisciplinary partnership will unravel the complex interplay between changing metabolism and its underlying genetic regulation in human cells, replacing current animal models that lack clinical relevance. The research will be instrumental to drug development, offering a route to the rational design of therapeutics for obesity, fatty liver disease, and type 2 diabetes. The Rosetrees Trust is a private, family-funded charity, formed in 1987 to support medical research. Rosetrees provides grants to fund outstanding research projects across all areas of human health and disease. The theme of the 2017 Rosetrees Interdisciplinary Prize is to promote collaborative research between medicine and engineering. The prize is worth up to £250,000 over three years. The prize is given each year to two researchers from different disciplines with the purpose of inspiring collaborative research between medicine and another field, in the hopes of pushing forward medical breakthroughs in the realm of human health. This year, for the first time, two sets of research teams impressed the Rosetrees Trust panel of judges enough to issue a joint prize: in addition to the Hebrew University team, Dr. James Dear and Dr. Maiwenn Kersaudy-Kerhoas from Edinburgh University won for their proposal to develop a prototype device to rapidly diagnose drug-induced liver damage. “Each year Rosetrees seeks the best research to support and every year the quality is a little better,” said Richard Ross, Chairman of the Rosetrees Trust. “This year the judging panel found it extremely hard to choose a winner because there were so many outstanding projects.” Professor Yaakov Nahmias is the founding director of the Alexander Grass Center for Bioengineering, which brings Hebrew University researchers together to develop transformative technologies and an ERC-funded tissue engineer at the Alexander Silberman Institute of Life Sciences. His research is focused on the integration of tissue engineering, microfluidics, and metabolism. Projects include nanotechnology-based diagnostic devices and microchip alternatives for animal and human testing recently commercialized to Tissue Dynamics Ltd., a startup company that was established by Professor Nahmias together with Yissum, the technology transfer company of the Hebrew University. Professor Nir Friedman is a professor at the Rachel and Selim Benin School of Computer Science and Engineering, and the Alexander Silberman Institute of Life Sciences, at the Hebrew University. His research combines machine learning and statistical learning with systems biology, specifically in the fields of gene regulation, transcription, and chromatin. He has received two ERC advanced awards. Professor Yaakov Nahmias said, “The Rosetrees Trust Interdisciplinary Prize is instrumental in bringing scientists of different disciplines together. It will enable us to not only build a groundbreaking model of human physiology on a chip but also to leverage the advanced computational resources needed to understand the vast amount of data our platform will generate, in the hope of developing critical new therapies for metabolic diseases such as obesity and diabetes.”


HU Bioengineering: Building a Better Tomorrow

Bioengineering is a multidisciplinary field that weaves together knowledge of biology, physics, chemistry and computer science, aiming to create tangible applications in life sciences and medicine.

The Alexander Grass Center for Bioengineering educates a new generation of multidisciplinary innovators and entrepreneurs at the cutting edge of biotechnology and medical science. The Grass Center for Bioengineering aims to bring together researchers at The Hebrew University of Jerusalem who work on the development of transformative technology. Projects include nanotechnology-based diagnostic devices, innovative medical devices advanced computational models, and microchip alternatives for animal and human testing. Read more about the Grass Center here.

BioDesign: Medical Innovation


Biodesign is a multi-disciplinary, team-based approach to medical innovation, created by The Hebrew University of Jerusalem and Hadassah Medical Center in partnership with Stanford University. The program takes outstanding medical fellows, bioengineering and business graduate students and tutors them in the science and practice of bringing a medical innovation to the market.

BioDesign is a one-year academic course taught by Hebrew  University  faculty, clinical experts, medical  device  entrepreneurs,  corporate  executives,  intellectual  property  attorneys  and  venture  capitalists.  It  provides  a  unique  opportunity  to  gain  real  world  experience  in  an  academic environment growing a new generation of entrepreneurs.


The BioDesign Innovation program is headed by Professor Chaim Lotan, director of the Heart Institute at Hadassah Medical Center and Dr. Yaakov Nahmias, director of the Grass Center for Bioengineering at the School of Computer Science and Engineering of The Hebrew University of Jerusalem in partnership with Professor Dan Galai, former dean of The Hebrew University School of Business Administration.

Since starting 2012, the BioDesign program has developed innovations such as:

‘Liver-on-a-chip,’ functional liver cells that detect real-time changes in metabolism and viability and drastically reduces using animal testing in research

A semi-automatic catheter insertion gun seeks to reduce pain in hospitalized children

Digital holography reducing dentures procedure

Headphones to help detect ear infection and lung disease in infants

Pressure-sensing socks feel the pain of diabetic patients

Robotic intubation prototype crawls to the lungs in difficult situations

Curvy plastic tube protects against obesity

BioDesign Medical innovations have been featured in MedGadget, FoxNews, MSNBC, Times of Israel, and the Jerusalem Post and more


HU’s Agricultural Advancements

As the growing global population continues to put pressure on our fragile ecosystem, the need for long-term, sustainable ecological solutions is more important today than ever before.

That’s why scientists at Hebrew University are pioneering research to answer our most serious global challenges. Whether it’s discovering new ways to clean contaminated water in developing nations or breakthroughs that are leading to greater crop production — Hebrew University is pushing the boundaries of knowledge and scientific discovery for the benefit of us all.


Hebrew U tech chief seeks balance between academia and industry

Yaron Danieli, the Hebrew University’s newest pick to spearhead the commercialization of technologies developed within its ivory towers, is taking the reins at a delicate time. Get The Start-Up Israel’s Daily Start-Up by email and never miss our top stories Free Sign Up Israeli academia has come under public scrutiny for missing out on royalties on technologies developed by their researchers: earlier this month, the Israeli press reported that Amnon Shashua, the chief executive officer of Mobileye, which was sold to Intel Corp. for a whopping $15 billion, convinced Hebrew University officials to forgo any monetary claims to the technology developed within its walls; and the Weizmann Institute will only get a small amount of money from the $12 billion sale of Kite Pharma to Gilead Sciences Inc., TheMarker financial website said. The key technology behind Kite Pharma’s developments was created in the Weizmann Institute labs. Danieli, almost 42, declined to discuss the issues in an interview with The Times of Israel last week. He deferred to the laconic statement the university issued to the Hebrew press which said: “The settlement between Mobileye and Hebrew University originates in an agreement signed in 2002. The university did not, and does not, demand any additional royalties following the Intel transaction. A letter from the university’s management dated March 2017 confirms this. Relations between the university and Mobileye are making a great contribution to research at the university.” However, Danieli’s vision for leading Yissum, the technology transfer company of the Hebrew University, is interesting. Instead of jealously holding on to patents and technologies for fear of losing royalties, he wants to make the interaction between his researchers and the industry closer, and become what he calls “a bridge” or a “facilitator” for technologies to realize their potentially global mission of bettering the world. “We need to be the ones that make sure that every single technology that is invented in academia gets a fair chance in the world,” said Danieli, speaking from the Tel Aviv offices of pharmaceutical firm Alcobra Ltd, where he served as president and chief executive officer since March 2010 until his appointment as CEO of Yissum a few months ago. “If it gets a fair chance in the world, we are going to benefit from that. And so, we are actually going to be able to make more discoveries and better innovations,” he said. “So, instead of being the safeguards of University technologies,” he sees his role as becoming a “facilitator.” Danieli is following the example of other international universities, such as Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Harvard, and Stanford, which have implemented similar policies, he said. The idea is to “open up the gates. We believe the mission is not to protect university intellectual property (IP) but to make sure that both the university and the community enjoy the fruits of the academic research — and for that we need to be the bridge,” he said. “The sum total benefit, if I push out 100 technologies, is greater than if I keep all of them to myself just because I am scared one of them will run away,” he added. Unlike some of his predecessors at the job, Danieli does not have a legal background, but hails from the industry. He headed NanoCyte, Inc., an Israeli firm that develops transdermal delivery technologies, as well as Gamida Cell, a developer of cell therapy products. The son of an Israeli kindergarten teacher and a diamond cutter, Danieli, who grew up in Florida, holds a BSc degree in Biological Sciences from Florida International University, and a PhD from the Sackler Institute of Graduate Biomedical Sciences at the New York University School of Medicine. He served as a postdoctoral fellow at the Weizmann Institute and has an Executive MBA from the Technion, Israel Institute of Technology. “I feel I can speak to investigators at eye level — I am extremely curious and fascinated by what they do in the lab,” he said. His friends, however, warned him that taking the job “was nuts” and a “horrible decision,” he said with a laugh. The reason is that Technology Transfer Institutes (TTIs) are perceived as being “kind of closed minded, almost adversarial to both sides of the equation,” he said. To the industry, TTIs are perceived as jealously preserving the university’s rights, even creating artificial barriers and difficulties to the commercialization of technologies. To the academia, TTIs are frowned upon as being too industry focused, too bent on making a buck out of hard-work research. “It wasn’t a trivial decision, but it was based on the fact that I truly believe that on one hand it (the job) requires a mix of industry and academic experience to be able to make the required change in this organization,” he said. Founded in 1964 to protect and commercialize the intellectual property of Hebrew University, Yissum has registered over the years more than 10,100 patents, covering 2,850 inventions, according to data provided by the TTI. It has licensed out some 880 technologies and has spun off some 110 companies. Products that are based on Hebrew University technologies, and were commercialized by Yissum, today generate over $2 billion in annual sales. Among its blockbuster successes that are based on technologies developed at the university are pharmaceutical giant Novartis’s Exelon drug for dementia and Johnson & Johnson’s chemotherapy drug Doxil; Mobileye, of course, and seed technology — developed by the university’s agriculture faculty in Rehovot, that helps farmers around the world develop cherry tomatoes and baby peppers, for example. Data compiled by Columbia University — which has a world-leading tech transfer company, shows that just three out of 10 patents registered have a chance of getting licensed by firms, and the chances of that happening drop to 20 percent after 5 years. Costs of filing a patent however, have surged to about $100,000 per patent, per country, Danieli said. “So now you have seven patents that you are maintaining that are never going to be licensed and three which may by licensed, but you are covering the entire 10,” he said. And even if you do license a patent, he said, the chances of it making money are slim. Based on the Columbia data, Danieli said, only one in 200 licenses “will make any kind of meaningful money.” In addition, because the tech environment changes so quickly, discoveries today may actually be completely irrelevant by the time they are ready to make money. And that is a challenge, Danieli said. That is why it is important to have a continuous flow of ideas and developments from the academia making their way to the industry. “These are the kinds of things we are going to be doing over the next months and years,” he said. “We are going to make sure that we partner with industry and with our faculty to really transfer significantly more technology to the hands of entrepreneurs and industry and create significantly more innovation that is multidisciplinary and industry driven.” Through collaboration, faculty members will know what the industry needs, while industry heads will get access to the best and brightest minds offered by the university, in a whole variety of disciplines. “I am the only single employer of computer scientists, philosophers, linguists, chemists, biologists, physicians, agricultural experts,” Danieli said. “I am in a unique position to facilitate exactly the type of multidisciplinary innovation that everyone is after.” He believes the focus of Yissum will be in the field of life sciences, but also in agriculture — especially the fusion between agriculture and digital technology, which is something in which Israel can take a global lead, Danieli said. Israel and Hebrew University can also lead in the intersection between healthcare and digitalization, he said, which is an area in which products make their way more quickly to the market and are cheaper than developing drugs. “Yissum is going to serve its role in building the resources arenas the infrastructure to make sure that we generate innovations in those areas,” he said.

Read the source article at The Times of Israel


10 most influential figures of the cybersecurity world

One of the best ways to stay updated with the most recent industry changes is to follow the top giants in the security industry. The cybersecurity industry is a quickly expanding market, growing in response to the increasing number of cyber crimes. According to the most recent report of Cybersecurity Ventures, its spending is expected to reach $1 trillion over the next 5 years. This expected spending has raised the demand for security vendors, opening the door for new start-up companies and growth for reputable firms. Below, I’ve summed up a list of 10 Chief Executive Officers in Security industry. Eugene Kaspersky is the CEO of Kaspersky Lab which is the world’s largest privately-held vendor of endpoint protection, operating in almost 200 countries and territories worldwide. The company employs around 3,300 professionals and IT security specialists in dedicated regional offices across 32 countries, and its cybersecurity technologies protect over 400 million users worldwide. Eugene has earned many international awards for his technological, scientific and entrepreneurial achievements. He was voted the World’s Most Powerful Security Exec by SYS-CON Media in 2011, awarded an Honorary Doctorate of Science from Plymouth University in 2012, and named one of Foreign Policy Magazine’s 2012 Top Global Thinkers for his contribution to IT security awareness on a global scale. Kris Hagerman is the CEO of Sophos. He is responsible for all aspects of Sophos’ strategic direction and business operations. Before Sophos, Kris was the chief executive officer of Corel Corporation. Previously, Kris served as group president, data centre management at Symantec, where he led a business of more than $1.5 billion that represented nearly 30 per cent of Symantec’s global revenue. Earlier in his career, Kris was founder and CEO of BigBook, an online yellow pages service and founder and CEO of Affinia, an online contextual advertising network. Kris also held positions at Silicon Graphics and McKinsey & Company. Kris has a bachelor’s degree in Russian and economics from Dartmouth College, an M.Phil. in international relations from Cambridge University, and an MBA from the Stanford Graduate School of Business. Ginni Rometty is the president and CEO of IBM, and the first woman to head the company. Before becoming president and CEO in January 2012, she held the positions of senior vice president and group executive for sales, marketing, and strategy at IBM. She joined IBM as a systems engineer in its Detroit office in 1981. Rometty’s tenure as CEO has been marked by prestigious awards including by Bloomberg who named her among the 50 Most Influential People in the World, and Fortune was naming her among the “50 Most Powerful Women in Business” for ten consecutive years. Her tenure as CEO has been met by criticism related to executive compensation and outsourcing, and IBM’s 21 consecutive quarters of revenue decline. She holds a degree of Bachelor in Science, with high honours, in computer science and electrical engineering from Northwestern University. Chuck Robbins is the CEO of Cisco and a member of its Board of Directors. Chuck has more than 20 years of leadership experience and over 19 years at Cisco. He began his career as an application developer and worked as an app developer for North Carolina National Bank, (now part of Bank of America). Robbins next worked for Wellfleet Communications, which merged with SynOptics to become Bay Networks, followed by a short spell at Ascend Communications before joining Cisco in 1997. On 4 May 2015, Cisco announced that the CEO and chairman John Chambers would step down as CEO on 26 July 2015 but remain chairman. Chuck Robbins, senior vice president of Worldwide Sales & Operations and a 17-year Cisco veteran, would become CEO. On 26th July 2015, Robbins was appointed CEO of Cisco Systems. PureVPN is the brainchild of Uzair Gadit, who specializes in network and information security. As of now, he steers the information security wing of all the ventures under Disrupt. He employs his hardcore IT expertise to plug any vulnerabilities in the systems developed by Disrupt. Ever vigilant in his approach, he ensures all pre-emptive measures are in place to guarantee complete security of users’ data. Time and again, he has proven himself to be ahead of the curve and has lead from the front. Advanced features such as Antivirus/Anti-malware, IDS & IPS, Web Filter, App Blocker, etc. are the direct outcomes of the forward-looking and innovative thinking of Uzair Gadit. As of now, no other VPN provider has the same arsenal of features like PureVPN, which is another feather in Gadit’s cap. As the CEO of PureVPN, Uzair overlooks marketing, product development, user experience, finances, security, etc. His end-to-end approach ensures the highest quality output by his team in every task undertaken by them. Tom Kennedy is the head of Raytheon, a global aerospace, and defence company. Having 40 years of experience, served in many roles, each with different responsibilities but all with the same goal: protecting the United States and its allies. Kennedy became chairman and CEO of Raytheon in 2014, and today leads a team of 63,000 employees serving customers in the defence, civil government, and cybersecurity markets around the world. In 2016, Raytheon had sales of $24 billion. In 2015, began serving as chairman of Forcepoint – a Raytheon joint venture providing defence-grade cybersecurity solutions for the commercial market. He holds a doctorate in engineering from UCLA, a master’s degree in electrical engineering from the Air Force Institute of Technology (AFIT), and a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering from Rutgers University. During the time as CEO, Raytheon has committed millions of dollars toward educational programs and opportunities for service members and their families, especially in the fields of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. Udi Mokady is the Chairman and CEO of CyberArk and a pioneer in establishing the Privileged Account Security software market. Since co-founding the company in 1999, Mokady has entrenched CyberArk as the market leader in privileged account security. During his tenure at CyberArk, Mokady has also served as CyberArk’s chief strategist and visionary, overseeing global expansion, management, execution and corporate development. Mokady was named the 2014 Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year for the Technology Security category in New England. He holds a law degree (L.L.B.) from Hebrew University in Jerusalem and a master of science management degree (MSM) from Boston University. Marillyn Hewson is the Chairman, President, and CEO of Lockheed Martin Corporation. In her over 30 years with Lockheed Martin, she has held a variety of increasingly responsible executive positions with the Corporation, including President and Chief Operating Officer, and Executive Vice President of Lockheed Martin’s Electronic Systems business area. For the past seven years, Fortune magazine has identified Ms. Hewson as one of the “50 Most Powerful Women in Business,” naming her No. 3 in 2016. Ms. Hewson was born in Junction City, Kansas. She earned her Bachelor of Science degree in business administration and her Master of Arts degree in economics from The University of Alabama. She also attended the Columbia Business School and Harvard Business School executive development programs. Corey Thomas is the president, CEO, and a member of the Rapid7 board of directors. In 2016, he was appointed to serve on the U.S. Commerce Department’s Digital Economy Board of Advisors, and in 2017 Corey was elected to the board of directors of Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts, serving on its audit and health care quality and affordability committees. Corey has more than 15 years of experience in leading companies to the next stage of growth and innovation. Corey received a B.E. in electrical engineering and computer science from Vanderbilt University and a MBA from Harvard Business School. Peter Bauer is the CEO, Co-founder, a Board Member & the visionary behind Mimecast, which he launched in 2003, with CTO and fellow Co-founder, Neil Murray. Peter was born and raised in South Africa, trained as a Microsoft systems engineer, and began working with corporate messaging systems in the mid 90’s. He moved to the UK where Mimecast was founded, and then moved once more, arriving in Boston, Massachusetts in 2011, in order to lead Mimecast’s aggressive push into North America. Since that time, Mimecast has been one of the strongest performers in its market segment in terms of customer acquisition and top line growth, making Peter one of only a handful of CEO’s to have led a pure SaaS company for over 10 years while acquiring well over 10,000 customers worldwide.

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