HU’s Impact

1. The Hebrew University's Faculties and Schools

  • 1. FACULTIES AND SCHOOLS
  • 2. NEWS
  • 3. PARTNERSHIPS
  • 4. COURSERA

1. The Hebrew University's Faculties and Schools

Founded by visionaries. Propelled forward by innovation.

The Hebrew University of Jerusalem is one of the world’s most distinguished academic and research institutions. The university is located in Israel, but its work transforms our world. Its students, faculty, and alumni have won eight Nobel Prizes, developed cures for diseases, and spawned innovation that has led to more than 8,900 patents. We think our founding founders, Albert Einstein, Sigmund Freud, Chaim Weizmann, and Martin Buber would be quite proud.
The Hebrew University's List of Faculties and Schools
Robert H. Smith Faculty of Agriculture, Food and Environment
The Smith Faculty has developed groundbreaking innovations such as irrigation technologies, soil solarization, and long shelf-life vegetables. Students take courses in agricultural biotechnology, soil and water sciences, hotel, food and tourism management, and more.
Faculty of Humanities
The Faculty of Humanities focuses on the scope of human civilization in the past and present, as expressed in language, literature, the visual and performing arts, culture, folklore, philosophy, religion, and history.
Faculty of Medicine
Encompasses the School of Pharmacy, School of Occupational Therapy, School of Public Health, School of Nursing, and two research institutes.
Faculty of Mathematics and Sciences
This Faculty is an Israeli leader in the research and teaching of basic and applied science. It encompasses leading academics in the fields of Mathematics, Physics, Chemistry, Life Sciences, and Earth Sciences. The Faculty also incorporates cutting-edge research institutes including: Nanoscience and Nanotechnology, Marine Biogeochemistry, and more.
Faculty of Dental Medicine
Founded in 1953 by the Alpha Omega International Dental Fraternity. The Faculty is Israel's first dental school and is the leading center for dental education, clinical care, research, product/technology development and community outreach.
Faculty of Social Sciences
The Faculty houses nine departments: Geography, International Relations, Economics, Political Science, Sociology and Anthropology, Statistics, Psychology, Communication and Journalism, the Federmann School of Public Policy and Government, an interfaculty program on Internet and Society, and Glocal, an international development master's program.
Faculty of Law
The Faculty is Israel's first law school and is the cornerstone of Israel's legal research and education. It is home to the Minerva Center for Human Rights, the Center for the Study of Multiculturalism and Diversity, the Institute of Criminology, and the Israel Matz Institute for Jewish Law.
Rothberg International School
Attracts more than 2,000 students annually from over 80 countries to its diverse undergraduate and graduate degree exchange programs.
Edmond and Lily Safra Center for Brain Sciences
ELSC is Israel's foremost institute for interdisciplinary brain research and at the forefront of the revolution of neuroscience research. Researchers work to better understand our minds, from alleviating Alzheimer's and Parkinson's symptoms, sensory substitution devices, and more.
Advanced School of Environmental Studies
Consists of the study of environmental policy and resource management. Students learn to be adaptive to the capacity of the populations, and learn tools to rationally evaluate technological solutions for environmental issues.
Federmann School of Public Policy and Government
Seeks to develop the new generation of professional civil servants who will provide the state of Israel–and the Israeli society–with stability and growth.
Koret School of Veterinary Medicine
Israel's first and only veterinary school and the only facility of its kind in the Middle East. The School builds bridges to peace through animal care, shares medical knowledge, and offers joint research projects with countries around the world.
Seymour Fox School of Education
A leader in academic instruction, training, and research. Faculty members advance new ways of thinking about education by using an interdisciplinary approach while accounting for today's social and cultural challenges.
School of Pharmacy
A globally recognized leader in training pharmacists and conducting basic research in drug science. The School trains students for professional practice in the pharmaceutical industry, providing them with a scientific and professional basis. It also offers higher education in pharmacology, medicinal chemistry, and pharmaceutical sciences, as well as a doctoral degree in Clinical Pharmacy.
Hadassah Braun School of Public Health and Community Medicine
On a mission to improve the physical, mental, and social welfare of the global community with a commitment to excellence in multidisciplinary and interdisciplinary public health research, training, and practice.
Paul Baerwald School of Social Work and Social Welfare
Endeavors to further social justice and the personal and social well-being of individuals through path-breaking research and the development of social services and policies for individuals, families, groups, organizations, and communities in Israel and across the globe.
Rachel and Selim Benin School of Computer Science and Engineering
Maintains world-renowned excellence in research and is at the forefront of the technological revolution, with strength in Applied Physics and Biomedical Engineering. The School has a substantial impact on the high-tech industry in Israel.
Jack, Joseph and Morton Mandel School Advanced Studies in the Humanities
Israel's first graduate school in the humanities, the School fosters a dynamic and vibrant academic comunity, prioritzing intellectual interaction, and placing Jewish Studies within the broader fabric of Western and Eastern cultures.
School of Business Administration
Israel's premier academic business school, playing a central role in shaping the Start-Up Nation's business and management leadership ecosystem.

2. NEWS

Medicine/Health
NEWS

Tiny fish swims to Israel to help unlock mystery of aging

The search for the proverbial fountain of youth is moving underwater. Experimental biologist Itamar Harel, returning to Israel this spring from a post-doc at Stanford University School of Medicine, will establish an aging research lab focused on the tiny East African turquoise killifish, the shortest-lived vertebrate that can be cultivated in the laboratory easily.Gleaning insights into human aging from a fish that lives an average of four to six months sounds counterintuitive. But the East African turquoise killifish has an aging progression remarkably similar to ours, making it perfect for studying human aging in a rapid timeframe.“In the past 25 years, experiments in short-lived yeast, worms and flies have revolutionized the way we perceive aging – revealing that the aging rate itself can be manipulated by genetic and environmental interventions,” Harel says.“However, the lack of short-lived vertebrate models for genetic studies has significantly limited our understanding of vertebrate aging, including the role of vertebrate-specific genes, organs and physiological processes.” At Stanford’s Brunet Lab, Harel used a new genome-editing technique called CRISPR to develop a tool for examining aging and disease in killifish. Harel’s own lab, to open in March 2018 at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem’s Institute of Life Sciences, will take this research to the next level.“The key aspect I’m trying to accomplish is to see if we can slow down some of the age-associated diseases we have and extend good health, even if we live the same amount of years,” Harel tells ISRAEL21c.“I envision using killifish as a platform for testing the role of specific drugs and their effect on age-associated pathologies such as cancer, diabetes, cardiovascular and neurodegenerative diseases,” he says.“Manipulating the aging rate itself might allow us to postpone the onset of these devastating diseases, which will have a tremendous impact on human health.”The 37-year-old scientist got his undergraduate degree at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev in 2005 and his PhD in developmental biology at the Weizmann Institute of Science in 2012.When he arrived at Stanford in 2013, he was fascinated to learn about the killifish, which has been bred in captivity since 1968 but had never been genetically engineered.The tool he developed using CRISPR enabled him to study the effects of early interventions on elderly killifish.“I was able to do it almost twice as fast as in parallel genetic models like mice, which have a lifespan of two to three years,” he says. In his Jerusalem lab, he will study aspects of aging unique to vertebrates.“The majority of aging research has been done on invertebrates, in which it is challenging to study things like bone degeneration, declining immune function, declining ability to benefit from vaccinations, and increasing susceptibility to cancer and infections,” says Harel.“I think my uniqueness will be to study specific niches that are exceptionally challenging or impossible to study using current models.”To start, Harel will investigate dyskeratosis congenita syndrome, which causes bone-marrow failure.“The killifish model shows rapid onset of this disease and I want to see if we can develop interventions to slow down some of these phenotypes, screen for drugs and do genetic interventions."People have studied this syndrome in mice but you have to breed them for three to four generations before the phenotypes develop.In killifish, the phenotype happens in the first generation, and as fast as only two months.” In the long term, Harel hopes the little fish will reveal why aging is the primary risk factor for every disease type. “We know different organisms live vastly different lifespans.Killifish live six months, while koi fish live up to 200 years,” he says.“Nature has fabulously played with this trait of the aging rate. If we understand the basics behind the differences we could potentially manipulate them ourselves and see what aspects make the body more susceptible or more resilient.” He isn’t trying to make killifish live as long as koi fish.“But we could tailor specific interventions to boost our ability to cope with Alzheimer’s or other degenerative diseases,” says Harel, whose family history does not include any centenarians that he knows of. Harel notes that aging research is advanced in Israel, with multiple aging-related research labs doing groundbreaking work.The Israeli Ministry of Science and Technology recently issued a call for “technologies and innovation for older persons,” including biomedical research on aging.In October, Israeli longevity expert Dr. Nir Barzilai from Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York gave a keynote address, “How to die young at a very old age,” at the Pathways to Healthy Longevity conference at Bar-Ilan University sponsored in part by the Israeli Longevity Alliance.Harel was on the judging panel that awarded prizes to graduate students studying the biology of aging, healthy longevity and quality of life.“Doing research in Israel comes with a sense of community and ease of developing new collaborations,” says Harel. “For me it was clear that I wanted to go back.”Read the source article at ISRAEL21c
Humanities
NEWS

Archaeologists uncover bittersweet end of 1,800-year-old...

Why would Crusaders decorate a staircase with the carving of a menorah? This archaeological mystery — almost two millennia in the making — was recently solved, seven years after the Jewish symbol was discovered in a Hebrew University excavation of ancient Tiberias. The massive menorah, originally carved on a basalt tomb door, is tangible evidence of the city’s dramatic historical periods in the past centuries, under the world’s three major monotheistic religions.
Menorah carved into the door of a Jewish tomb, circa 150-350 CE found in Tiberias. (Tal Rogoveski)
The 68×78-centimeter (27×31 inch) seven-stemmed menorah was uncovered in a dig led by the Hebrew University’s Dr. Katya Tzitrin Silverman, which has been ongoing since 2009. The door the menorah decorated was typical of a Jewish tomb from circa 150-350 CE, said Silverman in conversation with The Times of Israel on Monday. After the fall of the Second Temple in 70 CE and the expulsion of Jews from Jerusalem, Tiberias was a center for Jewish life. It is thought that the Sanhedrin, the court of Jewish law and scholarship, sat in Tiberias from circa 190 CE. Following Muslim conquest in 635 CE, the city became a seat for the early caliphate. It was during this period, archaeologist Silverman said, that the menorah door was reused as the base of a mosque, which was built on an earlier mosque, said Silverman. Because the door was not found in situ, researchers cannot exactly pinpoint its provenance. However, said Silverman, it is clear that the use of this door by the Muslims in building a mosque was highly intentional. The mosque, she said, also contained reused pagan and Christian pillars, which were put on display as corner pieces. These materials taken for intentional secondary use are called “spoila,” said Silverman. They are trophies, a way of clearly stating, “We’re building our structure on the backs of those who came before us,” she said. “There is an expression of victory and inheritance” in their use, she said. Interestingly, said Silverman, during the team’s excavations, it was discovered that there was a church located next to the mosque which used the spoila. According to an inscription found at the church’s nave, it was still in use until at least the 10th century. “There was only a street between them,” she said, adding that although they’ve found remains of what appears to be a pagan temple, the team has not yet found a synagogue on the site of the ancient religious hub. “It’s strange to think that in Israel we have one of the most important excavations for early Muslim mosque architecture,” said Silverman.
Where the menorah was discovered.
The mosque that was built was upon the menorah was destroyed in an earthquake in 1068. Subsequently, its building materials were reused by the Crusaders and so our menorah became the decoration for a staircase in a room in a sugar factory. Calling it Israel’s “first industrial revolution,” Silverman said that after the crop was introduced under Muslim rule, by the Crusader period, the whole area of the Jordan and Ginosar Valleys was cultivated for sugar production. The heart of residential Tiberias had by this period moved north and the sugar production was done on the outskirts of the city. Silverman said that the menorah’s meaning as a Jewish symbol is not likely to have been understood during the Crusader period. Its use as a step in a secular sugar factory was, if anything, “pragmatic” — a bittersweet end to the menorah, which started its life on a Jewish tomb.
Read the source article at The Times of Israel
Humanities
NEWS

Honorary Doctorate Ceremony for His All Holiness

On December 6, 2017, His All Holiness Bartholomew I, Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople received an Honorary Doctorate from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.The event was attended by a wide array of religious leaders, ambassadors, and dignitaries. The presentation of the honorary degree was followed by an address from His All Holiness:His All Holiness the Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I of Constantinople, popularly known as the "Green Patriarch,” was appointed as the primary spiritual leader of the world's approximately 300 million  Orthodox Christians on November 2, 1991. Since then he has pursued a constant vision of spiritual revival; of Orthodox unity and Christian reconciliation; interfaith understanding and coexistence; and environmental awareness and protection — making every effort to mobilize the world's moral and spiritual forces for the sake of harmony among all human beings and between humankind and nature.Under his auspices, the Ecumenical Patriarchate has advanced interreligious dialogue with the Muslim world and with the worldwide Jewish community. He has also initiated and co-sponsored international peace conferences and symposia dealing with issues such as racism and fundamentalism and  has endeavored to generate cooperation and increase mutual tolerance and respect among Catholic, Muslim, Jewish and Orthodox Christian communities, particularly in the Middle East and the Mediterranean.No less important, the "Green Patriarch" Bartholomew I is a distinguished environmentalist, avidly involved in urgent ecological issues such as the pollution of the world's waterways. His reputation for raising global environmental awareness has earned him the Sophie Prize, the U.S. Congressional Gold Medal, and numerous other awards. His efforts to promote religious freedom and human rights, his initiatives to advance religious tolerance among the world's religions, together with his work toward international conflict resolution and environmental protection, have justly placed the Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I at the forefront of global visionaries, peacemakers, and bridge-builders.Click here to enjoy photos from the event. 
Humanities
NEWS

James Patterson and Einstein archivists creating new series

Already co-writing a political thriller with former President Bill Clinton, James Patterson is now set for a collaboration with the managers of Albert Einstein’s archives.The best-selling and prolific novelist is developing a series for middle schoolers inspired by Einstein’s scientific discoveries. In a licensing deal with the Einstein archive, Little Brown will publish the first of three planned books, currently untitled, next fall. The release will come through the author’s own JIMMY Patterson children’s imprint.“I love the idea of introducing Einstein and the ideas of science to millions of kids around the world,” says Patterson, sounding childlike himself as he speaks of “taking this so freaking seriously.”Patterson, admittedly still learning when it comes to science, has worked in an innovation of his own. The series’ young protagonist, Max Einstein, is a girl.“Women are definitely underrated in science and I wanted to address that,” he told The Associated Press during a recent telephone interview. Little, Brown describes Max as “inventive, irreverent, highly imaginative,” one who “loves to solve problems in fun, unconventional ways, much like Einstein himself.”“The high-stakes adventure series follows Max and the world’s brightest kids as they travel the globe to solve humanity’s biggest problems with the power of science,” the publisher announced.Financial terms for the books were not disclosed. According to Little Brown, Einstein archivists will assist Patterson with research and also have input in the manuscripts and artwork. Proceeds will be divided among the archive, the publisher and Patterson.Einstein has inspired fiction before, such as Alan Lightman’s critically praised “Einstein’s Dreams.” He also was the subject of a best-selling biography by Walter Isaacson and of numerous biographies for children.Officials for the Einstein archives, which are based at Hebrew University in Jerusalem, cite Patterson’s enormous popularity and see the new series as an ideal way to expand Einstein’s appeal among young people. Dr. Roni Grosz, curator of the archives, praised Patterson’s ability to keep readers interested.“You don’t want readers just putting the books down because they’re not interesting enough,” he told the AP. “There’s tremendous interest in Einstein, but it’s not easy to convey his lessons and his knowledge. These books are one way to package this rather complex information and present it to young readers.”Read the source article at Washington Post
Medicine/Health
NEWS

Why teamwork is better than attempting lone heroism in...

MASSIVE_logoThe best way for scientists — or anybody, really — to address shortcomings after experiencing failure is teamwork. And never has that been more clearly apparent than in the story of Doxil, the first nanomedicine, which failed multiple times before a resourceful team cracked the code.
Nanomedicine is the application of nanoscale technologies (think about it as really, really tiny pieces of matter — 10,000 times smaller than a strand of hair or 100 times smaller than a red blood cell) for the prevention, diagnosis, treatment, and study of disease and human health. It’s pretty successful at getting funded as well — privately held nanomedicine companies (such as Nanobiotix) are getting a lot of money — in the tens of millions of dollars — from pharmaceutical giants such as Pfizer and Merck.
But nanomedicine wasn’t always such a buzzworthy topic — it really hit the scene in the 1990s when an anti-cancer drug called Doxil became the first FDA-approved nanomedicine-based therapy thanks to a multinational team headed by biochemist Yechezkel Barenholz at Hebrew University in Jerusalem.
Decades in the making
Barenholz believed as far back as the late 1970s that chemotherapy could be improved by placing anti-cancer drugs in nanoscaled carriers made of lipids — the stuff that forms the membranes of all the cells in our body. Placing the free-floating drug molecules into carriers takes advantage of the enhanced permeability and retention (EPR) effect, in which nanosized particles in the blood stream should enter and accumulate in solid tumors more easily than in healthy tissue.
 Placing drugs in nanocarriers would cause fewer side effects and require smaller doses.
One of the characteristics of tumors is their rapid growth, causing blood vessels to grow abnormally, which results in tiny gaps in the vessel walls that nanoparticles can pass through easily. Another consequence of rapid growth is the suppression of “lymphatic drainage,” meaning that the lymph fluid in tumors can’t clear out waste products and nanoparticles as effectively as in healthy tissues, causing more accumulation in tumors than in the rest of the body. Ideally, placing the drugs in nanocarriers would cause fewer side effects and require smaller doses as a result.
Barenholz began to develop early prototypes of such a drug in 1979 with oncologist Alberto Gabizon. But in 1987, that trial drug, called OLV-DOX, failed its clinical trial. The carriers were too large; they didn’t have enough of the drug inside of them to be effective, and they were readily destroyed by the body’s immune system.
In the interim, though, Barenholz started a parallel project as part of a team. In 1984, after chatting with an old colleague from UC–San Francisco, Dimitri Papahadjopoulos, Barenholz was convinced to take a sabbatical at Papahadjopoulos’s startup, Liposome Technology Inc. (LTI) in California, on the condition that LTI would support the ongoing Doxil research at Hebrew University at the same time.
Second time’s the charm
In the 1990s, Barenholz and his team at LTI worked together on what they called “stealth liposomes.” An outer layer of a polymer called polyethylene glycol (commonly called PEG) was added to the lipid carrier to extend the circulation time of the liposomes. This polymer is very hydrophilic — it interacts well with water, so that the closely packed water molecules at the surface of the liposome will prevent the liposomes from interacting with any proteins or cells in the blood stream, allowing them to reach their intended target.
At the same time, Barenholz was working in his lab in Israel to figure out a way to make the nanocarriers smaller while still being able to put enough of the drug inside to make the treatment effective. These teams patented these new technologies by 1989, and the new and improved OLV-DOX, now called Doxil, began clinical trials in Jerusalem in 1991.
Barenholz leaves us with a lesson anyone can learn from.
The rest is history. FDA approved in 1995, the team was excited to have brought the first nanomedicine to market. Even though another research and development company approached Barenholz with a large sum of money and royalties for the rights to the early Doxil prototypes, he stuck with LTI, believing that he would have more control and success with the team there. (LTI is part of Johnson & Johnson today.)
In some of the last words of his reflective and personal review, Barenholz wrote that he wants to transfer his experience with Doxil development and eventual approval to researchers worldwide. He leaves us with an overarching lesson that anyone can learn from: collaboration is an essential part of successful science and is undervalued most of the time in the pursuit of great personal discoveries.
Read the source article at salon.com
Science/Technology
NEWS

Israeli serial startup stars of blockchain tech return with...

Leveraging some “mind boggling math” introduced as an update onto the Ethereum blockchain only a few months ago, QEDit is launching its product on our Battlefield stage at TechCrunch Disrupt Berlin.

The company, which takes its name from the Latin phrase quod erat demonstrandum (which was what would have been demonstrated) relies on the principle of zero knowledge proofs to provide audit and due diligence services for financial institutions.One of the problems that’s been slowing down blockchain adoption in businesses is how to share information based on proprietary data. Companies don’t want to share a lot of information with competitors, but need to have ways to ensure that the information they’re receiving is correct.The QEDit service allows that on the blockchain. Creating ways for multi-party transactions to engage in queries that prove certain facts about a business, without ever accessing the data underlying those proofs.This differs from a “regular” blockchain where every transaction is sent to all the nodes on the network and all of those nodes record the rules and value of the transaction on a public ledger. With QEDit, only the user runs the rules on their own data. The only thing that anyone else on the chain sees are the proofs.One of the company’s co-founders is Aviv Zohar, a researcher at Hebrew University whose work was cited by none other than Ethereum project developer VItalik Butarin in his early writing about cryptocurrency. Zohar has been working in cryptography for years and his work is critical to the very “mind boggling math” that makes zero knowledge proofs possible.Helping him round out the team at QEDit are Jonathan Rouach and Ruben Arnold, two serial entrepreneurs who first met in 1999 while studying at Technion University in Israel.“We saw that there were two conflicting trends. More and more data is accumulated in the enterprise world and companies are trying to keep it for themselves and monetize it and companies are trying to keep it for themselves but there are instances… on the one hand you want to keep the data for yourself and on the other hand you want to share the data with other parties,” says Rouach of the idea behind QEDit. “This is what we built. It’s the possibility of sharing proofs about the data without sharing the data itself.”While Arnold pursued a career in consulting in Paris at McKinsey & Co., Rouach stayed in Israel working in electrical engineering. But around 2012 he became interested in a novel idea percolating out from the edges of the internet called bitcoin (it was a post on Slashdot, Rouach says).In 2013, he co-founded Bits of Gold with his brother Yuval Rouach and Arnold as one of the first bitcoin exchanges to launch in Israel.“It was the technology,” that first attracted Rouach to the Bitcoin bomb that was exploding on the Internet. “It’s a beautiful solution to a problem that I didn’t even think of… How can you create trust between people without central coordination?”Rouach’s fascination with that concept of anonymous trust is a thread that runs through his future endeavors as well — businesses that all attempt to refine that notion of anonymous, verified trust.“Every fact on the blockchain is mathematically verified,” says Rouach. “That is enough to know what is the state of the whole world.”
While bitcoin may have been Rouach’s gateway drug into the wild world of cryptobusiness, he quickly came to the conclusion that it wasn’t the technology to actually fulfill the promise of expanding on that notion of anonymous trust and verification.That’s because the security issues around bitcoin had yet to be resolved. So Rouach launched a second company called LedgerLock, which provided security services for a range of digital assets.Once LedgerLock was sold to Digital Assets Holdings, during the split between the application of blockchain technology to business problems which ignored the push to tokenization, and a more public-facing movement that was predicated on token sales.So QEDit is the next step on the road to a fully cryptographic, nearly automated transaction system. The idea is to replace the army of auditors that are involved in providing due diligence and oversight for negotiations and transactions that involve proprietary information.Surprisingly (or maybe unsurprisingly), audit firms, financial services companies, and large telecoms themselves are on board for the experiment. QEDit has partnerships with Deloitte, BNP Paribas and British Telecom for its first product called QEDit Enhanced Diligence.Unlike the rash of companies based on blockchain that have gone the coin sale route, Rouach tells me that his firm has no intention of launching an ICO. “We’re completely on the enterprise blockchain side and what we want to do is ensure that companies can build trust between them without having to reveal their private data.”The company sells the service on a per use basis and as part of the beta launch here at Disrupt the QEDit is offering two free years of service to customers that sign up for its beta.Rouach says there’s a big market for this kind of work, with roughly $6 billion floating out there in the rating market alone.It’s hard to understate how radical the change this technology could bring to financial services actually could be.“You never had a peer-to-peer way of an investor or an acquirer or an auditor knocking on the door of the company and say prove me this, and to know what they’re giving back is accurate,” says Rouach.Read the source article at TechCrunch

3. Partnerships

Pioneering Partnerships

Strategic partnerships are the foundation for tackling the world's greatest challenges. The Hebrew University, a global research powerhouse, collaborates with other world-class academic and cultural institutions to address global needs in the areas of health and medicine, cyber security, and diplomacy to name a few. At the core of these critical alliances are beliefs deeply rooted in the notion that knowledge moves us toward a brighter future.

4. Coursera

Free online courses

We envision a world where anyone, anywhere, can transform their life by accessing knowledge. Explore the Hebrew University of Jerusalem’s free online courses on Coursera.
Learn More