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מחקר חדש של לאומית שירותי בריאות ואוניברסיטת בר-אילן מצא כי רמות נמוכות של ויטמין D בדם קשורות בסיכון מוגבר של הידבקות בנגיף ‏הקורונה

Dr. Milana Frenkel-Morgenstern
  • קבוצת חוקרים של מכון המחקר של לאומית שירותי בריאות בהובלת ד”ר יבגני מרזון וד”ר אילן גרין, חברו יחד עם חוקרים מהפקולטה לרפואה ע”ש עזריאלי של אוניברסיטת בר-אילן בהובלת ד”ר מילאנה פרנקל-מורגנשטרן, כדי לבדוק האם קיים קשר בין רמת ויטמין D בדם  לבין הסיכוי להידבקות בנגיף הקורונה.  החוקרים איתרו את כל המבוטחים בלאומית שירותי בריאות אשר נבדקו לנגיף הקורונה וגם ביצעו בדיקת רמת ויטמין D בדם (סה”כ 7,807 אנשים), מתוכם 782 (10.1%) התגלו כחיוביים לנגיף הקורונה. במחקר נמצא שבקרב מטופלים שנדבקו בנגיף הקורונה הרמה הממוצעת של ויטמין D בדם הייתה נמוכה משמעותית מאשר אלו שלא נדבקו. מטופלים עם רמת ויטמין D נמוכה מ 30 נ”ג/מ”ל היו בעלי סיכוי גבוה יותר להידבק בנגיף לעומת מטופלים עם רמת תקינה של ויטמין D.  המחקר המלא פורסם בכתב העת המדעי FEBS.

    “הממצא העיקרי של המחקר שלנו הוא הקשר המובהק בין רמת ויטמין D נמוכה בדם לבין הסיכוי להדבק בנגיף  SARS-CoV-2 אשר גורם למחלת הקורונה COVID-19,” – אומר ד”ר יבגני מרזון, מנהל מחלקה לרפואה מנוהלת של לאומית שירותי בריאות. “יתר על כן, בניתוח הנתונים של קבוצת המטופלים החיוביים לנגיף נמצא שבקרב מטופלים עם רמה נמוכה של ויטמין D  בדם היה סיכוי גבוה יותר לתחלואה קשה יותר ולצורך באשפוז. גיל מעל 50 היה גורם סיכון משמעותי נוסף לתחלואה קשה” – הוסיף ד”ר מרזון.

    “הממצאים במחקר שלנו תואמים תוצאות של מחקרים אחרים בתחום, אבל המחקר שבוצע בלאומית הוא הגדול והמקיף ביותר שנעשה עד כה בעולם” –  אומר ד”ר אילן גרין, מנהל מכון המחקר של לאומית שירותי בריאות.

    “לפי הניתוח שלנו, מטופלים החיוביים ל- COVID-19 היו צעירים יותר מאשר אלה שלא נדבקו. שיאי ההדבקה היו בגילאי 25 וגילאי  50” – אומרת ד”ר מילנה פרנקל-מורגנשטרן, ראש המעבדה למחלות מורכבות בפקולטה לרפואה של אוניברסיטת בר אילן. “יתכן  שאת השיא הראשון סביב גיל 25 אנו מזהים עקב מנהגי ההתקהלות בגילאים צעירים אלו. השיא מסביב לגיל 50 עשוי להיות קשור לאורח החיים שמערב הרבה קשרים חברתיים בשילוב עם מחלות כרוניות.” – ממשיכה ד”ר מילנה פרנקל-מורגנשטרן.

    ידוע כי ויטמין D חשוב לבריאות העצם ומחסור בו יכול להוביל למחלות כמו רככת אצל ילדים ומצבים דומים   אצל מבוגרים כמו אוסטאומלציה (ירידה/פגיעה במינרליזציה של העצם החדשה) ואוסטאופורוזיס (ירידה במסת העצם וחוזקה, ונטיה לשברים.

    ישנן גם השערות שהוויטמין משפר את מערכת החיסון ועוזר להילחם בזיהומים ווירליים שונים. קיימות עדויות מדעיות לתרומת ויטמין D להקטנת הסיכון לזיהומים חריפים בדרכי הנשימה.

    לאחרונה אנו עדים לשיח רחב המתקיים בנושא הקשר בין ויטמין D לטיפול או מניעת תחלואה במחלת הקורונה. בתחילת חודש מאי התפרסם מחקר קטן משוויץ אשר הראה כי אצל מטופלים חיובים לנגיף הקורונה (סה”כ 27 איש) הייתה רמת וויטמין D נמוכה יותר מאשר אצל מטופלים עם תוצאה שלילית (סה”כ 80 נבדקים), אך ההבדל לא היה משמעותי סטטיסטית.

    במחקר אחר פורסמו נתונים אשר מצביעים על קשר בין אזורים באירופה שלתושביהם רמות נמוכות של ויטמין D ובין שיעורי תמותה גבוהים יותר ממחלת הקורונה, אך במחקר זה לא נבדקו באופן ישיר רמות בדם בקרב מטופלים  אשר נפטרו מקורונה בהשוואה לאנשים שהחלימו מהמחלה.

    “מפתיע כי מצבים כרוניים, כגון שיטיון, מחלות לב וכלי דם ומחלות ריאה כרוניות, אשר נחשבו  כגורמי סיכון במחקרים הקודמים, לא נמצאו במחקר שלנו כגורם המגביר את שיעור ההידבקות” – אומר  פרופ’ שלמה וינקר, ראש חטיבת רפואה  של לאומית שירותי בריאות. ” אנו מניחים  כי ממצא זה קשור להקפדה על הנחיות  משרד הבריאות על ריחוק חברתי בקרב חולים כרוניים.” – מסביר פרופ’ וינקר.

    החוקרים השותפים למחקר, ד”ר דמיטרי טבורובסקי וד”ר אלסנדרו גורוחובסקי מהמעבדה של ד”ר פרנקל-מורגנשטרן חושבים כי המחקר הינו בעל משמעות קלינית רבה. יחד עם זאת  יש לציין שאמנם מדובר במחקר אפידמיולוגי גדול ומבוסס אוכלוסייה, אך הוא  אינו ניסוי קליני אקראי אשר יכול לקבוע קשר סיבתי בין מתן ויטמין D לבין מניעת הדבקות בנגיף קורונה.

    המחקר המלא.

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מועדון ארוחת בוקר של ביראד“ מארח את עו“ד מיכל לוצאטו

מיכל לוצאטו במועדון ארוחת בוקר של ביראד

חוקרים מבית הספר לחינוך, פסיכולוגיה, עבודה סוציאלית וגיאוגרפיה השתתפו מפגש חוקרים במסגרת “מועדון הבוקר של ביראד ” בו התארחה עו”ד מיכל לוצאטו, מתמחה בקניין רוחני, שנתנה הרצאה בנושא כל מה שרציתם לדעת על זכויות יוצרים- ערכות לימוד, ספרי לימוד ושאלונים, משחקים, סקרים, אפליקציות  וכו’. בתום ההרצאה התקיים שיח מפרה בין המשתתפים סביב שאלות בנושא שהופנו על ידיהם למרצה.

מועדון הבוקר של ביראד הושק בהצלחה בשנת 2019 .הקונספט סביב הפרויקט הינו: יצירת  מפגשי העשרה לחוקרים עם ארוחת בוקר (במשרדי ביראד) אחת לרבעון או בהתאם לצורך.

במפגשים  אלה מתארחים מרצים, אנשי מקצוע ומומחים שונים, שנותנים הרצאה קצרה  הקשורה לעולמות התוכן של החוקרים. מטרות המפגשים, העמקת הקשר עם החוקרים, העברת ידע וכלים בנושאים מגוונים ומעניינים (הגנה על קניין רוחני, רישום פטנטים, חדשנות בתעשייה ועוד) והידוק הקשר בין אקדמיה לתעשייה.

מירב בורשטיין, סמנכ”ל שיווק ותקשורת, מציינת: ”המצב החדש חייב אותנו לעבור למתכונת מפגשים בזום. במתכונת הזאת אנו משתדלים להביא אנשי מקצוע מומחים בתחומם כדי שיתנו פרספקטיבה חדשה ומענה לחוקרים שמגלים עניין בחדשנות, יזמות בפוטנציאל שגלום בקניין רוחני ומסחורו. אני תקווה שנוכל לקיים את הפרויקט במתכונת הרגילה“.

 

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Immunodominant Epitopes Identified for Designing Peptide-Based Vaccine Against SARS-CoV-2

Dr. Milana Frenkel-Morgenstern

There are currently no licensed vaccines available for COVID-19.  While several antiviral drugs have been tested, none has proved to be completely effective against the disease. In a study just published in the journal MDPI Vaccines, researchers from Bar-Ilan University have identified a set of potential immunodominant epitopes from the SARS-CoV-2 proteome.  These epitopes are capable of generating both antibody- and cell-mediated immune responses. The findings of this work may thus contribute to developing a peptide vaccine against SARS-CoV-2 infections which can stop the COVID-19 outbreak and future pandemics caused by coronaviruses.

Led by Dr. Milana Frenkel-Morgenstern, Head of the Cancer Genomics and BioComputing of Complex Diseases Lab at Bar-Ilan University’s Azrieli Faculty of Medicine, the researchers took an immunoinformatics-based computational approach to mine the protein content of SARS-CoV-2 and subsequently identified immunodominant epitopes of the virus. Immune responses that are based on specific immunodominant epitopes involve the generation of both antibody- and cell-mediated immunity against pathogens presenting such epitopes. Such immunity can facilitate fast and effective elimination of the pathogen.

The team of researchers that also includes Sumit Mukherjee, Dmitry Tworowski, Rajesh Detroja and Sunanda Biswas Mukherjee, identified 15 potential immunogenic regions from three proteins of SARS-CoV-2, and mapped 25 immunodominant epitopes on other SARS-CoV-2 proteins. To confirm that these epitopes could serve to provide immunity to a global population, the percentage of individuals that express a major histocompatibility complex (MHC) capable of recognizing any of these epitopes was determined. Accordingly, seven epitopes were deemed to be present in more than 87% of the worldwide virus-affected population. Further structural molecular docking analyses estimated the binding interaction of these potential epitopes with human MHC. Complete lists of MHC proteins that recognize each epitope have been generated and are presented in both the submitted manuscript and a provisional US patent application (US 63/034.416).

The seven epitopes were tested using multiple tools to verify their non-allergenic and non-toxic natures, as well as to demonstrate that they carry a low risk of triggering any autoimmune responses. Together, such results indicate that these seven epitopes represent potentially effective vaccine candidates. Indeed, the development of vaccines using these immunodominant epitopes could activate both humoral and cellular immune responses in humans comprising a major fraction of the world’s population.

This study was funded by grants from the PBC Fellowship Program and the Data Science Institute (DSI) at Bar-Ilan University. The Frenkel-Morgenstern group currently seeks partners in industry as well as at medical centers to advance their efforts at developing a peptide-based vaccine for COVID-19.

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Researchers Develop Technology That Transforms Tap Water into Powerful, Environmentally-Friendly Disinfectant Against Viruses, Including Coronavirus

Prof. Doron Aurbach
  • searchers from Bar-Ilan University have developed new methodologies to produce powerful, environmentally-friendly disinfectants, based on tap water, that can eliminate bacteria and kill viruses, including microbes from the coronavirus family. The ability to turn ordinary tap water into virus-fighting materials was developed and patented by Dr. Eran Avraham, Dr. Izaak Cohen, and  Prof. Doron Aurbach, who leads the electrochemistry group in the Department of Chemistry and Institute of Nanotechnology and Advanced Materials at Bar-Ilan University. The materials were recently tested by Dr. Inna Kalt and Dr.Tatiana Borodiansky Shteinberg in the lab of Prof. Ronit Sarid, of the Mina and Everard Goodman Faculty of Life Sciences at the University, and proven effective in neutralizing corona-type viruses.

    This invention is patented. Patent registration in Israel and several countries around the world was handled by BIRAD Research and Development Company Ltd., which commercializes Bar-Ilan University inventions.

    The disinfectants are effective and safe to use, and do not contaminate groundwater. The technology works through an array of nanometer-shaped electrodes with unique surface properties. The meeting between water and electrodes creates a cleaning material in a unique aquatic environment. The combination of these compounds gives rise to an effective antibacterial capability for microorganisms (bacteria, viruses and spores), while at the same time is safe for macro organisms (larger bodies such as skin cells).

    The platform on which the technology is based enables the preparation of a variety of solutions for clean spaces from bacteria, such as spray-aerosols (for disinfecting surfaces, appliances, beds, closets, bathrooms, toilets, etc.), containers for immersion (washing devices, hands etc.), disinfectant wipes, hand washing, shoe washing, buckets for washing and disinfecting floors, air-conditioning systems, washing machines, and dry fog air-purifiers. The ability to produce electrodes in a variety of shapes and textures makes the technology suitable to almost any application – from a ‘cassette’ in an air conditioner, a container for washing fish and meat, to disinfection and removal of pesticides from vegetables and fruit, mobile spray, a device for manufacturing disposable antibacterial cloths and many other applications – even masks and gloves.

    The antiseptic capability is 100 times more effective than bleach and therefore low concentrations of between 50 and 200 mg of the active materials per liter are enough to disinfect (unlike bleach, which by contrast requires between 5,000 and 20,000 mg per liter). They are also much more environmentally friendly and do not cause burns or dry skin. As such they may be effective in treating wounds, a possibility being investigated. They don’t cause corrosion, and most importantly, with the very low concentration of 50 mg they eliminate all kinds of viruses.

    In electrode-free containers, the disinfectants can remain effective for two months and may be sold in recyclable bottles. For reusable bottled products, a fairly simple process can be applied to enable long-term use.

    “We examined the ability of these materials to impair herpes simplex virus type 1 infection and human coronavirus OC43. Both viruses were completely eliminated when exposed to the disinfectants for different periods of time.  The structural characteristics of OC43 are similar to those of recent SARS-CoV-2 suggesting that this virus will also be easily eliminated with this disinfectant,” said Prof. Sarid.

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“מועדון ארוחת הבוקר של ביראד” יצא לדרך

מועדון ארוחת הבוקר של ביראד

החודש התקיים המפגש הראשון של  “מועדון ארוחת הבוקר של ביראד”. למפגש הפותח הוזמנה מנכ”לית ומייסדת Gsap חברת ייעוץ המספקת שירותי רגולציה, קליניקה, איכות וולידציה לתעשיות הפארמה, התרפיה התאית והמכשור הרפואי,  שנתנה הרצאה בנושא: שיקולים בפיתוח תרופות ושימוש דיאגנוסטי בננו-חלקיקים.

 פרופ‘ שולמית מיכאלי, סגנית הנשיא למחקר, שנתנה את ברכתה למהלך, פתחה את סדרת המפגשים וציינה שישנה חשיבות רבה בהידוק הקשר עם החוקרים סביב נושאים משותפים, ולביראד יש חלק נכבד בעשייה סביב ההגנה על הקניין הרוחני ומסחורו.

את המהלך יזמה והפיקה, מירב בורשטיין, סמנכ”לית השיווק של ביראד. הקונספט סביב רעיון הפרויקט הינו, יצירת  מפגשי העשרה  אינטימיים, קצרים וממוקדים עם חוקרים (במשרדי ביראד)  בשילוב ארוחת בוקר עשירה.

במפגשים אלה יתארחו מרצים, אנשי מקצוע ומומחים שונים, שיתנו הרצאה קצרה  הקשורה לעולמות התוכן של החוקרים. בתום כל מפגש יתקיים שיח מפרה סביב שאלות שיועברו מבעוד מועד על ידי החוקרים למרצה האורח.

מטרות המפגשים, העמקת הקשר עם החוקרים, העברת ידע וכלים בנושאים מגוונים ומעניינים (הגנה על קניין רוחני, רישום פטנטים, חדשנות בתעשייה ועוד) והידוק הקשר בין אקדמיה לתעשייה.

 

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Researchers Develop New Technology to Produce Powerful Disinfectant Based on Tap Water

חיטוי מבוסס מים

 

Researchers at Bar-Ilan University have developed a new and revolutionary technology to produce a powerful disinfectant based on tap water. According to the researchers, the disinfectant doesn’t harm the environment and has many advantages: The material is effective and safe to use, is harmless to humans who smell or drink less than ten liters, and does not contaminate groundwater. The material has the ability to destroy all types of bacteria, spores and viruses, including bacteria that are resistant to antibiotics. The technology will replace the need for chemicals harmful to health and the environment, such as bleach, septolTM, chlorhexidine, ammonia, and more, and will eliminate the excessive and  use of contaminating disposable plastic.

The materials currently available on the market, which can be classified as effective anti-bacterial, require extra caution while using. For example, bleach exists in almost every household and hospital, but no one would think of washing a cutting board, let alone vegetables, or using it in the vicinity of children. If we take this a step forward, no one would think of “spraying” drops of alcohol from the opening of an air conditioner when a member of a household has the flu in order to prevent infection of the rest of the family.

The researchers who developed the technology are from the laboratory of Prof. Doron Aurbach, an international expert in electrochemistry from Bar-Ilan University’s Chemistry Department. The invention is patented. Patent registration in Israel and several countries around the world was handled by BIRAD Research and Development Company Ltd., which commercializes Bar-Ilan University inventions.

Our production process explain the researchers, also takes advantage of oxygen dissolved in water and existing salts, unlike the others. “Moreover, unlike other technologies that include two large cells with a membrane separating the cells, which makes these devices large, cumbersome and costly, we were able to produce simple inexpensive low-cost, membrane-free systems that can be embedded even in a tube. All of this was achieved through the knowledge we gained during this long-term study.”

The platform on which the technology is based enables the creation of a variety of solutions for the creation of spaces clean from bacteria micro-organism: for example: spray – aerosols (for disinfecting surfaces, appliances, beds, closets, bathrooms, toilets, etc.), containers for immersion (washing devices, hands etc.), disinfectant wipes, hand washing, shoe washing, buckets for washing and disinfecting floors, air-conditioning systems, washing machines, and dry fog air-purifiers.

So, how does it work? By designing an array of nanometer-shaped electrodes with unique surface properties. The meeting between water and electrode creates a cleaning material in a unique aquatic environment. The combination of these compounds gives rise to an effective antibacterial capability for microorganisms (bacteria, viruses and spores), while at the same time safe for macro organisms (larger bodies such as our skin cells).

“The ability to produce electrodes in a variety of shapes and textures makes the technology suitable to almost any application – from a ‘cassette’ in an air conditioner, a container for washing fish and meat, to disinfection and removal of pesticides from vegetables and fruit, mobile spray, a device for manufacturing disposable antibacterial cloths and many other applications,” emphasizes Dr. Eran Avraham, who developed the technology.  “Imagine a situation in which you are at a busy mall and are interested in using the public bathroom. All you have to do is take out the compact spray bottle, access the nearest tap, and press the power button. Now you have a disinfectant that will allow you with a simple spray to sterilize the toilet and bathroom space and be protected.”

Dr. Izaak Cohen, who co-developed the technology, adds: “Today’s disinfectants are problematic, unlike our unique disinfectant technology, although they are very commonly used in laboratories, clinics and hospitals. For instance – Septol, is very common in hospitals, however, it is expensive and dries the skin. Today’s Septol is problematic and its use is questionable because there are more and more reports of bacteria that have developed resistance to it. Chlorhexidine, which is commonly used to disinfect medical equipment and surfaces, is flammable, explosive and dangerous to electrical products, and it has been reported that there are bacteria that have developed resistance to it as well. Quaternary ammonium, which is used for disinfecting laboratory equipment, is toxic. The chemicals of various kinds are substances that damage both the quality of the devices and their shelf life, as well as damage groundwater”.

Entrepreneur Barak Dror Vanderman has extensive experience in entrepreneurship, management and business development, seeking breakthrough technologies, and worked on the commercialization and establishment of the company AqooA Solutions, Eco Sanitizing Technologies.

We are on the brink of revolution by making the most effective green disinfectant available to the entire population and medical institutions. Technology that will save many lives, save the economy a lot of money, will eliminate the use of hazardous chemicals that harm the environment such as bleach, whose sales reach around $91 billion a year. “We developed the technology in several prototypes and we are in the final stage in terms of R&D. We are currently embarking on a round of fundraising and will then focus on electrical engineering, electronics and product design,” notes Wanderman.

Recently, an experiment was conducted in one of Israel’s hospitals to test the efficacy of the material in real-life conditions. Bacterial pathogens were taken from patients in various departments. The bacteria were selected were resistant to antibiotics, resistant to a watery environment and these are bacteria that “infest” hospitals. The results were unequivocal. After just three minutes of exposure to the disinfectant material all the bacteria were destroyed, in some cases even a few seconds was enough to kill the bacteria.  Now, imagine that in a hospital room, the curtains, the counters, and even the IV bar frequently come into contact with the disinfectant.

During the course of the research, several models of prototypes (mobile spray and vegetable and fruit processing bottles) were developed. With the help of BIRAD, the entrepreneur and the researchers are currently embarking on a round of fundraising and locating investors, focusing on electrical engineering, electronics and product design.

Dr. Frances Shalit, VP of Business Development at BIRAD, explains the importance of the invention: “There are many antibacterial disinfectants on the market, but this material is based on water, cheaper than them, three times more effective, seven times less toxic for humans, preserves these capabilities for much longer (months and years) and covers a large variety of bacteria. ” Dr. Shalit is convinced that many industries will want to add this material to their products and gain these important results at a low cost.

For further information, contact: Merav Burstein:  – 052-2229330 – merav@birad.biz

 

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Technologies developed by Bar-Ilan University researchers attracts the attention of Elbit Systems

Technologies developed by Bar-Ilan University researchers attracts the attention of Elbit Systems

Researchers from Bar-Ilan University recently met with technology leaders from Elbit Systems to examine the possibility of academic research collaborations to advance technologies with potential future applications. The meeting was organized by Marketing department of BIRAD — Research and Development Company Ltd., the commercializing company of Bar-Ilan University.

The meeting was attended by approximately 20 employees of Elbit Systems representing various divisions who met with BIRAD’s professional staff, including the Deputy Director Generals of Business Development Nati Fisher and Dr. Iris Haas, Marketing Director Merav Burstein, and Bar-Ilan researchers, including: Prof. Sharon Gannot, Prof. Avinoam Zadok, Prof. Jacob Goldberger and Dr. Asaf Albo from the Alexander Kofkin Faculty of Engineering, Prof. Joseph Keshet from the Department of Computer Science, Prof. Avi Pe’er of the Department of Physics, and Prof. Shai Rahimipour and Dr. Daniel Nessim of the Chemistry Department, who presented their research, expertise and the various potential possibilities for mutual application.

The meeting was part of an ongoing effort managed by Elbit Chief Scientist Dr. Alon Stoppel to expose the technology team to university research on the verge of implementation.

“These meetings are one of the tools that Elbit uses in order to maintain technological leadership, monitor emerging and breakthrough technologies, and provide feedback to academia on the needs of industry,” noted Dr. Stoppel.

Dr. Tsvika Ben-Porat, CEO of BIRAD, noted: “Connections and collaborations between academics and industry professionals create innovation. Scientists, researchers and academics are an important and significant element in current and future innovative projects in many and varied fields. BIRAD aims to promote the commercialization of innovative technologies invented by the Bar-Ilan University researchers, and encourages scientists to advance and expand their research in the direction of applied and industrial projects — all while deepening ties with industry players on the one hand and with academics on the other. The goal is to maximize the research potential of the University and bring it to practical implementation.”

For further information, contact: Merav Burstein:  – 052-2229330 – merav@birad.biz

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Bar-Ilan University holds conference to encourage cooperation with industry

Bar-Ilan University holds conference to encourage cooperation with industry

Bar-Ilan University’s Mina and Everard Goodman Faculty of Life Sciences recently hosted scores of representatives from companies and industry in order to explore opportunities for expanding collaboration.

The ongoing drive by Bar-Ilan to turn its research into industrial applications has resulted in the development of a sophisticated infrastructure catering to faculty, graduate students, and collaborations with academia and industry in Israel and abroad.

Participants were introduced to the University’s various scientific service centers and the state-of-the-art technology and equipment housed in them.

Vice President for Research Prof. Shulamit Michaeli, Faculty Dean Prof. Doron Ginsberg, and the General Manager of BIRAD (the research and development company of Bar-Ilan University) Dr. Tzvika Ben Porat stressed the importance of opening the gates of academia to the outside world, especially to industrial research.

BIRAD’s Marketing Director Merav Burstein, who moderated the meeting, said that with facilities both in the center and north of the country, Bar-Ilan provides valuable services to Ichilov, Sheba and Beilinson hospitals in central Israel, and Poriya and Naharia hospitals in the north.

Additional facilities and services the University offers industry at the Azrieli Faculty of Medicine in Safed, the Mass Spectrometry Unit in the Department of Chemistry, and at the Institute for Nanotechnology and Advanced Materials, were also surveyed.

BIRAD has service agreement contracts with many companies from start-ups to multi-nationals, such as LG, BASF, GM, Merck and more. BIRAD also works with academia and medical centers.

The event was coordinated by Dr. Roxane Lahmi with the assistance of BIRAD’s Marketing Department.

For further information, contact: Merav Burstein:  – 052-2229330 – merav@birad.biz

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Bar-Ilan University holds conference to encourage cooperation with industry

Bar-Ilan University holds conference to encourage cooperation with industry

Bar-Ilan University’s Mina and Everard Goodman Faculty of Life Sciences recently hosted scores of representatives from companies and industry in order to explore opportunities for expanding collaboration.

The ongoing drive by Bar-Ilan to turn its research into industrial applications has resulted in the development of a sophisticated infrastructure catering to faculty, graduate students, and collaborations with academia and industry in Israel and abroad.

Participants were introduced to the University’s various scientific service centers and the state-of-the-art technology and equipment housed in them.

Vice President for Research Prof. Shulamit Michaeli, Faculty Dean Prof. Doron Ginsberg, and the General Manager of BIRAD (the research and development company of Bar-Ilan University) Dr. Tzvika Ben Porat industry stressed the importance of opening the gates of academia to the outside world, especially to industrial research.

BIRAD’s Marketing Director Merav Burstein, who moderated the meeting, said that with facilities both in the center and north of the country, Bar-Ilan provides valuable services to Ichilov, Sheba and Beilinson hospitals in central Israel, and Poriya and Naharia hospitals in the north.

Additional facilities and services the University offers industry at the Azrieli Faculty of Medicine in Safed, the Mass Spectrometry Unit in the This image requires alt text, but the alt text is currently blank. Either add alt text or mark the image as decorative., and at the Institute for Nanotechnology and Advanced Materials, were also surveyed.

BIRAD has service agreement contracts with many companies from start-ups to multi-nationals, such as LG, BASF, GM, Merck and more. BIRAD also works with academia and medical centers.

The event was coordinated by Dr. Roxane Lahmi with the assistance of BIRAD’s Marketing Department.

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Introducing PROSPERA®: A New Sweet Basil Hybrid Resistant to Downy Mildew

בזיליקום עמיד

Researchers of Bar-Ilan University, in cooperation with Genesis Seeds Ltd., have developed a hybrid of basil, the culinary herb, which is completely resistant to Downy Mildew, a devastating disease caused by a fungus-like pathogen. The new patented product, contains no pesticides and will provide much-needed relief to farmers and consumers worldwide.  

In recent years an epidemic of Downy Mildew (DM) has caused severe damage to sweet basil (Ocimum basilicum) crops all over the world. The cause of the epidemic is a leaf fungus called Peronospora belbahrii. Symptoms of infected plants include deformed leaves, chlorotic lesions on leaves and dark spores on the lower leaf surface.

DM was first discovered in basil in Switzerland in 2003 and soon after spread throughout the world via fresh material transport, infected seeds and even drifting winds. Interestingly, aside from one case in Uganda in 1933, DM was never before seen in basil. In Israel, it appeared in 2011 with unprecedented symptoms that were found to be caused by Peronospora belbahrii. Until now no varieties of basil have been found to be genetically resistant to DM.

DM poses a threat to the basil industry, mainly because of the fact that the length of time it is stored creates optimal conditions for its onset. In many cases the disease goes unnoticed because it remains “dormant” during harvest and emerges only later. Today, farmers use mainly pesticides to cope with the disease.  But even so, within less than a year of the onset in Israel, the patogen developed resistanceto the majority of pesticides, making them ineffective at all. Regulatory obstacles in introducing new products into the market and restrictions on some pesticides which leave a harmful residue on the crop have exacerbated the problem.

Israel is one of the major winter exporters of fresh herbs to Europe, Russia and the eastern United States. The Israeli fresh herb market is estimated to export nearly 70 million Euros per year, 50% of which is based on sweet basil.  Most of the basil in Israel is grown in the country’s hottest regions — the Arava, Jordan Valley, Beit Shean Valley and the Negev.

The severe intensity of the epidemic in Israel brought the Phytopathology Laboratory in the Mina and Everard Goodman Faculty of Life Sciences at Bar-Ilan University, headed by Israel Prize winner Prof. Yigal Cohen and Dr. Yariv Ben-Na’im, to investigate how the disease is transmitted. As many varieties as they screened, they were unable to detect any sweet basil line resistant to DM.  However, various degrees of resistance were found in wild species of the genus Ocimum.  These species differ from sweet basil in both appearance and aroma, and show interspecific crossing barrier due to genetic remoteness.

Genesis Seeds, specialists for more 20 years in manufacturing, marketing and cultivating seeds including basil, joined the Bar-Ilan researchers in financing and facilitating breed-oriented research aimed at transmitting DM resistance from wild into sweet basil varieties.  New funding by Genesis facilitated concentrated efforts towards a new protocol to obtain interspecific hybrids.  They produced a few hybrid plants that are both DM resistant and fertile. The breakthrough enabled the researchers to obtain genetic material that constitutes the foundation for a broad breeding program.

Genesis Seeds and the Bar-Ilan team, represented by the Bar-Ilan Research and BIRAD Research & Development Company Ltd, the commercializing company of the University, are currently commercializing new sweet basil cultivars marketed under the name “Prospera” (a play on words between the disease Peronospora and prosperity).  Prospera is currently being tested in Israel and around the world and holds promise for growers of basil and consumers worldwide.

“BIRAD is proud to utilize the extensive knowledge and experience of Dr. Cohen, a world-renowned expert on phytopathology at Bar-Ilan University and recipient of the Israel Prize for Agricultural Research, in order to improve agriculture in Israel and around the world.  His remarkable developments have helped remedy global problems that plague the world of agriculture, such as plant diseases caused by pests. We hope to perfect his and his team’s novel technique to develop resistance to other diseases as well,” said Dr. Frances Shalit, Vice President of Business Development for BIRAD.

Registration and commercialization of the patent is being handled by BIRAD.

For further information, contact: Merav Burstein:  – 052-2229330 – merav@birad.biz