Architect Moshe Safdie Honoured

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Architect Moshe Safdie, citizen of Canada, Israel and the USA, is one of the world’s most celebrated architects and has created well over 200 awe-inspiring architectural projects that span the globe.

Mr. Safdie was presented with an Honorary Doctorate at Technion-Israel Institute of Technology on June 17, 2019 in the presence of Canadian Ambassador H.E. Deborah Lyons.

“I was born in Hadar Hacarmel in a Bauhaus modernist building, across the street was the Technion”, he said. “With my parents coming from Aleppo and my architecture education being in the west in Canada, I think I merged within me Western European and Eastern traditions. While I’ve received many Honorary Doctorates and other awards, I’m very moved by being honored by the Technion. For me the Technion is home territory, it is literally where I was born and where I grew up. When I decided to be an architect far away in cold Montreal the Technion was always for me the memory of which school of architecture I should have been at.”

Leesa Steinberg Dedication Ceremony

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Canadian philanthropist Leesa Steinberg was recently honoured at a dedication ceremony at the Technion’s Faculty of Aerospace Engineering. The dedication was held in recognition of Ms. Steinberg’s generous gift to modernize the control room of the Wind Tunnel Complex.

The Wind Tunnel Complex is used for aerodynamic experimental research and the Technion is one of few universities in the world with such facilities. Research and knowledge acquired at the Wind Tunnel Complex enable aerospace engineers to assist the State of Israel in maintaining superior capabilities in air defense.

We are so grateful to Leesa for her generous gift and ongoing support of the Technion and the State of Israel!

 

Protecting Children in Cars

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Student developers Adam Barhak-right-and Assaf Yitzhak

 Students from Technion’s Viterbi Faculty of Electrical Engineering have developed an inexpensive and simple system to prevent leaving children alone in vehicles

 The advanced system based on machine learning technology was created by Technion undergraduate students Adam Barhak and Assaf Yitzhak under the guidance of doctoral student Ayal Taitler and master’s degree student Dotan Shambi. The system has a number of advantages that are hard to find in existing systems – ease of use, simple installation, highly reliable and the low cost.

Leaving babies and toddlers in cars can have tragic consequences, however the various solutions offered to date, such as continuous monitoring of the weight placed on the car seat are unsatisfactory.

Barhak recalls, “We asked ourselves how was it possible that no effective technological solution has been devised for this problem. We decided that we needed to change direction and embark on a new concept – an advanced and cheap thermal sensor that transfers the data to a system that is able to learn, analyze and rapidly make correct decisions.”

The system developed by the two is based on a relatively simple and inexpensive thermal sensor installed opposite the baby seat in the back of the vehicle. The thermal sensor produces an image of the child and transfers the data to a tiny, inexpensive computer (Raspberry Pi), which processes the information and issues an alert. Additional variables are also assessed to prevent false alarms.

The system activates a sequence of alarms in a closed loop that expands according to time passed and the temperature of the vehicle. First a warning light is turned on, followed by a warning beep and if necessary, notification by text messages to an expanding loop of contacts. The contacts will include rescuers who can remotely open the car doors and windows.

The system is easy to install, the sensor placed on the back of the front seat facing backwards plugs into the cigarette lighter socket and can easily be transferred from one vehicle to another. The entire rear seat is monitored and an additional safety seat is not required.

The students hope that the system can lead to a drastic reduction in the number of small children abandoned in vehicles.

Personalized Antibiotic Treatment

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Custom-tailored Antibiotics improve Treatment

Prof. Roy Kishony

Innovative technology is expected to improve the efficacy of antibiotic treatments as well as hinder the development of resistant bacteria. The technology, which was presented in a study published in Nature Medicine, was made possible by a unique collaboration between the Kahn-Sagol-Maccabi Research and Innovation Institute at Maccabi Healthcare Services (KSM), headed by Professor Varda Shalev, and Technion researchers Professor Roy Kishony and Dr. Idan Yelin.

The use of antibiotics globally is extensive and leads to bacteria developing antibiotic resistance. As a result, antibiotics lose their effectiveness, leading to concerns that in the future, bacterial Infections that are now considered mild and not dangerous will become treatment resistant and deadly.

One of the factors that speeds up the evolution of antibiotic resistance is the widespread use of broad-range antibiotics, drugs designed to kill a wide spectrum of bacteria. Reducing this dangerous trend can potentially be achieved by custom tailored antibiotic treatment.

Prof. Roy Kishony, one of the leading experts in the field of antibiotic resistance, developed methods for genetic mapping of bacterial resistance to antibiotics. These techniques make it possible to predict the resistance of a given bacterium to various antibiotics in the present and even to the level of resistance that bacteria may develop in the future.

In the joint study conducted by the Technion and researchers at the KSM Institute of Maccabi, a system was developed to help the doctor choose the optimal antibiotic for treating urinary tract infections. The study analyzed more than five million cases of antibiotic purchases made over 10 years and measurements of antibiotic resistance in more than 700,000 urine cultures. A sophisticated algorithm was able to find a clear link among the various data and thus predict the level of antibiotic resistance for each infection and provide a recommendation for the best type of antibiotics.

The researchers found that the use of the technology could reduce the likelihood of choosing the wrong medication by about 40%. Therefore, they estimate that this system will contribute greatly to the global effort to delay the “resistance epidemic.” The study is a significant step in the innovative field of medical studies based on machine learning and Big Data.

“It is now possible to computationally predict the level of bacterial resistance for infection causing bacteria,” said Dr. Yelin. “This is done by weighting of demographic data, including age, gender, pregnancy or retirement home residence, together with levels of resistance measured in the patient’s previous urine cultures as well as their drug purchase history.”

“The collaboration between Maccabi and the Technion – one of the most innovative research institutes in the world – and the combination of deep understanding of medicine, Big Data and innovative research methods has enabled a real breakthrough in the field of antibiotic resistance,” said Prof. Shalev. “We look forward to continued fruitful cooperation with the Technion.”

New Strategy Could Help Eliminate Cancer Cells

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Dr. Ganga B. Vamisetti, Prof. Ashraf Brik, Mickal Nawatha and Dr. Hao Sun.

New Strategy Could Lead to New Anticancer Treatments

Researchers from the Technion, in collaboration with Japanese and American scientists, have developed an innovative strategy for eliminating cancer cells. The research was recently published in Nature Chemistry by Prof. Ashraf Brik of the Schulich Faculty of Chemistry at the Technion, Prof. Hiro Suga of the University of Tokyo, Nobel Laureate in Chemistry and Distinguished Prof. Aaron Ciechanover of the Technion’s Rappaport Faculty of Medicine, and Prof. David Fushman of the University of Maryland’s Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry.

The study is a dramatic milestone in the application of the discovery of the ubiquitin system that led to the 2004 Nobel Prize in Chemistry for Distinguished Professors Avram Hershko and Aaron Ciechanover, and Dr. Irwin Rose. The trio of researchers discovered how unique proteins, which they called the “ubiquitin proteins,” label defective proteins with a “death tag” that leads to their breakdown in protease, also known as the “cellular garbage can.”

Proper functioning of the ubiquitin system is essential for the healthy functioning of the organism, not only in the context of the breakdown of used proteins, but also in many other functions. Disruptions in this system cause serious diseases, including various cancers, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (Lou Gehrig’s disease), cystic fibrosis, Parkinson’s disease, and other neurodegenerative disorders.

The discovery of ubiquitin paved the way for a new field of research, and many research groups around the world have been working on the ubiquitin system and harnessing it for developing innovative medical treatments. To date, four such drugs have been approved for the treatment of cancer in general and multiple myeloma in particular. These drugs have already saved the lives of many people around the world, but according to Prof. Brik, “the progress in the study of the ubiquitin system and the development of drugs based on its understanding are very slow relative to its potential.”

The first stage in the normal natural activity of the ubiquitin system is the creation of chains of ubiquitin (polyUB chains) that later label the proteins to be broken down. The problem is that when cancer develops in the body, cancer cells know how to carry out manipulation in the ubiquitin system and exploit it for survival and proliferation.

The strategy developed by the group headed by Prof. Brik was designed to neutralize the ability of the malignancy to perform the same manipulation. This strategy is based on an unprecedented combination of Prof. Brik’s skill in producing ubiquitin chains using advanced chemical methods and Prof. Suga’s method of creating very large libraries of molecules called cyclic peptides. As part of the collaboration, the researchers discovered how these cyclic peptides bind to the ubiquitin chains and thus inhibit the breakdown of proteins that help the cancer to grow and thrive. They believe the strategy they have developed will pave the way for new types of anticancer treatment based on cyclic peptides.

Prof. Ashraf Brik holds Jordan and Irene Tark Chair in the Schulich Faculty of Chemistry. The current study is supported by the US National Institutes of Health (NIH), the Miriam and Sheldon Adelson Foundation, the Israel Science Foundation (ISF), the Germany-Israel Foundation for Research and Development (GIF), and the Israel Cancer Research Foundation (ICRF).

International Self Care Day

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July 24th is International Self-Care Day. Since 2011, this day is a chance to raise awareness about the importance of self-care as a vital foundation of health. Enhancing self-care through exercise, balanced nutrition, and caring for our mental and physical health has life-long benefit.

Technion researchers and alumni are constantly delivering breakthroughs helping improve the health of our bodies and minds. A healthy lifestyle comes from a conscious effort to change our habits, and what better time to start than today!

TAKING PERSONAL NUTRITION TO NEW HEIGHTS

Technion Alumnus Yaron Hadad launched start-up, Nutrino Health, a digital health and data analytics platform that gets to know your personal biochemistry in an effort to help you eat healthier.

The company is building the world’s largest and most adaptable nutrition insights platform to uncover connections between people and food which will empower nutritional decisions for better health outcomes.

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I FEEL YOU

Maintaining a healthy lifestyle as you age can be difficult. Technion is participating in the Empathic Research & Innovation Project – an initiative to develop personalized virtual coaches to assist the elderly in their self-care at home.

Virtual coaches will engage healthy seniors and provide advice to promote healthy habits and behaviour, with an aim to transform  goals and needs into actions.

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THE MIND BODY CONNECTION

Scientists continue to explore new ways to optimize brain health. The Fourth International BrainTech Conference in Tel Aviv brought together leading scientists, clinicians and entrepreneurs who work at the intersection of brain health and technology.

Technion scientists are amongst those exploring the mind-body connection and uncovering how technology can promote neuro well-being.

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CARING FOR THE COMMUNITY

Ensuring access to medical care for all individuals keeps communities healthy. The Technion’s Rappaport Faculty of Medicine has established “Ruach Tova” (Hebrew for “Good Spirit”), a free, interprofessional student-run community health center in the City of Haifa.

Students gain valuable clinical experience as they serve their community, and empower others to practice self-care.

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IT’S NOT HOW YOUNG YOU LOOK 

Technion researchers have found that the state of an individual’s immune system is a better predictor of health than outward appearance or chronological age.

This finding will assist in investigating the possible lifestyle factors, habits and medications that affect longevity to help us optimize our health.

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MENTAL HEALTH MATTERS

As an international partner of Meeting for Minds, Technion professors serve as scientific and research advisors for this important initiative to partner brain research into complex mental health disorders with patients’ lived experience.

Professors Asya Rolls and Itamar Kahn are amongst those researching new psychiatric treatments.

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Zisapel Brothers Donate New Electrical Engineering Building

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L to R: Scott Leemaster, Prof. Uri Sivan, Prof. Boaz Golany , Yehuda Zisapel, Technion President Prof. Peretz Lavie and Zohar Zisapel, credit: Nitzan Zohar, Technion Press Office

Brothers Yehuda and Zohar Zisapel, both alumni of Technion’s Andrew and Erna Viterbi Faculty of Electrical Engineering, will donate funds to construct a new building for the Faculty in which they studied.

Technion President Prof. Peretz Lavie announced the gift yesterday evening in the presence of the donors and Haifa Mayor Dr. Einat Kalisch-Rotem, at the opening event of the Technion International Board of Governors annual meeting. Prof. Lavie thanked Yehuda and Zohar Zisapel for their outstanding gift, “Many alumni recognize the significance of their Technion degree only years after they graduate, but Yehuda and Zohar have continuously supported their home faculty since their graduation, and this new gift will enable the faculty to maintain its research status as a global leader.”

The new building, to be named the Zisapel Electrical Engineering Building, will be located between the Faculty’s two existing buildings and will help Technion expand and improve its teaching and research facilities as part of the academic development plan for Technion’s Faculty of Electrical Engineering. The building will serve the Faculty for teaching and research in electronics, computers, and communications, and will function as a hub for basic and applied research for training scientists, students and engineers, and for developing advanced technologies. The new building will have an impact on nurturing excellence in the field of electrical engineering on an international level.

The Viterbi Faculty of Electrical Engineering is Technion’s largest faculty and the largest engineering department in Israel, with over 2,200 students. During its 80 years of existence, the Faculty has educated approximately 15,000 alumni who led the transformation of Israel from an agricultural economy to a high-tech powerhouse. These alumni form the backbone of Israel’s civilian and military knowledge-intensive industries.

The Zisapel brothers, founders of the RAD Bynet Group, have maintained a warm relationship with Technion through the years, helping with financial support and also personal involvement. One of the Zisapel family’s most generous gifts to Technion led to the establishment of the Sara and Moshe Zisapel Nanoelectronics Center, dedicated in 2007 in memory of their late parents.

Yehuda Zisapel, former head of the Technion Alumni Association; initiated the “From Three to Five” project, which helps high-school students complete high level matriculation exams in STEM subjects; and the “Ofakim l’High-Tech” program (now called “Achievements for High-Tech”), that helps discharged soldiers from Israel’s periphery to pursue academic studies in engineering and science.

Zohar Zisapel has also supported Technion in numerous ways and contributes millions of dollars for children’s technological education and to expose every Israeli child to the world of computers and the internet. Last year, he was named the Israeli Chair of Technion’s global fundraising campaign, which aims to raise US$ 1.8 billion to strengthen Technion’s leadership position in the global arena.

“As Technion alumni we have been fortunate to contribute to the expansion of research and teaching in the faculty from which we graduated,” said Yehuda Zisapel. “We have been in touch with our alma mater ever since our graduation, and it is our privilege to provide support for the new challenges facing Technion and the State of Israel. The high-tech industry is desperate for engineering and science graduates for its continued growth and prosperity. The new building will welcome scientists, expand the faculty’s research infrastructure, and educate engineers for the Israeli high-tech industry.”

In 2015, Prof. Andrew Viterbi, a founder of Qualcomm and a leading figure in the global digital sector, donated $50 million to the Faculty of Electrical Engineering, which is named for him and his late wife, Erna. “It is my great pleasure to join in thanking Yehuda and Zohar Zisapel for their continuing spontaneous generosity on behalf of the Technion, the technological jewel of Israeli academia,” he wrote in a special message. “I particularly appreciate that their current gift is directed toward funding a new building for the Electrical Engineering Faculty, a discipline which I consider to be the cradle of the Israeli technology which has contributed to protecting the nation for half a century and more recently to the success of the Startup Nation.”

“Zohar and Yehuda Zisapel’s generous gift joins several other significant donations that Technion recently received from alumni,” said Prof. Boaz Golany, Technion Vice President for External Relations and Resource Development. “This gift is an important milestone in the process of recruiting alumni to support the institution where they studied. In the United States, there is a time-honored tradition that encourages alumni to support their alma maters, but in Israel we are still struggling to entrench a similar tradition. I view the Zisapel brothers as role models and call on other alumni to follow their example, each in his own way.”

Prof. Nahum Shimkin, Dean of the Andrew and Erna Viterbi Faculty of Electrical Engineering, thanked Zohar and Yehuda Zisapel in the name of the Faculty for their generous contribution. “The Zisapel brothers, both of whom are graduates of the Faculty, are among the most notable of pioneers of Israel’s high-tech industry,” he said. “The generous gift for establishing the Nanoelectronics Center, which is named for their parents Sara and Moshe Zisapel, enabled the establishment of an advanced research center that serves numerous research groups from Technion and elsewhere. The current gift will enable the Faculty of Electrical Engineering to continue training the best engineers and scientists for Israel’s high-tech sector, which needs high-quality human capital in order to continue thriving. I am proud that the Faculty’s main building will carry the name of the Zispael brothers.”

Technion Prof. Wins Emet Prize

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Distinguished Prof. Mordechai Segev Recipient of the 2019 EMET Prize

Distinguished Prof. Mordechai (Moti) Segev of the Faculty of Physics at Technion is the recipient of the 2019 EMET Prize in the field of Physics and Space. The EMET Prize is awarded under the auspices of the Prime Minister of the State of Israel.

Dist. Prof. Segev, 60, is the Robert Shillman Chair of the Faculty of Physics, and a founder of the Helen Diller Center for Quantum Science, Matter and Engineering at Technion. He was born in Romania and immigrated to Israel aged three. He grew up in Haifa before serving in the IDF as an infantry officer and later as a reserve commander of a reconnaissance unit for many years. After his army service, Segev completed his bachelor’s and direct-track doctoral degree at Technion in the Viterbi Faculty of Electrical Engineering. Following a post-doctorate at the California Institute of Technology, he was appointed assistant professor at Princeton University in 1994, went up the ranks to associate professor and full professor within 4.5 years. In 1998 he returned to Israel and to Technion as a faculty member. In 2009, he was made a Technion distinguished professor.

Prof. Segev is a trailblazing physicist in the field of optics and lasers and his work is cited in tens of thousands of scientific publications. Among his honors are the prestigious Quantum Electronics Prize of the European Physics Society (2007), the Max Born Award of the American Optical Society (2009), the Arthur L. Schawlow Prize in Laser Science of the American Physical Society (2014), and the Israel Prize in Physics (2014). He is a foreign member of the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) of the USA and a member of the Israel Academy of Sciences and Humanities.
His group focuses on experimental and theoretical research projects in numerous fields including photonics, lasers and quantum electronics. The group is engaged in basic research that influences other areas of science beyond photonics, and in the development of applications that impact the world of technology.

This past year (March 2018-Feb 2019), Segev published articles on seven groundbreaking research breakthroughs in the world’s leading scientific journals, Nature and Science.
Beyond his personal achievements, Segev is most proud of the success of his doctoral and postdoctoral students, 21 of whom are university professors in Israel and abroad, and many others who hold senior R&D positions in industry. His candidacy for this year’s EMET Prize was submitted by his former students, who are now university professors in Israel.

The EMET Prize is awarded annually by the A.M.N. Foundation for the Advancement of Science, Art and Culture in Israel, “for excellence in academic and professional achievements that have far-reaching influence on and significant contribution to society.” The Foundation was created in 1999 by Alberto Moscona Nisim in order “to acknowledge those who view excellence as a way of life and the fulfillment of human potential as essential to creating a better world for future generations.” This year’s prize committee included Prof. Hagit Messer-Yaron, Prof. Jacob Klein and Prof. Nir Shaviv.

World Environment Day

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Every year on June 5th, we celebrate World Environment Day, encouraging awareness and action for the protection of our environment.

Technion dedicates attention year-round to Environmental Science and Sustainability. Here are just a few ways in which Technion research and technologies make our world a better place.

THE GRAND TECHNION ENERGY PROGRAM

The Nancy and Stephen Grand Technion Energy Program at Technion-Israel Institute of Technology is a multidisciplinary research and education initiative, uniting experts from across the world and inspiring sustainable solutions to the global energy challenge.

Three current research programs are giving us new and renewed energy:

 

 

1. HYDROGEN ON DEMAND

Technion researchers have developed a new method for the production of hydrogen from water using solar energy.

 

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2. RENEWABLE ENERGY

Did you know more energy from sunlight strikes the earth in one hour than is consumed on the planet in one year? Discover how Technion researchers are harnessing this power in an affordable way.

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3. ALTERNATIVE FUELS

From solar to hydrogen to wood materials, these researchers are exploring even more ways to decrease our carbon footprint.

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Technion promotes a greener world as much within the campus as outside of it.

GREEN CAMPUS PROJECT

The Technion Green Campus Project, which has been promoted by the Samuel Neaman Institute for more than a decade, is designed to impart and enhance values on the subject of the environment ​​and its preservation within the Technion community.

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GARDEN OF EDEN

On the Technion campus on Mt. Carmel is an ecological garden. The idea of Prof. Emeritus Zev Naveh became a reality that is beautiful and serene, providing a wonderful landscape for learning about nature.

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A HEALTHY ENVIRONMENT MEANS A HEALTHIER YOU

The Technion Center of Excellence in Exposure Science and Environmental Health (TCEEP) which supports state-of-the-art research on human exposure and response to air pollutants.

One of the ongoing research projects touches many; the impact of pollution on autism spectrum disorders. One of the researchers is a fellow Canadian, Yuval.

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CAN BACTERIA GIVE YOU ENERGY?

Thanks to three Technion researchers, including Professor Noam Adir from the Schulich Faculty of Chemistry, energy harvesting from cyanobacteria might be the way of the future.

Throughout evolution this photosynthetic bacteria has come to be appreciated as they perform their function without the generation of pollution. Discover how this fascinating process works.

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CLEAN WATER IS ALL AROUND US

The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that by 2025, about half of the world’s population will live in areas where there is a shortage of clean drinking water. Technion researchers have developed a model for a system that separates the moisture naturally present in the air around us and converts it into drinking water.

Associate Professor David Broday helped develop this system based on a simple yet powerful principal; “the amount of moisture in the atmosphere is equal to the amount of fresh liquid water in the world). This is a huge amount of water freely available to everyone with no restrictions.”

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You don’t have to be a scientist to help make the world a cleaner place. Incorporating sustainability into your lifestyle means becoming aware of the impact of your choices in food, products, energy use and more.