On Sept. 26, 2019 Professor Uri Sivan was inaugurated as the 17th president of the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology. Sivan takes over from outgoing President Professor Peretz Lavie, who completed his term after a decade in office.
“The Technion today is stronger than ever, and we must leverage this to implement far-reaching reforms in our research structure, curricula, teaching methodologies, and collaboration with industry,” stated Sivan. “ Our success will be measured by our ability to create the necessary synergy to meet the challenges facing humanity.”
Professor Sivan hails from the Faculty of Physics, and he has held numerous senior positions at Technion and on a national level.
Watch Pres. Sivan outlining his vision for the future (3.5 minute video).
Researchers in the Nancy and Stephen Grand Technion Energy Program have developed an innovative, clean, inexpensive, and safe technology for producing hydrogen. It significantly improves the efficiency of hydrogen production, from approximately 75% using current methods to an unprecedented 98.7% energy efficiency. The researchers have opened H2Pro, a startup company whose aim is to convert the technology to a commercial application.
The hydrogen production technology research was carried out by the Department of Materials Science and Engineering’s Professor Avner Rothschild and the Faculty of Chemical Engineering’s Professor Gideon Grader. The researcher’s findings were recently published in Nature Energy
The Technion is one of the participants of a funding round for Tamar Robotics, a startup that develops robots that assist neurosurgeons in the operating room. The company was founded in 2018 and is based in northern Israeli Kibbutz Yagur.
The company’s system is based on a five-year study conducted by co-founder and vice president of research and development, Hadas Ziso, at the Technion’s D. Dan & Betty Kahn Medical Robotics Laboratory. Professor Moshe Shoham, of the Faculty of Mechanical Engineering and head of the Kahn Medical Robotics Laboratory, is Tamar Robotics’ second co-founder. Prof. Shoham is also the founder of Mazor Robotics and Microbot Medical. Mazor Robotics was acquired by Medtronic PLC in 2018 at a $1.7 billion valuation.
Israel has a reputation for being the Startup Nation, but Marcelle Machluf, Dean of Biotechnology and Food Engineering at Technion Israel Institute of Technology, predicts that in coming years Israel will be known as the FoodTech Nation.
“Foodtech and biotech are two fields that are climbing to the top of the tech industry,” Machluf told Calcalist in a recent interview. “This push is happening for a reason. There is a very clear understanding of just how critical this technology is to our continued existence,” she said, adding that in the future, she expects to see food manufacturing processes becoming quicker and more automated, improved shopping experiences, and food that is higher in nutritional values and more affordable while also being produced in a less polluting manner.
Haifa 3D, an Israel-based non-governmental organization, uses 3D printing technologies and plastic to provide customized bionic hands, arms, and accessories to children and adults born without hands.
“For me personally it was a surprise that the kids don’t want hands that resemble natural ones, but technological hands that are similar to robotic ones,” says Yacov Malinovich, cofounder of Haifa 3D. “They usually order superhero hands,” he chuckles.
The group has strong ties with the Technion, and they receive assistance from professors and labs on campus. Computers, printers, plastics, and all other parts are all from donations that the group receives. Prosthetics are printed free of cost, and in some cases, recipients, especially growing children, will receive multiple prosthetics over time.
Haifa3D Founder and Chairman Yoav Medan is a Technion alumnus.
Researchers at the Technion–Israel Institute of Technology in Haifa and the Interdisciplinary Center (IDC) Herzliya have demonstrated a significant improvement in the efficiency of the process needed to store digital information in DNA.
In a paper published in Nature Biotechnology, the group demonstrated storage of information in a density of more than 10 petabytes (10 million gigabytes) in a single gram of DNA while significantly improving the writing process. Theoretically, such density allows for storing all the information stored on YouTube in a volume of a single teaspoon.
The study was led by research student Leon Anavy, a student in the Technion Faculty of Computer Science, under the guidance of Professor Zohar Yakhini of the Technion Faculty of Computer Science and the Efi Arazi School of Computer Science at the Interdisciplinary Center Herzliya. It was conducted in collaboration with Professor Roee Amit’s Synthetic Biology Laboratory at the Technion Faculty of Biotechnology and Food Engineering.
The amount of digital information available to humanity has grown at a tremendous speed since IBM invented the hard disk in the 1950s. Storing this information has become a major challenge not only in the technological context but also with regards to economic and environmental aspects, as server farms – information warehouses that serve us all – are currently responsible for about 2% of global carbon emissions, a similar rate to the cumulative emission of global air traffic, and for about 3% of global electricity consumption, more than the electricity consumption of the entire UK. Against this backdrop, a new technological approach has developed over the last decade: information storage in DNA. This technology allows for significant minimization, longer-term (thousand-fold) retention of information, and zero energy and economic cost of maintenance.
The basic idea of encoding information on DNA is that the DNA molecule is a chain made up of links called nucleotides. The nucleotides are divided into four types marked with letters A, C, G and T. To store information on DNA, each binary sequence (consisting of the 0 and 1 symbols) must be translated into a sequence consisting of these letters. In the next step, in a process called synthesis, actual DNA molecules are produced representing these same sequences. To read the data, these DNA molecules are sequenced. DNA sequencing produces an output that represents the nucleotide sequence that makes up each molecule in the input. That output is then translated into a binary sequence that represents the original message that was coded. Modern technologies support the synthesis of many thousands of different nucleotide series in parallel.
The storage of information on DNA is a very complex technological challenge. In the field of information reading (sequencing), there has been tremendous progress driven by the genome revolution; for the writing of information, however, there are still significant technological difficulties and costs are heavier. This is the importance of the researchers’ breakthrough. It allows for: (1) increasing the number of letters used to encode the information (beyond the original 4 letters); (2) significantly reducing the number of synthesis rounds required to store information on DNA; (3) improving the error correction mechanism used.
Researchers at the Technion and at IDC Herzliya have increased the effective number of letters beyond the four building blocks in natural DNA, using new letters that are unique combinations of the original letters. The idea is similar to the formation of new colors using mixtures of base colors. Increasing the number of letters allows more information to be encoded in each letter in the sequence.
According to Prof. Yakhini, “The current synthesis and sequencing processes are inherently redundant, because each molecule is produced in large numbers1 and is read in multiple copies during sequencing. The method we developed leverages this redundancy to increase the effective number of letters well over the original four letters, making it possible for us to encode and write each unit of information in fewer cycles of synthesis.”
The team demonstrated a reduction of the number of synthesis rounds required per unit of information by 20%. They also showed that the number of synthesis rounds could be reduce in the future by 75% without significant development efforts. This means that the storage process will be faster and less expensive.
“In this work, we have implemented a DNA based storage system that encodes information with synthesis efficiency that is significantly better than the standard approach,” explained Prof. Amit. “The study included the actual implementation of the new coding technique for storing large-volume information on DNA molecules and reconstructing it for testing the process.”
In fact, on one of the shelves in Prof. Amit’s lab at the Technion sits a small test tube containing about 10 nanograms (billionths of a gram) of DNA, encoding thousands of copies of a bilingual version of the Bible.
The research group has developed advanced error correction mechanisms to overcome errors that are an integral part of biological-physical processes, like the one used here. Part of the DNA sequence of the molecules that store the information, designed by Leon Anavy and Prof. Yakhini, is used for this error correction.
According to Leon Anavy, “thanks to the use of error-correction codes that are tailored to the unique encoding we created, we were able to perform highly efficient coding and to successfully recover the information. When working in a system consisting of millions of parts (molecules), even one-in-a-million events occur, which can disrupt the reading. Careful coding allowed us to overcome these problems.”
According to the researchers, “the technology we presented in the paper has the potential to streamline further processes in synthetic biology and biotechnology. We believe that in the coming years, we will see a significant increase in the use of synthetic DNA in research and industry.”
The synthetic DNA used by the researchers and designed by the group was produced by the Twist Bioscience, a California based company that also has offices in Tel Aviv. Sequencing was performed at the Technion’s Genome Center. The study was partly supported by the European Commission’s Horizon 2020 Framework Program for Research and Innovation. Leon Anavy is a fellow of the ADAMS fellowship program of the Israeli Science Academy. Dr. Orna Atar and research student Inbal Vaknin were also involved in the study.
Global Collaboration Week takes place September 23-27th, 2019 and is designed to demonstrate the power of global connectivity in classrooms, schools, institutions of informal learning and universities around the world.
Discover some of the inspiring ways that the Technion is making an impact through global collaboration – contributing Technion know-how to countless international projects and research initiatives, and partnering with leading educational institutes around the world.
CELEBRATING TEN YEARS OF TECHNION INTERNATIONAL
The Technion recently celebrated the 10-year anniversary of the Technion International, the program that oversees all of university’s international academic programs, supports its international initiatives and academic agreements with its foreign partners worldwide, and serves incoming and enrolled international students at the Technion.
NY GENOME CENTER PARTNERS WITH TECHNION TO FIGHT ALS
The New York Genome Center and Technion will collaborate to complete the genetic mapping of all 600 ALS patients in Israel, including both Arabs and Jews, the first time such multi-ethnic mapping of Israeli ALS patients will occur.
Technion researchers and their partners in Africahave received a prize for the development of a technology that creates water from heat, which aims to provide clean water to third world countries. The Mauerberger Foundation award aims to strengthen academic ties and the exchange of ideas between researchers in Israel and Africa.
The growing Israeli presence at the world’s largest medical center in Houston, Texas is creating a large-scale launchpad for Israeli digital health innovations into the complex US healthcare system. Three of the companies featured have Technion DNA: Innosphere Co-founder and VP of Engineering Yousef Badran, VoiceItt Co-founders Danny Weissberg and Stas Tiomkin, and Sonaris Co-founder and CEO Tom Mayblum are all Technion alumni.
Ecologist Dr. Assaf Shwartz of the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology is leading a multi-national team investigating the effects of an invasive species of parrots in Europe and Israel. ParrotNet is a European network of scientists, practitioners, and policy-makers dedicated to research on invasive parrots, their impacts, and the challenges they present to agriculture and ecology.
The Eurotech University Alliance is what global collaboration is all about. Technion has recently joined an elite strategic partnership comprised of five leading European universities of science and technology. The alliance enables its members to pool resources, combine complementary research strengths, and connect innovation ecosystems for global impact.
The appearance of a theoretically impossible black hole has the whole world hypothesizing the reason for its existence. Technion researcher, Ari Laor, is part of an international team of astronomers investigating the occurrence with the aid of the Hubble Space telescope.
Technion in 85th place on the Shanghai Ranking – the highest position for an Israeli institution
The Technion–Israel Institute of Technology is ranked 85th on the list of the world’s top academic institutions, as determined by the world’s leading index for higher education. The 2019 edition of the Shanghai Academic Ranking of World Universities (ARWU) was published on Thursday, August 15. The Technion was also ranked 25th in space engineering and 39th in the field of automation and control, and was in the top 100 in computer science & engineering and chemistry. The Technion has consistently appeared in the Shanghai Ranking’s top 100 since 2012, and was ranked 77th in 2018.
“The Technion’s presence as one of the world’s top 100 universities for 8 consecutive years is a significant and important achievement,” said Technion President Prof. Peretz Lavie. “This is international recognition of the Technion’s excellence. However, it is important to keep in mind that a university’s exact position in the Ranking often changes because of one more or one less scientific publication.
“I am finishing a decade as president of the Technion, where the institution has significantly strengthened its global status and saw prosperous development on the Haifa campus. These achievements are reflected in the recruitment of hundreds of new faculty members, the development of the campus, the establishment of Technion branches in New York and China, and strategic collaborations with leading universities around the world. I am sure these achievements will continue in the future and strengthen the status of the Technion at the forefront of global research.”
The Shanghai Ranking, published since 2003, grades academic institutions worldwide according to objective criteria, including the number of Nobel Prizes and prestigious awards, the number of scholarly articles published in the leading journals Nature and Science, and other factors relative to the size of the university. The in-depth study covers 1,200 universities, from which the top 500 are selected.
The list of the world’s top 500 universities is once again led by – Harvard, Stanford, Cambridge, MIT and Berkeley. For the full ranking click here.
For the rankings of academic institutions in Israel click here.
TEDx events are independently organized programs that bring the spirit of TED’s mission of ideas worth spreading to local communities around the globe. TEDx events include live speakers and recorded TED talks.
The TEDx Technion event took place in Haifa on June 13th, 2019. It was a pioneering event featuring an exciting line-up of speakers, designed to stimulate deep discussion and connection, and to serve as a platform for future endeavors sharing the same goal.
View the videos below to learn more about a variety of thought provoking topics!
X-ray applications are everywhere, in medicine, in security, in science and more. Can we do for x-ray what we did for computers and miniaturize x-ray devices to the size of a smartphone? Naama Cohen, MSc student at the Faculty of Electrical Engineering at the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology, explains.
THE PATH LESS TRAVELLED
Hasan Abo-Shally, founder of “Hasoub” – a grassroots NGO fostering tech-entrepreneurship as an economic lever for the local Arab society, and current student in the Technion’s Startup-MBA program – reflects on pursuing a meaningful journey, finding belonging and forgoing the default path in order to create opportunity, build communities and lead social-change from within.
How do entrepreneurial team formation and other early decisions on the entrepreneurial journey influence new venture performance? Moran Lazar, a doctoral fellow at the Faculty of Industrial Engineering and Management, Technion – Israel Institute of Technology, answers this and other key questions related to start-up success.
WHAT WE CAN LEARN FROM RACE CARS
How are race cars inspiring a paradigm shift in pulmonary therapy? Josué Sznitman (BSc, MIT 2002; Dr. Sc., ETH Zurich 2008) is a Swiss, French and Israeli national. He joined the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology in 2010 and is currently a tenured Associate Professor of biomedical engineering. Learn how his science lab is using aerodynamics to explore drug delivery to the lungs.
THE PERFECT CANDIDATE
Rellie Derfler-Rozin, Assistant Professor of Management & Organization at Smith School of Business at the University of Maryland, explains what research can teach hiring managers about choosing the right candidate, improving employee well-being and driving organizational success.
How do our own emotions and the emotions of those around us impact our work, our relationships and our responses? Arik Cheshin, a social scientist and Assistant Professor in the Human Services Department of the University of Haifa, offers some fascinating insights about the power of our emotions.
ONE SENTENCE A DAY
Brand builder Ido Greenberg applies his personal experience to explain how our quirks and perceived weaknesses can actually be our strengths, and help to build a unique and successful brand identity.
A WINNING TEAM
How do you build a winning team? Bill Grady is an award-winning creative leader and inventor responsible for the product design of IBM Cloud. He recently apprenticed under the head of design at IBM, participating in a transformation of how the company’s teams understand and solve complex problems. He explains how building teams around experiences can optimize performance outcomes.
FOLLOW THE MUSIC
With a PhD in musicology and an M.Ed in Music Education, Raz Yitzhaki is an innovative lecturer in the business sector inspiring managers about leadership, innovation, and teamwork through Jazz. Learn what jazz can teach us about building teams, unleashing creativity, and understanding the rhythms of life.
August 21st is World Entrepreneurs’ Day – a chance to celebrate entrepreneurship, innovation and leadership around the world. Entrepreneurs change the world around us with their innovative ways of thinking – working hard to fix even just a little part of the world’s problems with their perseverance and passion.
Long recognized for their entrepreneurial mindset and drive, Technion alumni and researchers are achieving remarkable success in their fields. This month we would like to take a moment to highlight some of their extraordinary achievements.
How has Israel become a nation with more IPOs per capita than any other country? Israel’s leading research institutes and universities are investing in the technology, innovation and human capital that can provide a model for start-ups and entrepreneurs around the world.
Novocure, founded by Technion alumnus and entrepreneur Yoram Palti, uses electricity to fight brain cancer. The company has recently seen it’s worth jump up almost 10 percent, putting it at nearly 4.7 billion dollars!
Mazor Robotics made waves across the technology world this year. The company, which was founded by Technion alumnus Moshe Shoham was acquired by Medtronic for 1.7 billion dollars. The two companies together hope to hasten the productivity and commercialization of medical robots in the healthcare system.
Applied Immune Technologies was founded by Technion’s Professor Yoram Reiter and focuses on therapeutic molecules for cancer, viral and autoimmune diseases. No wonder they caught the eye of US bio-tech company Adicet.
Algae is a hot commodity these days, used in food as a plant-based protein and now, thanks to technology introduced by medical start-up Sealantis, functioning as a medical adhesive. Sealantis was founded by Technion professor Havazelet Bianco-Peled and recently acquired by Advanced Medical Solutions Group.
Technion scientists merge their expertise in engineering and life sciences to create cutting edge technologies and medical devices. From Professor Hossam Haick’s use of nanotechnology, to cancer treatment innovations developed by biotechnology and food engineering Professor, Ester Segal, the possibilities truly are endless when it comes to these genius entrepreneurs.
With the unlimited potential of scientific expertise, curiosity and creativity, Technion is constantly delivering new innovations to the world. Entrepreneurs drive the future and with the right support these Technion men and women can make anything happen!