Cooperation Between the Doral Energy and the Technion

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Cooperation Between the Doral Energy and the Technion

Doral Energy-Tech Ventures (Doral-Tech), Doral Energy Group’s innovation and investment arm, will invest in Technion projects in the fields of renewable energy, energy storage, and climate studies. Technion researchers will enjoy access to the Doral Group’s sites in Israel and around the world for the purpose of developing and promoting the technologies

The Technion – Israel Institute of Technology and Doral have signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) for strategic cooperation. Under the MOU, both parties will promote research, development, and commercialization on a range of issues, and work towards identifying and realizing joint business opportunities – in response to global challenges in the fields of energy, climate, and the environment.

Doral Energy-Tech Ventures (Doral-Tech), the innovation and investment arm of Doral Energy Group, will invest in various technological projects, including renewable energy, energy storage, agro-solar (integration of agriculture and solar energy), hydrogen production, carbon capture, waste treatment, water, and environmental infrastructure, as well as supporting the Nancy and Stephen Grand Technion Energy Program (GTEP).

As part of the collaboration, Doral-Tech will promote the Technion DRIVE Accelerator – the Technion’s accelerator program, while building a mechanism for joint investments and partnering with startups to join the track. In addition, the company will fund advanced applied research and receive initial exposure to invest in renewable energy technologies from the Technion Technology Transfer Unit (T3).

The researchers will have access to Doral’s testing facilities in order to advance selected projects and exposure to markets in Israel and abroad. As part of the agreement, Doral will award scholarships to Technion graduate students.

Roee Furman, CEO of Doral Energy-Tech Ventures

Roee Furman, CEO of Doral Energy-Tech Ventures:  “We are excited and proud of this strategic cooperation with the Technion. This is of commercial and national importance in the development and promotion of the local ecosystem of startups and innovation in the fields of renewable energy, climate, and environmental infrastructure. The Technion has world-renowned researchers, as well as some of the most advanced laboratory infrastructure in the world. Doral will strengthen academic-industrial ties and provide a platform for researchers to move from laboratory research to Doral’s testing sites and applications in diverse projects in Israel and around the world. This engagement with the Technion will provide Doral with additional and unique opportunities for entrepreneurship, locating and investing in breakthrough technologies, and strengthening its position as a pioneer and leader in its field.” 

Technion Vice President for Research Professor Koby Rubinstein

Technion Vice President for Research Professor Koby Rubinstein: “The Technion works in many ways to strengthen research ties with the industry, and with the energy sector in particular. We welcome the collaboration with Doral, which will lead to many important research and application achievements.”

 

 

Technion Executive Vice President and Director General Professor Boaz Golany

Technion Executive Vice President and Director General Professor Boaz Golany: “The agreement with Doral is, in our view, the first step in establishing a broader network of cooperation with energy companies and government bodies engaged in the field. The Technion has established, in large part thanks to generous donors such as the Grand Family, a unique research infrastructure for various energy projects, and now it strives to reach its full potential through collaborations with key players in this sector.

 

All Eyes Are on Stem Cells

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All Eyes Are on Stem Cells

Collaboration between two laboratories at the Technion has yielded a pair of groundbreaking articles that shed light on mechanisms of corneal renewal and morbidity

A model of the dynamics of corneal tissue renewal by stem cells along the corneal border.

 Can stem cells be identified and monitored in mature tissue? How do our organs cope with both the need for frequent renewal of tissue cells and the need to protect stem cell health in tissue that is exposed to environmental hazards?

Collaboration between two research laboratories in the Rappaport Faculty of Medicine at the Technion has recently yielded a pair of groundbreaking articles focused on the renewal and morbidity mechanisms in the cornea – the transparent tissue that is essential for vision and which serves as the “skin” of the eye. In a similar fashion to the skin, the cornea cells are constantly shedding and are replenished by new cells originating from stem cells.

Unlike skin, the clear cornea lacks the pigments that protect our skin. As such, it is highly exposed to harmful radiation. This is one of the reasons that corneal stem cells are localized in the limbus, the narrow zone between the transparent cornea and opaque sclera (the white part of the eye). Many properties of these limbal stem cells (LSCs) such as their, prevalence, heterogeneity and molecular signature are largely unknown. This gap of knowledge halts the development of LSC-based therapies to cure blindness. Furthermore, the topic of how stem cells cope with different physiological constrains is a key unanswered question in stem cell biology.

Professor Ruby Shalom-Feuerstein

In the first article, published in Cell Stem Cell, two previously unknown stem cell niches were discovered in the cornea. Each niche was found to contain unique stem cell populations that ensure its renewal. The second article, published in eLife, presents the sophisticated control mechanism that protects the cornea by maintaining a balance between cell death and self-renewal in the tissue. The article discusses how basic properties of stem cells and differentiated cells affect the maintenance of stem 

Professor Yonatan Savir

cells in a remote, protected area and the cell turnover rate, their “freshness,” and aging. These breakthroughs, which emphasize the importance of interdisciplinary research, were achieved thanks to collaboration between the research lab of Professor Ruby Shalom-Feuerstein, who specializes in stem cell research, and the lab of Professor Yonatan Savir, who specializes in quantitative biology and biophysics.

 

Trace and identify

L-R : Dr. Aya Amitai-Lange, Professor Ruby Shalom-Feuerstein and Dr. Anna Altshuler and

The study published in Cell Stem Cell was headed by Dr. Anna Altshuler and Dr. Aya Amitai-Lange, of Prof. Shalom-Feuerstein’s lab. They integrated innovative technologies, including RNA sequencing on a single-cell level, and advanced clonal lineage tracing – identification of all “descendants” of a specific cell. The product is an unprecedented atlas that describes the gene signature of limbal stem cells and their complete lineage.

The findings in this atlas show that the limbus accommodates two stem cell populations located in two distinct niches that have not been previously described, and which were coined “outer” and “inner” limbus. The inner limbus contains a population of active LSCs, which divide frequently and routinely renew the cornea. The outer limbus contains a population of quiescent, or dormant, LSCs that divide more seldomly, whose function is to protect the borders of the cornea, and that serve as an emergency reservoir of stem cells aroused upon injury. Mathematical analysis of clonal growth dynamics in vivo suggested that LSC populations are abundant equipotent cells that follow stochastic rules that fit with neutral competition on niche that dictates their survival or extinction. Finally, the study also discovered a new function of the immune system’s T cells that serve as outer limbus niche cells and control the division frequency and healing process of outer LSCs.

According to Prof. Shalom-Feuerstein, “The traditional dogma did not entail zonation or heterogeneity in the limbus, and viewed LSC as a rare cells that are surrounded by abundant short-lived progenitors. The hypothetic scarce entities were never found despite decades of research. This study proposes a new dogma that describes two discrete LSC populations that are widespread in their niche, and it reveals their signature, dynamics and function. We hope that it will pave the way for better understanding of the involvement of LSC in corneal blinding pathologies. The atlas of LSC genetic signature and niche components may be translated into optimized LSC purification and growth in our culture dish that is currently quite limited.”

Between mortality and renewal

L-R : Medical student Lior Strinkovsky, Professor Yonatan Savir and PhD student Evgeny Havkin

A key question in stem cell biology is how stem cells can accurately balance cell loss and perfectly tune the development of the tissue and maintain its size and integrity.  The second study, which was published in eLife and headed by medical student Lior Strinkovsky and PhD student Evgeny Havkin (both of the Savir lab), focused on this topic. The researchers developed a mathematical model that describes the dynamics of cell renewal in the cornea, and tested various hypotheses and defined the control mechanism that creates a balance between cell renewal in corneal tissue and the death of aging cells. The researchers evaluated different hypotheses by which stem cells could sustain tissue homeostasis and tested their feasibility. The analysis revealed an inherent relation between the lifespan of the corneal cell (the number of times they can divide) and the length at which cells affect each other as they replicate (does a dividing cell out-compete only its nearest neighbor cells or does it affect a larger neighborhood?). One of the implications of these relations is that “short-lived” progenitor cells believed to possess a lifespan of 3-4 divisions might have a 10-20 times larger lifespan than previously believed.

“Many of the tissues in our bodies (such as the cornea and skin) are in a perpetual state of cell death and renewal, and stem cells play a crucial part in the tissues’ capacity to regenerate,” said Prof. Savir. “However, we still do not fully understand how stem cells control the ability to generate new cells so that the tissue retains the right size. Also, the lifespan of ordinary cells has a significant role in maintaining the balance between the number of new cells that are generated and the number of cells that die. Our work paves the way to hypotheses that can easily be tested experimentally”.

A new perspective of stem cells

The researchers estimate their findings support the understanding that the traditional model of rare stem cells is not valid. The present research findings are of great significance to the understanding of the basic properties of stem cells in different tissues such as skin, muscle, hair follicles, and bone marrow. The researchers hope the revelation of the identity and genetic signature of the limbal stem cells in this study will pave the way to the understanding of development processes of corneal disease and others, in which stem cells in various tissues are damaged, and will also led to the development of innovative treatments and new technology to repair damaged organs such as the cornea, among other things through the use of drugs that target damaged genetic pathways in stem cells and their interaction with the niche cells that support them.

Click here for the paper in Cell Stem Cell

Click here for the paper in eLife

Master of Business Administration Program at Technion Named in Honour of William Davidson

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Master of Business Administration Program at Technion Named in Honour of William Davidson

(Haifa, Israel, June 7, 2021) – The Technion Israel Institute of Technology announced today that the Master of Business Administration program has been named The William Davidson Master of Business Administration Program in honour of American business leader and philanthropist William “Bill” Davidson (1922-2009). The announcement was made by Technion President, Professor Uri Sivan, during a joint meeting between Technion leadership and the Board of Directors of the William Davidson Foundation.

“William Davidson’s outstanding achievements and legacy have made him a source of inspiration for those seeking to become entrepreneurs and innovators themselves,” said President Sivan. “I cannot think of a better program to bear his name than the one for the Technion MBA,” he concluded.

An outstanding industrialist and innovator who transformed a small, family company into a leading worldwide glass and plastics manufacturing enterprise, Mr. Davidson was a life-long supporter of the State of Israel and a Technion Guardian, a designation reserved for those who have reached the highest level of support of the institution.  As a proponent of experiential business education, Mr. Davidson viewed the Technion’s role training future leaders as important to securing Israel’s economic future.  In a particularly visionary statement in 1997, he said “Israel has a critical need to equip its technological ‘pioneers’ with the skills necessary to translate successes in the lab into an edge in the global competition for markets, customers, and capital.”

“We are honored that the Technion is naming their MBA program after Bill Davidson, who believed that for Israel and its economy to remain strong and dynamic, the country needed bright, entrepreneurial business leaders with an understanding of global trends and markets,” said Darin McKeever, President and CEO of the William Davidson Foundation. “The Technion’s approach of integrating training in engineering, science, and technology with a strong business education can help to create the kind of leaders Israeli businesses need today,” he added.

The Technion MBA program is unique in its focus on entrepreneurship, innovation, and technological management.  The prestigious program enjoys several unique advantages, including the Technion’s rich ecosystem of faculty and applied research centers , as well as a network of international partnerships with leading management institutions.  The program offers four specialization tracks, which allow students to deepen their knowledge and expertise in key aspects of technology business and management: big data and business intelligence; innovation and entrepreneurship; the “Azrieli start-up” track, which combines MBA studies with a supportive environment for establishing and developing technology ventures; and a new Life Sciences MBA track, which will allow students from life sciences fields to specialize in managing and leading life science organizations and ventures.

Students in the Technion MBA program have strong academic backgrounds and rich and diverse professional experiences, working in technology and knowledge-driven companies. This diversity and excellence play an important role in the program, which fosters mutual learning and collaboration. Among the MBA program’s alumni are Moovit founders Yaron Evron and Roy Bick and Alcobra founder Dr. Yaron Danieli.

 About the William Davidson Foundation

The William Davidson Foundation is a private family foundation, established in 2005, that honors its founder and continues his lifelong commitment to philanthropy, advancing for future generations the economic, cultural and civic vitality of Southeast Michigan, the State of Israel, and the Jewish community. For more information, visit williamdavidson.org

 About the Technion

Founded in 1912, Technion is Israel’s first university. Today, Technion is acclaimed as the source of ingenuity behind Israel’s status as the world’s “Start-Up Nation.” Technion innovation has a high global impact in areas including life-saving medicine, sustainable energy, water conservation, computer science, and nanotechnology. With 18 faculties and more than 50 research centers, Technion offers degrees in science and engineering, architecture, medicine, industrial management, and education.

How Unwanted Immune Responses are Prevented

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How Unwanted Immune Responses are Prevented

Technion researchers have discovered a mechanism that may prevent the immune system from “going haywire” following a false alarm

Researchers in the Technion – Israel Institute of Technology’s Rappaport Faculty of Medicine have deciphered a mechanism that plays a key role in control of the immune system, preventing it from “going haywire” following a false alarm. The study was published in the Journal of Immunology, and was recommended by the editorial board as a top read.

Authors Assistant Professor Debbie Yablonski and doctoral student Enas Hallumi focused on the role of the adaptor protein Gads in controlling the activity of T cells, which are an essential part of the immune system. Their main finding was that this protein serves as a kind of gate or barrier that prevents the immune system from launching an unnecessary attack. T cells are the “foot soldiers of the immune system.” When the body is attacked by an infection, tumor, etc., these cells multiply rapidly, attack the invader, and even mobilize other cells in the body to help them in the attack.

T cell function can be impaired in two main ways: as a result of hypoactivity or hyperactivity. As the term implies, hypoactivity causes a situation in which the body fails to attack the invader, and thus, development of the disease will not be prevented. By contrast, hyperactivity is liable to lead to a chain reaction that is harmful to the body, for example by creating an autoimmune disease or a cytokine storm – a term that rose to prominence during the current pandemic.

The researchers found evidence that an adaptor protein called Gads may be able to prevent a chain reaction of this kind from being initiated. In this sense, Gads serves as a gate that prevents an immune response for as long as the T cells have not been activated. The researchers also found that when the cells are activated by an invader – a virus, tumor, etc. – Gads is “tagged” by the addition of a certain chemical group. This occurs only when two other proteins (LAT and SLP-76) bind to Gads simultaneously to form a multimolecular complex. This binding action opens the gate and activates a T cell so that it may attack the invader. If, on the other hand, only one of the two proteins binds with Gads, the attack will not be launched. According to Prof. Yablonski, “In the present study, we discovered a mechanism that developed in the course of evolution to prevent false alarms, meaning a situation in which the body’s immune response spirals out of control and is liable to harm the organism itself by creating inflammation and other disorders.”

 About the authors:

Dr. Debbie Yablonski is a faculty member at the Rappaport Faculty of Medicine (preclinical staff) and a member of the Russell Berrie Nanotechnology Institute at the Technion. She was born in the U.S. and completed her bachelor’s degree and Ph.D. at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, and her postdoctoral fellowship at the University of California at San Francisco.

Enas Hallumi grew up in Kafr Manda, completed her bachelor’s degree at Ben-Gurion University and her master’s degree at the Technion, under Dr. Yablonski’s supervision. Dr. Yablonski is also Enas’s supervisor as a Ph.D. student.

The article was sponsored by the Israel Science Foundation (ISF), the Colleck Research Fund, the Russell Berrie Nanotechnology Institute at the Technion, the Volkswagen Foundation, and the United States – Israel Binational Science Foundation (BSF).

Click here for the paper in Journal of Immunology

Technion and Hospital Israelita Albert Einstein, one of Latin America’s largest hospitals, sign MOU to support student exchange, collaborative research, and clinical trials

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Technion and Hospital Israelita Albert Einstein, one of Latin America’s largest hospitals, sign MOU to support student exchange, collaborative research, and clinical trials

The Technion – Israel Institute of Technology has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with Hospital Israelita Albert Einstein in Sao Paulo, Brazil, establishing a three-year collaboration between the Technion’s Rappaport Faculty of Medicine and the Brazilian hospital, one of Latin America’s largest. The MOU will support student exchange, clinical trials, and collaborative research projects between the two institutions.

(L-R) Shaul Shashua, a member of the Friends of the Technion in Brazil, Technion President Prof. Uri Sivan and Technion Vice President for External Relations and Resource Development Prof. Alon Wolf

The ceremony took place via video conferencing on May 6, and the MOU was signed by Technion President Prof. Uri Sivan and President of the Albert Einstein Hospital, Dr. Sidney Klajner.

(L-R) Shaul Shashua, Technion President Prof. Uri Sivan and Prof. Alon Wolf

Hospital Israelita Albert Einstein specializes in cardiology, oncology, orthopedics, surgery, and neurology. The hospital, which was founded by the Jewish community of Brazil 66 years ago, was named as the best hospital in Brazil in 2020 by Newsweek. As part of the collaboration, students studying at the Technion’s Rappaport Faculty of Medicine will go to the hospital each year for clinical rounds – which most students typically do in hospitals in Israel; similarly, students studying at the hospital in Brazil will be able to do the clinical rotation in the affiliated hospitals of the Technion Faculty of Medicine. In some cases, graduate students studying at the Albert Einstein Hospital will be allowed to spend an extended period at the Technion Faculty of Medicine and its affiliated hospitals.

The connection between the Technion and the hospital was made through Shaul Shashua, a member of the Friends of the Technion in Brazil. The ceremony was also attended by Technion Vice President for External Relations and Resource Development Prof. Alon Wolf; President of the Friends of the Technion Society in Brazil Salomao Luspa; Prof. Dr. Luiz Vicente Rizzo, VP of R&D at the Albert Einstein Hospital; and Prof. Alexandre Holthausen Campos. From the Rappaport Faculty of Medicine at the Technion attended: The Dean, Prof. Elon Eisenberg; Prof. Yaron Har-Shai, Vice Dean for Strategic Development; Prof. Simone Engelender, senior researcher; and others.

“The Technion and Albert Einstein are two institutions focused on the betterment of people’s lives, no matter where they live, no matter which language they speak, and no matter what their beliefs are,” Technion President Prof. Uri Sivan said at the signing ceremony. “The essence of our collaboration agreement is bettering the lives of people by promoting and disseminating knowledge.”

President of the Albert Einstein Hospital, Dr. Sidney Klajner: “Our hospital symbolizes the value of saving lives, which is so important in Jewish tradition. Albert Einstein was founded on four Jewish precepts: mitzva, refua, chinuch and tzedakah (good deeds, healing, education, charity). It is very exciting to be here at this moment of signing an agreement between two institutions that share a common aspiration to improve human life in Brazil and Israel.”

Dean of the Rappaport Faculty of Medicine, Prof. Elon Eisenberg: “The hospital fully understands the importance of inter-institutional cooperation in promoting science and education in medicine. I look to the future with hope and am confident that this is the beginning of an important scientific and educational relationship.”

Hospital Israelita Albert Einstein representatives after signing the agreement

Prof. Yaron Har-Shai, Deputy Dean of Strategic Development at the Rappaport Faculty of Medicine: “In science, it is impossible to move forward without cooperation, including international cooperation. Therefore, we established an international center in the faculty a few years ago that deals with the faculty’s global relations. Over time, thanks to the support of the deans and the hard work of Matan Raz and Stephanie Schneor, we have partnered with more than 10 leading university hospitals in the U.S., Germany and Australia, mainly for student exchange.  I have no doubt that the exposure of our students to hospitals abroad gives them not only a great deal of knowledge but also a richer view of health systems overseas and makes them better doctors. In addition, the professional relationships that are forged with the medical staff abroad will accompany them during their medical careers.”

Prof. Simone Englander, a faculty member originally from Brazil, played an important role in creating the collaboration with the hospital. “Shortly before the outbreak of coronavirus, a large team of doctors from the hospital in Brazil came here and introduced us to each other… paving the way for future scientific research and collaboration,” she said.

“Electrical Engineering” Becomes “Electrical and Computer Engineering”

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“Electrical Engineering” Becomes “Electrical and Computer Engineering”

The Faculty of Electrical Engineering at the Technion will henceforth be known as the Andrew and Erna Viterbi Faculty of Electrical and Computer Engineering – in light of evolving world trends and recent developments in the field

The Technion Faculty of Electrical Engineering will change its name to The Andrew and Erna Viterbi Faculty of Electrical and Computer Engineering. The addition of the term “Computer” to the title reflects a long process of expansion of the traditional electrical engineering discipline into numerous, diverse spheres related to computer engineering. The Technion Senate recently approved the change of name of the long-standing faculty, which is the largest in the Technion alongside the Henry and Marilyn Taub Faculty of Computer Science.

Faculty Dean Prof. Shimkin, Technion President Professor Uri Sivan and Distinguished Professor Emeritus Jacob Ziv

The Faculty of Electrical Engineering at the Technion was established 86 years ago, in 1935. In 1949, when the State of Israel celebrated its first birthday, the Electrotechnical Department was established under the leadership of Professor Franz Ollendorff, a world-renowned scientist and later recipient of the Israel Prize. In 1956, the faculty was relocated from the historical Technion building in the Hadar neighborhood to today’s campus, and in 1965 it was renamed the Faculty of Electrical Engineering.

Since the faculty’s inception, its alumni have been driving the development of Israeli high-tech. In the words of its Dean Professor Nahum Shimkin, “The title ‘electrical engineering’ has accompanied us for more than five decades. We look back on our past achievements with pride and look ahead to the future and the technological advances yet to come. The present change is designed to reflect the broad fields of research and teaching at the faculty. As a modern, leading academic electrical and computer engineering department, our areas of specialization and research encompass most high-tech related disciplines, including microelectronics and nanoelectronics, electromagnetics and photonics, quantum technology, energy and power systems, electronic circuits and computer chip design, signal and image processing, machine learning and intelligent systems, robotics and control, communication engineering and information theory, computer communication networks, computer systems engineering, and more. Renaming the faculty and expanding its areas of activity are in line with the global trend, and particularly with the U.S., where most of the leading electrical engineering departments have already changed their names similarly.”

Technion President Professor Uri Sivan praised the decision and said, “This is a day of celebration. The change of name reflects the faculty’s most important feature – the ability to innovate and keep abreast of the latest trends and developments. By recruiting outstanding staff members, the faculty has succeeded in continuously broadening its fields of research and teaching, in maintaining its leading position in research in the global arena, and in making a great contribution to the Israeli economy. I know the faculty will not rest on its laurels but will continue to expand its areas of research and teaching into new and future worlds of technology.”

In a video greeting broadcast at the ceremony, Dr. Andrew Viterbi, after whom the faculty is named, said, “I am always happy to congratulate the Technion community – students, professors, and staff, and especially those in the faculty whose name is changing today.” Dr. Viterbi, one of the founders of Qualcomm, inventor of the Viterbi algorithm and past recipient of the IEEE Medal of Honor, made many major contributions to the faculty, the largest of which was $50 million in 2015.

“Electrical engineering and computer science could not exist without each other,” he said. “It’s clear that without the breakthroughs of the electronic engineers and physicists of the 1940s and 50s, there would be no computers in the 19th century, and on the other hand, Professor Charles Begge of Cambridge tried – and failed – to build a computer without electricity, so, today let us rejoice with a Shehecheyanu [prayer] at the recognition of the union between Electrical and Computer Engineering.”

Distinguished Professor Emeritus Jacob Ziv , recipient of the Israel Prize and the EMET Prize for Art, Science and Culture, who recently won the IEEE Medal of Honor – the highest recognition of the international Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers – said, “The faculty’s quality is grounded in three foundational pillars that provide reciprocal feedback: a rich study and research program that not only helps graduates to find jobs in industry, but also cultivates their ability to survive in a world of technological innovation; recruitment of the finest students, some of whom will want to progress to graduate studies and pursue research; and recruitment of excellent staff who will conduct future innovative, cutting-edge technology research.”

Faculty Dean Prof. Shimkin added, “This faculty, under its former name, which is proudly borne by more than fifteen thousand alumni, has a privileged standing in the development of the Israeli high-tech industry, and is world-renowned as a center of excellence in research and teaching. Under our new name, we will continue to aspire to carry out world-class cutting-edge research, providing our graduates with the finest engineering education available in all spheres of electrical engineering, electronics and computer engineering.”

Chairman of the Faculty Students Committee Elad Paritzki said, “We students at the faculty love the change of name because it represents the expansion of the faculty’s activities. This is a faculty that is characterized by a young, entrepreneurial spirit and a broad range of disciplines, and when I look back, I know that I made the right choice. On behalf of the students and alumni, I thank the faculty, which is a second home to us all.”

Second Israeli in Space will Take Three Technion Experiments to the ISS

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Second Israeli in Space will Take Three Technion Experiments to the ISS

The experiments were carefully selected by a scientific-technological committee appointed by the Ramon Foundation and the Israeli Ministry of Science and Technology; Eytan Stibbe is set to fly to the International Space Station in early 2022

Three Technion projects will be tested onboard the International Space Station, as part of the Ramon Foundation and the Israeli Ministry of Science and Technology’s “Rakia Mission.” The projects selected for the mission were announced today at the Peres Center for Peace and Innovation.

Eytan Stibbe (right) with Technion President Prof. Uri Sivan

Speaking in the name of all winning projects, Prof. Moran Bercovici of the Technion’s Faculty of Mechanical Engineering said this is “an adrenaline shot – there are no other words to describe what this mission does to the Israeli space community. This is an extraordinary opportunity on every scale. The schedule is crazy, the challenges are immense, but we will make it; this is in our Israeli DNA, this is what we’re good at. I want to thank all partners: the Ramon Foundation, the Ministry of Science and Technology’s Israeli Space Agency and Rakia Mission’s scientific-technological committee. And a special thank you to Eytan Stibbe for his choice not to content himself with a personal experience, but to devote to science this amazing journey, on which he is taking us all.”

Eytan Stibbe with a lens in Bercovici lab

Eytan Stibbe, one of the founders of the Ramon Foundation, is set to fly to the International Space Station (ISS) in early 2022, as part of the Axiom Space Ax-1 Mission, pending NASA and Axiom approvals – the first mission to the Space Station manned entirely by private astronauts. This will make him the second Israeli in space, after Ilan Ramon, who perished in the Columbia Space Shuttle accident.

Stibbe is expected to spend 200 hours on the International Space Station. He will carry out several experiments, offering an opportunity for Israeli researchers and entrepreneurs to examine the feasibility and viability of initiatives, and to advance space research and products. The experiments were recently selected by a science and technology committee appointed by the Ramon Foundation. This space mission assists in overcoming one of the main barriers to entering the aerospace industry – the high cost of astronaut hours for carrying out the research.

Prof. Moran Bercovici

Three revolutionary Technion projects were selected to be tested by Stibbe onboard the International Space Station:

The laboratory of Prof. Moran Bercovici at the Faculty of Mechanical Engineering plans to demonstrate the first-ever fabrication of optical components in space. The Fluidic Telescope Experiment (FLUTE) was designed and built by Dr. Valeri Frumkin, Mor Elgarisi, and Omer Luria, under the guidance of Prof. Bercovici, in collaboration with a team of researchers at NASA, led by Dr. Edward Balaban. The experiment onboard ISS will investigate the ability to leverage the microgravity environment to produce high-quality lenses by shaping liquids into a desired form, followed by their solidification. A successful demonstration onboard the ISS will pave the way for fabrication of advanced optical components in space, including the creation of extremely large space telescopes, overcoming today’s launch constraints.

Dr. Igal Kornhaus demonstrating the size of one CubeSat unit

The teams of Prof. Ehud Behar and Prof. Shlomit Tarem from the Physics Department, spearheaded by Ph.D. student Roi Rahin, are developing a gamma-ray burst localizing instrument – a device they named GALI. Gamma ray bursts are produced by exploding stars going to supernova, as well as by the collision of neutron stars. The same events also produce gravitational waves, bringing the study of the two phenomena into close association. The main challenge facing scientists is being able to localize in the sky where the gamma ray burst is coming from, which would then allow astronomers around the world to point their telescopes towards the event. GALI improves on earlier detectors by utilizing sensors significantly smaller than were previously used, arranged in an innovative 3D array. It is thanks to this unique arrangement that, while being much smaller than previous gamma-ray burst detectors, GALI promises to be more precise in its directionality capabilities.

Inbal Kreiss of the Ramon Foundation, Eytan Stibbe, and Ph.D. student Roi Rahin with the Tarem-Behar experiment

Finally, the Aerospace Plasma Lab, headed by Dr. Igal Kronhaus from the Faculty of Aerospace Engineering, is developing a tiny engine for CubeSats – miniature satellites made of cubic modules 10 cm × 10 cm × 10 cm in size. Their engine, called “Inline-Screw-Feeding Vacuum-Arc-Thruster,” and fuel supply together are no bigger than a human finger, but can provide enough impulse to maintain a flight of satellites in a formation for months or more. The fuel, a small titanium wire, is safe to hold in one’s hand. The engine will be placed on the exterior of the International Space Station and be operated under conditions of hard vacuum and extreme temperatures.

Two more of the selected projects have their roots in the Technion: one comes from Aleph Farms – a cultured meat startup. Aleph Farms’ technology was developed b

The plasma trail of the engine in a vacuum tank in the Aerospace Plasma Lab (Kornhaus lab)

ased on Prof. Shulamit Levenberg’s research in the Technion’s Faculty of Biomedical Engineering. The other is by OncoHost – a personalized cancer treatment startup, based on research conducted by Prof. Yuval Shaked of the Rappaport Faculty of Medicine at the Technion.

All projects must now undergo a rigorous design review process in order to be ready to launch.

Cancer Breakthroughs from Technion

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WORLD CANCER DAY

Technion researchers and alumni are revolutionizing diagnostics and treatments for cancer patients around the world. Less invasive testing, targeted therapies and personalized treatment options will maximize health outcomes for those living with cancer.  February 4th is World Cancer Day and we are proud to share the most recent cancer breakthroughs from the Technion.

DESTROYING BRAIN TUMOURS

Technion alumni-founded Insightec is partnering with California-based SonALAsense and the Ivy Brain Tumor Center in Arizona to test a promising non-invasive treatment to effectively and safely destroy deadly brain tumors. Insightec founder and vice chairman of the board Dr. Kobi Vortman is a Technion alumnus.

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PRECISION CANCER TREATMENT

Nobel Laureate and Technion Distinguished Professor Aaron Ciechanover discusses Israeli startup OncoHost’s PROphet system, which combines life-science research and advanced machine-learning technology to develop personalized strategies to maximize the success of cancer therapy. OncoHost was founded in 2017 following more than a decade of academic research led by chief scientific adviser Technion Professor Yuval Shaked, head of the Rappaport Technion Integrated Cancer Center. Prof. Ciechanover is also on OncoHost’s board of scientific directors.

 

NOVOCURE’S VALUE RISES ON THE NYSE

Image result for nyse

Novocure, whose FDA-approved Optune system is used for treating glioblastoma, an aggressive form of brain cancer, now has the highest valuation of any Israeli health care company on the New York Stock Exchange. The product was approved by Israel in 2020 for the treatment of mesothelioma, a rare lung cancer caused by asbestos. According to the company, the technology could also theoretically be effective in treating pancreatic, ovarian, lung and other difficult to treat cancer types. Novocure was founded in 2000 by Technion Professor emeritus Yoram Palti.

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MORE ACCURATE RADIOLOGY 

Co-Founder and CTO Yitzi Pfeffer and Aviel Blumenfeld, CEO, at IMedis Medical.

Israeli medical system company IMedis has received approval from the EU for its AI-based quality control system for radiology departments. The system can accurately identify findings that would require follow-ups and may have been missed by the radiologist in an initial reading, and help discover early findings without symptoms that could lead to cancer. IMedis Medical CEO and Co-founder Aviel Blumenfeld is a Technion alumnus.

 

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CANCER SENSING TOILET SEAT

An early screening unit that uses AI , computer vision algorithms, and multispectral optical sensors might one day help prevent many of the 700,000 yearly global deaths from colorectal cancer. The OutSense IoT sensor clips onto the toilet and operates automatically, non-invasively, discreetly and without active user intervention. The sensor “knows” who is sitting on the toilet based on the closest smartphone, as well as other ways to identify the user. Real-time analysis is conducted in the cloud, and notification of any abnormal results is sent immediately to the smartphone of the user or caregiver. OutSense Chairman and Founder Ishay Attar is a Technion alumnus.

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BETTER BIOPSIES

Limaca Medical says it has developed a medical device to perform endoscopic ultrasound-guided biopsies that promise 'ten times' greater procedural efficiency (Courtesy)

Israeli startup Limaca Medical has developed a medical device to perform endoscopic ultrasound (EUS)-guided biopsies that promise “ten times” greater procedural efficiency with less trauma than the commonly used endoscope. Limaca’s Precision biopsy device gives surgeons more control and enables them to precisely reach the area of interest in the organ and offers a vast improvement over current EUS methods. Limaca Founder and Medical Director Iyad Khamasi is an assistant professor at the Technion, and the director of the Invasive Endoscopy Unit at the Rambam Health Care Campus.

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