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1184
Trace chemical or biological elements can be accurately detected and monitored in the field or at the point of care through use of this new quick, cost-effective platform technology based on a hybrid chemical-electronic detector. Analytes can be measured according to the electrical current changes they...

Trace chemical or biological elements can be accurately detected and monitored in the field or at the point of care through use of this new quick, cost-effective platform technology based on a hybrid chemical-electronic detector. Analytes can be measured according to the electrical current changes they induce with high specificity and accuracy at parts-per-billion (ppb) levels.

Applications


Transducer which may be developed to suite: Medical diagnostics: point of care, real time diagnostics of chemical and biological substances. Environmental watch: monitoring air or water pollution, testing for food poisoning. Chemical warfare: detection of chemical agents and explosives. Industry: monitoring industrial processes at real time.

Technology's Essence


Researchers at the Weizmann Institute have developed a platform technology based on novel hybrid chemical-electronic detector MOCSER (MOlecular Controlled SEmiconductor Resistor). The technology is based on a new type of a Gallium Arsenide (GaAs) electronic device covered with a monolayer of sensing molecules. The detection is achieved by measuring the current changes created due to analyte binding. The researchers have succeeded in showing high sensitivity and accuracy of the device down to parts per billion (ppb) levels. They have also demonstrated the possibility for broad applications of this detector by tailoring different sensing molecules on it and measuring various substances.

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  • Prof. Ron Naaman
  • Prof. David Cahen
1448
A method to produce amides in one step without any unwanted by-products, by coupling of alcohols with amines with the liberation of hydrogen gas, catalyzed by unique ruthenium complexes. Amides are widely used in the industry (e.g. nylon, Kevlar) and have widespread importance in biochemical and...

A method to produce amides in one step without any unwanted by-products, by coupling of alcohols with amines with the liberation of hydrogen gas, catalyzed by unique ruthenium complexes.

Amides are widely used in the industry (e.g. nylon, Kevlar) and have widespread importance in biochemical and chemical systems (e.g. proteins). Synthesis of amides is mostly based on activated acid derivatives or rearrangement reactions induced by an acid or base, which often produce toxic chemical waste and involve tedious procedures. Therefore, an efficient synthesis that avoids wasteful use of coupling reagents or corrosive acidic and basic media is highly desirable. The current technology allows for the clean production of amides from amines and alcohols.

Applications


  • Production of amides for various applications (plastic and rubber industry, paper industry, pharmaceutical intermediates, etc.)

  • Use of the liberated hydrogen (e.g. for the production of ammonia)


Advantages


  • Clean and selective procedure

  • Environment friendly reaction (no base or acid promoters are required, no carboxylic acid derivatives, such as acid chlorides, are needed)

  • Amides and molecular hydrogen are produced in high yields and high turnover numbers directly from alcohols in one step

  • The liberated hydrogen can be used for different applications

  • Formation of a variety of amides


Technology's Essence


Amide formation is a fundamental reaction in chemical synthesis. Amides are commonly formed from the reaction of a carboxylic acid derivative with an amine. Instead of using carboxylic acid derivative, in the present invention the amide motif is generated by direct acylation of amines with alcohols. This is possible through the use of a unique catalyst. This method enables the simple and elegant production of amide polymers and industrially important amides.

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  • Prof. David Milstein
358
Escherichia coli UTL2 Description: A "leaky" strain of E. coli, which is significantly more susceptible to cytotoxic agents. UTL2 holds a mutation in the galU gene causing an impaired outer membrane. Reference:  B?j? O, Bibi E. 1996. Functional expression of mouse Mdr1 in an outer membrane...

Escherichia coli UTL2

Description: A "leaky" strain of E. coli, which is significantly more susceptible to cytotoxic agents. UTL2 holds a mutation in the galU gene causing an impaired outer membrane.

Reference:  B?j? O, Bibi E. 1996. Functional expression of mouse Mdr1 in an outer membrane permeability mutant of Escherichia coli. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 93(12):5969-74.

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  • Prof. Eitan Bibi
1378
Researchers at the Weizmann Institute developed a novel method to design error-free DNA libraries from error-prone oligonucleotides. The system surpasses existing methods for de novo synthesis of DNA libraries in speed, precision, amenability to automation and ease of combining synthetic with natural...

Researchers at the Weizmann Institute developed a novel method to design error-free DNA libraries from error-prone oligonucleotides. The system surpasses existing methods for de novo synthesis of DNA libraries in speed, precision, amenability to automation and ease of combining synthetic with natural DNA fragments. 

All DNA construction protocols struggle with the cumbersome task of cloning and sequencing synthetic DNA fragments, seeking an error-free one. The problem is worsened for longer synthetic DNA which is more prone to errors. Time spent on error correction, clone selection and sequencing is a major bottleneck that prevents de novo DNA synthesis from becoming a routine procedure in labs. 

This innovative solution significantly decreases the need for labor-intensive time-consuming error correction methods, cloning and sequencing. Furthermore, efficient editing and reassembly of different genes is made possible due to a smart recursive reconstruction process.

 

Applications


  • Design and construction of synthetic biological molecules and organisms.
  • Construction of designer DNA libraries.

 


Advantages


  • Applicable in any lab with standard lab equipment. Faster and more precise than existing methods.
  • Amenable to automation, full synthesis in vitro with a modified smPCR protocol.
  • Very simple to combine synthetic and natural DNA fragments.
  • Does not require additional or external methods or reagents for error correction

 


Technology's Essence


Divide and Conquer (D&C), the quintessential recursive problem-solving technique, is applied in silico to divide the target DNA sequence into overlapping oligonucleotides short enough to be synthesized directly, albeit with errors; error-prone oligonucleotides are recursively combined in vitro, forming error-prone DNA molecules; error-free fragments of these molecules are then identified, extracted and used as new, typically longer and more accurate, inputs to another iteration of the recursive construction procedure; the entire process repeats until an error-free target molecule is formed.

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  • Prof. Ehud Y. Shapiro
1507
One-step synthesis of primary amines from alcohols and ammonia under mild conditions.Amines are widely used in the production of numerous products for multiple industries and their use is expected to increase. Global amines market is expected to reach over $14 billion by 2020, with an average annual...

One-step synthesis of primary amines from alcohols and ammonia under mild conditions.
Amines are widely used in the production of numerous products for multiple industries and their use is expected to increase. Global amines market is expected to reach over $14 billion by 2020, with an average annual growth of 3.5%.
Primary amines are most useful in the larger markets of ethanolamines and fatty amines.
Current synthetic methods require harsh reaction conditions, are non-specific and generate toxic waste. The outlined technology utilizes a novel catalyst to synthesize primary amines in a simple single-step fashion directly from alcohols and ammonia.

Applications


• Production of primary amines for numerous industries (agrochemicals, surfactants, personal care, water treatment, fine chemicals, plastics, dyes, pigments, food additives and pharmaceuticals)

Advantages


  • Mild reaction conditions
  • Single step synthesis
  • High yields
  • No solvent required
  • No toxic reagents or by-products
  • Ecologically and economically beneficial

Technology's Essence


Amines are a very important family of compounds used in multiple industries. The presented technology uses selective catalytic synthesis of primary amines from primary alcohols and ammonia. This simple, one-step, easily applicable reaction delivers primary amines in good yields, in addition to valuable environmental and economic advantages.

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  • Prof. David Milstein
1250
A robust method of identifying moving or changing objects in a video sequence groups each pixel with other adjacent pixels according to either motion or intensity values. Pixels are then repeatedly regrouped into clusters in a hierarchical manner. As these clusters are regrouped, the motion pattern is...

A robust method of identifying moving or changing objects in a video sequence groups each pixel with other adjacent pixels according to either motion or intensity values. Pixels are then repeatedly regrouped into clusters in a hierarchical manner. As these clusters are regrouped, the motion pattern is refined, until the full pattern is reached.

Applications


These methods for motion-based segmentation may be used in a multitude of applications that need to correctly identify meaningful regions in image sequences and compute their motion. Such applications include:

  1. Surveillance and homeland security - detecting changes, activities, objects.
  2. Medical Imaging - imaging of dynamic tissues.
  3. Quality control in manufacturing, and more.

Technology's Essence


Researchers at the Weizmann Institute of Science have developed a multiscale, motion-based segmentation method which, unlike previous methods, uses the inherent multiple scales of information in images. The method begins by measuring local optical flow at every picture elements (pixels). Then, using algebraic multigrid (AMG) techniques, it assembles together adjacent pixels which are similar in either their motion or intensity values into small aggregates - each pixel being allowed to belong to different aggregates with different weights. These aggregates in turn are assembled into larger aggregates, then still larger, etc., yielding eventually full segments.

As the aggregation process proceeds, the estimation of the motion of each aggregate is refined and ambiguities are resolved. In addition, an adaptive motion model is used to describe the motion of an aggregate, depending on the amount of flow information that is available within each aggregate. In particular, a translation model is used to describe the motion of pixels and small aggregates, switch to an affine model to describe the motion of intermediate sized aggregates, and finally turn to a perspective model to describe aggregates at the coarsest levels of scale. In addition to this, methods for identifying correspondences between aggregates in different images are also being developed. These methods are suitable for image sequences separated by fairly large motion.

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  • Prof. Ronen Ezra Basri
1461
Bidirectional Similarity offers a new approach to summarization of visual data (images and video) based on optimization of well defined similarity measure. Common visual summarization methods (mainly scaling and cropping) suffer from significant deficiencies related to image quality and loss of...

Bidirectional Similarity offers a new approach to summarization of visual data (images and video) based on optimization of well defined similarity measure.

Common visual summarization methods (mainly scaling and cropping) suffer from significant deficiencies related to image quality and loss of important data. Many attempts have been made to overcome these problems, however, success was very limited and neither has become commercially applicable.

Using an optimization problem approach and state-of-the-art algorithms, our method provides superior summarization of visual data as well as a measure to determine similarity, which together provides a basis for a wide range of applications in image and video processing.

Applications


The technology can be utilized in any application where an image size is changed or were similarity of images is important. Sample applications include:

  • Image processing software (as an added-on feature)

  • Resizing software

  • Creation of Thumbnails

  • Adjustment of images to different screen sizes (TV-cellular etc.)

  • Optimization of space-time patches in video processing

  • Image montages

  • Automatic image & video cropping

  • Images synthesis, photo reshuffling and many more


Advantages


While Bidirectional Similarity summarization will not replace existing technologies in all applications, it enjoys significant advantages that will offer better results in many of them. Among its advantages, the Bidirectional Similarity summarization:

  • Provides better resolution and in many cases reduces distortion compared to scaling
  • Reduces (or avoids) loss of important data compared to cropping
  • Allows importance-based summarization even when important information is widespread and hard to define
  • Uses quantitative objective similarity measure
  • Offers a generic tool for different image processing applications (synthesis, montage, reshuffling etc.)

Technology's Essence


Bidirectional Similarity Summarization is a patent-pending image and video processing method, which maximizes “completeness” and “coherence” between images and videos, using a measure for quantifying how “good” a visual summary is.

The algorithm uses and iterative process, gradually reducing the image size, while keeping all source patches in the target image, without introducing visual artifacts that are not in the input data. Using a Similarity Index, the algorithm identifies redundant information and compromise the “less important” data while generating the required target image or video.

The Similarity Index, which stands in the heart of the Bidirectional Similarity summarization algorithm, can be utilized by its own, as an objective function within other optimization processes, as well as in comparing the quality of visual summaries generated by different methods

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  • Prof. Michal Irani
1033
A novel diagnostic test to identify individuals with increased risk of lung cancer. Lung cancer is the number one killer among cancers, with 160,000 deaths/year in the USA and 1.6 million/year worldwide. Early detection of lung cancer increases 5-year survival rate from 4% to 54%. Moreover, the...

A novel diagnostic test to identify individuals with increased risk of lung cancer.

Lung cancer is the number one killer among cancers, with 160,000 deaths/year in the USA and 1.6 million/year worldwide. Early detection of lung cancer increases 5-year survival rate from 4% to 54%. Moreover, the National Lung Cancer Trial (NLST) showed that early detection of lung cancer by low-dose CT reduces mortality by at least 20%. Despite recommendations for low-dose CT screening for heavy smokers fulfilling the NLST criteria, compliance is low. In addition, 80 million smokers and ex-smokers in the US who do not fulfil NLST risk criteria have no recommended solution.

The MyRepair test fulfils this unmet medical need by providing a quantitative prediction of lung cancer risk using a simple blood test. The test is based on a personalized measurement of the patient’s DNA repair capacity, a mechanism which is highly connected to the onset of cancer. Therefore, the MyRepair technology can potentially increase early detection of lung cancer and thus save lives.

 

Applications


A novel diagnostic test to identify individuals with increased risk of lung cancer


Advantages


·         Simplicity – MyRepair is based on a simple, cost-effective blood test.

·         Accessibility – Compared to low-dose CT which requires specific equipment, the MyRepair test can be easily integrated in general diagnostic labs and therefore may be more accessible to a larger portion of the population.

·         Additional applications – Since the test is based on measuring personalized DNA repair mechanism, it can be adopted in the future for the diagnosis of additional cancer types and DNA repair related diseases.


Technology's Essence


Based on the strong and well documented connection between impaired capacity for DNA repair and onset of cancer, the Livneh lab invented the MyRepair Test, a method for predicting lung cancer risk, based on measuring activity of 3 DNA repair enzymes.

Combining enzyme activities with experimental risk estimates generated MyRepair Score, which measures personalized DNA repair capacity of tested subjects.

An epidemiological/clinical study performed in Israel, further validated in an independent UK study, demonstrated that lung cancer patients have lower MyRepair Score than healthy people. In addition, subjects who test MyRepair-positive have an 85-fold higher risk to develop lung cancer compared to the general population.

Low MyRepair Score is a risk factor independent of smoking, and of comparable magnitude, indicating that it can be a prognostic tool for smokers, ex-smokers, and non-smokers.

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  • Prof. Zvi Livneh
1392
A catalytic based reaction for the treatment of industrial waste water. Millions of tons of organic chemical compounds - including solvents, petrochemicals, agrochemicals, and pharmaceuticals - are produced every year by a wide variety of chemical industries. Two immediate problems arise: 1. Industrial...

A catalytic based reaction for the treatment of industrial waste water. Millions of tons of organic chemical compounds - including solvents, petrochemicals, agrochemicals, and pharmaceuticals - are produced every year by a wide variety of chemical industries. Two immediate problems arise: 1. Industrial production of these chemicals and/or other products leads to effluent streams - highly toxic, contaminated aqueous solutions - from factories. These effluents must be treated prior to release of the water back into the environment. 2. Following use, these chemicals (e.g., agrochemicals, pharmaceuticals) become serious pollutants as they eventually find their way into the soil, sediment, and surface and/or groundwater environments. Current treatment methods are severely limited. Treatment of effluent streams by, e.g., filtration, photocatalysis, or bioreactors is often highly ineffective - the waste compounds not being easily captured, degraded or transformed - and/or prohibitively expensive.

Applications


  • Detoxification of industrial effluents, especially from petrochemical, agrochemical and pharmaceutical industries 
  • Waste water decontamination 
  • In situ and ex situ remediation of water polluted by organic and other contaminants

Advantages


  • Cost efficient
  • Quick

Technology's Essence


Researchers at the Weizmann Institute of Science have developed a new process for degradation and/or treatment of practically any organic contaminant in aqueous solutions under oxidizing (aerobic) conditions. A suite of catalytic materials has been developed which allows both in situ and ex situ remediation of polluted water by oxidative chemical degradation of contaminants. The technology eliminates or reduces a broad range of water pollutants - industrial organic solvents, petrochemicals, agrochemicals and pharmaceuticals (e.g., endocrine disruptors such as antiobiotics and hormones) - and is particularly effective for treating concentrated industrial effluents, under technically convenient conditions. The reaction products consist essentially of benign materials.

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  • Prof. Brian Berkowitz
1518
Improved immunotherapy for breast cancer. Monoclonal antibodies (mAbs) to ErbB-2/HER2 growth factor receptor, or to its sibling, the epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR), prolong survival of cancer patients, especially when combined with cytotoxic therapies. However, low effectiveness of...

Improved immunotherapy for breast cancer.

Monoclonal antibodies (mAbs) to ErbB-2/HER2 growth factor receptor, or to its sibling, the epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR), prolong survival of cancer patients, especially when combined with cytotoxic therapies. However, low effectiveness of therapeutic mAbs and the evolution of patient resistance call for improvements. Furthermore, the response to the clinically approved monotherapy of Herceptin (a humanized mAb directed against ErbB-2), is relatively low (~15%) and short lived (median duration, 9 months). Therefore, there is a need to improve the therapeutic treatment against this receptor. The present technology enhances the therapeutic activity of anti-ErB-2 receptor antibodies, by combining two or more epitope-distinct antibodies.

Applications


  • Improved treatment of ErbB-2-overexpressing tumors (e.g. in breast and ovary cancers).


Advantages


  • May enhance patient response and delay acquisition of resistance.
  • Enhancement of therapeutic efficacy and synergy with chemotherapy.

Technology's Essence


Optimal selection of mAbs for cancer immunotherapy may improve its therapeutic potential. The outlined technology addresses an emerging strategy, which enhances the therapeutic activity of anti-receptor antibodies by combining two mAbs engaging distinct epitopes. It was demonstrated that pairs of anti-ErbB-2 mAbs better inhibit ErbB-2-overexpressing tumors than the respective individual mAbs, both in vitro and in vivo.

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  • Prof. Yosef Yarden
1265
A Novel water treatment method capable of handling a wide spectrum of pollutants, both organic and metallic was developed by the group of Prof. Berkowitz and proven in large scale. The combination of ever-growing contamination from various sources (industry, agriculture and domestic uses), the toxicity...

A Novel water treatment method capable of handling a wide spectrum of pollutants, both organic and metallic was developed by the group of Prof. Berkowitz and proven in large scale.

The combination of ever-growing contamination from various sources (industry, agriculture and domestic uses), the toxicity of contaminating compounds, and their extreme persistence in the environment, define a complex challenge and serious threat. Feasible technological responses to deal with growing deterioration in water resource quality are difficult to develop, largely because of the wide variety of contaminants having different properties, the stringent environmental standards that must be met, and the inherent heterogeneity of natural aquatic systems. The quest for cost-effective, environmentally-acceptable methods that can target a wide spectrum of contaminants, in situ and ex situ, is urgent and critical today more than ever.

The approach of the technology presented here is to reduce their oxidation state, i.e., to transform them electrochemically. In most cases, complete transformation of contaminants from the oxidized-organic group produces environmentally innocuous compounds, while reduction of heavy metals renders them insoluble and immobile, and therefore much less harmful. These treatment methods can be applied both in situ and ex situ for decontamination of soils, sediments, water, wastewater and gaseous process streams.

Applications


•           Polluted water and wastewater treatment.

•           Soil decontamination.

•           Gaseous process stream treatment.


Advantages


•           Environmentally friendly output.

•           Cost effective.

•           Can be applied in situ as well as ex situ.


Technology's Essence


The treatment method presented here is based on nanosized zerovalent iron (nZVI) particles and cyanocobalamine (vitamin B12) on a diatomite matrix.  Cyanocobalamine is known to be an effective electron mediator, having strong synergistic effects with nZVI for reductive dehalogenation reactions. This composite material also improves the reducing capacity of nZVI by preventing agglomeration of iron nanoparticles, thus increasing their active surface area. The porous structure of the diatomite matrix allows

high hydraulic conductivity, which favors channeling of contaminated water to the reactive surface of the composite material resulting in faster rates of remediation. The composite material rapidly degrades or transforms completely a large spectrum of water contaminants, including halogenated solvents like TCE, PCE, and cis-DCE, pesticides like alachlor, atrazine and bromacyl, and common ions like nitrate, within minutes to hours.

 

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  • Prof. Brian Berkowitz
1481
In recent years, there has been a growing interest in the development of nanoscale magnetic and thermal characterization tools in order to address rapidly evolving fields, such as nanomagnetism, spintronics and energy-efficient computing. The requirements from these tools include high sensitivity and...

In recent years, there has been a growing interest in the development of nanoscale magnetic and thermal characterization tools in order to address rapidly evolving fields, such as nanomagnetism, spintronics and energy-efficient computing. The requirements from these tools include high sensitivity and high spatial resolution to enable local detection and accurate measurements of extremely low signals. For example, the energy dissipation mechanism in quantum systems is related to preservation of quantum information, which is of particular importance in the field of quantum computing. Available local magnetic imaging methods suffer from low sensitivity and in some cases, low spatial resolution. On the other hand, energy dissipation is not a readily measurable quantity on the nanometer scale and existing thermal imaging methods are not sensitive enough for studying quantum systems and are unsuitable for low temperature operation.

A novel sensor device comprising a nanoscale superconducting quantum interference device (SQUID) was developed by Prof. Zeldov at the Weizmann Institute of Science. The fabrication method enables the miniaturization of the sensor to an effective diameter of below 50 nm and its integration onto the apex of a very sharp tip that is ideally suited for scanning probe microscopy. The extremely small size of the SQUID-on-tip sensor and the ability to approach very close to the sample surface result in nano-metric spatial resolution and a very sensitivity.

Applications


·         Scanning probe microscopy for magnetic and thermal characterization

·         Inspection and probing equipment for quantum computing


Advantages


  • Simple fabrication process

  • High field sensitivity and bandwidth

  • Nanoscale sensors (down to 46 nm in diameter)

  • Tip-sample distance can be as close as a few nanometers


Technology's Essence


A SQUID is a very sensitive magnetometer used to measure extremely subtle magnetic fields, based on superconducting loops. The present invention is a novel sensor device, based on a nanoscale two-junction or multi-junction SQUIDs fabricated on the edge of a sharp tip in a three dimensional geometric configuration. In such a setup, the SQUID can approach the sample to a distance of few nanometers, as opposed to the conventional planar SQUIDs, which results in an extremely high sensitivity.

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  • Prof. Eli Zeldov
1124
Label-free detection and monitoring of target molecules, which can be conducted using standard lab equipment. This new method of optical analysis is effective in monitoring the binding of chemically or physically adsorbed molecules, in liquid or gas phase, with measurements carried out continuously in...

Label-free detection and monitoring of target molecules, which can be conducted using standard lab equipment. This new method of optical analysis is effective in monitoring the binding of chemically or physically adsorbed molecules, in liquid or gas phase, with measurements carried out continuously in real-time.

SPR and LSPR technologies are broadly used in efficient real-time detection and quantification of biomolecules in research environments; however these technologies are too complicated, cumbersome and expensive for routine applications. This novel technology combines real-time, high sensitivity and accuracy of LSPR with low cost and ease of use of other optical assays, such as ELISA.

The invention comprises the LSPR transducer element of a gold-island film biosensor, which does not suffer shortcomings such as extreme temperature sensitivity. The gold island film is rapidly integrated into lab consumables via a novel fabrication method, which produces a robust system for high-throughput molecular diagnostics.

Applications


  • Point of care, real time diagnostics of chemical and biological substances.
  • Environmental watch: monitoring air or water pollution, testing for food poisoning.
  • Chemical warfare: detection of chemical agents and explosives.
  • Real-time monitoring of marine biofouling or industry corrosion processes.

Advantages


  • Simple operation, versatile and inexpensive method to imbed sensor in standard lab consumables.
  • High-throughput label-free detection with sensitivity comparable to that of SPR.
  • Uses cheap, disposable samples.
  • Can be combined with a variety of biosensing technologies.

Technology's Essence


The method involves evaporation of ultrathin (?10 nm) gold films onto inert transparent substrates (e.g., glass, plastic) leading to the formation of a layer of gold islands. Gold-island films provide unique optical properties. Such films show a localized surface plasmon (LSP) absorption peak much less sensitive to the refractive index of the surrounding medium. The LSP absorption band changes upon binding of various molecules to the surface. The binding process can be followed quantitatively by measuring the changes in the gold SP absorption. Selective sensing using the LSPR method can be achieved by applying a thin layer containing receptor molecules onto the gold island film, and measuring changes in the SP absorption upon binding of a specific analyte to the receptor layer

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  • Prof. Israel Rubinstein
1407
Thermotolerant photosynthetic organisms endure worsening climate conditions such as increased temperatures and higher levels of CO2. These novel organisms maintain photosynthetic activity and growth under a wide temperature range (15-45oC) as opposed to their wild-type counterparts. Thermotolerant...

Thermotolerant photosynthetic organisms endure worsening climate conditions such as increased temperatures and higher levels of CO2. These novel organisms maintain photosynthetic activity and growth under a wide temperature range (15-45oC) as opposed to their wild-type counterparts.

Thermotolerant organisms also exhibit higher transparency to light. Photosynthetic efficiency is maintained even though they produce and utilize less chlorophyll molecules; therefore less surface area is required for optimal cultivation. Furthermore, increased CO2 concentrations are preferable for thermotolerant organisms’ efficient photosynthesis.

The innovative solution discovered at The Weizmann Institute, involves replacement of 1-2 amino acid residues in a protein motif within the D1 protein subunit of Photosystem II (the protein complex responsible for the conversion of solar energy to a useful form of energy by photosynthesis). Such a solution has the potential to provide platforms for food production and sustainable energy in regions with harsh climate conditions that until today, were deemed unfit for cultivation.

Applications


  • Bacterial platform to produce biomass or materials (e.g. nutraceuticals) in higher temperatures and higher CO2.
  • Food and biofuel production: adaptation of crops to harsh climates.

Advantages


  • Enhanced Thermal stability and plasticity of the modified organisms to a much broader range than observed for the native organisms.
  • Greater Light penetration (e.g. in ponds) without losing photosynthetic efficiency - thermotolerant organisms maintain efficient activity with less chlorophylls thus allowing greater transmission of light to deeper spaces.
  • Thermotolerant organisms withstand high CO2 concentrations.

Technology's Essence


Professor Avigdor Scherz and his team focused on the sequences of the two major protein subunits D1 and D2 found in all purple bacteria PSII reaction centers. Two sites, D1-209 and D1-212, were found to show consistent changes between mesophilic, thermotolerant and thermophilic organisms including cyanobacteria, algae and green plants.

The sites are positioned in a GXXXG-like structural motif (where G denotes small residues such as Gly, Ala, Ser, Cys and Thr) typical of helix-helix interactions. The motif was found at the points of closest contact between the two major protein subunits, D1 and D2. It was shown that mutations in the amino acids within the identified GXXXG-like motif  result in modification of the local flexibility of the reaction center and, consequently, in the induction of thermophilic behavior.

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  • Prof. Avigdor Scherz
1527
New peptides for improving the recruitment of stem cells for transplantation. Blood cancers (leukemia, lymphoma and myeloma) are very common: they accounted for nearly 9.5 percent of deaths in the US from cancer in 2009. Stem cell transplantation, which aims to restore the function of the marrow, is an...

New peptides for improving the recruitment of stem cells for transplantation.

Blood cancers (leukemia, lymphoma and myeloma) are very common: they accounted for nearly 9.5 percent of deaths in the US from cancer in 2009. Stem cell transplantation, which aims to restore the function of the marrow, is an important therapy for these malignancies. Successful blood and marrow transplant requires the infusion of a sufficient number of hematopoietic stem and progenitor cells (HSPC), which is done by recruitment of HSPC from the marrow into the blood (mobilization). Currently used clinical procedures to produce stem cell mobilization include administration of G-CSF or GM-CSF, either as single agents or in combination with chemotherapy. However, some autologous blood stem cell donors exhibit indifference to currently applied mobilization therapies. Hence, improved methods to mobilize peripheral blood HSPC are warranted. The present invention is directed to novel short peptides of beta-defensins for improving the mobilization of HSPC.

Applications


  • Rapid and efficient mobilization of HSPC for clinical transplantation
  • Inhibition of malignant cell proliferation and metastasis

Advantages


·         Non-toxic, derived from a physiological molecule of innate host immunity

·         Cheap and simple synthesis

·         Rapid, robust and preferential mobilization of immature HSPC

·         Enhancement of mobilizing efficiency of presently used substances (e.g. G-CSF)

·         Dual use of the derivatives


Technology's Essence


Beta-defensins belong to a family of antimicrobial peptides, a major component of the innate immune system. In a mouse model, two different linear beta-defensin-derived peptides provided a strong and rapid HSPC mobilization, alone and in combination with G-CSF, a cytokine that is the major agent inducing robust mobilization of HSPC. In addition, a cyclic peptide derivative effectively inhibited HSPC mobilization and proliferation, as well as human malignant cell motility in mice. These findings make beta-defensin-derived peptides as promising small molecule candidates for improving current clinical HSPC mobilization protocols, and their cyclic derivatives as promising candidates for reducing cancer cell development and metastasis in patients.

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  • Prof. Tsvee Lapidot

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