Reporter and Curator: Dr. Sudipta Saha, Ph.D.


Hepatitis B virus can cause serious, long-term health problems, such as liver disease and cancer, and can spread from mother-to-child during delivery. According to the latest estimates from the World Health Organization (WHO), approximately 257 million people in 2015 were living with the virus. Countries in Asia have a high burden of hepatitis B. There is no cure, and antiviral drugs used to treat the infection usually need to be taken for life.


To prevent infection, WHO recommends that all newborns receive their first dose of hepatitis B vaccine within 24 hours of delivery. Infants born to hepatitis B-infected mothers are also given protective antibodies called hepatitis B immune globulin (HBIG). However, mother-to-child transmission can still occur in women with high levels of virus in their blood, as well as those with mutated versions of the virus.


Tenofovir disoproxil fumarate (TDF), an antiviral drug commonly prescribed to treat hepatitis B infection, does not significantly reduce mother-to-child transmission of hepatitis B virus when taken during pregnancy and after delivery, according to a phase III clinical trial in Thailand funded by the National Institutes of Health. The study tested TDF therapy in addition to the standard preventative regimen — administration of hepatitis B vaccine and protective antibodies at birth — to explore the drug’s potential effects on mother-to-child transmission rates. The results appear in the New England Journal of Medicine.


The present study was conducted at 17 hospitals of the Ministry of Public Health in Thailand. It screened more than 2,500 women for eligibility and enrolled 331 pregnant women with hepatitis B. The women received placebo (163) or TDF (168) at intervals from 28 weeks of pregnancy to two months after delivery. All infants received standard hepatitis B preventatives given in Thailand, which include HBIG at birth and five doses of the hepatitis B vaccine by age 6 months (which differs from the three doses given in the United States). A total of 294 infants (147 in each group) were followed through age 6 months.


Three infants in the placebo group had hepatitis B infection at age 6 months, compared to zero infants in the TDF treatment group. Given the unexpectedly low transmission rate in the placebo group, the researchers concluded that the addition of TDF to current recommendations did not significantly reduce mother-to-child transmission of the virus.


According to the study, the clinical trial had enough participants to detect statistical differences if the transmission rate in the placebo group reached at least 12 percent, a rate observed in previous studies. Though the reasons are unknown, the researchers speculate that the lower transmission rate seen in the study may relate to the number of doses of hepatitis B vaccine given to infants in Thailand, lower rates of amniocentesis and Cesarean section deliveries in this study, or the lower prevalence of mutated viruses that result in higher vaccine efficacy in Thailand compared to other countries.





Reporter and Curator: Dr. Sudipta Saha, Ph.D.


Biologists may have been building a more nuanced view of sex, but society has yet to catch up. True, more than half a century of activism from members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community has softened social attitudes to sexual orientation and gender. Many societies are now comfortable with men and women crossing conventional societal boundaries in their choice of appearance, career and sexual partner. But when it comes to sex, there is still intense social pressure to conform to the binary model.


This pressure has meant that people born with clear DSDs (difference/disorder of sex development) often undergo surgery to ‘normalize’ their genitals. Such surgery is controversial because it is usually performed on babies, who are too young to consent, and risks assigning a sex at odds with the child’s ultimate gender identity — their sense of their own gender. Intersex advocacy groups have therefore argued that doctors and parents should at least wait until a child is old enough to communicate their gender identity, which typically manifests around the age of three, or old enough to decide whether they want surgery at all.


As many as 1 person in 100 has some form of “DSD” with or without external manifestation. Diagnoses of DSDs previously relied on hormone tests, anatomical inspections and imaging, followed by painstaking tests of one gene at a time. Now, advances in genetic techniques mean that teams can analyze multiple genes at once, aiming straight for a genetic diagnosis and making the process less stressful for families. Children with DSDs are treated by multidisciplinary teams that aim to tailor management and support to each individual and their family, but this usually involves raising a child as male or female even if no surgery is done.


The simple scenario that all learn is that two X chromosomes make someone female, and an X and a Y chromosome make someone male. These are simplistic ways of thinking about what is scientifically very complex. Anatomy, hormones, cells, and chromosomes (and also personal identity convictions) are actually not usually aligned with this binary classification.


More than 25 genes that affect sex development have now been identified, and they have a wide range of variations that affect people in subtle ways. Many differences aren’t even noticed until incidental medical encounters, such as a forty-six-year-old woman pregnant with her third child, found after amniocentesis that half her cells carry male chromosomes. Or a seventy-year-old father of three who learns during a hernia repair that he has a uterus.


Furthermore, scientists now understood that everyone’s body is made up of a patchwork of genetically distinct cells, some of which may have a different sex than the rest. This “mosaicism” can have effects ranging from undetectable to extraordinary, such as “identical” twins of different sexes. An extremely common instance of mosaicism comes from cells passing over the placental barrier during pregnancy. Men often carry female cells from their mothers, and women carry male cells from their sons. Research has shown that these cells remain present for decades, but what effects they have on disease and behavior is an essentially unstudied question.




Reflections on a Four-phase Career: Aviva Lev-Ari, PhD, RN, March 2018

Prepared for publication in HUJI Alumni Magazine

Aviva Lev-Ari, PhD, RN – February 2018


Yidan Prize 2018 Nominee Aviva Lev-Ari

Please read about my Five Passions

  • Cherry Blossom

When the cherry blossoms bloomed They brought beauty to my heart. Tatsu-jo¹

  • Harp Music

The Role of the Harp and of Music in Medical Recovery

  • Music and Curation in Music

Power of Analogy: Curation in Music, Music Critique as a Curation and Curation of Medical Research Findings – A Comparison

  • Bob Dylan “for having created new poetic expressions within the great American song tradition”.

Nobel Lecture, 6/5/2017 and Acceptance Speech – Bob Dylan – 2016 Nobel Prize Gala — Bob Dylan Awarded Nobel Prize in Literature, Scientists cited his verses in Scientific Article Titles

  • 3D Printing in Fashion Design

3D Printing in Fashion Design – 2016 Exhibit at Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, #techstyle March 6, 2016 – July 10, 2016 Henry and Lois Foster Gallery (Gallery 158)


Autobiographical expressions made in the following creative writings:



  • Elementary School Giv’at Nesher, 1959-1964 (Top 5)

Recipient of National Award in Geography of Israel, 1963

  • Huggim High School, Har HaCarmel, Haifa, Israel, 1965-1968 (Top 5): Economics and Social Sciences concentration
  • HUJI, BA, 1973 (with Distinction);
  • HUJI, MA, 1976 (Summa Cum Laude).
  • University of California, Berkeley, PhD, 1983.
  • Northeastern University, Biological Sciences, 2005, Nursing, 2007.

My career had several phases:


Phase 1: Research, 1976 – 1983

In Israel, Research track

  • Masters level at Urban Studies Department, HUJI, 1973-1976; Thesis Advisor: Prof. Amiram Gonen
  • Work and Welfare Research Institute, HUJI, 1975-1976, Research Assistant to Prof. Shalom Reichman, WWRI Director: Prof. Rivka W. Bar-Yosef, and
  • Technion, TRC, 1977-1978, Research Associate and Team Lead, in Dr. Moshe Becker Group, RSC

My education at HUJI was crucial in attaining a Research Associate position at the Technion, 1977-1978. These years of research for my Masters at HUJI and the two years at the Technion contributed to my professional motivation and confidence to pursue a PhD at University of California, Berkeley, 9/1978 – 12/1983.

In California, Doctoral Program at Berkeley, Industrial Organization Economics, Economic Geography, 9/1978 – 12/1983. Advisor: Prof. Allan Pred

Comments I made on 3/8/2018 to Nathan F. SAYRE, Department Chairman:

“The DEATH of Allan Pred, was a colossal LOSS TO HUMANITY and to Human Geography. Like Albert Einstein’s DEATH was an irrecoverable loss to the Physics community and to the Universe he researched and modeled!!!”

My own Dissertation was creative and led to my first job in the US, after graduation, Director level at SRI, International in Menlo Park, CA 

Without the AURA of a Berkeley PhD – I could not have been able to carry the torch that guided me to where I am in 2018, an owner of a knowledge-based Venture with significant Intellectual Property, planning to transfer ownership in 2019/20.

Recollections: My days at Berkeley, 9/1978 – 12/1983 – About my doctoral advisor, Allan Pred, other Professors and other Peers

Phase 2: Corporate Applied Research in the US, 1985 – 2005

Twenty years of top-tier management consulting and as a corporate executive. In the corporate world, I worked for Fortune 50, using the principles of Statistical Modeling, Economic Geography and of Industrial Organization Economics, every day.


LinkedIn Profile


Data Science is the Greatest Science !!!!! It is the Greatest Science for Women, as well


Phase 3: Career Reinvention in Health Care


  • Northeastern University, Biological Sciences, 2005
  • Northeastern University, Nursing, 2007, National Nursing Board, 1/2008


Work experience in Health Care

  • Delivery of Care in MA – Post Acute Nursing Management positions, 2008 – 2012

HealthCare Delivery – Long Term Post Acute Care Nursing Management CV

  • Cardiovascular pharmacology-therapy research, development of a combination drug therapy, 2006-2007, Northeastern University, with Prof. Paul Aburjaily, PharmD

  •  Conceptual development with a Team of scientists on Drug Discovery & Drug Delivery, 2015-2016, LPBI Group, with Dr. Raphael Nir, SBH Sciences, CEO.


Phase 4: Electronic Scientific Publishing

Twitter Profile

  • 2012 – Present, Editor-in-Chief, Open Access Online Scientific Journal

The Site Statistics on 3/11/2018:

1,396,742 e-Readers,

2,303 Subscribers,

5,279 Scientific Articles,

~8000 Comments by Scientists

Editor-in-Chief of the 13 of a 16-Volume LPBI’s BioMed e-Series, published, 2013 – 2017, available on shelves in Medicine and Life Sciences, three additional volumes will be published in 2018:

  • 557 Co-Curations, Single Author Curations and Scientific Reports in 13 Volumes of LPBI’s BioMed e-Series by Aviva Lev-Ari, PhD, RN

  • PRESS COVERAGE of BioMed and BioTech Conferences in Real Time, here


Additional Sources for Chronological CV


Collaboration that corrected a major problem in Hip Replacement Surgery

Irina Robu, PhD


British orthopedic surgeon, John Charnley performed an operation that almost miraculously restored pain-free movement and active lives to patients whose hip-joint damage had made even the simple act of walking across the room difficult.

However, with the advance in materials Charnley removed the damaged joint and replaced it with one made of Teflon. He cut off the top of the thigh bone and inserted the end of a rod like metal implant into its center, cementing it in place. The round head of the implant fits perfectly into the Teflon hip socket. The procedure seemed to work, but within some year complications arose. The routine movement of the balls in the sockets made the Teflon wear quickly, loosening the implants. Charnley was required to operate on nearly 300 patients after they developed an infection around the implant.
Charnley filled that need with a more-resistant material called high-density polyethylene, which he began using in a new version of the artificial hip joint in 1962. In 1974, a noted orthopedic surgeon at Massachusetts General Hospital had a patient who had replaced surgery but his X-ray showed that a large portion of his thigh bone had been eaten away. Even after further tests, it was confirmed that the patient was cancer free. Harris saw three similar cases that year and many more over the years and it was defined as a new disease, periprosthetic osteolysis.

The condition led not just to implant failures, hip fractures, femur fractures, and complex reoperations to install new implants. It would take decades to devise a solution, in the form of a new material , highly crosslinked polyethylene invented in the labs of Harris and his Massachusetts Institute of Technology collaborator, Edward Merrill. A few years after Harris described the condition, in 1976, another separate research effort drawn its cause to tiny particles of the cement that secured the metal thigh implant inside the femur. Those particles caused a massive immune reaction that in turn triggered osteoclasts, the only cell in the body capable of destroying bone.

The discovery led to the condition being called “cement disease,” warning the development in the early 1980s of porous-metal implants that allowed the bone to grow into the implant and hold it in place in the thigh bone. Further research displayed that particles were still there, but of the polyethylene that made up the hip socket. Nevertheless, the polyethylene was far more durable than Teflon, the even motion of the ball in the socket caused wear, producing particles that set off the same destructive immune reaction.

By that discovery, researchers finally understood what was happening in the body. With so many hip replacement surgeries ongoing around the world, what was needed was a material more durable as polyethylene. Harris had asked patients to donate implants for study after they died, and he worked with lab members to examine them under a scanning electron microscope. The long, skinny molecules of high-density polyethylene, which normally curl had become aligned in the direction of the back-and-forth motion of the joint.

Harris worked with Merrill who mentioned that he can created polyethylene into a new form: highly crosslinked polyethylene. Meanwhile in 1998, the first artificial hips using highly crosslinked polyethylene were put in patients and it shows a huge progress.


Artificial Skin That “Feels” Temperature Changes

Reporter: Irina Robu, PhD

Engineers and scientists at California Institute of Technology (Caltech) and ETH Zurich developed an artificial skin capable of detecting temperature changes using a mechanism similar to the biological mechanism that allow snakes to sense prey through heat.  In those organs, ion channels in the cell membrane of sensory nerve fibers expand as temperature increases. This dilation allows calcium ions to flow, triggering electrical impulses.

The material used is a long chain molecule found in plant cells which gives the skin its temperature sensing capabilities. The team chose pectin because the pectin molecules in the film have a weakly bonded double-strand structure that contains calcium ions. As temperature increases, these bonds break down and the double strands “unzip,” releasing the positively charged calcium ions.

This would make pectin sensors useful for industrial applications, such as thermal sensors in consumer electronics or robotic skins to augment human-robot interactions. However, they need to change the fabrication process as that the current process leads to the presence of water which tends to bubble or evaporate at high temperatures.


Higher BMI (Obesity Marker): Earlier onset of incident CVD followed by Shorter overall Survival – Men and women of all ages

Reporter: Aviva Lev-Ari, PhD, RN


Men and women of all ages with a higher BMI were found to have both an earlier onset of incident CVD followed by shorter overall survival, Sadiya Khan, MD, of Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine in Chicago, and colleagues wrote in JAMA Cardiology.

Among middle-aged men, there were 13,457 incident CVD events total, with the highest percentage attributed to fatal or nonfatal myocardial infarctions. This incidence rate of CVD events increased accordingly with BMI range, with the highest seen in those who were morbidly obese. Compared with men who died due to non-CVD related causes — the most common of which was cancer — men who weighed more had a significantly higher rate of experiencing their first CVD event.

When compared to middle-aged men of normal weight, those in higher BMI categories had an increased incidence of CVD:

  • Overweight: adjusted competing HR 1.21 (95% CI 1.14-1.28)
  • Obese: 1.67 (95% CI 1.55-1.79)
  • Morbidly obese: 3.14 (95% CI 2.48-3.97)

Similar event rates were seen among middle-aged women of a higher BMI, as well:

  • Overweight: HR 1.32 (95% CI 1.24-1.40)
  • Obese 1.85 (95% CI 1.72-1.99)
  • Morbidly obese: 2.53 (95% CI 2.20-2.91)

Both men and women had a longer time to first CVD event if they were of normal weight by around 7.5 year and 7.1 years, respectively, when compared with people with morbid obesity.

The researchers noted that the morbidly obese category likely saw the highest rate of CVD events mainly due to a five-fold increase in the incidence of congestive heart failure events. These patterns were also seen in the younger and older age groups.

Although the notion of the “obesity paradox” — when people with a higher BMI might actually live longer after CVD onset compared to those of normal weight — has been described in some prior studies, the researchers noted that their findings suggest that “this occurs because of a trend toward earlier onset of disease in individuals who are overweight and obese.”



2018 Dan David Prize Laureates Announced

Reporter: Aviva Lev-Ari, PhD, RN


The Dan David Prize is an international prize which annually awards three prizes of US$ 1 million each for outstanding scientific, technological, cultural, and social achievements having an impact on our world. Each year fields are chosen within the three Time Dimensions – Past, Present, and Future.





Max Planck Institute for the History of Science
Berlin, Germany

For her groundbreaking historical work on the “Ideals and Practices of Rationality”, as she has termed the basic categories of scientific investigation and accomplishment. Her meticulous historical studies of “reason,” “proof,” “fact,” “observation,” “scientific object,” “data”, and even “objectivity” itself, masterfully demonstrate how such seemingly universal concepts have changed dramatically since the seventeenth century.



Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Boston, MA, USA

For her pioneering work in science and gender that has transformed our views of the history of science. Fox Keller has examined particularly the role of language in genetics and molecular biology, interrogating the historical legacy embedded in scientific language. Her remarkable insight into the relation between feminism and science reveals the obstacles to the pursuit of science by women and envisions what a gender-free science might look like.



University of Cambridge
Cambridge, United Kingdom

For the way his work has transformed our understanding of science in history by consistently targeting key issues, and probing the limits of current debate. Spanning a remarkable chronological and geographical range, from seventeenth to the twentieth century, and from London and Beijing to Parramatta and Paris, Simon Schaffer’s impressive body of work demonstrates how experiment can no longer be seen as the mere testing of theories, but is located in witnessing, trust and acquired skill. His work exposes how major junctures in the history of science are embedded in the localities of commercial exchange, political negotiation, and the activities of everyday life.



University of Pennsylvania
Philadelphia, PA, USA

For advancing the field of bioethics by combining his skills as a physician, policymaker, and scholar. Prof. Emanuel is a pioneer in the field of end-of life care and research ethics. He emphasized that patients who want euthanasia of assisted suicide do not do so because of pain but because of psychological distress, depression and hopelessness. His analysis of the physician patient relationship is a landmark widely taught throughout the world and used to educate medical students.



Kings College London
London, United Kingdom

For his seminal contributions to the theoretical aspects of bioethics. For setting the research agenda in many topics and in particular in Human Enhancement and Reproductive Ethics. His original research spans diverse topics such as human nature, war and the Holocaust, genetic ethics, neuroethics, and psychiatric issues. The originality of his thought is marked by the role he plays in shaping the debates others will follow.



London, United Kingdom

For her leading role in the development of practical bioethics and specifically for her progressive and unparalleled contribution to the ethics of embryology and genetics and their ethical and philosophical implication, reproductive technologies, and disability studies. Dame Mary helped to enhance the welfare of society by breaking the boundaries between academic and enacted ethics.



Ohio State University
Columbus, OH, USA

For pioneering the unraveling of the molecular basis of a number of lymphoma and leukemia cancers. Mastering both cytogenetics and molecular biology, he identified the role of major oncogenes as drivers of cancer development, progression and resistance to therapy. His studies also demonstrated the role of micro RNAs in tumor pathogenesis. His numerous findings in cancer enable precise cancer diagnosis, individualized targeting of therapy and the development of novel rationally designed anti-cancer drugs.



University of Washington
Seattle, WA, USA

For being a world leader in Medical Genetics with major contributions to the study of the molecular basis of several diseases. Her seminal finding was the demonstration of a genetic predisposition to breast and ovarian cancer resulting from mutations in a single gene, the BRCA1 gene. This game changing discovery contributes to the understanding of hereditary cancer predisposition and revolutionized clinical approaches for cancer predisposition screening, individualized interventions and tailoring of rational therapy.



Johns Hopkins School of Medicine
Baltimore, MD, USA

For his seminal contributions to the understanding of cancer genetics and genomics. His pioneering studies on colon cancer demonstrated that cancer results from sequential genetic and epigenetic alterations. He was involved in the identification and characterization of tumor suppressor genes and oncogenes and developed and applied high throughput methodologies for concomitant analysis of thousands of genes and whole genomes. Such approaches paved the way to early diagnosis, precise characterization and tailoring of individualized therapy of cancer.



On Personalized Medicine
“Engineering Tissues and Organs From Patient-Specific Tissues to Bionic Organs”Prof. Tal Dvir
The George S. Wise Faculty of Life Sciences
Tel Aviv University

On Bioethics
“The Paradox of Jewish Bioethics in Israel”Prof. Shai Lavi
Faculty of Law, Tel Aviv University and
Director of the Van Leer Jerusalem Institute