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Four Startups After One Year: Biodesign entrepreneurship program @ Hebrew University-Hadassah Medical Center

Reporter: Aviva Lev-Ari, PhD, RN

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Israel’s First Biodesign Program Produces Four Startups After One Year

August 6, 2013

Students in Hebrew University-Hadassah Medical Center program develop “science fiction gadgets”

Biodesign entrepreneurship program is Israel’s first medical innovation accelerator

Jerusalem — As health costs spiraled over the last decade, the need for more cost-effective health care systems has become increasingly urgent. Medical innovation plays a vital role in making medicine both efficient and affordable — not to mention improving the quality of patient care and ensuring positive outcomes. However, the process of creating new medical devices requires an in-depth understanding of multiple disciplines including medicine, engineering, and finance that few could master alone. As a result, most aspiring medical innovators face disappointment as the vast majority of ideas fail before reaching the market.

According to Dr. Yaakov Nahmias, the director of The Hebrew University of Jerusalem’s Center for Bioengineering, “When it comes to bringing an idea to market, there is a huge disparity between Hi-Tech, where a few programmers can succeed, and Bio-Tech, where clinicians, engineers, and business experts must all work together to bring a product to the market.”

To solve this problem, Nahmias partnered with Professor Chaim Lotan, the director of Hadassah Medical Center’s Heart Institute and an expert in clinical innovation. According to Prof. Lotan, “We knew that Stanford University’s Biodesign program was the most successful medical innovation program to date, and considering the outstanding students at The Hebrew University and Hadassah we were certain we could give them a run for their money.”

Developing “science fiction gadgets” GuideIN Tube, MetaboShield, SAGIV, and DCDI at the Biodesign program of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and Hadassah Medical Center

The two partnered with Professor Dan Galai, the former Dean of the Business School at The Hebrew University, and with the help of Dr. Todd Brighton, a Biodesign program director at Stanford University, established The Hebrew University’s Biodesign Medical Innovation Program, the first academic medical innovation accelerator in Israel.

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Biodesign is a multi-disciplinary, team-based approach to medical innovation. The program takes outstanding medical fellows, bioengineering and business graduate students, and tutors them in the science and practice of bringing a medical innovation to the market. The teams receive a list of clinical problems, collected from Israeli and American hospitals, and critically evaluate their commercial potential. Once they identify a clinical need with commercial potential, they find an engineering solution that can be protected by a patent application.

Developing “science fiction gadgets” GuideIN Tube, MetaboShield, SAGIV, and DCDI at the Biodesign program of The Hebrew University of Jerusalem and Hadassah Medical Center

The students are mentored by some of Israel’s best and brightest academic and industrial experts, who bring their experience in scientific discovery, clinical applications, and business development.

According to the Hebrew University’s Nahmias, “This isn’t a pure academic exercise. We have students and clinicians who are eager to bring innovation to the market. The program generated quite of lot of excitement with the business and academic environment. It is exactly this drive that makes Israel a start-up nation.”

One year after starting with 20 students and medical fellows, the program has already produced four projects that passed through the proof-of-concept stage, are protected by provisional patent applications, and are showing excellent market potential.

One of the projects, called SAGIV, is a semi-automatic handheld device for rapid and safe IV insertion, using infrared sights and electrical sensing. SAGIV targets a $900 million market with elements already tested on difficult IV insertion cases at the Hadassah Medical Center.

Another project, called GuideIN Tube, is a robotic intubation device which automatically navigates towards the lungs, targeting a $3 billion market.

“The projects really look like science fiction gadgets,” said Dr. Nahmias. “Even if just a few Biodesign companies succeed, they can completely transform the Israeli medical device sector.”

“We have incredibly driven students at The Hebrew University, and Biodesign gives them critical tools they need to succeed,” added Prof. Lotan. Both directors noted that students accomplished in one academic year what many start-up companies take 2 to 3 years to complete, advancing to the point of having proof-of-principle prototypes.

Yehuda Zisapel, president of RAD-Bynet Group, one of the largest investment groups in Israel, said: “Biodesign is a truly innovative approach to generate and accelerate new ideas. The cooperative efforts of physicians, scientists, engineers and business development people allows for a multidimensional approach which encourages the creation and development of new ideas. I was really impressed by the team work and the spirit created by the program, and also by the impressive achievements of the projects.”

Hadassah Medical Center’s Prof. Lotan attributes the program’s success to several additional factors: “We are based in Jerusalem, where biotechnology ventures are buoyed by sustained government support. We are backed by the strong track record of Yissum and Hadasit, the technology transfer companies of The Hebrew University and Hadassah Medical Center. And we have an important relationship with Stanford’s Biodesign program, which offers knowledge, experience and course materials. The Biodesign program has increased Stanford University biomed startup success rates by 4 to 5 folds over the last decade. We envision a similar revolution in Jerusalem, where 50% of the medical research in Israel is already taking place.”

http://www.afhu.org/Israels-first-biodesign-program-produces-four-startups-after-one-year

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Hebrew University’s Professor Haim Sompolinksy and Columbia University Prof. Larry Abbott Win First New $100,000 Mathematical Neuroscience Prize

 
Curator: Aviva Lev-Ari, PhD, RN

Professor Haim Sompolinsky of The Hebrew University of Jerusalem has been awarded the 1st Annual Mathematical Neuroscience Prize by Israel Brain Technologies (IBT), a non-profit organization committed to advancing Israel’s neurotechnology industry and establishing the country as a global hub of brain technology innovation.

Professor Sompolinsky, who pioneered the field of computational neuroscience, is the William N. Skirball Professor of Neuroscience at The Hebrew University’s Edmond and Lily Safra Center for Brain Sciences (ELSC).

ELSC is one of the most ambitious neuroscience centers in the world, providing a multi-disciplinary environment where theorists, computer scientists, cognitive psychologists and biologists collaborate to revolutionize brain science.

IBT’s $100,000 Mathematical Neuroscience Prize, awarded at the 1st annual BrainTech Israel 2013 Conference in Tel Aviv, honors researchers worldwide who have significantly advanced our understanding of the neural mechanisms of perception, behavior and thought through the application of mathematical analysis and theoretical modeling.

Professor Sompolinsky specializes in building mathematical models that describe the collective behavior and the informational processing in neural circuits in the brain. The principles that emerge from Professor Sompolinsky’s work contribute to our understanding of the system-wide failures that take place in brain diseases, from epilepsy to psychiatric disorders.

According to Sompolinsky, “Computational neuroscience is a vibrant and ambitious field that uses mathematical theories and models to cope with the most daunting challenges — from answering fundamental questions about the brain and its relation to the mind to answering questions posed by the quest to heal the brain’s debilitating diseases.”

Also winning a $100,000 Mathematical Neuroscience Prize was Professor Larry Abbott, Bloor Professor of Theoretical Neuroscience at Columbia University, who developed models ranging from the level of neurons and synapses to large-scale networks, and showed how plasticity mechanisms that change the properties of neural circuits can maintain their proper operation and allow them to change during the learning process.

Nobel Laureate Professor Bert Sakmann, inaugural Scientific Director of the Max Planck Florida Institute, presented the awards at the conference. “This prize honors the founders of mathematical neuroscience, and is a milestone because it gives due recognition to this field,” said Sakmann.

“This prize recognizes leaders in the important field of mathematical neuroscience, whose advances support our ultimate quest to find new solutions for the betterment of all humankind,” said Miri Polachek, Executive Director of IBT.

In the future, the Prize Selection Committee will consist of previous prize winners, including Sompolinsky and Abbott.

IBT’s BrainTech Israel 2013 Conference is exploring developments in brain technology and their commercialization through a “meeting of the minds” among government leaders, entrepreneurs, researchers, leading companies and investors from Israel and around the world.

Inspired by the vision of Israeli President Shimon Peres and building on Israel’s position as a global technology powerhouse, IBT aims to make Israel both the “Startup Nation” and the “Brain Nation.”  IBT is also focused on increasing collaboration between the Israeli neurotechnology ecosystem and its counterparts around the world. IBT is led by a team of technology entrepreneurs and life science professionals and is advised by a panel of renowned academic, industry and public sector representatives including two Nobel Prize Laureates.

 SOURCE

From: AFHU <AFHU@mail.vresp.com>
Date: Tue, 15 Oct 2013 18:04:16 +0000
To: <avivalev-ari@alum.berkeley.edu>

Download CV

please use the above link to download a PDF copy of my CV

Professor of Physics, Racah Institute of Physics
William N. Skirball Professor of Neuroscience
The Interdisciplinary Center for Neural Computation
The Edmond and Lily Safra Center for Brain Sciences
The Hebrew University
Jerusalem, 91904, Israel
(t) 972-2-658-4563; (f) 972-2-658-4440
haim@fiz.huji.ac.il

Personal Information
Born:  Copenhagen, Denmark, 1949
Israeli citizen: 1951
Married with five children

RESEARCH:

Sompolinsky’s research goal is to uncover the fundamental principles of the organization, the dynamics and the function of the brain, viewing the brain through multiscale lenses, spanning the molecular, the cellular, and the circuit levels. To achieve this goal, Sompolinsky has developed new theoretical approaches to computational neuroscience based on the principles and methods of statistical physics, and physics of dynamical and stochastic systems. This new field, Neurophysics, builds in part on Sompolinsky’s earlier work on critical phenomena, random systems, spin glasses, and chaos. His research areas cover theoretical and computational investigations of cortical dynamics, sensory processing, motor control, neuronal population coding, long and short-term memory, and neural learning. The highlights of his research include theories and models of local cortical circuits, visual cortex, associative memory, statistical mechanics of learning, chaos and excitation-inhibition balance in neuronal networks, principles of neural population codes, statistical mechanics of compressed sensing and sparse coding in neuronal systems, and the Tempotron model of spike time based neural learning. He also studies the neuronal mechanisms of volition and the impact of physics and neuroscience on the foundations of human freedom and agency.

http://elsc.huji.ac.il/sompolinsky/biocv

ELSC VIDEOS

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Israeli, US Profs win 1st annual Mathematical Neuroscience Prize

$100,000 prizes awarded for outstanding work in human brain modeling at BrainTech Israel 2013 Conference in Tel Aviv.

From left, Nobel Laureate Prof. Bert Sakmann; Hebrew University of Jerusalem Prof. Haim Sompolinsky; Columbia University Prof. Larry Abbott; and Dr. Rafi Gidron, founder and chairman of Israel Brain Technologies, at BrainTech Israel 2013. Sompolinsky won IBT’s inaugural Mathematical Neuroscience Prize.From left, Nobel Laureate Prof. Bert Sakmann; Hebrew University of Jerusalem Prof. Haim Sompolinsky; Columbia University Prof. Larry Abbott; and Dr. Rafi Gidron, founder and chairman of Israel Brain Technologies, at BrainTech Israel 2013. Sompolinsky won IBT’s inaugural Mathematical Neuroscience Prize.

Hebrew University of Jerusalem Prof. Haim Sompolinsky and Columbia University Prof. Larry Abbott are the winners of the 1st Annual Mathematical Neuroscience Prize by Israel Brain Technologies (IBT). The two $100,000 prizes were awarded at the 1st annual BrainTech Israel 2013 Conference in Tel Aviv.

Prof. Haim Sompolinsky (photo: Hebrew University)

IBT’s Mathematical Neuroscience Prize honors researchers worldwide who have significantly advanced our understanding of the neural mechanisms of perception, behavior and thought through the application of mathematical analysis and theoretical modeling.

Prof. Sompolinsky is considered a pioneer in the field of computational neuroscience. He specializes in building mathematical models that describe the collective behavior and the informational processing in neural circuits in the brain. His work helps researchers understand the system-wide failures that take place in brain diseases, from epilepsy to psychiatric disorders.

“Computational neuroscience is a vibrant and ambitious field that uses mathematical theories and models to cope with the most daunting challenges – from answering fundamental questions about the brain and its relation to the mind to answering questions posed by the quest to heal the brain’s debilitating diseases,” said Sompolinsky.

Meanwhile, Prof. Abbott won for showing how plasticity mechanisms that change the properties of neural circuits can maintain their proper operation and allow them to change during the learning process.

Inspired by the vision of Israeli President Shimon Peres, IBT was set up to advance Israel’s neurotechnology industry and establish the country as a global hub of brain technology innovation.

“This prize recognizes leaders in the important field of mathematical neuroscience, whose advances support our ultimate quest to find new solutions for the betterment of all humankind,” said Miri Polachek, Executive Director of IBT.

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Chapter 1 in

R&D Alliances between Big Pharma and Academic Research Centers: Pharma’s Realization that Internal R&D Groups alone aren’t enough

 

Helix Model of Innovation in IsraelThe Global Scheme and its Local Application

Prof. Gili S. Drori

Department of Sociology and Anthropology

The Hebrew University of Jerusalem

http://gilidrori.wix.com/gili-s-drori

Senor and Singer’s 2009 book, “Start-Up Nation,” quickly hit the best-sellers list of the Wall Street Journal and the New York Times and was translated into some twenty languages. The book peaked the world’s fascination with Israeli innovation by answering “the trillion dollar question”: “How is it that Israel – a country of 7.1 million, only 60 years old, surrounded by enemies, in a constant state of war since its founding, with no natural resources – produces more start-up companies than large, peaceful, and stable nations?” And, “how is it that Israel has, per person, attracted over twice as much venture capital investment as the US and thirty times more than Europe?” The Israeli “miracle” stands as a code to be cracked, or as an exemplar for countries and regions worldwide that are seeking innovation-based development. The buzz around this book builds on the recognition of innovation as the critical component for success in the global knowledge economy: no longer can firms or nations grow solely off their natural- or human capital resources; rather, growth depends on innovativeness.

In seeking to decode the systemic foundations of innovation, previous studies analyzed the other so-called miracles of the global knowledge economy: Scandinavia, the Boston area and, of course, Silicon Valley. Many of these studies highlight particular causes for such innovation-based regional success – from immigration ties (e.g., Saxenian, 1994, 2006) to legal and financial institutions (e.g., Suchman, 2000, 2001) to network constellation (e.g., Whittington et al., 2009). But the question remains: What combination of such components and what “critical mass” of them would spark an innovation economy? Two conceptual tools, which were delineated in order to model the system components whose assemblage triggers a local innovation economy, dominate discussions throughout the past four decades: Christopher Freeman and Bengt-Åke Lundvall formulated the concept of  “national innovation system” (NIS) and Henry Etzkowitz and Loet Leydesdorff outlined the Triple Helix Model. The work compiled in this volume takes the Triple Helix Model as a point of departure in mapping and analyzing Israel’s innovation economy.

1.1 The Triple Helix Model

Seeking to explain the socio-structural conditions that encourage knowledge-based economic development, Etzkowitz and Leydesdorff proposed in 1995 the Triple Helix Model. The Model links among academia, industry and government and, building on the imagery of the double-helix structure of DNA, the Triple Helix model weaves these three helices into a spiral configuration which allows for multiple reciprocal links among the three institutions. Although Etzkowitz (2003) specifies as many as 10 propositions that express the Model’s tenets, three principles stand at its core: (a) the three helices, or institutions critical for innovation, are academia, industry and government, (b) there exist multiple points of contact and exchange among these three institutions, and (c) each of the institutions is transformed through such intensifying interconnectedness. The outcome is not merely a joint project or a jointly developed product, but rather an integrated, often hybridized, form of knowledge-based development, of nations and regions (see. Meyer, Grant and Kuusisto, 2013). And, this systemic interlacing among the so-called helices maintains the dynamism and flexibility that are core features of any system of innovation.

The three institutions laced into the Triple Helix model are described in Figure 1.1.

These are:

University. The University has always been entrusted with knowledge creation, through learning and research. In today’s knowledge-based economy, universities have been transformed into knowledge producers and market players. Etzkowitz describes this transformation as follows: “The university has traditionally been viewed as a support structure for innovation, providing trained persons, research results, and knowledge to industry. Recently the university has increasingly become involved in the formation of firms, often based on new technologies originating in academic research.” (2003: 294). Such commercialization of academic knowledge also drives universities to guarantee legal protections of their intellectual property and, with that, defy the normative order of public science (see, Bok 2003, Willmott 2003, Ramirez 2006, Rhoten and Powell 2010). And while recent decline in university patenting has been taken to mean a re-trenching of academia to focus on  ‘core business’ of basic research and teaching (see, Meyer, Grant and Kuusisto, 2013: 193), the overall intensification of commercialization and co-production of knowledge is the hallmark that defines the entrepreneurial university, or the “3G university” (see, Wissema 2009).

Industry. With knowledge and innovation becoming the new source of capitalization for firms, firms too are transformed into knowledge producers: firms replace their traditional model of in-house R&D and innovation, which drew solely upon internal capacity, with an open innovation model, which calls for cooperative models of innovation and on outsourcing of innovation functions. As a result, firms not only continue to build in-house labs and sponsor academic research, they now cooperate intensely with academic research and allow – even welcome – the mobility of researchers between academia and industry. This post-Fordist production is a form of open innovation.

Government. As the representative of the public and an advocate of public good, government serves as the third component in the driving of innovation. Whether national, state, or municipal, government serves as an enabler of innovation ties, mostly by sponsoring start-up initiatives or funding “big science” projects in hope of spillover effects. In addition, government guides innovation through its regulatory power, for example by formulating IP arrangements. Still, government’s supervisory role as regulator may also result in suffocating innovation through, for example, regulatory restrictions on types of research or on taxation of foreign investment.

FF1

  • Figure 1.1  The Triple Helix Model

Source: adapted from Etzkowitz and Ledesdorff, 2000 (figure 2, page 111)

The important feature of the Model is that the 3 institutions, or helices, are intertwined and link in multiple points. Recalling DNA structure, the Triple Helix model of innovation laces the strands, or helices, and build multiple connects among them; this form is described as a “recursive overlay of interactions among the stakeholders” (Yang et al., 2012: 375). In its form, the Triple Helix Model distinguishes itself from two other possible format of relating academia, industry and government (Figure 1.2). The first alternative is the Lesseiz Faire Model, where a country has all three institutions, yet it is at their initiative and at their pace that any link is made between them. The second alternative is titled the Etatic Model. In this form of relations, government takes the responsibility to guide innovation and also to build innovation-related links between academia and industry. Like Goldylock’s choice of a bed at the bears’ home, Leydesdorff and Etzkowitz regard these two alternative models for innovation as either too loose or too tight. The Triple Helix Model calls for a balance among the three helices, so to prevent a case of tertius gaudens, where one sector benefits from any stress between, or weakness of, the other two helices (see, Etzkowitz and Zhou 2006: 77). Unlike these Lesseiz Faire and Etatic formulations, the Triple Helix model is both flexible and self-reinforced, allowing for appropriate room for agency while offering a structural backbone for links to form and stabilize.

FF2

  • Figure 1.2   Lessaiz Faire and Etatic models of relating academia, industry and government

Source: adapted from Etzkowitz and Ledesdorff, 2000 (figure 2, page 111)

1.2 Social Context 

The backdrop for the Triple Helix Model is the discussions since the 1970s on the structural base of the transition into a knowledge economy. The Triple Helix model is, therefore, one of several eco-systemic outlines for innovation, all of which draft the environment, or social context, of innovation and entrepreneurship. Among such systemic maps of the innovation- and knowledge economy, and most clearly in comparison with the notion of NIS of Freeman and Lundvall (see, Nelson 1993), the Triple Helix model stands out due to several of its core features. First, it is a neo-evolutionary model, where the development of social institutions, herein the sectors of an innovation economy, is revealed as a co-evolutionary process. Second, it is a non-linear model of social action, herein of the interaction among the three sectors. In this sense, the development of an innovation economy, while path dependent to some degree upon historical circumstances, is sparked by the interactive and multilateral interactions among multiple stakeholders. Its neo-evolutionary tone makes the Triple Helix model most applicable for policy. Indeed, the model has been a basis for many policy reforms, of regions and nations seeking innovation-spurred development.

Epistemologically, from the perspective of organizational studies, the Triple Helix Model is a part of an overall move to regard organizations as open entities, which are embedded in a wider social context (see, Engwall 2007). For example, university governance is currently analyzed as involving relations with “external” and multiple stakeholders, such as accreditation agencies, international higher education associations, parents groups, and employers of their to-be graduates (see, Tuchman 2009). This understanding of the porous boundaries of each of the three core institutions in the Model does not weaken the positivist approach to social development that underlies the Triple Helix Model. Rather, contrary to the focus on academic capitalism (Slaughter and Leslie 1997, Slaughter and Rhoades 2004, Hoffman 2011), the Triple Helix Model regards university-industry ties as an imperative for innovation and development and as synergetic, rather than exploitative, relations. Overall, it is on such matters – of a model void of power, hierarchy and historical context – that the Triple Helix Model is most criticized.

1.3 Critique of Triple Helix Model

Criticism of the Triple Helix Model comes from two directions. First are those who challenge the premises of the Model and expose its ideological roots. In this group are the many studies of academia-industry relations that highlight power-asymmetries among the sectors. In the words of Yang et al., the Model “treats the roles of different innovation actors (universities, industry and government) symmetrically, which promotes the impression that innovation is the result of non-hierarchical collaborations around mutual development objectives.” (2012: 347). Prominent among such critics is the “Academic Capitalism” school, led by Sheila Slaughter, Gary Rhodes and Larry Leslie. This research tradition stresses the impact of the industrial sector and other commercial interests on academia and the tilting of academic research in the direction of such capitalist, profit-oriented interests. Benner and Sandstrom (2000), for example, call attention to the impact of research funding on the institutionalization of Triple Helix ties: research sponsors, they claim, “steer the attention of potential applicants in a specific direction” by, for example, setting criteria for evaluation and “influence the expectations and orientations of the applicants.”

Others add that the Model is archetypical American and, with that, flattens cross-national variations in the triple-sectoral relations or in innovation systems in general. Therefore, while the Model portrays three-sector relations as a necessary condition, industrial development in Europe has long been anchored in industry-academia partnerships. Therefore, contrary to the Triple Helix Model’s imagery of innovation systems, Fogelberg and Thopenberg show that “[t]he mutual development that Arenas promoted was based on the tradition in the Swedish welfare model, i.e. a two helices industry-government partnership between large organisations, rather than on a Triple Helix process.” (2012: 355). From this perspective, the Triple helix Model reflects American definitions of innovation in the post World War II era, immersed in a culture of commercialization of the public good.

The second line of criticism of the Triple Helix Model includes the many calls for amendments to the Model, rater than replacing it. These calls are not taken as a challenge to the Model, but rather as a way to increase the Model’s relevance to varying conditions worldwide and to adapt it to changing circumstances. In fact, Etzkowitz and Leydesdorff are themselves among those conceiving of extension- models, suggesting “triple helix twins” (Etzkowitz and Zhau 2006) or “N-tuple helices” (Leydesdorff 2011).

One direction for extension and adaptation of the Model, and with that a challenge of-sorts to its original formulation, includes the call for amendment to the geographical scope. Such challenges, which also speak to the American-centric tone of the Triple Helix Model, come on the basis of the adaptation that is required from the Model’s region-based analysis to its aspiration to speak for national systems. Specifically, the Triple Helix Model is scoped for regions, as it was developed from lessons of Silicon Valley and Route 128, yet it is used interchangeably with NIS, which is scoped for whole national economies and is guided by national policy. This “mismatch” between regional-, city- and national systems of innovation challenge the generalizability and applicability of the Triple Helix Model. Gray (2011), for example, calls for STI learning to occur between cities or between regions, rather than between countries. He concludes by saying that “it may make more sense for my international colleagues to spend more of their time visiting Albany, NY, Sacramento, CA, Raleigh, NC or one of the other host of states that have developed highly diversified approaches to supporting economic development via CSRC and less in our nation’s capital.” (2011: 132). Overall, this call for amendment is a call for careful application of the framework suggested by the Triple Helix Model beyond its original formulation for regions onto national-, city- or cross-border innovation layouts.

Most of the calls for amendment to the Triple Helix Model come on the basis of expanding the number of social sectors intertwined into the innovation system. Some calls are for the addition of a single, fourth strand to the university-industry-government model. Most importantly, both Leydesdorff and Etzkowitz (2003), Marcovich and Shinn (2011) and Yang et al. (2012), who wrestle with the definition of this amorphous social sector, suggest the adding of ‘the public,’ ‘society’ or ‘NGOs and local community organizations’ (respectively) as the fourth helix to the original triple–strand formulation. The involvement of civil society, nongovernmental organizations or local community is found to be of particular importance in the development of specific sectors of innovation, such as eco-innovation (Yang et al, 2012). Lately, Leydesdorff (2012) went as far as to suggest an N-tuple Helix model-of-sorts, as an acknowledgement of the diversity of stakeholders involved in the innovation process in the 21st century (see also, Carayannis and Campbell 2009). Yang et al. summarize these various helix models of innovation by comparing among Triple Helix, Triple Helix Twins, Quadruple Helix and N-tuple Helix models (Table 1, 2012: 377).

Others add a time dimension to the helixing. Specifically, Marcovich and Shinn (2011) not only add a strand for ‘society’ but also identify four phases to the formation of a field-level triple helix. They find that in the emergence of the research field of Dip-Pen nanolithography is phased into stages, each of which is characterized by binomial links: phase 1 includes academic instrument research (and involves university/society link); phase 2 describes the transformation from instrument to tool and the start up of a company (university/industry link); Phase3 is includes the development of a mature firm and commercialization (industry/society link); and Phase 4 is when confirming of ‘‘nanofication’’ occurs (society/industry link).

Marcovich and Shinn’s work, while addressing the general theme of time and process, also speaks to the specificity of the model to one sector or another. The possibility that triple helixing is sector specific also emerges from the work of Etzkowitz and Zhou (2006), who suggest that Triple helix Twins are formed due to the gap between innovation and sustainability in some sectors or due to the differences in economic emphases of sectors.

Overall, the many calls for expansion of the Model to additional geographical scopes, additional social contingencies, and most importantly additional helices, reflect the complexity of innovation and the intricacies involved in specifying the system that springs innovation. Our work here follows this line of expansion of the original Triple Helix Model. Through a thorough analysis of the systemic components of Israel’s successful innovation economy, we propose an extension to the original formational of the Model by adding additional helices and, with that, specifying socio-political contingencies for innovation in Israel.

1.4 The Case of Israel

Israel’s innovation economy is flourishing and still many concerted efforts are made to maintain Israel’s edge in the global knowledge- and innovation economy. Israel also boasts a solid foundation for a Triple Helix format, with most active academic, governmental and industrial sectors.

University. Israeli academic institutions, two of which predate the founding of the State of Israel[1], include 9 universities and dozens of colleges and, remarkably, 46% of Israeli adult population attained tertiary education. And while the quality of science education, from elementary to high schools, is in lower middle OECD range, the success of Israeli academia is expressed in a high rate of scientific publication, high ranking of universities, international awards for Israeli science[2], and patent productivity of universities[3] – all of which contribute to Israel’s repeated ranking as #1 worldwide in quality of scientific research institutions according to the Global Competitiveness Report. The leadership of Israeli universities is noted in particular in computer science, mathematics, economics, and chemistry[4] and national plans set several specific scientific fields as national priority[5]. Such leadership is also evident in Israel’s leadership in patenting in specific fields, most notably IT (see, Figure 1.3). In 2011 reports Israel ranked 4th worldwide in patent production ratio[6]. As noted in Chapter 4, all seven of Israel’s research universities have a technology transfer arm, with Weitzmann Institute’s YEDA founded in 1959, much earlier than noted TTOs elsewhere in the world.

FF3

  • Figure 1.3  Technology Productivity, by Field 2007-9: Israel in Comparison to OECD Countries   (Index based on PCT[1] patent applications)

Source: OECD STI Outlook 2012, p. 4.


[1] The Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT) is the 1970 international patent law treaty harmonizing patent registration procedures and patent protections.‬‬

Industry. Israel’s first high-tech firms were Tadiran and Elron Electronics, founded in 1962 and thus Israel’s celebrated software sector came following a strong IT standing was set (see, Braznitz 2007). Israel’s noted standing in education and STI productivity quickly lured high-tech multinationals to invest in Israel, with Motorola being the first US firm to set an Israeli arm in 1964. Notably, the main activity of multinational tech companies in Israel is R&D: Microsoft and Cisco Systems built their first R&D center outside in the US in Israel; Motorola set its largest R&D center in Israel; Intel, which started operating in Israel in 1974 and has 2 manufacturing facilities, has 4 R&D centers in Israel and Google holds 2 R&D centers in Israel. Overall, in 2012 over 240 foreign companies established R&D centers in Israel. By 2000 Israel’s “Silicon Wadi” cluster was recognized as equal in strength to Boston, Helsinki, London, and Kista (Sweden), second only to Silicon Valley (Hillner 2000). R&D-related products comprise more then half of total industrial exports (excluding diamonds). And Israel ranked 11th worldwide in company R&D spending[7] and is leading among OECD countries, in particular in knowledge-intensive industries (see, Figure 1.4). With 2010 gross domestic expenditure of R&D (GERD) standing at 4.40% of GDP (excluding defense) and an average annual growth of 4.1% in 2005-10, Israel stands as an OCED leader in R&D-related expenditure; 52% of GERD in 2008 came from private sector funding. All these factors, including the ingenuity of founders, account for the success of Israel’s knowledge-intensive industry even in the face of the challenges of political uncertainty, wars, and geographical distance (see, Chorev and Anderson, 2005).

FF4

  • Figure 1.4   R&D Investments: Israel in Comparison to OECD Countries (% of total business enterprise R&D (BERD), 2009)

Source: OECD STI Outlook 2012, p. 4.

Government. Several laws guide Israeli policy regarding STI, revealing policy emphasis on only on education but particularly on R&D.[8] Several core government program stand successfully: for example, MAGNET program – which was established in 1994, is managed by the Office of the Chief Scientist of the Ministry of Industry, Trade & Labor, aims at supporting technology initiatives in Israeli industry – had a budget of 57 million USD in 2011; the 1991-1998 incubators program which came to alleviate stress of large and highly educated immigration from the former Soviet Union and spun some 500 graduating companies with 50% success rate (Trajtenberg 2000); and a 2010 Ministry of Finance initiative titled “relative advantage” (יחסי יתרון) is aimed at locating financing sources for Israeli start-up companies. In addition, several measures of The Higher Education Plan 2011-15, which aims at improving higher education and research, were implemented: doubling of in Israel Science Foundation funding (from 75 million USD in 2011 to 139 million USD by 2015) and a 362 million USD I-CORE (centers of research excellence) project. Still, Israel’s STI policy is regrettably at the jurisdiction of several ministries (Ministry of Industry, Trade and Labor, Ministry of Science and Technology and Ministry of Education and there is no comprehensive national STI plan or strategy.[9] With that, the path of Israel’s STI policy is unique in comparison to other emerging economies: Israel’s successful IT industry builds upon already present R&D and educational capacity and then was spurred by a “market-failure-focused, industry-neutral S&T policy” (Breznitz, 2007). As noted in OECD reports, in comparison to other OECD-member countries, Israel’s innovation policy is lagging (see, Figure 1.5).

FF5

  • Figure 1.5  Overview of National Innovation Policy Mix, 2010: Israel in Comparison to OECD Countries

Source: OECD STI Outlook 2012, p. 4.

Without challenging the important role of these three sectors, which are core to the Triple Helix Model, in the success of Israel’s innovation economy, are these the only institutions involved in spurring innovation in Israel and thus influencing Israel’s innovation economy? What additional institutions shape Israeli innovation? Are these additional institutions “helixed” into the traditional 3-helix model?

Drawing upon discussions of our research team, we concluded that the 3-helix model, which identifying the core institutions and articulating their tights and entangled relations, does not fully capture the institutional complexity of Israel’s innovation. Rather, Israel’s innovation requires the helixing of several additional strands into the traditional 3-strand, Triple Helix Model. Specifically, we propose that any description of Israel’s innovation system by the helix model of innovation requires the addition of at least the following institutions:

Military. In spite of the secrecy concealing much of Israel’s defense-related R&D, the Israeli defense sector has a fundamental impact on the development of Israel’s IST sectors. Much of Israel’s R&D sponsorship was directed at defense projects and the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF), along with the Israeli military industries, stand to be both a client for innovation and a producer of innovation. By 1980s estimates, 65% of the national expenditure on R&D were defense related, with only 13% oriented towards civilian industries) and about half the scientists and engineers employed in the industrial sector worked in defense industries (Peled, 2001: 5). IDF also influences innovation by way of its alumni, through spin-offs and cultural imprinting: many of Israel’s start-up spun off knowledge gained during compulsory military service, much of Israel’s business network is built off ties that were formed during military service, and skills of teamwork and initiative-taking born of military culture heavily imprint Israel’s STI work culture (see, de Fontenay and Carmel, 2004; Senor and Singer, 2009). Overall, the prominence of military R&D in Israel’s STI is fueled not only by Israel’s security concerns but also draws upon the spirit of Vannevar Bush’s Science – The Endless Frontier (1945), which is the constitutive document for STI policy ever since. In addition to the principle of public funding and sponsorship of STI, Bush also set a central role to military R&D thorugh collaboration with university- and industry-labs. The IDF operates according to this logic, also building DARPA-like R&D centers within the military.

Financial sector. With Israeli economy overwhelmingly dominated by the public sector until the early 1980s, much of the funding for education, science and R&D came from government sources (ministries, government-controlled banks and public agencies). Trajtenberg (2000) reports that while until 1980s financial support was directed solely at National R&D Labs, academic and agricultural R&D, and the (presumably weighty) defense-related R&D, the “beginning of government support for industrial (civilian) R&D in Israel dates back to 1968: a government commission, headed by Prof. Ephraim Kachalski (Katzir)[10], called for the creation of the Office of the Chief Scientist (OCS) at the Ministry of Industry and Commerce, with the mandate to subsidize commercial R&D projects undertaken by private firms.” Still, even after the massive privatization of the 1980s and the mounting pressure on sufficiency of higher education institutions, governmental subsidies and government-sponsored programs heavily influenced the sprinting of knowledge-intensive industry in Israel. For example, Lach (2002) calculates that “an extra dollar of [R&D] subsidies increased long-run company-financed expenditure on R&D by 41 cents.” Following the first Israeli firms to register on American stock exchanges, with Elscint beings the first Israeli IT company to go public on NASDAQ in 1972, many more followed to seek private funding.  In 2012, Israel was second only to China in Nasdaq-listed companies: in 2012 over sixty Israeli companies are listed on Nasday, of more than 250 Israeli companies that has IPO on Nasdaq since 1980 and with 33 new Israeli listings in the year 2000 alone. Here emerge a few paths for innovation funding. In comparing Israel R&D intensive companies registered on US- and Israeli stock-exchanges, Blass and Yosha (2002) show that the companies listed in the US use highly equity-based sources of financing and are more profitable and faster-growing, whereas those listed only in Israel rely more on bank financing and government funding and are slower to grow. With the global opening of Israeli industry and financial sector, and with added boost from the Yozma government initiative to give tax incentives to foreign VC investments, came the entry of venture capital into Israel: between 1991 and 2000, Israel’s annual venture-capital expenditures rose nearly 60-fold, from $58 million to $3.3 billion and the number of companies launched by Israeli venture funds rose from 100 to 800 (IVC, 2012). With that, Israel is the largest venture capital in the world outside the US (Breznitz, 2007). This VC infusion has been found to directly impact high-tech growth in Israel (Avimelech and Teubal, 2006). In addition to the shift from public- to private funding, as of late there is also a shift from venture capital to private equity funding and a growing number of “angels” and “angel funds” (IVC, 2012). Overall, over the course of the past four decades we see a dramatic change in the finance base for STI in Israel, while Israel is also turning into a global player in STI financing.

Social sector, civil society or the non-profit sector.  Following in the steps of earlier discussion by Leydesdorff and Etzkowitz (2003), Marcovich and Shinn (2011) and Yang et al. (2012), it is evident that Israeli civil society is indeed increasingly influencing the course of STI development. Under the canopy of social sector innovation and entrepreneurship come many different initiatives, varying by goal (to create socially-minded ventures or to close social gaps in ICT access, use and creation), by sponsorship (governmental, corporate philanthropy or non-profit bodies) and therefore by being more or less formal. Operating formally as drivers of social innovation and entrepreneurship, many more Israeli NGOs are focusing their attention to innovation and social-innovation-minded international NGOs, such as Ashoka (see Chapter 6), are now operating in Israel. Some, like Olim BeYakhad (ביחד עולים) which works with educated and skilled Ethiopian immigrants, focus on social innovation, especially among weakened populations; others, like or The Hub TLV, give home also to tech or artistic innovation; and other, like Presenentse mentorship club, focus on supporting business and tech ventures. And, such socially-minded innovation and entrepreneurship initiatives are increasingly professionalized (see, ואשכנזי אברוצקי, 2011). With that, Israeli civil society is spurring the redefinition of innovation and development to include social innovation and social entrepreneurship. For one, the Prime Minister’s Prize for Innovation, which is distributed since 2010 and is a part of Israeli participation in Global Entrepreneurship Week, is giving equal credence annually to technology- and social inventors. In addition, Israeli civil society is imprinting STI industrial connections. For example, Rothchild and Darr (2005) show how much of the links between academia and industry in Israel depend on informal networks of affinity: much of the exchange of know-how and practice between the Technion and a partnering incubator depend on cyclical models of network relations among Israeli-born managers or, separately, among Russian-born scientists. And, as noted earlier, much of Israeli high-tech sector is traceable to social ties formed during military service, which still remains a “melting pot” for the Jewish non-Orthodox segment of Israeli society. This results also in the isolation, and marginalization, of any Israeli-Arab tech venture; this itself sprung civil society initiative to close the Jewish-Arab gap, with for example The Arab-Israeli Center for Technology and Hi-Tech working as a non-profit organization since 2008 in response to the high unemployment rates among highly educated Arab Israelis by encouraging their placement with Israel high-tech firms.

Diaspora, Social network relations closely tie Israeli society with two social groups outside its borders: the Jewish- and Israeli diasporas. It is estimated that in 2010 Israel was home to only 35% of the world’s Jewish population, with Israel’s Jewish population only slightly bigger than the Jewish population in the US alone. Still, with Israel declarably the home for the Jewish people, the worldwide Jewish diaspora ha strong relations with Israel and, specifically, has also impacted STI sectors. Initial support of Israeli institutions, most notably of academia, were philanthropic donations; many of the buildings, programs, and prizes in Israeli universities are named after their sponsors. As of late, it seems, more such sponsorship comes as a form of investment (Shimoni 2008 and Silver 2008 in Schmid et al., 2009): sponsorship medical- and agriculture research that comes as a form of partnership and investment.

In addition, Israel is also linked with an Israel diaspora, comprising of Israelis who reside outside of Israel: By 2008 estimates of the Ministry of Immigration and Absorption, the Israeli diapora is estimated at 12.5% of Israel’s Jewish population, with some 60% residing in the US. While decreed as Yordim for many years, the stigma that came with emigration from Israel has slowly been lifted and Israelis who found success abroad have followed in the way of Jewish philanthropist and investors to contribute to Israel’s growth. Such “circular immigration” or “Brain Circulation” (Saxenian, 1994, 2006) has been translated to IST: Israeli-heritage ties were the bridges to bring several global high-techs firms, most notably Intel in the 1970s, to establish branches in Israel (Orpaz, 2012). More formally, several government initiatives reach out to the highly educated and affluent Israeli diaspora: programs targeting “returning scientists” and activities such as that of the California-Israel Chamber of Commerce Israeli foster and maintain relations with the aim of linking business and academic communities of Israelis outside of Israel with Israel’s innovation economy.

In addition to the impact of these two diasporic communities outside of Israel, it is upon Jewish diasporic ties that Israel’s high-tech sector grew. Specifically, Israel’s knowledge-intensive industries, and particularly its post-1990 high-tech boom, relied upon waves of high-skill immigration: the 19991-1993 wave of immigration from the former Soviet Union served as a critical human capital infusion for Israel’s high-tech sector (see, Avimelech and Teubal, 2006; Chorev and Anderson, 2006).

In summary, in attempting to apply the Triple Helix Model to the Israeli case we came to the realization that the three-strand formation does not cover the full breadth of institutions, or sectors, that are tightly involved in the success of Israel’s innovation economy. Rather, we find that to the university-industry-government formation, one must add 4 so-called strands: the military, financial sector, civil society and the diaspora. With that, the Israeli innovation system is best described as a 7-helix model. The structure of this book follows this logic: each team member focused her or his research on a specific strand, regrettably with the exception of the “strand” of diasporic ties.

1.5 Structure of this Book

Following on the review of the conceptual background and critique here (Chapter 1) and the introductory note by Henry Etzkowitz (Chapter 2), the book offers a total of 6 chapters, each devoted to the exploration of a single innovation helix in Israel.

Chapter 3, written by Alexandr Bucevschi, focuses on innovation in Israel’s industrial sector, by focusing patent as and on the inter-helix relations that are reflected in patenting. With empirical verification of the Israeli industry (Teva Pharmaceuticals Industries Ltd. and Elbit Systems Ltd.), looking at the affiliations of patent owners and inventors appearing in applications, he demonstrates the connections between one helix and its different sectors and between it a other helices. With that, Alexandr identifies patterns that set a basis for future causal studies as well as allowing for an early look into the influences global changes have over local industries and their patenting policy.

Chapter 4, written by Navah Berger, sets to map out the characteristics of the mechanisms used for translating academic knowhow into commercialized technologies, namely university technology transfer offices. All seven[11] Israeli research universities have a cohesive model of technology transfer that plays a role in innovation creating the field of study. By exploring their three technology transfer strategies (patenting, licensing and spin-offs), Navah reveals the extent to which commercialization of academic knowledge is well ingrained into Israeli academia, thus setting Israeli academia is a solid basis for Israel’s booming innovation economy.

Chapter 5, written by Amy Ben-Dor, analyzes the role that government initiative splay in fostering innovation in Israel, specifically exploring the gender bias in such government initiatives. Specifically focusing on the Tnufa[12] Program of Israel’s Ministry of Trade and Industry, which is aimed at supporting young entrepreneurs, Amy reveals the maintenance of social inequalities and reproduction of gender differences through the review procedures of proposals coming before the Program. In this manner, Tnufa Program is a gendered program, exposing the gendered, specifically masculine tone of the different helices.

Chapter 6, written by Noga Caspi, offers a study of Ashoka-Israel as an exemplar of the impact that civil society, or non-profit, organizations have on the field of innovation and entrepreneurship. Studying the project portfolio of Ashoka-Israel, Noga reveals that through promoting the creation of social value, A-I has reframed social activity with notions of innovation and entrepreneurship. In this way, she argues, Ashoka-Israel becomes involved in innovation work in Israel.

Chapter 7, written by Ohad Barkai, centers on the funding of research. Relying on his own compilation of research funding information that is publically available, he creates a series of network maps of Israeli institutions that are involved in funding of research, specifically medical research, in Israel. Ohad Barkai then concludes that a variety of organizations are involved in funding of medical research in Israel: government agencies (such as Israel Science Foundation), pharmaceutical and medical firms (such as Novartis), and non-profit organizations (such as Israel Cancer Association). And since Ohad studied the number of research projects funded, rather than the size of the funding, it is clear that the major sponsors of research in Israel are not the big-budget organizations but rather the non-profit organizations. Ohad’s conclusions reinforce the importance of the civil society “helix.”

Chapter 8, written by Avida Netivi, focuses his study on Talpiyot[13] Project, which is a military program designed to build a cadre of innovative R&D personnel for the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF). The selected excelling recruits are sent for physics, CS, or mathematics studies at The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, while also going through military training and introduction to defense-related industries. Avidah’s study, which started with the assumption that the military is an N-th helix in Israel’s system of innovation, concludes that Telpiyot project is in itself an expression of a Triple Helix Model. Talpiyot’s curriculum triangulates among university studies, industry experience, and officers’ military training. On the basis of such analysis, Avidah continues with a consideration of the innovation system as helixed (interlinked strands) versus hybrid (fused).

One helix proposed for Israel’s N-Tuple helix model, namely diaspora, was not analyzed because of shortage of research collaborators. We encourage others who are interested in studying Israel’s miraculous entry into the global innovation economy to explore the importance of long-standing relations between Israel and the Jewish worldwide diaspora as well as the new and still tenuous relations between Israel and the worldwide Israeli diaspora.

1.6 Concluding Comments

The Triple Helix Model offers us a starting point for an analysis of the innovation system in Israel. We are inspired by the Model’s highlighting of multi-sectoral formation and its emphasis on the interlacing and recursive relations among these many stakeholders. In this work, we take the Triple Helix Model to be a methodological tool for generalizing innovation formation and dynamics. First, relying on the Model’s triple-sectoral formation and accepting its metaphor of intertwined helices, we here expand to analyze the Israeli case as a 7-sector innovation-economy. Second, relying on the Model’s suggestion of multiple points of interaction among the helices and the transformative effects that such interaction has on each of the involved institutions, we analyze the cross-cutting relations among the Israeli military, academia, industry, financial sector, civil society sector, and the Israeli government. We contend that Israel’s innovation was spurred, and still thrive upon, the helixed relations among all 6 strands 9and by extension also the 7th helix of diasporas). It is these helixed strands that formed the “critical mass” of innovation in Israel and turned the once isolated and labor-driven economy into the hothouse of innovation for the global knowledge economy.

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[1] Technion (Israeli Institute of Technology) held classes starting in 1924 and The Hebrew University of Jerusalem in 1925.

[2] Most notably, of the 10 Israeli Nobel Prize laureates, 6 received the award for scientific excellence: 4 in chemistry and 2 in economics.

[3] In terms of PCT patents field by universities and public labs; OCED 2012.

[4] According to Shanghai ranking of universities 2001: in computer science Weitzmann Institute ranks 11th worldwide; Technion 15th, Hebrew University 26th and Tel Aviv University 28; in Mathematics, Hebrew University 22nd, Tel Aviv University 32nd and Technion in group 51-75; in Economics both Hebrew University and Tel Aviv University in group 51-75.

[5] Specifically, the national I-CORE project specifies policy priority for the following higher education and research fields: molecular basis of human diseases, cognitive science, computer sciences, and renewable and sustainable sources of energy. And the Israeli Biotechnology Fund set brain research, nanotechnology and biotechnology as its priority sectors.

[6] Utility patents granted per million population: 195.0; outranked by Taiwan (287), Japan (279) and US (261); Global Competitiveness Report 2010-11.

[7] Israel’s score 4.7 (on scale of 6); Global Competitiveness Report 2010-11.

[8] Encouragement of Industrial Research and Development Law 5744-1984 (amended as late as 2006); Law for the Encouragement of Capital Investment, 5719-1959 (amended as late as 2011); and laws for preferential treatment of R&D investments in the Negev and Galilee.

[9] For comprehensive review of policy, updated to 2007, see Getz and Segal (2008).

[10] Prof. Ephraim Kachalski was a chemist and among the founders of the Weizmann Institute. Upon his appointment as the 4th President of the State of Israel (1973-1978), he Hebraicized his last name to Katzir.

[11] Israel’s two additional universities do not have TTOs: Open University is primarily a distance-learning institution and Ariel University of Samaria was given the status of a university only in 2011.

[12] “Tnufa” translates to momentum, or upswing

[13] “Talpiyot” translated to solid and magnificent structure, or fortress.

[14] The classic Trivium and Quadrivium were the core and supporting academic disciplines that constituted the knowledge-base of medieval Europe. See Etzkowitz, Ranga and Dzisah, 2012.

[15] Author discussion with Yozma founders at the 3rd Triple Helix Conference in Rio de Janeiro, 1999. FINEPE, the Brazil Development Agency invited Yozma representatives to the conference and held side meetings to arrange transfer of the Yozma model to Brazil. FINEPE added an additional element, “FINEPE University,” a series of workshops held around the country to train entrepreneurs in “pitching” to venture firms.

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Chapter 2 in 

R&D Alliances between Big Pharma and Academic Research Centers: Pharma’s Realization that Internal R&D Groups alone aren’t enough 

Israel’s Innovation System: A Triple Helix with Four Sub-helices

Prof. Henry Etzkowitz

It is fitting that the Triple Helix, with universities as a key innovation actor, along with industry and government, has been taken up in Israel, a knowledge-based society, rooted in Talmudic scholarship and scientific research. Biblical literature provided legitimation for the creation of the Jewish state while science helped create the economic base that made state formation feasible. In this case, the establishment of a government followed the creation of  (agricultural) industry and academia as the third element in a triple helix.  Nevertheless, a triple helix dynamic can be identified in the earliest phases of the formation of Israeli society, well before a formal state apparatus was constructed. Founding a state was a key objective of industry and academia but these intertwined helical strands did not accomplish the objective without assistance from other sources nor is innovation in contemporary Israel, along with many other societies, solely a triple helix phenomenon.

Several analysts have identified additional helices as relevant to innovation (Drori, Ch. 1). However, if everything is relevant than nothing is especially significant and a model that originally posited the transformation of the university from a secondary supporting institution of industrial society to a primary institution of a knowledge based society is vitiated. A second academic revolution expanded academic tasks from education and research to include entrepreneurship as a third mission. An entrepreneurial university, interacting closely with industry and government, is the core of a Triple Helix. By engaging in such relations an academic sector may, depending upon its previous experience, maintain or gain, relative independence. Triple Helix actors must also continually renew their commitment to entrepreneurship and innovation, lest they fall back into traditional roles and relationships.

What is the source of the Israeli Triple Helix? The contributors to this volume have identified seven helical strands as constitutive of the Israeli innovation system. I suggest that these strands may be grouped into primary and secondary categories: the primary strands are the classic triple helix (university-industry-government) while the secondary strands are supporting linkages, like the two diasporas (Israeli and foreign), or hybrid organizations like the military and non-governmental organizations (NGO’s). Thus, the resulting Israeli innovation system takes the form of a Trivium and a Quadrivium consisting of three primary and four secondary strands, in a variety of relationships with each other in different historical periods. The Innovation Trivium and Quadrivium are the constellation of core and supporting actors that constitute a knowledge-based innovation system. [1]

2.1 Triple Helix Origins

The triple helix innovation model originated in the analysis of MIT’s role in the renewal of New England, a region suffering industrial decline from the early 20th century (Etzkowitz, 2002).  MIT was founded in the mid 19th century, with industry and government support to raise the technological level of the regions’ industries but by the time it had developed research capabilities many of those industries had already left the region, to move closer to sources of raw materials, lines of distribution and less expensive labor. It was in this context, during the 1920’s, that the governors of New England called together the leadership of the region in a Council to address the region’s economic decline. Given a unique feature of the region, its extensive network of academic institutions, it is not surprising that the governors included the academic leadership of the region in their call.

However, their inclusion of academia had an unexpected consequence, transforming the usual public-private partnership model into a unique configuration- a proto-triple helix with a proclivity to originality. Triads are more flexible than dyads that typically take a strong common direction or devolve into opposition and stasis (Simmel, 1950).  Industry-government groups typically repeat timeworn strategies to attract industries from other regions in a zero sum game or attempt to revive local declining industries that may be beyond resuscitation. The inclusion of academia along with industry and government introduced an element of novelty into the government-industry dyad.  A moment of collective creativity occurred, during the discussions of the New England Council, inspired by the leadership of MIT’s President Karl Compton.  A triple helix dynamic, with the university as a key actor in an innovation strategy, was instituted that was highly unusual at the time.

The Council made an analysis of the strengths and weakness of the New England region and invented the venture capital firm to fill a gap in its innovation system, expanding a previously sporadic and uneven process of firm-formation from academic research into a powerful stream of start-ups and growth firms. A coalition of industry, government and university leaders invented a new model of knowledge-based economic and social development, building upon the superior academic resources of the region. This was not an isolated development but built upon previous financial and organizational innovations in the whaling industry and in academia.  In New England, industry and government, inspired by an academic entrepreneur and visionary, William Barton Rogers, earlier came together in the mid 19th century to found MIT, the first entrepreneurial university, thereby establishing the preconditions for a triple helix dynamic in that region.

2.2 From a Double to a Triple Helix

In a remote province of the Ottoman Empire in the early 20th century, Jewish agricultural settlements and an agricultural research institute created a triple helix dynamic that assisted the formation of the State of Israel. An industry-academia double helix provided the knowledge-based foundation for the Israeli triple helix. It preceded the founding of the state of Israel and indeed supplied many of the building blocks from which it was constructed. In a possibly unique configuration, state formation built upon scientific research and an agricultural industrial base. Before the Technion, the Weizmann Institute and the Hebrew University, there was the Jewish Agricultural Experiment Station in Atlit, founded in 1909 by agronomist Aaron Aaronsohn, with the support of Julius Rosenwald, an American-Jewish philanthropist (Florence, 2007).

Hints in the Bible of agricultural surplus, a land flowing with “milk and honey,” were investigated in an early 20th century context of desertification in Palestine.  The station’s researchers hypothesized that a seeming desert had a greater carrying capacity than was expected and thus could support a much larger population. Aronsohn and his colleagues’ advances in  “arid zone agriculture” opened the way to the transformation of a network of isolated agricultural settlements into a modern urban society.  The Atlit research program, conducted in collaboration with the US Department of Agriculture, was then introduced to California.

However, in California, arid zone methods were soon made superfluous by hydraulic transfer projects, from north to south, of enormous water resources. Arid agricultural methods remained relevant in the Israeli context of scarce water resources. Israel’s first high tech industry was based upon the development of drip irrigation techniques in the late 1950’s that preceded the IT wave by decades. Labor saving methods of agricultural production were also driven by ideological concerns of not wanting to be dependent upon hired Arab labor.  Science-based technology was thus at the heart of a developing Israeli society as well as a key link to a Diaspora that supplied infusions of support from abroad.

The Atlit agricultural research institute transformed itself into an intelligence network on behalf of the British during the First World War, betting that assisting the exit of Palestine from the Ottoman Empire could provide a pathway for the creation of a Jewish state (Florence, 2007). The Atlit network was uncovered, and some of its members perished, but it had already provided significant information on invasion routes that assisted the British takeover of Palestine. Its leader, Aaron Aaronsohn, died in a plane crash over the English channel in 1919 while bringing maps to the post-war Paris peace conference. The Institute itself did not survive its repurposing but its mission was taken up by other agricultural research units.

A linkage between helices and the translation of social capital from one sphere to another was another element of the state building project. The Balfour Declaration, issued by the British government in 1917, favored a “national home” for the Jewish people in Palestine, without prejudicing the rights of other peoples, and was the first such statement by a major power. Although the Declaration was part of a geopolitical balancing act to gain support for the British war effort, and may have occurred for that reason alone, British-Jewish scientist Chaim Weizmann’s accomplishments gave it a boost (Weizmann, 1949).

Weizmann’s invention of a bacterial method of producing the feedstock for explosives assisted the British war effort. Weizmann, a professor at Manchester University was able to transmute this discovery into support for a projected Jewish state through his relationship with Arthur Balfour, the Foreign Secretary, and an MP from Manchester. Weizmann dual roles as an eminent scientist and as a political leader in the Zionist movement coincided and he used an achievement in one arena to advance his goals in another. The Diaspora, of which he was a member in that era, aggregated international support for the state-building project.

Science also served to legitimate the new state of Israel. Albert Einstein was offered the presidency of the newly founded state of Israel. While the aura of his renown was one reason for the offer, that fame was primarily based on his scientific achievements. When Einstein turned down the position, the presidency was offered to another scientist, Chaim Weizmann, who accepted. The fact that the position was offered to two scientists in a row suggests that science was implicitly seen as legitimating the state, while also recognizing its role in the founding of Israel.

2.3 Innovation Trivium and Quadrivium

Identification of additional secondary contributors to innovation is a useful task but their relationship to the primary helices, and the roles that they play, should be specified. For example, the Israeli military may be viewed as a hybrid entity. In addition to the usual functions of a military, the Israel Defense Forces also serves as an educational institution for virtually the entire society, intermediating between secondary and university education and as an industrial development platform, spinning off aircraft and software industries. It has some of the characteristics of an independent helix but remains a part of the state, embodying hybrid elements that give it some of the characteristics of an independent institutional sphere.

It is a significant actor in Israeli society, having a significantly higher profile than the militaries in most societies. Therefore we locate it in the “Quadrivium” of support helices that comprise hybrid organizations or links with other societies. The military derived from the “Shomrim”, watches mounted by isolated settlements while nascent governmental institutions were a confluence between the networks of settlements and more general support structures such as the Jewish Agency, a mix of local and Diaspora efforts. A proto-state was constructed from these elements prior to independence.

The Israeli Diaspora played a key role, along with government, in founding Israel’s venture capital industry. After several unsuccessful attempts at developing a venture industry, government hit on the idea of combining public and private elements, providing government funds to encourage private partners to participate by reducing their risk. Key to the efforts success was the recruitment of members of the Israeli Diaspora, working in financial and venture capital firms in the US, to return to Israel and participate in the Yozma project and the funds that emanated from it. [2]

2.4 Israel: A Triple Helix Society

This volume, analyzing Israel’s innovation actors, makes a significant contribution to triple helix theory and practice by providing evidence of their relative salience. Identifying multiple contributors to the innovation project is a useful exercise but not all helices are equal. A key contribution of the triple helix model is that it identified the increased significance of the university in a knowledge based society and the fundamental importance of creative triple helix interactions and relationships to societies that wish to increase their innovation potential (Durrani et al., 2012).

We can also identify the qualities of an emergent social structure that encourages innovation. Multiple sources of initiative, organizational venues that combine different perspectives and experiences and persons with dual roles across the helices are more likely to produce innovation and hybridization than isolated rigid structures, even with great resources behind them. The Israeli experience takes the triple helix model a step beyond organizational innovation by demonstrating the significance of triple helix roles and relationships to the creation of an innovative society.

 References

Durrani, Tariq and Jann Hidajat Tjakraatmadja and Wawan Dhewanto Eds. 2012. 10th Triple Helix Conference 2012 Procedia – Social and Behavioral Sciences, Volume 52.

Etzkowitz, Henry. 2002. MIT and the Rise of Entrepreneurial Science. London: Routledge.

Etzkowitz, Henry, Marina Ranga and James Dzisah, 2012. “Wither the University? The Novum Trivium and the transition from industrial to knowledge society.” Social Science Information June 2012 51: 143-164.

Florence, Ronald. 2007. Lawrence and Aaronsohn: 
T. E. Lawrence, Aaron Aaronsohn, and the Seeds of the Arab-Israeli Conflict 
 
New York: Viking.

Simmel, Georg. 1950. Conflict and the Web of Group Affiliations. Glencoe: Free Press.

Weizmann, Chaim. 1949. Trial and Error: the autobiography of Chaim Weizmann. New York: Harper & Bros.

[1] The classic Trivium and Quadrivium were the core and supporting academic disciplines that constituted the knowledge-base of medieval Europe. See Etzkowitz, Ranga and Dzisah, 2012.

[2] Author discussion with Yozma founders at the 3rd Triple Helix Conference in Rio de Janeiro, 1999. FINEPE, the Brazil Development Agency invited Yozma representatives to the conference and held side meetings to arrange transfer of the Yozma model to Brazil. FINEPE added an additional element, “FINEPE University,” a series of workshops held around the country to train entrepreneurs in “pitching” to venture firms.

 

Other articles by same author were published in this Open Access Online Scientific Journal, include the following:

BEYOND THE “MALE MODEL”: AN ALTERNATIVE FEMALE MODEL OF SCIENCE, TECHNOLOGY AND INNOVATION

 Professor Henry Etzkowitz 8/1/2012

https://pharmaceuticalintelligence.com/2012/08/01/beyond-the-male-model-an-alternative-female-model-of-science-technology-and-innovation/

BEYOND THE “MALE MODEL”: AN ALTERNATIVE FEMALE MODEL OF SCIENCE, TECHNOLOGY AND INNOVATION

THE TRIPLE HELIX ASSOCIATION NEWSLETTER, VOLUME 1 ISSUE 3 JULY 2012

Hélice www.triplehelixassociation.org  Triple Helix X, 2012, Bandung,Indonesia . . . www.th2012.org

by Professor Henry Etzkowitz, President of the Triple Helix Association,  Senior Researcher, H-STAR Institute, Stanford University, Visiting Professor, Birkbeck, London University and Edinburgh University Business School

henry.etzkowitz@stanford.edu

Professor Henry Etzkowitz paper is based on his Keynote Address to the FemTalent Conference, Barcelona, Spain 2011

 

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From: AFHU <AFHU@mail.vresp.com>
Reply-To: AFHU <reply-01febe6994-47cd97e959-aa4c@u.cts.vresp.com>
Date: Mon, 17 Jun 2013 18:37:07 +0000
To: <avivalev-ari@alum.berkeley.edu>
Subject: Hear Barbra Streisand accept her Honorary Doctorate from The Hebrew University of Jerusalem

 

‘I wish the world were more like the hallways of the Hebrew University,’ says Barbra Streisand 

 

Legendary singer, actress and philanthropist receives honorary doctorate from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem

Legendary American actress, director, singer, producer, composer, philanthropist and activist Barbra Streisand received an honorary doctor of philosophy degree from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem today. The ceremony took place at 4 p.m. on the Mount Scopus campus, during the 76th Hebrew University International Board of Governors Meeting.

Following welcomes from the Chairman of the Hebrew University’s Board of Governors, Mr. Michael Federmann, and Prof. Menahem Ben-Sasson, the Hebrew University’s president, the honorary doctorate was presented to Ms. Streisand in recognition of her professional achievements, outstanding humanitarianism, leadership in the realm of human and civil rights, and dedication to Israel and the Jewish people.

An audio recording of Ms. Streisand’s comments is available to news organizations at http://bit.ly/hebrewu_streisand. It is not intended for rebroadcast.

In her comments after receiving the award, Ms. Streisand said, “For close to 30 years, I’ve had a deep connection to the Hebrew University. It’s not only home to a diverse population of some of Israel’s best and brightest students, but it also houses the Emanuel Streisand Building for Jewish Studies.”

In 1984 Ms. Streisand established the Emanuel Streisand Building in memory of her beloved father, whom she praised at the time as “a teacher, scholar and religious man who devoted himself to education.”

“I think he would be very proud to know that this esteemed institution is honoring his daughter,” she said today.

Streisand said it made her happy to read in the newspaper that more women than men graduated with a doctorate at the Hebrew University’s Convocation last night.

“One of the things I’ve always admired about this university is the fact that here, women and men, Jews and Arabs, Christians and Muslims, native-born and immigrants, sit together in classes, share the same cafeterias, learn from the same professors, and dream together of a good and meaningful life,” she said.

“I wish the word were more like the hallways of the Hebrew University,” she added.

Streisand condemned manifestations of exclusion of women in Israel, saying, “I realize it’s not easy to fully grasp the dynamics of what happens in a foreign land. Israel and the United States have much in common: Two great and noble countries, each with problems of course, but always striving to shine as a beacon of hope. So it’s distressing to hear about women in Israel being forced to sit at the back of a bus, or when we hear about Women of the Wall having metal chairs hurled at them when they attempt to peacefully pray, or when women are banned from singing in public ceremonies. But I’m also pleased to read that things are changing here. Repairs are being made and that’s very good.”

Streisand also complimented the debut speech of new Member of Knesset Dr. Ruth Calderon and said that Calderon’s speech served as an example of secular-religious dialogue through which people and countries can come together.

She concluded by quoting Albert Einstein, one of the founders of the Hebrew University: “Example isn’t another way to teach, it’s the only way to teach.”

At the conclusion of the ceremony, a member of the audience called out, “We love you, Barbra!” When Hebrew University President Prof. Menahem Ben-Sasson pointed out that with her honorary doctorate she is now “Dr. Streisand,” the audience member shouted back, “We love you, Dr. Streisand!”

After the event, Streisand  toured the Mount Scopus campus and visited the building named for her father. She also met with a number of scholars and students from the university, and among other things discussed the status of women.

Ms. Streisand has been long admired for her civic activism and philanthropic leadership.  Her commitment is reflected in the work of The Streisand Foundation, which is dedicated to fostering women’s equality and health, protecting human and civil rights, advancing the needs of at-risk children in society and preserving the environment. She often donates the proceeds from her performances on behalf of important causes.

 

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Reporter: Aviva Lev-Ari, PhD, RN

The Hebrew University Leads in I-CORE Participation in Israel

 

Hebrew University faculty lead five I-CORE centers, and hold scientific management positions in five

Hebrew University leads a new generation of scientific and academic excellence. I-CORE – the Israeli Center for Research Excellence is a new initiative designed by the government of Israel to establish leading research centers specializing in crucial scientific and medical pursuits as well as studies of the humanities. I-CORE will strengthen Israel’s academic and research output in the long-term and sustain Israel’s stature worldwide.

 

The Israeli government has chosen The Hebrew University of Jerusalem to establish and lead five of the 16 Centers of Excellence in the innovative I-CORE program. Hebrew University faculty also hold scientific management positions in five additional I-CORE centers. The Technion, Weizmann Institute of Science, and Tel Aviv University each lead three centers, while the University of Haifa and Ben Gurion University each lead one.

 

Molecular Basis of Human Diseases

Director: Professor Howard Cedar, Molecular Biology, The Hebrew University.

Engage in the study of genetic regulation of common complex human diseases. By understanding these diseases better, this I-CORE hopes to find better approaches to prevent and treat them.

 

“Da’at Hamakom”: Center for the Study of Cultures of Place in the Modern Jewish World.

Director: Professor Richard Cohen, Jewish History and Contemporary Jewry, The Hebrew University.

This I-CORE seeks to address notions of Jewish identity, creativity, tradition, and forms of attachment and belonging in the modern era.

 

The Center for Empirical Studies of Decision Making and the Law

Director: Professor Ilana Ritov, School of Education, The Hebrew University

The I-CORE’s goals are to conduct studies that examine fundamental issues of the basic-science of law and decision-making, and to address important implications for concrete policy debates.

 

Astrophysics: from the Big Bang to Planets

Director: Professor Piran Tsvi, Racah Institute for Physics, The Hebrew University

 

The role of chromatin, RNA modifications and non-coding RNAs in regulation of gene expression in development and disease

Director: Professor Friedman Nir, School of Computer Science and Engineering, The Hebrew University

 

Israel Multidisciplinary Center for Mass Trauma Research: From Basic Research to Real Life Application

Scientific Management Member: Professor Hermona Soreq, Biological Chemistry, The Hebrew University

 

Center for the Study of Conversion and Inter-Religious Encounters

Scientific Management Member: Dr. Ram Ben-Shalom, Jewish History, The Hebrew University

 

The Quantum Universe

Scientific Management Member: Professor Rabinovici Eliezer, Racah Institute of Physics, The Hebrew University

The anticipated data from particle physics, gravity, cosmology, astrophysics and strings, is the basis of research of this center, and may well lead to major breakthroughs in the study of fundamental physics at all length scales.

 

Comprehensive understanding and modeling of plant responses to multiple abrupt abiotic stresses and to prolonged climatic changes

Scientific Management Member: Professor Weiss David, Robert H. Smith Institute for Plant Sciences and Genetics in Agriculture, The Hebrew University

The I-CORE will contribute to a more holistic view of a plant in a changing environment, will boost research of fundamental scientific questions, and will impact on the local Ag-Biotech industries towards improved plant robustness under changing climate.

Center of Excellence in Algorithms

Scientific Management Member: Professor Danny Dolev, School of Computer Science and Engineering, The Hebrew University

 http://hosted-p0.vresp.com/950643/a271d5cc16/ARCHIVE#like

The I-CORE Program in Israel

http://www.icoregroup.com/

The Israeli Centers for Research Excellence (I-CORE) is an initiative designed by the Planning and Budgeting Committee (PBC) and the Government of Israel. The initiative is part of the Higher Education multi-year Reform Plan, which gradually establishes leading research centers specializing in a range of disciplines. The Centers of Excellence and the program’s vision are aimed at fundamentally strengthening the long term positioning of Israel’s academic research and its stature among leading researchers in Israel and abroad.

 

I-CORE was endorsed by the Government of Israel and adopted by Israel’s Council of Higher Education in March 2010 (see The government decision here).

 

The program is jointly run by the PBC and the Israeli Science Foundation (ISF).

 

The I-CORE Steering Committee is in charge of designing and approving the program’s principles and modus operandi, the selection of research topics, the reviewing of the evaluation committees’ reports and declaration of the groups selected to establish the I-COREs.
The International Scientific Advisory Committee (SAC) of the program advises to the Steering Committee on the various issues, supplying it with an external professional perspective, and assists the ISF with managing the evaluation process.

The Program’s objectives are:

  • Strengthening scientific research in Israel and establishing Israel’s standing as a world leader in scientific research;
  • “Brain Return”: returning excellent researchers to Israel, as a central means of fortifying the research capabilities and the academic staffs of the institutions of higher education;
  • Creating a critical mass and intensifying the relative advantages in select fields in the different institutions;
  • Improving and upgrading the research infrastructure in the universities;
  • Encouraging academic innovation, including integration between different fields of knowledge (multi-disciplinarity);
  • Maintaining and promoting advanced programs of instruction and training in select fields;
  • Encouraging research collaboration between institutions of higher education, both universities and colleges;
  • Strengthening the scientific research in Israel in disciplines of system-wide and national importance
  • Promoting collaboration with leading researchers and research institutions worldwide.

 

A “Center of excellence” is an association of outstanding researchers in a specific research field, who are current staff members of different higher education institutions, for the purpose of promoting groundbreaking and innovative research. The center serves as an anchor for shared research infrastructure and research groups in this field, and allows optimal utilization of the scientific potential of Israel.

 

Apart from the research infrastructure that is being established and upgraded in the framework of the I-CORE, the members of the center benefit from a significant budget for the center’s activities, including international activities, scholarships for research students and postdoctoral fellows, usage of equipment and materials, technical HR etc.

 

In addition to the members of the I-CORE who are current staff members of Israeli institutions of higher education, new outstanding researchers also join the center during the first three years of activity. The new researchers join the various higher education institutions where they get a regular tenure-track academic appointment, and also receive annual research grants for a period of five years and equipment grants.

 

In order to encourage research collaborations between the various researchers in the center which come from various institutions, the program encourages joint mentoring of graduate students by researchers who are members of the center, regardless of their institutional affiliation. In addition, the program assists the I-CORE members in organizing workshops and unique programs of advanced teaching, including International Graduate programs, in developing partnerships with industry, and in contributing to the community by holding public lectures or programs for high school students.
The research topics selected for the Centers were selected in a wide bottom-up process of consultation with the Israeli academic community, such that they reflect the genuine priorities and scientific interest of researchers in Israel. Out of the large number of suggestions received by researchers, specific topics were chosen by designated committees. Once the topics were announced, a call for proposal was issued inviting groups of researchers to submit proposals for the establishment of I-COREs in these topics.
The evaluation and assessment processes of the proposals are carried out by the Israeli Science Foundation via international evaluation committees, which examine the proposals on a competitive basis. The evaluation and assessment processes are carried out in two stages – preliminary proposals and full proposals.
The first wave of I-COREs started operating in October 2011. 
The second wave 12 I-COREs, are expected to be established during 2013. The new Centers will span a wide array of topics in exact sciences, life sciences, engineering and medicine, as well as in social sciences, humanities, education and law.

 

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MIT Skoltech Initiative: 61 Experts from 20 different Countries identified 120 Universities in the field of Entrepreneurship and Innovation


Reporter: Aviva Lev-Ari, PhD, RN

The Technion – Israel Institute of Technology was today ranked 6th in the world by a survey conducted by MIT. The study evaluated entrepreneurship and innovation in higher education institutions worldwide. The ranking was compiled by 61 experts from 20 different countries. It identified 120 universities which demonstrate “a decisive impact and significant contribution in the field of entrepreneurship and innovation.”

oraclead

Technion followed MIT, Stanford, Cambridge, Imperial College and Oxford, but preceded the University of San Diego, Berkeley, ETH Swiss and the National University of Singapore. The report also placed  Israel 3rd  in terms of entrepreneurship and innovation, after the US and the UK, but ahead of Sweden, Singapore, Germany, the Netherlands, China and Canada.The survey, which was carried out in partnership with the Skolkovo Institute of Science and Technology in Russia, also placed the Technion first in the category of universities that create or support technological innovation even though they operate in a challenging environment.

Instituting an institutional E&I culture – for entrepreneurship and innovation – is considered among experts as the essential ingredient for sustaining a successful system. In this respect, the Technion is mentioned as an institution that possesses the ethos of aspiration and achievement.

This is the first stage (out of three) in the comprehensive survey. In his reaction to these most favorable results, Technion President Professor Peretz Lavie said, “Technion’s position among the top ten leading universities in the world in the areas of innovation and entrepreneurship brings us closer to fulfilling our mission goals: to be counted among the top ten leading universities in the world. This is not the first time the Technion has earned international acclaim such as this,” he continued. “The university’s contribution to Israel’s advanced technology industry is recognized around the world. Not by coincidence did we prevail in the New York City’s tender last year to establish a scientific-engineering research center in partnership with Cornell University. The city’s mayor, Michael Bloomberg, said then that the Technion is the only university in the world capable of successfully turning the economic tide of an entire country, from exporters of citrus fruit to a global center for advanced industry and an authority of knowledge. To date, 61 experts from around the world have endorsed this statement.”

VIEW VIDEO – OUTSTANDING  predictions!!

Inventors, Novel Prize Winners & Technology Leaders: IIT

The Technion-Israel Institute of Technology is a major source of the innovation and brainpower that drives the Israeli economy, and a key to Israel’s reputation as the world’s “Start-Up Nation.” Its three Nobel Prize winners exemplify academic excellence.

 

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CRACKING THE CODE OF HUMAN LIFE: The Birth of BioInformatics & Computational Genomics – Part IIB

Curator: Larry H Bernstein, MD, FCAP

Part I: The Initiation and Growth of Molecular Biology and Genomics – Part I From Molecular Biology to Translational Medicine: How Far Have We Come, and Where Does It Lead Us?

https://pharmaceuticalintelligence.wordpress.com/wp-admin/post.php?post=8634&action=edit&message=1

Part II: CRACKING THE CODE OF HUMAN LIFE is divided into a three part series.

Part IIA. “CRACKING THE CODE OF HUMAN LIFE: Milestones along the Way” reviews the Human Genome Project and the decade beyond.

https://pharmaceuticalintelligence.com/2013/02/12/cracking-the-code-of-human-life-milestones-along-the-way/

Part IIB. “CRACKING THE CODE OF HUMAN LIFE: The Birth of BioInformatics & Computational Genomics” lays the manifold multivariate systems analytical tools that has moved the science forward to a groung that ensures clinical application.

https://pharmaceuticalintelligence.com/2013/02/13/cracking-the-code-of-human-life-the-birth-of-bioinformatics-and-computational-genomics/

Part IIC. “CRACKING THE CODE OF HUMAN LIFE: Recent Advances in Genomic Analysis and Disease “ will extend the discussion to advances in the management of patients as well as providing a roadmap for pharmaceutical drug targeting.

https://pharmaceuticalintelligence.com/2013/02/14/cracking-the-code-of-human-life-recent-advances-in-genomic-analysis-and-disease/

To be followed by:
Part III will conclude with Ubiquitin, it’s role in Signaling and Regulatory Control.

Part IIB. “CRACKING THE CODE OF HUMAN LIFE: The Birth of BioInformatics & Computational Genomics” is a continuation of a previous discussion on the role of genomics in discovery of therapeutic targets titled, Directions for Genomics in Personalized Medicinewhich focused on:

  • key drivers of cellular proliferation,
  • stepwise mutational changes coinciding with cancer progression, and
  • potential therapeutic targets for reversal of the process.

It is a direct extension of The Initiation and Growth of Molecular Biology and Genomics – Part I 

These articles review a web-like connectivity between inter-connected scientific discoveries, as significant findings have led to novel hypotheses and many expectations over the last 75 years. This largely post WWII revolution has driven our understanding of biological and medical processes at an exponential pace owing to successive discoveries of
  • chemical structure,
  • the basic building blocks of DNA  and proteins, of
  • nucleotide and protein-protein interactions,
  • protein folding,
  • allostericity,
  • genomic structure,
  • DNA replication,
  • nuclear polyribosome interaction, and
  • metabolic control.

Nucleotides_1.svg

In addition, the emergence of methods for

  • copying,
  • removal
  • insertion, and
  • improvements in structural analysis
  • developments in applied mathematics have transformed the research framework.

This last point,

  • developments in applied mathematics have transformed the research framework, is been developed in this very article

CRACKING THE CODE OF HUMAN LIFE: The Birth of BioInformatics & Computational Genomics – Part IIB

Computational Genomics

1. Three-Dimensional Folding and Functional Organization Principles of The Drosophila Genome

Sexton T, Yaffe E, Kenigeberg E, Bantignies F,…Cavalli G. Institute de Genetique Humaine, Montpelliere GenomiX, and Weissman Institute, France and Israel. Cell 2012; 148(3): 458-472.
http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.cell.2012.01.010/
http://www.cell.com/retrieve/pii/S0092867412000165
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22265598

Chromosomes are the physical realization of genetic information and thus form the basis for its readout and propagation.

250px-DNA_labeled  DNA diagram showing base pairing      circular genome map

Here we present a high-resolution chromosomal contact map derived from

  • a modified genome-wide chromosome conformation capture approach applied to Drosophila embryonic nuclei.
  • the entire genome is linearly partitioned into well-demarcated physical domains that overlap extensively with active and repressive epigenetic marks.
  • Chromosomal contacts are hierarchically organized between domains.
  • Global modeling of contact density and clustering of domains show that inactive
  • domains are condensed and confined to their chromosomal territories, whereas
  • active domains reach out of the territory to form remote intra- and interchromosomal contacts.

Moreover, we systematically identify

  • specific long-range intrachromosomal contacts between Polycomb-repressed domains.

Together, these observations

  • allow for quantitative prediction of the Drosophila chromosomal contact map,
  • laying the foundation for detailed studies of chromosome structure and function in a genetically tractable system.

fractal-globule

2A. Architecture Reveals Genome’s Secrets

Three-dimensional genome maps – Human chromosome

Genome sequencing projects have provided rich troves of information about

  • stretches of DNA that regulate gene expression, as well as
  • how different genetic sequences contribute to health and disease.

But these studies miss a key element of the genome—its spatial organization—which has long been recognized as an important regulator of gene expression.

  • Regulatory elements often lie thousands of base pairs away from their target genes, and recent technological advances are allowing scientists to begin examining
  • how distant chromosome locations interact inside a nucleus.
  • The creation and function of 3-D genome organization, some say, is the next frontier of genetics.

Mapping and sequencing may be completely separate processes. For example, it’s possible to determine the location of a gene—to “map” the gene—without sequencing it. Thus, a map may tell you nothing about the sequence of the genome, and a sequence may tell you nothing about the map.  But the landmarks on a map are DNA sequences, and mapping is the cousin of sequencing. A map of a sequence might look like this:
On this map, GCC is one landmark; CCCC is another. Here we find, the sequence is a landmark on a map. In general, particularly for humans and other species with large genomes,

  • creating a reasonably comprehensive genome map is quicker and cheaper than sequencing the entire genome.
  • mapping involves less information to collect and organize than sequencing does.

Completed in 2003, the Human Genome Project (HGP) was a 13-year project. The goals were:

  • identify all the approximately 20,000-25,000 genes in human DNA,
  • determine the sequences of the 3 billion chemical base pairs that make up human DNA,
  • store this information in databases,
  • improve tools for data analysis,
  • transfer related technologies to the private sector, and
  • address the ethical, legal, and social issues (ELSI) that may arise from the project.

Though the HGP is finished, analyses of the data will continue for many years. By licensing technologies to private companies and awarding grants for innovative research, the project catalyzed the multibillion-dollar U.S. biotechnology industry and fostered the development of new medical applications. When genes are expressed, their sequences are first converted into messenger RNA transcripts, which can be isolated in the form of complementary DNAs (cDNAs). A small portion of each cDNA sequence is all that is needed to develop unique gene markers, known as sequence tagged sites or STSs, which can be detected using the polymerase chain reaction (PCR). To construct a transcript map, cDNA sequences from a master catalog of human genes were distributed to mapping laboratories in North America, Europe, and Japan. These cDNAs were converted to STSs and their physical locations on chromosomes determined on one of two radiation hybrid (RH) panels or a yeast artificial chromosome (YAC) library containing human genomic DNA. This mapping data was integrated relative to the human genetic map and then cross-referenced to cytogenetic band maps of the chromosomes. (Further details are available in the accompanying article in the 25 October issue of SCIENCE).

Tremendous progress has been made in the mapping of human genes, a major milestone in the Human Genome Project. Apart from its utility in advancing our understanding of the genetic basis of disease, it  provides a framework and focus for accelerated sequencing efforts by highlighting key landmarks (gene-rich regions) of the chromosomes. The construction of this map has been possible through the cooperative efforts of an international consortium of scientists who provide equal, full and unrestricted access to the data for the advancement of biology and human health.

There are two types of maps: genetic linkage map and physical map. The genetic linkage map shows the arrangement of genes and genetic markers along the chromosomes as calculated by the frequency with which they are inherited together. The physical map is representation of the chromosomes, providing the physical distance between landmarks on the chromosome, ideally measured in nucleotide bases. Physical maps can be divided into three general types: chromosomal or cytogenetic maps, radiation hybrid (RH) maps, and sequence maps.
 ch10f3  radiation hybrid maps   ch10f2  subchromosomal mapping

2B. Genome-nuclear lamina interactions and gene regulation.

Kind J, van Steensel B. Division of Gene Regulation, Netherlands Cancer Institute, Amsterdam, The Netherlands.
The nuclear lamina, a filamentous protein network that coats the inner nuclear membrane, has long been thought to interact with specific genomic loci and regulate their expression. Molecular mapping studies have now identified
  • large genomic domains that are in contact with the lamina.
Genes in these domains are typically repressed, and artificial tethering experiments indicate that
  • the lamina can actively contribute to this repression.
Furthermore, the lamina indirectly controls gene expression in the nuclear interior by sequestration of certain transcription factors.
Mol Cell. 2010; 38(4):603-13.          http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.molcel.2010.03.016
Peric-Hupkes D, Meuleman W, Pagie L, Bruggeman SW, Solovei I,  …., van Steensel B.  Division of Gene Regulation, Netherlands Cancer Institute, Amsterdam, The Netherlands.
To visualize three-dimensional organization of chromosomes within the nucleus, we generated high-resolution maps of genome-nuclear lamina interactions during subsequent differentiation of mouse embryonic stem cells via lineage-committed neural precursor cells into terminally differentiated astrocytes.  A basal chromosome architecture present in embryonic stem cells is cumulatively altered at hundreds of sites during lineage commitment and subsequent terminal differentiation. This remodeling involves both
  • individual transcription units and multigene regions and
  • affects many genes that determine cellular identity.
  •  genes that move away from the lamina are concomitantly activated;
  • others, remain inactive yet become unlocked for activation in a next differentiation step.

lamina-genome interactions are widely involved in the control of gene expression programs during lineage commitment and terminal differentiation.

 view the full text on ScienceDirect.
Graphical Summary
PDF 1.54 MB
Referred to by: The Silence of the LADs: Dynamic Genome-…
Authors:  Daan Peric-Hupkes, Wouter Meuleman, Ludo Pagie, Sophia W.M. Bruggeman, et al.
Highlights
  • Various cell types share a core architecture of genome-nuclear lamina interactions
  • During differentiation, hundreds of genes change their lamina interactions
  • Changes in lamina interactions reflect cell identity
  • Release from the lamina may unlock some genes for activation

Fractal “globule”

About 10 years ago—just as the human genome project was completing its first draft sequence—Dekker pioneered a new technique, called chromosome conformation capture (C3) that allowed researchers to get a glimpse of how chromosomes are arranged relative to each other in the nucleus. The technique relies on the physical cross-linking of chromosomal regions that lie in close proximity to one another. The regions are then sequenced to identify which regions have been cross-linked. In 2009, using a high throughput version of this basic method, called Hi-C, Dekker and his collaborators discovered that the human genome appears to adopt a “fractal globule” conformation—

  • a manner of crumpling without knotting.

gabst_EK.pptx

In the last 3 years, Jobe Dekker and others have advanced technology even further, allowing them to paint a more refined picture of how the genome folds—and how this influences gene expression and disease states.  Dekker’s 2009 findings were a breakthrough in modeling genome folding, but the resolution—about 1 million base pairs— was too crude to allow scientists to really understand how genes interacted with specific regulatory elements. The researchers report two striking findings.

First, the human genome is organized into two separate compartments, keeping

  • active genes separate and accessible
  • while sequestering unused DNA in a denser storage compartment.
  • Chromosomes snake in and out of the two compartments repeatedly
  • as their DNA alternates between active, gene-rich and inactive, gene-poor stretches.

Second, at a finer scale, the genome adopts an unusual organization known in mathematics as a “fractal.” The specific architecture the scientists found, called

  • a “fractal globule,” enables the cell to pack DNA incredibly tightly —

the information density in the nucleus is trillions of times higher than on a computer chip — while avoiding the knots and tangles that might interfere with the cell’s ability to read its own genome. Moreover, the DNA can easily Unfold and Refold during

  • gene activation,
  • gene repression, and
  • cell replication.

Dekker and his colleagues discovered, for example, that chromosomes can be divided into folding domains—megabase-long segments within which

  • genes and regulatory elements associate more often with one another than with other chromosome sections.

The DNA forms loops within the domains that bring a gene into close proximity with a specific regulatory element at a distant location along the chromosome. Another group, that of molecular biologist Bing Ren at the University of California, San Diego, published a similar finding in the same issue of Nature.  Dekker thinks the discovery of [folding] domains will be one of the most fundamental [genetics] discoveries of the last 10 years. The big questions now are

  • how these domains are formed, and
  • what determines which elements are looped into proximity.

“By breaking the genome into millions of pieces, we created a spatial map showing how close different parts are to one another,” says co-first author Nynke van Berkum, a postdoctoral researcher at UMass Medical School in Dekker‘s laboratory. “We made a fantastic three-dimensional jigsaw puzzle and then, with a computer, solved the puzzle.”

Lieberman-Aiden, van Berkum, Lander, and Dekker’s co-authors are Bryan R. Lajoie of UMMS; Louise Williams, Ido Amit, and Andreas Gnirke of the Broad Institute; Maxim Imakaev and Leonid A. Mirny of MIT; Tobias Ragoczy, Agnes Telling, and Mark Groudine of the Fred Hutchison, Cancer Research Center and the University of Washington; Peter J. Sabo, Michael O. Dorschner, Richard Sandstrom, M.A. Bender, and John Stamatoyannopoulos of the University of Washington; and Bradley Bernstein of the Broad Institute and Harvard Medical School.

2C. three-dimensional structure of the human genome

Lieberman-Aiden et al. Comprehensive mapping of long-range interactions reveals folding principles of the human genome. Science, 2009; DOI: 10.1126/science.1181369.
Harvard University (2009, October 11). 3-D Structure Of Human Genome: Fractal Globule Architecture Packs Two Meters Of DNA Into Each Cell. ScienceDaily.   Retrieved February 2, 2013, from        http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/10/091008142957

Using a new technology called Hi-C and applying it to answer the thorny question of how each of our cells stows some three billion base pairs of DNA while maintaining access to functionally crucial segments. The paper comes from a team led by scientists at Harvard University, the Broad Institute of Harvard and MIT, University of Massachusetts Medical School, and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. “We’ve long known that on a small scale, DNA is a double helix,” says co-first author Erez Lieberman-Aiden, a graduate student in the Harvard-MIT Division of Health Science and Technology and a researcher at Harvard’s School of Engineering and Applied Sciences and in the laboratory of Eric Lander at the Broad Institute. “But if the double helix didn’t fold further, the genome in each cell would be two meters long. Scientists have not really understood how the double helix folds to fit into the nucleus of a human cell, which is only about a hundredth of a millimeter in diameter. This new approach enabled us to probe exactly that question.”

The mapping technique that Aiden and his colleagues have come up with bridges a crucial gap in knowledge—between what goes on at the smallest levels of genetics (the double helix of DNA and the base pairs) and the largest levels (the way DNA is gathered up into the 23 chromosomes that contain much of the human genome). The intermediate level, on the order of thousands or millions of base pairs, has remained murky.  As the genome is so closely wound, base pairs in one end can be close to others at another end in ways that are not obvious merely by knowing the sequence of base pairs. Borrowing from work that was started in the 1990s, Aiden and others have been able to figure out which base pairs have wound up next  to one another. From there, they can begin to reconstruct the genome—in three dimensions.

4C profiles validate the Hi-C Genome wide map

Even as the multi-dimensional mapping techniques remain in their early stages, their importance in basic biological research is becoming ever more apparent. “The three-dimensional genome is a powerful thing to know,” Aiden says. “A central mystery of biology is the question of how different cells perform different functions—despite the fact that they share the same genome.” How does a liver cell, for example, “know” to perform its liver duties when it contains the same genome as a cell in the eye? As Aiden and others reconstruct the trail of letters into a three-dimensional entity, they have begun to see that “the way the genome is folded determines which genes were

2D. “Mr. President; The Genome is Fractal !”

Eric Lander (Science Adviser to the President and Director of Broad Institute) et al. delivered the message on Science Magazine cover (Oct. 9, 2009) and generated interest in this by the International HoloGenomics Society at a Sept meeting.

First, it may seem to be trivial to rectify the statement in “About cover” of Science Magazine by AAAS.

  • The statement “the Hilbert curve is a one-dimensional fractal trajectory” needs mathematical clarification.

The mathematical concept of a Hilbert space, named after David Hilbert, generalizes the notion of Euclidean space. It extends the methods of vector algebra and calculus from the two-dimensional Euclidean plane and three-dimensional space to spaces with any finite or infinite number of dimensions. A Hilbert space is an abstract vector space possessing the structure of an inner product that allows length and angle to be measured. Furthermore, Hilbert spaces must be complete, a property that stipulates the existence of enough limits in the space to allow the techniques of calculus to be used. A Hilbert curve (also known as a Hilbert space-filling curve) is a continuous fractal space-filling curve first described by the German mathematician David Hilbert in 1891,[1] as a variant of the space-filling curves discovered by Giuseppe Peano in 1890.[2] For multidimensional databases, Hilbert order has been proposed to be used instead of Z order because it has better locality-preserving behavior.

Representation as Lindenmayer system
The Hilbert Curve can be expressed by a rewrite system (L-system).

Alphabet : A, B

Constants : F + –                                                                                                                                      119px-Hilbert3d-step3                             120px-Hilbert512

Axiom : A

Production rules:

A → – B F + A F A + F B –

B → + A F – B F B – F A +

Here, F means “draw forward”, – means “turn left 90°”, and + means “turn right 90°” (see turtle graphics).

620px-Harmonic_partials_on_strings.svg

While the paper itself does not make this statement, the new Editorship of the AAAS Magazine might be even more advanced if the previous Editorship did not reject (without review) a Manuscript by 20+ Founders of (formerly) International PostGenetics Society in December, 2006.

Second, it may not be sufficiently clear for the reader that the reasonable requirement for the DNA polymerase to crawl along a “knot-free” (or “low knot”) structure does not need fractals. A “knot-free” structure could be spooled by an ordinary “knitting globule” (such that the DNA polymerase does not bump into a “knot” when duplicating the strand; just like someone knitting can go through the entire thread without encountering an annoying knot): Just to be “knot-free” you don’t need fractals. Note, however, that

  • the “strand” can be accessed only at its beginning – it is impossible to e.g. to pluck a segment from deep inside the “globulus”.

This is where certain fractals provide a major advantage – that could be the “Eureka” moment for many readers. For instance,

  • the mentioned Hilbert-curve is not only “knot free” –
  • but provides an easy access to “linearly remote” segments of the strand.

If the Hilbert curve starts from the lower right corner and ends at the lower left corner, for instance

  • the path shows the very easy access of what would be the mid-point
  • if the Hilbert-curve is measured by the Euclidean distance along the zig-zagged path.

Likewise, even the path from the beginning of the Hilbert-curve is about equally easy to access – easier than to reach from the origin a point that is about 2/3 down the path. The Hilbert-curve provides an easy access between two points within the “spooled thread”; from a point that is about 1/5 of the overall length to about 3/5 is also in a “close neighborhood”.

This may be the “Eureka-moment” for some readers, to realize that

  • the strand of “the Double Helix” requires quite a finess to fold into the densest possible globuli (the chromosomes) in a clever way
  • that various segments can be easily accessed. Moreover, in a way that distances between various segments are minimized.

This marvellous fractal structure is illustrated by the 3D rendering of the Hilbert-curve. Once you observe such fractal structure, you’ll never again think of a chromosome as a “brillo mess”, would you? It will dawn on you that the genome is orders of magnitudes more finessed than we ever thought so.

Those embarking at a somewhat complex review of some historical aspects of the power of fractals may wish to consult the ouvre of Mandelbrot (also, to celebrate his 85th birthday). For the more sophisticated readers, even the fairly simple Hilbert-curve (a representative of the Peano-class) becomes even more stunningly brilliant than just some “see through density”. Those who are familiar with the classic “Traveling Salesman Problem” know that “the shortest path along which every given n locations can be visited once, and only once” requires fairly sophisticated algorithms (and tremendous amount of computation if n>10 (or much more). Some readers will be amazed, therefore, that for n=9 the underlying Hilbert-curve helps to provide an empirical solution.

refer to pellionisz@junkdna.com

Briefly, the significance of the above realization, that the (recursive) Fractal Hilbert Curve is intimately connected to the (recursive) solution of TravelingSalesman Problem, a core-concept of Artificial Neural Networks can be summarized as below.

Accomplished physicist John Hopfield (already a member of the National Academy of Science) aroused great excitement in 1982 with his (recursive) design of artificial neural networks and learning algorithms which were able to find reasonable solutions to combinatorial problems such as the Traveling SalesmanProblem. (Book review Clark Jeffries, 1991, see also 2. J. Anderson, R. Rosenfeld, and A. Pellionisz (eds.), Neurocomputing 2: Directions for research, MIT Press, Cambridge, MA, 1990):

“Perceptions were modeled chiefly with neural connections in a “forward” direction: A -> B -* C — D. The analysis of networks with strong backward coupling proved intractable. All our interesting results arise as consequences of the strong back-coupling” (Hopfield, 1982).

The Principle of Recursive Genome Function surpassed obsolete axioms that blocked, for half a Century, entry of recursive algorithms to interpretation of the structure-and function of (Holo)Genome.  This breakthrough, by uniting the two largely separate fields of Neural Networks and Genome Informatics, is particularly important for

  • those who focused on Biological (actually occurring) Neural Networks (rather than abstract algorithms that may not, or because of their core-axioms, simply could not
  • represent neural networks under the governance of DNA information).

DNA base triplets

3A. The FractoGene Decade

from Inception in 2002 to Proofs of Concept and Impending Clinical Applications by 2012

  1. Junk DNA Revisited (SF Gate, 2002)
  2. The Future of Life, 50th Anniversary of DNA (Monterey, 2003)
  3. Mandelbrot and Pellionisz (Stanford, 2004)
  4. Morphogenesis, Physiology and Biophysics (Simons, Pellionisz 2005)
  5. PostGenetics; Genetics beyond Genes (Budapest, 2006)
  6. ENCODE-conclusion (Collins, 2007)

The Principle of Recursive Genome Function (paper, YouTube, 2008)

  1. Cold Spring Harbor presentation of FractoGene (Cold Spring Harbor, 2009)
  2. Mr. President, the Genome is Fractal! (2009)
  3. HolGenTech, Inc. Founded (2010)
  4. Pellionisz on the Board of Advisers in the USA and India (2011)
  5. ENCODE – final admission (2012)
  6. Recursive Genome Function is Clogged by Fractal Defects in Hilbert-Curve (2012)
  7. Geometric Unification of Neuroscience and Genomics (2012)
  8. US Patent Office issues FractoGene 8,280,641 to Pellionisz (2012)

http://www.junkdna.com/the_fractogene_decade.pdf
http://www.scribd.com/doc/116159052/The-Decade-of-FractoGene-From-Discovery-to-Utility-Proofs-of-Concept-Open-Genome-Based-Clinical-Applications
http://fractogene.com/full_genome/morphogenesis.html

When the human genome was first sequenced in June 2000, there were two pretty big surprises. The first was thathumans have only about 30,000-40,000 identifiable genes, not the 100,000 or more many researchers were expecting. The lower –and more humbling — number

  • means humans have just one-third more genes than a common species of worm.

The second stunner was

  • how much human genetic material — more than 90 percent — is made up of what scientists were calling “junk DNA.”

The term was coined to describe similar but not completely identical repetitive sequences of amino acids (the same substances that make genes), which appeared to have no function or purpose. The main theory at the time was that these apparently non-working sections of DNA were just evolutionary leftovers, much like our earlobes.

If biophysicist Andras Pellionisz is correct, genetic science may be on the verge of yielding its third — and by far biggest — surprise.

With a doctorate in physics, Pellionisz is the holder of Ph.D.’s in computer sciences and experimental biology from the prestigious Budapest Technical University and the Hungarian National Academy of Sciences. A biophysicist by training, the 59-year-old is a former research associate professor of physiology and biophysics at New York University, author of numerous papers in respected scientific journals and textbooks, a past winner of the prestigious Humboldt Prize for scientific research, a former consultant to NASA and holder of a patent on the world’s first artificial cerebellum, a technology that has already been integrated into research on advanced avionics systems. Because of his background, the Hungarian-born brain researcher might also become one of the first people to successfully launch a new company by using the Internet to gather momentum for a novel scientific idea.

The genes we know about today, Pellionisz says, can be thought of as something similar to machines that make bricks (proteins, in the case of genes), with certain junk-DNA sections providing a blueprint for the different ways those proteins are assembled. The notion that at least certain parts of junk DNA might have a purpose for example, many researchers now refer to with a far less derogatory term: introns.

In a provisional patent application filed July 31, Pellionisz claims to have unlocked a key to the hidden role junk DNA plays in growth — and in life itself. His patent application covers all attempts to count, measure and compare the fractal properties of introns for diagnostic and therapeutic purposes.

3B. The Hidden Fractal Language of Intron DNA

To fully understand Pellionisz’ idea, one must first know what a fractal is.

Fractals are a way that nature organizes matter. Fractal patterns can be found in anything that has a nonsmooth surface (unlike a billiard ball), such as coastal seashores, the branches of a tree or the contours of a neuron (a nerve cell in the brain). Some, but not all, fractals are self-similar and stop repeating their patterns at some stage; the branches of a tree, for example, can get only so small. Because they are geometric, meaning they have a shape, fractals can be described in mathematical terms. It’s similar to the way a circle can be described by using a number to represent its radius (the distance from its center to its outer edge). When that number is known, it’s possible to draw the circle it represents without ever having seen it before.

Although the math is much more complicated, the same is true of fractals. If one has the formula for a given fractal, it’s possible to use that formula

  • to construct, or reconstruct,
  • an image of whatever structure it represents,
  • no matter how complicated.

The mysteriously repetitive but not identical strands of genetic material are in reality building instructions organized in a special type

  • of pattern known as a fractal.  It’s this pattern of fractal instructions, he says, that
  • tells genes what they must do in order to form living tissue,
  • everything from the wings of a fly to the entire body of a full-grown human.

In a move sure to alienate some scientists, Pellionisz has chosen the unorthodox route of making his initial disclosures online on his own Web site. He picked that strategy, he says, because it is the fastest way he can document his claims and find scientific collaborators and investors. Most mainstream scientists usually blanch at such approaches, preferring more traditionally credible methods, such as publishing articles in peer-reviewed journals.

Basically, Pellionisz’ idea is that a fractal set of building instructions in the DNA plays a similar role in organizing life itself. Decode the way that language works, he says, and in theory it could be reverse engineered. Just as knowing the radius of a circle lets one create that circle, the more complicated fractal-based formula would allow us to understand how nature creates a heart or simpler structures, such as disease-fighting antibodies. At a minimum, we’d get a far better understanding of how nature gets that job done.

The complicated quality of the idea is helping encourage new collaborations across the boundaries that sometimes separate the increasingly intertwined disciplines of biology, mathematics and computer sciences.

Hal Plotkin, Special to SF Gate. Thursday, November 21, 2002.                          http://www.junkdna.com/Special to SF Gate/plotkin.htm (1 of 10)2012.12.13. 12:11:58/

fractogene_2002

3C. multifractal analysis

The human genome: a multifractal analysis. Moreno PA, Vélez PE, Martínez E, et al.

BMC Genomics 2011, 12:506. http://www.biomedcentral.com/1471-2164/12/506

Background: Several studies have shown that genomes can be studied via a multifractal formalism. Recently, we used a multifractal approach to study the genetic information content of the Caenorhabditis elegans genome. Here we investigate the possibility that the human genome shows a similar behavior to that observed in the nematode.
Results: We report here multifractality in the human genome sequence. This behavior correlates strongly on the

  • presence of Alu elements and
  • to a lesser extent on CpG islands and (G+C) content.

In contrast, no or low relationship was found for LINE, MIR, MER, LTRs elements and DNA regions poor in genetic information.

  • Gene function,
  • cluster of orthologous genes,
  • metabolic pathways, and
  • exons tended to increase their frequencies with ranges of multifractality and
  • large gene families were located in genomic regions with varied multifractality.

Additionally, a multifractal map and classification for human chromosomes are proposed.

Conclusions

we propose a descriptive non-linear model for the structure of the human genome,

This model reveals

  • a multifractal regionalization where many regions coexist that are far from equilibrium and
  • this non-linear organization has significant molecular and medical genetic implications for understanding the role of
  • Alu elements in genome stability and structure of the human genome.

Given the role of Alu sequences in

  • gene regulation,
  • genetic diseases,
  • human genetic diversity,
  • adaptation
  • and phylogenetic analyses,

these quantifications are especially useful.

MiIP: The Monomer Identification and Isolation Program

Bun C, Ziccardi W, Doering J and Putonti C.Evolutionary Bioinformatics 2012:8 293-300.    http://dx.goi.org/10.4137/EBO.S9248

Repetitive elements within genomic DNA are both functionally and evolutionarilly informative. Discovering these sequences ab initio is

  • computationally challenging, compounded by the fact that
  • sequence identity between repetitive elements can vary significantly.

Here we present a new application, the Monomer Identification and Isolation Program (MiIP), which provides functionality to both

  • search for a particular repeat as well as
  • discover repetitive elements within a larger genomic sequence.

To compare MiIP’s performance with other repeat detection tools, analysis was conducted for

  • synthetic sequences as well as
  • several a21-II clones and
  • HC21 BAC sequences.

The primary benefit of MiIP is the fact that it is a single tool capable of searching for both

  • known monomeric sequences as well as
  • discovering the occurrence of repeats ab initio, per the user’s required sensitivity of the search.

Methods for Examining Genomic and Proteomic Interactions

1. An Integrated Statistical Approach to Compare Transcriptomics Data Across Experiments: A Case Study on the Identification of Candidate Target Genes of the Transcription Factor PPARα

Ullah MO, Müller M and Hooiveld GJEJ. Bioinformatics and Biology Insights 2012:6 145–154.       http://dx.doi.org/10.4137/BBI.S9529

http://www.la- press.com/
http://bionformaticsandBiologyInsights.com/An_Integrated_Statistical_Approach_to_Compare_ transcriptomic_Data_Across_Experiments-A-Case_Study_on_the_Identification_ of_Candidate_Target_Genes_of_the Transcription_Factor_PPARα/
Corresponding author email: guido.hooiveld@wur.nl

An effective strategy to elucidate the signal transduction cascades activated by a transcription factor is to compare the transcriptional profiles of wild type and transcription factor knockout models. Many statistical tests have been proposed for analyzing gene expression data, but most

  • tests are based on pair-wise comparisons. Since the analysis of microarrays involves the testing of multiple hypotheses within one study, it is
  • generally accepted that one should control for false positives by the false discovery rate (FDR). However, it has been reported that
  • this may be an inappropriate metric for comparing data across different experiments.

Here we propose an approach that addresses the above mentioned problem by the simultaneous testing and integration of the three hypotheses (contrasts) using the cell means ANOVA model.

These three contrasts test for the effect of

  • a treatment in wild type,
  • gene knockout, and
  • globally over all experimental groups.

We illustrate our approach on microarray experiments that focused on the identification of candidate target genes and biological processes governed by the fatty acid sensing transcription factor PPARα in liver. Compared to the often applied FDR based across experiment comparison, our approach identified a conservative but less noisy set of candidate genes with same sensitivity and specificity. However, our method had the advantage of

  • properly adjusting for multiple testing while
  • integrating data from two experiments, and
  • was driven by biological inference.

We present a simple, yet efficient strategy to compare

  • differential expression of genes across experiments
  • while controlling for multiple hypothesis testing.

2. Managing biological complexity across orthologs with a visual knowledgebase of documented biomolecular interactions

Vincent VanBuren & Hailin Chen.   Scientific Reports 2, Article number: 1011  Received 02 October 2012 Accepted 04 December 2012 Published 20 December 2012
http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/srep01011

The complexity of biomolecular interactions and influences is a major obstacle to their comprehension and elucidation. Visualizing knowledge of biomolecular interactions increases comprehension and facilitates the development of new hypotheses. The rapidly changing landscape of high-content experimental results also presents a challenge for the maintenance of comprehensive knowledgebases. Distributing the responsibility for maintenance of a knowledgebase to a community of subject matter experts is an effective strategy for large, complex and rapidly changing knowledgebases.
Cognoscente serves these needs by

  • building visualizations for queries of biomolecular interactions on demand,
  • by managing the complexity of those visualizations, and
  • by crowdsourcing to promote the incorporation of current knowledge from the literature.

Imputing functional associations between biomolecules and imputing directionality of regulation for those predictions each

  • require a corpus of existing knowledge as a framework to build upon. Comprehension of the complexity of this corpus of knowledge
  • will be facilitated by effective visualizations of the corresponding biomolecular interaction networks.

Cognoscente

http://vanburenlab.medicine.tamhsc.edu/cognoscente.html
was designed and implemented to serve these roles as

  • a knowledgebase and
  • as an effective visualization tool for systems biology research and education.

Cognoscente currently contains over 413,000 documented interactions, with coverage across multiple species.  Perl, HTML, GraphViz1, and a MySQL database were used in the development of Cognoscente. Cognoscente was motivated by the need to

  • update the knowledgebase of biomolecular interactions at the user level, and
  • flexibly visualize multi-molecule query results for heterogeneous interaction types across different orthologs.

Satisfying these needs provides a strong foundation for developing new hypotheses about regulatory and metabolic pathway topologies.  Several existing tools provide functions that are similar to Cognoscente, so we selected several popular alternatives to

  • assess how their feature sets compare with Cognoscente ( Table 1 ). All databases assessed had
  • easily traceable documentation for each interaction, and
  • included protein-protein interactions in the database.

Most databases, with the exception of BIND,

  • provide an open-access database that can be downloaded as a whole.

Most databases, with the exceptions of EcoCyc and HPRD, provide

  • support for multiple organisms.

Most databases support web services for interacting with the database contents programatically, whereas this is a planned feature for Cognoscente.

  • INT, STRING, IntAct, EcoCyc, DIP and Cognoscente provide built-in visualizations of query results,
  • which we consider among the most important features for facilitating comprehension of query results.
  • BIND supports visualizations via Cytoscape. Cognoscente is among a few other tools that support multiple organisms in the same query,
  • protein->DNA interactions, and
  • multi-molecule queries.

Cognoscente has planned support for small molecule interactants (i.e. pharmacological agents).  MINT, STRING, and IntAct provide a prediction (i.e. score) of functional associations, whereas
Cognoscente does not currently support this. Cognoscente provides support for multiple edge encodings to visualize different types of interactions in the same display,

  • a crowdsourcing web portal that allows users to submit interactions
  • that are then automatically incorporated in the knowledgebase, and displays orthologs as compound nodes to provide clues about potential
  • orthologous interactions.

The main strengths of Cognoscente are that

  1. it provides a combined feature set that is superior to any existing database,
  2. it provides a unique visualization feature for orthologous molecules, and relatively unique support for
  3. multiple edge encodings,
  4. crowdsourcing, and
  5. connectivity parameterization.

The current weaknesses of Cognoscente relative to these other tools are

  • that it does not fully support web service interactions with the database,
  • it does not fully support small molecule interactants, and
  • it does not score interactions to predict functional associations.

Web services and support for small molecule interactants are currently under development.

Other related articles on thie Open Access Online Sceintific Journal, include the following:

Big Data in Genomic Medicine                    lhb                          https://pharmaceuticalintelligence.com/2012/12/17/big-data-in-genomic-medicine/

BRCA1 a tumour suppressor in breast and ovarian cancer – functions in transcription, ubiquitination and DNA repair S Saha                                                                                   https://pharmaceuticalintelligence.com/2012/12/04/brca1-a-tumour-suppressor-in-breast-and-ovarian-cancer-functions-in-transcription-ubiquitination-and-dna-repair/

Computational Genomics Center: New Unification of Computational Technologies at Stanford A Lev-Ari    https://pharmaceuticalintelligence.com/2012/12/03/computational-genomics-center-new-unification-of-computational-technologies-at-stanford/

Paradigm Shift in Human Genomics – Predictive Biomarkers and Personalized Medicine – Part 1 (pharmaceuticalintelligence.com) A Lev-Ari https://pharmaceuticalintelligence.com/2013/01/13/paradigm-shift-in-human-genomics-predictive-biomarkers-and-personalized-medicine-part-1/

LEADERS in Genome Sequencing of Genetic Mutations for Therapeutic Drug Selection in Cancer Personalized Treatment: Part 2 A Lev-Ari
https://pharmaceuticalintelligence.com/2013/01/13/leaders-in-genome-sequencing-of-genetic-mutations-for-therapeutic-drug-selection-in-cancer-personalized-treatment-part-2/

Personalized Medicine: An Institute Profile – Coriell Institute for Medical Research: Part 3 A Lev-Ari https://pharmaceuticalintelligence.com/2013/01/13/personalized-medicine-an-institute-profile-coriell-institute-for-medical-research-part-3/

GSK for Personalized Medicine using Cancer Drugs needs Alacris systems biology model to determine the in silico effect of the inhibitor in its “virtual clinical trial” A Lev-Ari    https://pharmaceuticalintelligence.com/2012/11/14/gsk-for-personalized-medicine-using-cancer-drugs-needs-alacris-systems-biology-model-to-determine-the-in-silico-effect-of-the-inhibitor-in-its-virtual-clinical-trial/

Recurrent somatic mutations in chromatin-remodeling and ubiquitin ligase complex genes in serous endometrial tumors S Saha
https://pharmaceuticalintelligence.com/2012/11/19/recurrent-somatic-mutations-in-chromatin-remodeling-and-ubiquitin-ligase-complex-genes-in-serous-endometrial-tumors/

Human Variome Project: encyclopedic catalog of sequence variants indexed to the human genome sequence A Lev-Ari

https://pharmaceuticalintelligence.com/2012/11/24/human-variome-project-encyclopedic-catalog-of-sequence-variants-indexed-to-the-human-genome-sequence/

Prostate Cancer Cells: Histone Deacetylase Inhibitors Induce Epithelial-to-Mesenchymal Transition sjwilliams
https://pharmaceuticalintelligence.com/2012/11/30/histone-deacetylase-inhibitors-induce-epithelial-to-mesenchymal-transition-in-prostate-cancer-cells/

https://pharmaceuticalintelligence.com/2013/01/09/the-cancer-establishments-examined-by-james-watson-co-discover-of-dna-wcrick-41953/

Directions for genomics in personalized medicine lhb https://pharmaceuticalintelligence.com/2013/01/27/directions-for-genomics-in-personalized-medicine/

How mobile elements in “Junk” DNA promote cancer. Part 1: Transposon-mediated tumorigenesis. Sjwilliams
https://pharmaceuticalintelligence.com/2012/10/31/how-mobile-elements-in-junk-dna-prote-cancer-part1-transposon-mediated-tumorigenesis/

Mitochondrial fission and fusion: potential therapeutic targets? Ritu saxena    https://pharmaceuticalintelligence.com/2012/10/31/mitochondrial-fission-and-fusion-potential-therapeutic-target/

Mitochondrial mutation analysis might be “1-step” away ritu saxena  https://pharmaceuticalintelligence.com/2012/08/14/mitochondrial-mutation-analysis-might-be-1-step-away/

mRNA interference with cancer expression lhb https://pharmaceuticalintelligence.com/2012/10/26/mrna-interference-with-cancer-expression/

Expanding the Genetic Alphabet and linking the genome to the metabolome https://pharmaceuticalintelligence.com/2012/09/24/expanding-the-genetic-alphabet-and-linking-the-genome-to-the-metabolome/

Breast Cancer: Genomic profiling to predict Survival: Combination of Histopathology and Gene Expression Analysis A Lev-Ari

https://pharmaceuticalintelligence.com/2012/12/24/breast-cancer-genomic-profiling-to-predict-survival-combination-of-histopathology-and-gene-expression-analysis/

Ubiquinin-Proteosome pathway, autophagy, the mitochondrion, proteolysis and cell apoptosis lhb https://pharmaceuticalintelligence.com/2012/10/30/ubiquinin-proteosome-pathway-autophagy-the-mitochondrion-proteolysis-and-cell-apoptosis/

Genomic Analysis: FLUIDIGM Technology in the Life Science and Agricultural Biotechnology A Lev-Ari https://pharmaceuticalintelligence.com/2012/08/22/genomic-analysis-fluidigm-technology-in-the-life-science-and-agricultural-biotechnology/

2013 Genomics: The Era Beyond the Sequencing Human Genome: Francis Collins, Craig Venter, Eric Lander, et al.  https://pharmaceuticalintelligence.com/2013_Genomics

Paradigm Shift in Human Genomics – Predictive Biomarkers and Personalized Medicine – Part 1 https://pharmaceuticalintelligence.com/Paradigm Shift in Human Genomics_/

English: DNA replication or DNA synthesis is t...

English: DNA replication or DNA synthesis is the process of copying a double-stranded DNA molecule. This process is paramount to all life as we know it. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Français : Deletion chromosomique

Français : Deletion chromosomique (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

A slight mutation in the matched nucleotides c...

A slight mutation in the matched nucleotides can lead to chromosomal aberrations and unintentional genetic rearrangement. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

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Reporter: Aviva Lev-Ari, PhD, RN

New Life – The Healing Promise of Stem Cells

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Diseases and conditions where stem cell treatment is promising or emerging. Source: Wikipedia
Since the late 1990s, the Technion has been at the forefront of stem-cell research. Stem cells are the master keys because they can be converted into many different kinds of cells, opening many different doors to potential cures and treatments. Beating heart tissue is one of the major stem cell achievements from the Technion.
Healing the Heart
 
Technion scientists showed this year that they can turn skin tissue from heart attack patients into fresh, beating heart cells in a first step towards a new therapy for the condition. The procedure may eventually help scores of people who survive heart attacks but are severely debilitated by damage to the organ.
By creating new heart cells from a patient’s own tissues, doctors avoid the risk of the cells being rejected by the immune system once they are transplanted.Though the cells were not considered safe enough to put back into patients, they appeared healthy in the laboratory and beat in time with other cells in animal models.
“We have shown that it’s possible to take skin cells from an elderly patient with advanced heart failure and end up with his own beating cells in a laboratory dish that are healthy and young – the equivalent to the stage his heart cells were in when he was just born,” Prof. Lior Gepstein told the British national paper The Guardian.

Pancreatic Tissue for Diabetes

Prof. Shulamit Levenberg of the Technion, who has spent many years trying to create replacement human organs by building them up on a “scaffold,” has created tissue from the insulin-producing islets of Langerhans in the pancreas surrounded by a three-dimensional network of blood vessels.The tissue she and her team created has significant advantages over traditional transplant material that has been harvested from healthy pancreatic tissue.

“We have shown that the three-dimensional environment and the engineered blood vessels support the islets – and this support is important for the survival of the islets and for their insulin secretion activity”, says Prof. Levenberg of the Department of Biomedical Engineering.

In the Bones

BonusBio - Health News - Israel


In collaboration with industry and global research partners, Technion scientists have grown human bone from stem cells in a laboratory. The development opens the way for patients to have broken bones repaired or even replaced with entire new ones grown outside the body from a patient’s own cells. The researchers started with stem cells taken from fat tissue. It took around a month to grow them into sections of fully-formed living human bone up to a couple of inches long. The success was reported by the UK national paper The Telegraph.

Stem Cell Proliferation

““These are our next generation of scientists and Nobel Laureates,” says Prof. Dror Seliktar, of the Department of Biomedical Engineering. “The future of the Technion relies on that.”

Seliktar and his research team at the Lokey Center for Biomaterials and Tissue Regeneration at Technion is working on a new material for the mass production of stem cells to make their commercial use viable on an industrial scale.

“In the biotechnology industries, there is an inherent need for expanding populations of stem cells for therapeutic purposes,” says Seliktar, who has published over 50 papers in the field, won over 14 awards and launched one of Israel’s promising biotech startups, Regentis Biomaterials.

Read more.

Prof. Joseph Itskovitz-Eldor of the Faculty of Medicine was on the international team that in 1998 first discovered the potential of stem cells to form any kind of tissue and pioneered stem-cell technology. The breakthrough garnered headlines around the world. He is the Director of the Technion Stem Cell Center.

Source:

Other posts on this Scientific Web Site about innovations completed on this topic at the Technion are cited below:

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