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Simon Dubnow Institute for Jewish History and Culture in Leipzig admitted to the Leibniz Association

11/12/2017

Last Thursday, November 20, 2017, the Simon Dubnow Institute for Jewish History and Culture in Leipzig was admitted to the Leibniz Association.

The Dubnow Institute counts about 25 researchers and is affiliated to the Leipzig University. Founded by the Saxon State after the Reunification of Germany, the Institute with its pan-European perspective is devoted to the investigation of Jewish History and Culture from the Early Modern Era down to the present.

For a decade and a half the Institute was headed by Prof. Dan Diner while its current director is Prof. Yfaat Weiss, member of the Department for the History of the Jewish People and Contemporary Jewry.

The Leibniz Association is one of the most prestigious and influential among the research organizations in Germany and connects 91 institutions in various fields of science. The acceptance of the Dubnow Institute (future name: Leibniz-Institute for Jewish History and Culture – Simon Dubnow) further strengthens the humanities in the Leibniz Association and complements their research in the field of Jewish history and culture.

"The joint appointment of its director, Yfaat Weiss, with the Hebrew University of Jerusalem is special and adds profoundly to our international relations and efforts," noted Prof. Matthias Kleiner, President of the Leibniz Association.

For further information see:

http://www.dubnow.de/1/

https://www.leibniz-gemeinschaft.de/en/

Simon Dubnow Institute for Jewish History and Culture in Leipzig admitted to the Leibniz Association
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German-Israeli accelerator speeds up cybersecurity innovation & collaboration

06/11/2017

 

A new initiative to accelerate cybersecurity innovation and collaboration between Germany and Israel has been launched in Jerusalem.

The Hessian Israeli Partnership Accelerator for Cybersecurity (HIPA) brings together top talents in cybersecurity from Israel and Germany to jointly work on cybersecurity projects in areas such as network technologies, internet infrastructure and software security. The overarching goal is to trigger the creation of innovation and businesses in cybersecurity in Israel and Germany.

HIPA connects the participants with entrepreneurs, researchers, mentors, customers and influencers, and the in-depth technical and business training provided is expected to give the start-ups emerging from HIPA exceptionally high chances of succeeding in the market.

The accelerator program began with one week of in-depth entrepreneurship and cybersecurity training in Jerusalem (October 29 to November 5, 2017), which will be followed by two months of targeted research and development activities. The results will be reviewed and finalized in one week of technology training in Darmstadt, Germany, and presented in team pitches at a conference in Berlin, Germany (January 2 to 9, 2018).

HIPA is organized by the Fraunhofer Institute for Secure Information Technology SIT in Darmstadt, Germany, and the Cyber Security Research Center at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem's School of Computer Science and Engineering. This partnership connects one of Europe‘s leading cybersecurity research centers with Israel‘s vibrant start-up scene to develop a new generation of cybersecurity researchers and to foster collaboration between Germany and Israel.

Almost half of the researchers at the Hebrew University's School of Computer Science and Engineering are currently involved in various aspects of cybersecurity research. Israeli scientists in general, and researchers from the Hebrew University in particular, have always played a major role in securing the Internet and ensuring its robustness.

Fraunhofer SIT is the leading institute for applied cybersecurity research in Germany and one of the oldest research institutions for IT security in the world. Fraunhofer SIT conducts world-class applied research with the aim of bringing new technology to the market. Together with its partners, the institute works on innovative new methods and procedures, creates prototypes, develops customized IT solutions and tests existing products and systems.

In 2015, the Hebrew University and Fraunhofer SIT initiated the Fraunhofer Project Center for Cybersecurity in Jerusalem (press release). The joint Project Center is part of the Hebrew University's Cybersecurity Innovation Center, a leading institute for applied cybersecurity in Israel.

German and Israeli thought leaders and industry experts attended the launch reception on Thursday, November 2 at the Hebrew University's Edmond J. Safra campus. Participants included Boris Rhein, the Hessian State Minister for Higher Education, Research and the Arts; Yigal Unna, Head of Cybersecurity Technology Unit, Israeli National Cybersecurity Directorate; and Iddo Moed, Cybersecurity Coordinator, Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

The event was opened by Prof. Danny Dolev, head of Hebrew University's Cybersecurity Innovation Center, and Prof. Michael Waidner, Director of the Fraunhofer Institute for Secure Information Technology SIT. The accelerator programme was presented by Dr. Haya Shulman, Division Director at Fraunhofer SIT and Managing Director of the accelerator.

"Cyber-attacks are a constant threat to state and financial entities, as well as to each and every one of us," said Prof. Danny Dolev, the Berthold Badler Chair in Computer Science and head of the Cyber Security Research Center at the Hebrew University. "As is proven daily, the communications infrastructure of the Internet and the many services that rely on it are most vulnerable to  such attacks. At the Hebrew University we are researching many aspects of cyber protection, including protection of Internet data routing, cloud computing, Bitcoin, the smart grid, and more. Our collaboration with Fraunhofer deepens the research into these issues and will enable researchers from both countries to collaborate on the creation new tools for dealing with cyber-attacks."

"The establishment of a joint project center with Fraunhofer is a vote of confidence in the Hebrew University's scientific excellence and in Israel's position as a global innovator in cybersecurity," added Prof. Yair Weiss, head of the Rachel and Selim Benin School of Computer Science and Engineering at the Hebrew University.

Photo: http://media.huji.ac.il/new/photos/hu171101_hipa2.png - Left to right: Iddo Moed, Cybersecurity Coordinator, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Israel; Yigal Unna, Head of Cybersecurity Technology Unit, Israeli National Cybersecurity Directorate; Prof. Michael Schapira, School of Computer Science and Engineering, Hebrew University; Prof. Yair Weiss, Dean, School of Computer Science and Engineering, Hebrew University; Boris Rhein, Hessian Ministry of Higher Education, Research and the Arts, Germany; Dr. Haya Shulman, Department Director, Fraunhofer SIT,  Germany; Prof. Danny Dolev, Head of the Cybersecurity Center, School of Computer Science and Engineering, Hebrew University; Prof. Michael Waidner, Director of Fraunhofer SIT, Germany.

Other photos: http://media.huji.ac.il/new/photos/HIPA.JPG, http://media.huji.ac.il/new/photos/HUJI-FSIT.jpg

German-Israeli accelerator speeds up cybersecurity innovation & collaboration
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Cannabis reverses aging processes in brains of mice

08/05/2017

Researchers restore the memory performance of Methuselah mice to a juvenile stage

Next step: clinical trials in humans to see whether THC reverses aging processes and increases cognitive ability

Memory performance decreases with increasing age. Cannabis can reverse these aging processes in the brain. This was shown in mice by scientists at the University of Bonn with their colleagues at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. Old animals were able to regress to the state of two-month-old mice with a prolonged low-dose treatment with a cannabis active ingredient. This opens up new options, for instance, when it comes to treating dementia. The results are now presented in the journal Nature Medicine.

Like any other organ, our brain ages. As a result, our cognitive abilities decrease with increasing age. Thus it becomes more difficult to learn new things or devote attention to several things at the same time. This process is normal, but can also promote dementia. Researchers have long been looking for ways to slow down or even reverse this process.

Scientists at the University of Bonn and the Hebrew University of Jerusalem have now achieved this in mice. With their short life expectancy, these animals display pronounced cognitive deficits even at twelve months of age. The researchers administered a small quantity of THC, the active ingredient in the hemp plant (cannabis), to mice aged two, twelve and 18 months over a period of four weeks.

Afterwards, they tested learning capacity and memory performance in the animals – including, for instance, orientation skills and the recognition of other mice. Mice that were only given a placebo displayed natural age-dependent learning and memory losses. In contrast, the cognitive functions of the animals treated with cannabis were just as good as the two-month-old control animals. “The treatment completely reversed the loss of performance in the old animals,” reported Prof. Andreas Zimmer from the Institute of Molecular Psychiatry at the University of Bonn and member of the Cluster of Excellence ImmunoSensation.

Years of meticulous research

This treatment success is the result of years of meticulous research. First, the scientists discovered that the brain ages much faster when mice do not possess any functional receptors for THC. These cannabinoid 1 (CB1) receptors are proteins to which the substances dock and thus trigger a signal chain. CB1 is also the reason for the intoxicating effect of THC in cannabis products, such as hashish or marihuana, which accumulate at the receptor. THC imitates the effect of cannabinoids produced naturally in the body, which fulfil important functions in the brain. “With increasing age, the quantity of the cannabinoids naturally formed in the brain reduces,” says Prof. Zimmer. “When the activity of the cannabinoid system declines, we find rapid aging in the brain.”

To discover precisely what effect the THC treatment has in old mice, researchers at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, led by Dr. Mona Dvir-Ginzberg and the late Prof. Itai Bab, examined the epigenetic changes in brains of aged mice treated with THC.

"The THC treatment induced molecular and epigenetic changes, which no longer corresponded to that of untreated old animals, but rather were similar to what we see in young animals," said Dr. Mona Dvir-Ginzberg from the Institute of Dental Sciences, in the Faculty of Dental Medicine at The Hebrew University of Jerusalem.

Moreover, the number of links between the nerve cells in the brain also increased again, which is an important prerequisite for learning ability. “It looked as though the THC treatment turned back the molecular clock,” says Zimmer.

Next step: clinical trial on humans

A low dose of the administered THC was chosen so that there was no intoxicating effect in the mice. Cannabis products are already permitted as medications, for instance as pain relief. As a next step, the researchers want to conduct a clinical trial to investigate whether THC also reverses aging processes in the brain in humans and can increase cognitive ability.

CITATION: A chronic low dose of delta9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) restores cognitive function in old mice, Nature Medicine, DOI: 10.1038/nm.4311 (link: https://www.nature.com/nm/journal/vaop/ncurrent/full/nm.4311.html)

Cannabis reverses aging processes in brains of mice
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Hebrew University Hosts Germany's Federal Minister of Nutrition and Agriculture

23/03/2017

Committed to cooperation with Israel; Ministries of Agriculture to identify and develop joint topics of interest

Hebrew University's Robert H. Smith Faculty of Agriculture, Food and Environment hosted a visit by Germany's Federal Minister of Nutrition and Agriculture, The Honorable Mr. Hans Christian Friedrich Schmidt.

In meetings with scientists from the Department of Soil and Water Science, the Institute of Plant Science & Genetics in Agriculture, and the I-CORE High-Throughput Physiological Greenhouse on campus, the Minister learned about projects funded by the German Ministry of Nutrition and Agriculture, and the Israeli Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development.

Minister Schmidt announced that his Ministry is committed to cooperation with Israel and that both Ministries of Agriculture will now identify and develop joint topics of interest, for example in such fields as veterinary medicine, food security and food safety, plant production and use of soil. Minister Schmidt also expressed interest in possible formats of regional cooperation.

The Minister was accompanied by the Director General of the Ministry, Dr. Josef Jeub, as well as the Deputy Director General, Martin Köhler, the Vice-President of the German farmer`s Association, Erwin Heinrich Werner Hilse, and the Vice-President of the Julius Kühne Institute, Prof. Frank Ordon.

The Robert H. Smith Faculty of Agriculture, Food and Environment is the only institute of higher education in Israel offering university degrees in agriculture, and is also home to the only Schools of Nutritional Sciences and of Veterinary Medicine. Established in 1942 as the Institute for Agricultural Sciences with 21 masters students, the Faculty today has a student body of 2,300 students. Research at the Faculty has improved and increased yields of fruits, vegetables, grain crops, flowers and cotton; helped overcome problems of pest damage and soil contamination; led to the most efficient use of water for agriculture; produced ground-breaking innovations in irrigation techniques; helped develop Israel's annual flower export from almost nil in the 1960's, to its current status as one of the largest exporters of flowers in the world, and much more. For more information, visit http://www.agri.huji.ac.il/english.

Hebrew University Hosts Germany's Federal Minister of Nutrition and Agriculture
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Germany’s Order of Merit Awarded to Hebrew University President Menahem Ben-Sasson

02/03/2017

“The Order of Merit recognizes Prof. Ben-Sasson's outstanding, extensive, and personal commitment to German-Israeli relations in the field of science, and thus to the cooperation between our two nations.”

 

The Ambassador of Germany to Israel, Dr. Clemens von Goetze, today bestowed the Commander's Cross of the Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany on Prof. Menahem Ben-Sasson, President of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. The ceremony took place at the Hebrew University’s Mount Scopus campus in Jerusalem. [Photos are available for download below.]

 

“The Order of Merit recognizes Prof. Ben-Sasson's outstanding, extensive, and personal commitment to German-Israeli relations in the field of science, and thus to the cooperation between our two nations,” said Dr. Clemens von Goetze, the Ambassador of the Federal Republic of Germany to Israel.

 

The Order of Merit is the highest tribute the Federal Republic of Germany can award to individuals and is the only honor that may be awarded in all fields of endeavor. The Order of Merit may be awarded to Germans as well as foreigners for achievements in the political, economic, social or intellectual realm and for all kinds of outstanding services in the field of social, charitable or philanthropic work.

 

“I thank the President of Germany for this high honor. It is a tribute to the many researchers, students and administrators at the Hebrew University, who for two generations have advanced research, student exchanges, and daily cooperation with German institutions,” said Prof. Menahem Ben-Sasson, President of the Hebrew University. “In every interaction with Germany there is an element of introspection. We must never forget the Holocaust, its victims, and its perpetrators; yet this memory also unites us in a common duty¾to remember the past, to educate accordingly, and to use science and research to create a brighter future for humanity. To this end we will continue to grow our academic and research relations with Germany.”

 

The Association of University Heads of Israel, representing the heads of Israel's research universities, said: “The Association of University Heads of Israel congratulates Prof. Menahem Ben Sasson on receiving the Order of Merit on behalf of the President of the Federal Republic of Germany. In his capacity as president of the Hebrew University, Prof. Ben-Sasson promotes collaborations with leading academic institutions around the world and is a model for promoting academic research in Israel."

 

Hebrew University Cooperation With German Institutions

 

Germany is now considered the Hebrew University`s most significant research partner in Europe, second worldwide only to the US. Cooperation is based on scientific excellence, bringing together top scientists in a wide range of joint research projects, as well as a growing number of students from both countries. Among the many collaborations are the Max Planck Center for Sensory Processing of the Brain in Action, the Martin Buber Society of Fellows at the Hebrew University, several Minerva Centers, and recently the Fraunhofer Project Center for Cybersecurity in Jerusalem.

 

Even before diplomatic relations were established between Israel and Germany, there were connections between students and faculty at the Hebrew University and Freie Universität Berlin. The first official partnership between the universities was formalized in 1986, and since 2011 they have been working together as strategic partners, with numerous projects in the natural and social sciences and the humanities, as well as programs for student exchange and the promotion of young researchers. In 2015, the two universities signed an agreement to launch a joint doctoral program, the first of its kind between German and Israeli institutions.

 

Prof. Ben-Sasson is the thirteenth president of The Hebrew University and is currently serving his second four-year term in office. Prior to serving as president, Prof. Ben-Sasson was a Member of the Israeli Knesset, where he served as Chairman of the Knesset’s Constitution, Law and Justice Committee, and headed the Knesset Lobby for Higher Education. Prof. Ben-Sasson is a scholar in the Department of the History of the Jewish People in the Faculty of Humanities. A historian of the heritage of Jews in Muslim Lands, he has written some forty books and scholarly articles. He has served as President of the World Union of Jewish Studies, Vice-President of the Memorial Foundation for Jewish Culture, Chairman of the Ben-Zvi Institute for the Study of Jewish Communities in the East, and on the board of directors at Yad Vashem. He is married and has three children and six grandchildren. A full bio is available at https://new.huji.ac.il/en/page/454.

 

The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Israel’s leading academic and research institution, is ranked among the top 100 universities in the world. Founded in 1918 by visionaries including Albert Einstein, Sigmund Freud and Martin Buber, the Hebrew University is a pluralistic institution where science and knowledge are advanced for the benefit of humankind. For more information, please visit http://new.huji.ac.il/en.

 

PHOTOS FOR DOWNLOAD:

  • http://media.huji.ac.il/new/photos/hu170301_mbs1.jpg - (L to R) Dr. Clemens von Goetze, the Ambassador of the Federal Republic of Germany to Israel, and Prof. Menahem Ben-Sasson, President of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem (Photo by Bruno Charbit for Hebrew University)
  • http://media.huji.ac.il/new/photos/hu170301_mbs2.jpg - Prof. Menahem Ben-Sasson, President of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem (Photo by Bruno Charbit for Hebrew University)
  • http://media.huji.ac.il/new/photos/hu170301_mbs3.jpg - (L to R) From the Hebrew University, Ambassador Yossi Gal, Vice President for Advancement and External Relations; Mr. Michael Federmann, Chairman of the Board of Governors; and Prof. Menahem Ben-Sasson, President; with Dr. Clemens von Goetze, the Ambassador of the Federal Republic of Germany to Israel. (Photo by Bruno Charbit for Hebrew University)
  • http://media.huji.ac.il/new/photos/hu170301_mbs4.jpg - (L to R) Dr. Clemens von Goetze, the Ambassador of the Federal Republic of Germany to Israel, Prof. Menahem Ben-Sasson, President of the Hebrew University,  and Mr. Michael Federmann, Chairman of the Board of Governors of the Hebrew University (Photo by Bruno Charbit for Hebrew University)

- Dov Smith

Germany’s Order of Merit Awarded to Hebrew University President Menahem Ben-Sasson
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