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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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