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An Israeli innovation feeds the world with more fish protein; earns Kaye Innovation Award

27/06/2017

A new way to grow larger fish and feed the expanding world population earns Prof. Berta Levavi-Sivan a 2017 Kaye innovation Award

As the world faces a projected population increase from today’s 7.5 billion people to 9 billion people by 2050, the demand for sustainable food sources is on the rise. The answer to this looming dilemma may well reside within the booming field of aquaculture. While wild fisheries have been on the decline for the last 20 years, aquaculture, or fish farming, is the fastest growing food-producing sector in the world, and will play an increasingly vital role in our planet’s food resources in the years to come.

One of the challenges to aquaculture is that reproduction, as an energy intensive endeavor, makes fish grow more slowly. To solve this problem, Prof. Berta Levavi-Sivan at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem identified tiny molecules named Neurokinin B (NKB) and Neurokinin F (NKF) that are secreted by the brains of fish and play a crucial role in their reproduction. Prof. Levavi-Sivan, a specialist in aquaculture at the Hebrew University’s Robert H. Smith Faculty of Agriculture, Food and Environment, then developed molecules that neutralize the effect of NKB and NKF.  The molecules inhibited fish reproduction and consequently led to increased growth rates.

Better Fish Growth, More Aquaculture Jobs

These inhibitors can now be included in fish feed to ensure better growth rates.  For example, young tilapia fed the inhibitors in their food supply for two months gained 25% more weight versus fish that did not receive the supplement. So far, NKB has been found in 20 different species of fish, indicating that this discovery could be effective in a wide variety of species.

The technology developed by Prof. Levavi-Sivan and her team was licensed by Yissum, the Technology Transfer company of the Hebrew University, to start-up AquiNovo Ltd., established and operating within the framework of The Trendlines Group. AquiNovo is further developing the technology to generate growth enhancers for farmed fish.

As the aquaculture industry obtains the tools to flourish, an increase in jobs is likely to follow. In Europe, aquaculture accounts for about 20% of fish production and directly employs some 85,000 people. The sector mainly benefits those living in coastal and rural areas, where jobs are most needed.

2017 Kaye innovation Award

In recognition of her work, Prof. Berta Levavi-Sivan was awarded the Kaye Innovation Award for 2017.

The Kaye Innovation Awards at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem have been awarded annually since 1994. Isaac Kaye of England, a prominent industrialist in the pharmaceutical industry, established the awards to encourage faculty, staff and students of the Hebrew University to develop innovative methods and inventions with good commercial potential, which will benefit the university and society. For more information about the 2017 Kaye Innovations Awards, visit http://bit.ly/kaye2017.

Prof. Berta Levavi-Sivan earned her BSc degree in life science and her MSc and PhD in zoology from Tel Aviv University.  At the Hebrew University’s Robert H. Smith Faculty of Agriculture, Food and Environment, where her work focuses on fish reproduction and growth, she has published over 100 articles in refereed journals and has won several prizes for her findings. As a specialist in aquaculture, she has worked extensively in Uganda to combat depleted fish supplies in Lake Victoria.

About the Hebrew University of Jerusalem

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, 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/hu170627_levavisivan.jpg - Kaye Innovation Award winner and Hebrew University aquaculture expert Prof. Berta Levavi-Sivan on the job. (Credit: Hebrew University)

 
An Israeli innovation feeds the world with more fish protein; earns Kaye Innovation Award
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University of Toronto and The Hebrew University of Jerusalem Deepen Ties in the Fields of Biomedical Science and Social Work

19/05/2016

(See also: Canadian Friends of the Hebrew University (CFHU) press release — Premier Wynne On-Hand To Announce New Partnerships Between Ontario And The Hebrew University)

The University of Toronto and The Hebrew University of Jerusalem are pleased to deepen their partnership in the fields of social work and bio-innovation, which will strengthen the exchange of students, faculty, and ideas between the academic and entrepreneurial environments of the two universities.

Biomedical Science

The University of Toronto’s Institute of Biomaterials and Biomedical Engineering is joining forces with the Alexander Grass Center for Bioengineering at The Hebrew University of Jerusalem to support student research and study abroad, clinical and academic faculty travel, and research collaboration.

The Jerusalem-Toronto Bio-Innovation Partnership will provide support to students in engineering, biology, and computer science to conduct research in the partner country over a 12-week period. An intensive 8-week educational program – the Transdisciplinary Innovation Program – that weaves together computer vision, big data, and bioengineering will also be offered to students from the University of Toronto, enabling interaction with Nobel laureates, work under the mentorship of Israeli scientists and entrepreneurs, and the opportunity for students to pitch ideas to investors.

The partnership will also build on the strengths of the two institutions in the biomedical field by fostering exchange aimed at developing technological solutions to medical system needs. Faculty and student groups will travel between the two countries to advance the collaboration, with a joint BioDesign program bringing together engineers, clinicians, and business and engineering students to share and create knowledge with tangible impact.

Social Work

The University of Toronto's Factor-Inwentash Faculty of Social Work and The Hebrew University of Jerusalem's Paul Baerwald School of Social Work and Social Welfare are entering into a partnership facilitating student exchange and practicum placement. Under the agreement, full-time graduate students from each university will be eligible to study at the partner university and, in the case of University of Toronto students, also participate in experiential learning during their coursework in Israel.

The deepening of ties between the two universities builds on a rich history of institutional engagement and faculty-to-faculty collaboration. The Hebrew University of Jerusalem is the University of Toronto’s second largest university partner in medical sciences in Israel. The University of Toronto, in turn, is The Hebrew University of Jerusalem’s second largest university partner internationally in medical sciences. The two institutions also share student mobility agreements – which, for students at the University of Toronto’s Munk School of Global Affairs, include a long tradition of study at The Hebrew University of Jerusalem’s Rothberg International School with the generous support of the Canadian Friends of The Hebrew University of Jerusalem.

University of Toronto President Meric Gertler expressed strong support for the new partnerships. “The forthcoming projects with The Hebrew University of Jerusalem are important to the University of Toronto,” said Gertler. “They underscore a commitment on the part of both universities to harness the power of Israel’s and Canada’s brightest minds to find solutions to the world's pressing social and medical problems. They will provide exciting opportunities in the near-term and, I believe, stand to have meaningful long-run impact by virtue of the skills investment and advances they entail.”

The Hebrew University of Jerusalem’s President, Prof. Menahem Ben-Sasson, said: “The Hebrew University is very pleased to expand its partnership with the University of Toronto. This agreement will bring about new exchanges of people and ideas between two of the world’s leading centers of research and academia. Furthermore it will drive cooperation in medical, social and entrepreneurial studies and research that will benefit Canada, Israel and the entire world.”

The University of Toronto is actively engaged with Israeli partners and is among the top 5 research partners globally for many of Israel’s leading universities.

About the University of Toronto

The University of Toronto, Canada’s leading research intensive university, has assembled one of the strongest research and teaching faculties in North America, presenting top students at all levels with an intellectual environment unmatched in breadth and depth on any other Canadian campus.

The University of Toronto consistently ranks first among Canadian universities, and the latest Times Higher Education Ranking places the institution in the global top twenty. As a measure of impact, the publications of the University of Toronto’s researchers are the world’s third most cited. University of Toronto faculty are also widely recognized for their teaching strengths and commitment to graduate supervision. Established in 1827, the University of Toronto today operates in downtown Toronto, Mississauga and Scarborough, as well as in 9 renowned partner hospitals.

About The Hebrew University of Jerusalem

The Hebrew University of Jerusalem is Israel’s leading university and premier research institution. The Hebrew University is ranked internationally among the top 100 universities in the world, and first among Israeli universities. Serving 23,500 students from 85 countries, the Hebrew University produces a third of Israel’s civilian research and its faculty are at the forefront of the international academic and scientific communities. Founded in 1918 by such innovative thinkers as Albert Einstein, Martin Buber and Sigmund Freud, 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.

  • PHOTO 1: http://media.huji.ac.il/new/photos/hu160518_hu_ut1.jpg
  • PHOTO 2: http://media.huji.ac.il/new/photos/hu160518_hu_ut2.jpg
  • CAPTION: Premier Kathleen Wynne of Ontario witnesses the signing on May 18, 2016 of an agreement to facilitate coop between the University of Toronto's Factor-Inwentash Faculty of Social Work and the Hebrew University of Jerusalem's Paul Baerwald School of Social Work and Social Welfare. Pictured, from left: Prof. Mimi Ajzenstadt, Dean of the Hebrew University's Paul Baerwald School of Social Work and Social Welfare; Prof. Oron Shagrir, Vice-Rector of the Hebrew University; and Judith Wolfson, Vice-President, International, Government and Institutional Relations for the University of Toronto. (Photo: Dov Smith / Hebrew University)
University of Toronto and The Hebrew University of Jerusalem Deepen Ties in the Fields of Biomedical Science and Social Work
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New Device Shortens Chest-Tube Insertion From Minutes To Seconds

09/03/2016

VIDEO: Hebrew University students develop life-saving device following a wave of stabbing attacks that leaves some civilians with collapsed lungs

Pneumothorax is a medical emergency: the collection of air in the pleural space separating the lung from the chest wall, causing it to collapse and resulting in suffocation. Pneumothorax is caused by chest trauma, and is believed to be responsible for over a third of preventable deaths on the battlefield and in terror attacks.

The current treatment involves two steps: a fast needle decompression of the thorax (between the neck and abdomen, where the lungs and other vital organs are located), followed by a 10-minute tissue separation and tube insertion procedure into the chest to drain air and blood, allowing the lung to re-inflate.

“This is a very laborious and technically difficult procedure,” said Dr. Ariel Drori, an internal medicine expert at Hadassah Medical Center, “leading caregivers to neglect the second step in favor of rapid evacuation from the scene to the hospital.”

The need for an alternative solution was made evident by a recent wave of stabbing attacks that left dozens of Israeli civilians dead or wounded. Members of the BioDesign: Medical Innovation program, created by The Hebrew University of Jerusalem and its affiliated Hadassah Medical Center, set out to solve this problem.

To address this challenge, Dr. Drori partnered with Yoav Kan-Tor and Bettina Nadorp, engineering students at The Hebrew University’s Alexander Grass Center for Bioengineering, along with Dr. Liran Levy, a pulmonologist from Hadassah Medical Center, and Chen Goldstein, an MBA student at The Hebrew University. Together they developed ThoraXS.

Video about ThoraXS can be seen at https://youtu.be/jZ3fhZmgyiY

ThoraXS is a one-handed thoracic portal opener that shortens the procedure time of chest-tube insertion from minutes to less than 30 seconds. Its closed knife-shape allows fast penetration of the pleural space, and its mechanical opening mechanism enables rapid and easy opening of a portal through which a chest tube can be quickly inserted. ThoraXS is thus a single-step, rapid life-saving solution for treating pneumothorax.

Prof. Yaakov Nahmias, director of the Hebrew University’s Alexander Grass Center for Bioengineering, said: “Our students responded to terror attacks by developing life-saving medical devices, an approach that is the very essence of our BioDesign: Medical Innovation program. ThoraXS is a life-saving innovation that exemplifies our commitment to helping the local and global communities through practical research and development projects.”

Nahmias added that ThoraXS's market potential was estimated at $300 million annually, and that continued investment is actively being sought.

The innovations produced by the Biodesign program participants are commercialized by Yissum, the technology transfer company of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, and Hadasit, the technology transfer company of the Hadassah Medical Center.

BioDesign: Medical Innovation is a multi-disciplinary, team-based approach to medical innovation, created by the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and its affiliated Hadassah Medical Center. Sponsored by Boston Scientific and the Terumo Medical Corporation, 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 program is directed by Prof. Yaakov Nahmias, director of the Alexander Grass Center for Bioengineering at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, and Prof. Chaim Lotan, director of the Heart Institute at Hadassah Medical Center.

New Device Shortens Chest-Tube Insertion From Minutes To Seconds
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To Help Diabetics, Intelligent Socks Are Paired With Smartphones

27/01/2016

VIDEO: Hebrew University students aim to reduce foot ulcers by linking pressure-sensing socks to a smart phone application that warns patients of developing wounds

Diabetic neuropathy is a type of nerve damage associated with the development of foot ulcers in patients with diabetes. Resulting from anatomical deformation, excessive pressure and poor blood supply, it affects over 130 million individuals worldwide. It is also the leading cause of amputation, costing the United States economy alone more than $10 billion annually.

Diabetic patients are encouraged to get regular checkups to monitor for the increased pressure and ulceration that can eventually require amputation. However, ulcers are only diagnosed after they occur, meaning that patients require healing time, which dramatically increases healthcare costs. 

Members of the BioDesign: Medical Innovation program, created by The Hebrew University of Jerusalem and its affiliated Hadassah Medical Center, set out to solve this problem.

“This is a significant medical problem that affects the lives of millions. We thought there must be a way to avoid these wounds altogether,” said Danny Bavli, the group’s lead engineer.  

To address this challenge, Bavli partnered with Sagi Frishman and Dr. David Morgenstern, a leading orthopedic surgeon at Hadassah Medical Center. Together with other members of the Hebrew University BioDesign group, they developed SenseGO, a machine-washable sock containing dozens of micro-fabricated pressure sensors.

With SenseGO, changes in pressure due to incorrect posture, anatomical deformation or ill-fitting shoes are registered as electrical signals that are relayed to a smartphone app, which in turn informs the patient of developing risk.

Prof. Yaakov Nahmias, BioDesign program director, said: “This is a classic mobile health approach. By giving patients and their families the tools they need to prevent the development of ulcers, we can dramatically reduce health care costs related to diabetes.”

Other members of the BioDesign SenseGO team included Inbal Boxerman and Yael Hadar, MBA students at The Hebrew University of Jerusalem.

Video about SenseGO can be seen at: https://youtu.be/drc7NpiiB74

BioDesign: Medical Innovation is a multi-disciplinary, team-based approach to medical innovation, created by the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and its affiliated Hadassah Medical Center. Sponsored by Boston Scientific and the Terumo Medical Corporation, 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 program is directed by Prof. Yaakov Nahmias, director of the Alexander Grass Center for Bioengineering at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, and Prof. Chaim Lotan, director of the Heart Institute at Hadassah Medical Center.

The innovations produced by the Biodesign program participants are commercialized by Yissum, the technology transfer company of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, and Hadasit, the technology transfer company of the Hadassah Medical Center.

To Help Diabetics, Intelligent Socks Are Paired With Smartphones
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