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Technology Name
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Scientist
1555
Albumin binding probe for extending the lifetime of drugs. Most polypeptide drugs, in particular non-glycosylated proteins of molecular mass less than 50 kDa, are short-lived species in vivo having circulatory half lives of 5-20 min. Drug association with endogenous albumin may be suitable for...

Albumin binding probe for extending the lifetime of drugs. Most polypeptide drugs, in particular non-glycosylated proteins of molecular mass less than 50 kDa, are short-lived species in vivo having circulatory half lives of 5-20 min. Drug association with endogenous albumin may be suitable for designing an approach to protract the action in vivo of, potentially, any short-lived peptide/protein drug. In doing so two principal obstacles must be overcome: (1) following its conjugation, the probe introduced into a peptide or a protein should have sufficient affinity to albumin to manifest prolonged action in vivo, and (2) in case such covalent introduction results in an inactive product, the latter should be capable to undergo slow reactivation at physiological conditions. The present invention relates to engineering prolonged-acting prodrugs employing an albumin-binding probe that undergoes slow hydrolysis at physiological conditions.

Applications


  • Prolonging half life of short-lined drugs

Advantages


  • Prolonging the action of the drug without effecting its activity 
  • A desirable pharmacokinetic pattern

Technology's Essence


Since albumin is long-lived in vivo, drugs and endogenous substances that tightly associate with it have lower clearance rates than that of the unbound substances, and exhibit prolonged lifetime profiles in vivo. The present invention is based on a concept according to which a long chain fatty acid (LCFA) like albuminbinding compound is covalently linked to a short-lived amino-containing drug to form a non-covalent drug conjugate capable of associating with albumin in vivo, i.e., a long-lived prodrug that gradually releases the pharmacologically active constituent. This approach has been successfully implemented with several drugs (e.g. insulin, exendin and gentamicin).

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  • Prof. Matityahu Fridkin
  • Prof. Yoram Shechter
1556
Synthetic carbon fixation pathways can allow plants to produce more biomass using the same amount of energy from sunlight. Novel carbon fixation cycles discovered at The Weizmann Institute hold potential to greatly increase the capacity of organisms to convert atmospheric carbon into sugars. Modern...

Synthetic carbon fixation pathways can allow plants to produce more biomass using the same amount of energy from sunlight. Novel carbon fixation cycles discovered at The Weizmann Institute hold potential to greatly increase the capacity of organisms to convert atmospheric carbon into sugars.

Modern agriculture faces limited arable land and climate changes. Carbon fixation under these conditions will become a significant growth limiting factor. The proposed solution provides the ability to enhance crop yields using the same expanse of land.

The novel technology presents alternative synthetic carbon fixation pathways that were discovered by harnessing a systems biology approach. These pathways are predicted to harbor a significant kinetic advantage over their natural counter parts, making them promising candidates for synthetic biology implementation.

Applications


  • Synthetic organisms utilizing this revolutionary technology can offer higher carbon fixation rates as compared to natural alternatives allowing:
  • Superior rate of biomass generation, providing cost effective feedstock for the production of biofuels.
  • Enhanced food production via increased crop yields.

Advantages


  • Minimal thermodynamic bottlenecks and superior kinetics over natural counterparts.

Technology's Essence


The productivity of carbon fixation cycles is limited by the slow rate and lack of substrate specificity of the carboxylating enzyme, RuBisCo. In his discovery Dr. Milo addresses the inefficiency of the carbon fixation process through an alternative cycle that is predicted to be two to three times faster than the Calvin–Benson cycle, employing the most effective carboxylating enzyme, phosphoenolpyruvate carboxylase, using the core of the naturally evolved C4 cycle.

A computational strategy was applied, comparing kinetics, energetic and topology of all the possible pathways that can be assembled from all ~4,000 metabolic enzymes known in nature.

The results suggest a promising new family of synthetic carbon fixation pathways.

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  • Prof. Ron Milo
1564
A new recyclable size-selective filtration device. Particle size, chemical purity and dispersion of nanoparticles crucially determine their optical, electronic and chemical properties. Size-selective separation technologies are becoming increasingly important for the development of nanoparticles with...

A new recyclable size-selective filtration device.

Particle size, chemical purity and dispersion of nanoparticles crucially determine their optical, electronic and chemical properties. Size-selective separation technologies are becoming increasingly important for the development of nanoparticles with well-defined sizes, which have application in the fields of optoelectronic devices, biomedicine, materials, and catalysis.

Researchers at the Weizmann Institute have fabricated supramolecular ultrafiltration membranes that can be used for filtration and size-selective chromatography of nanoparticles. The membranes are composed of a self-assembled three-dimensional fibrous network that is held together by reversible non-covalent interactions.

The membranes are robust, easy to fabricate, and recyclable.

Applications


  • Size-selective separation of semiconductor and metal nanoparticles
  • Uniformity and monodispersity of nanoparticles in solution.
  • Size exclusion chromatography of nanoparticles in the sub-5-nm size regime.

Advantages


  • Efficient and inexpensive

  • Fast and easy fabrication

  • Recyclable

  • Self-assembled

  • Dual application regime: filtration and/or chromatography


Technology's Essence


The recyclable supramolecular membranes are formed from unique perylene derivatives that are large and flat aromatic molecules. These molecules are insoluble in water and form a 3-D network over a solid support, which can be used for the separation of nanoparticles.

The filters can be subsequently recycled from this mixture using an organic solvent (e.g. dichloromethane), which separates the membrane material from the water-soluble nanoparticles, and reused without loss of performance.

This material is hence highly attractive for application in the field of nanotechnology.

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  • Prof. Boris Rybtchinski
1571
A novel social behavior monitoring system automatically tracks the precise location of each animal at excellent temporal resolution. This innovative technology provides simultaneous identification of complex social and individual behaviors via an integration of RFID and video surveillance. There is a...

A novel social behavior monitoring system automatically tracks the precise location of each animal at excellent temporal resolution. This innovative technology provides simultaneous identification of complex social and individual behaviors via an integration of RFID and video surveillance.

There is a rapidly growing interest in detecting the molecular substrates of social behavior. This interest is driven by the vast implications of such understanding in both research and the pharmaceutical industry, since some prevalent pathological conditions are mainly characterized by a behavioral deficit or abnormality.

It is extremely challenging to quantify social behavior in a reliable manner. Existing methods struggle to find a balance between objectively quantifying behavior on one hand while enabling a natural, stress-free behavioral estimation on the other hand. Currently, researchers work in a strictly controlled and constrained environment that is estranged and stressful to the animals. The outcome is a highly contaminated measurement of natural behavior. This difficultly becomes increasingly complex when more than one animal is involved as often applied in social behavioral studies.

Applications


  • Rigorous characterization of social organizational deficiencies and evaluation of their severity in animal and human models (for example in autism).
  • An optimized system for estimating the efficacy of clinical treatments.

Advantages


  • Long-term tracking of unlimited number of simultaneously studied animals.
  • Machine based, hence objective and automated quantification of behavior.
  • Excellent spatiotemporal resolution in semi natural environment
  • Flexible- the number, size and distribution of the RFID antennas can be adjusted with different enclosure dimensions.
  • Can be applied from Individual behavioral profile or pairs interactions up to collective social organization of groups.
  • Systematic analysis and classification of basic locomotion up to more complex social

Technology's Essence


Researchers at the Weizmann institute developed a method for tightly controlled monitoring of social behavior in a semi-natural environment. They used integrated and synchronized chip reporting and continuous video postage to precisely locate each individual animal. Using this automated monitoring which provides an exceptional temporal resolution they achieved correct identification of numerous basic individual behaviors as well as complex social behaviors. Such complex behavioral profiles set the basis for subsequent analysis which reveals the formation of a social hierarchy.

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  • Dr. Tali Kimchi
1577
A novel desulfurization system achieves removal of sulfur dioxide (SO2) from industrial exhaust streams at efficiencies that can greatly supersede technologies currently in use. The chemical process is highly selective to SO2, and consumes much less reagents, therefore reducing the cost of...

A novel desulfurization system achieves removal of sulfur dioxide (SO2) from industrial exhaust streams at efficiencies that can greatly supersede technologies currently in use. The chemical process is highly selective to SO2, and consumes much less reagents, therefore reducing the cost of desulfurization.Techniques to capture SO2 from coal-burning plants have not changed in nearly 40 years. Once implemented, the technology presented here can become significantly more efficient and environmentally friendly than existing techniques, since no slurry waste is created from the wet sorbents typically used to capture SO2.The novel system can selectively recycle SO2 into useful sulfur-based compounds which can be resold; utilizing a carbonate eutectic melt this procedure can also be aimed to generate elemental sulfur, an inert and non-toxic compound which can be stored long-term until required for further use.In a world anxious over climate change, yet in demand of more energy, solutions should have the capacity to be implemented quickly and incorporated into existing infrastructure. This technology offers the potential to tackle several problems with one simple solution.

Applications


Integrate into industrial fossil-fuel burning facilities which include:

  • Power plants
  • Cement factories
  • Steel foundries

Advantages


  • Implement into existing infrastructure and reduce reagents’ costs compared to current techniques
  • Significantly higher efficiency and elimination of hazardous waste by-products
  • Potential generation of revenue from recycled Sulfur waste.

Technology's Essence


The significant enhancement of this scrubbing technique is the sequentially operable scrubbing zone and regeneration zone, which communicate with one another via a molten eutectic mixture of lithium, sodium and potassium carbonates. In the scrubbing zone, an ingress flue gas interacts with the molten carbonates, resulting in chemical absorbance of the SO2 and in discharge of reaction gases. In the regeneration zone, either chemical or electrochemical melt regeneration takes place resulting in formation of sulfur containing vapor which is cooled down for converting the sulfur-containing vapor into a liquid and solid phase for a further collection and utilization.The technology developed by Prof. Igor Lubomirsky and his team introduces three essential improvements over past techniques: (i) the removal of sulfate from the melt is achieved at expected operating temperatures of an industrial scrubbing tower (480-550°C), which drastically reduces corrosion of metal components, (ii) the reduction of sulfates by CO gas rather than by carbon powder represents a simpler, one-step process, which results in a high reduction rate and allows for the reaction chamber to be small (few tens of m3 for a 1GW coal plant), and (iii) the removal of sulfate in the form of COS, rather than H2S, provides considerable freedom in choosing the final sulfur product – either sulfuric acid or elemental sulfur.

 

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  • Prof. Igor Lubomirsky
1582
Over-expression of an oil globule protein for increased production of oil. Oil globules are discrete organelles, ubiquitous in animals, microorganisms and plants. Plant oil globules contain specific proteins that are tightly bound to their surface. These proteins are suggested to have different roles,...

Over-expression of an oil globule protein for increased production of oil.

Oil globules are discrete organelles, ubiquitous in animals, microorganisms and plants. Plant oil globules contain specific proteins that are tightly bound to their surface. These proteins are suggested to have different roles, including globules formation, degradation and stabilization. The present invention relies on the fact that oil globule associated proteins stabilize the oil bodies, and suggests the induction of one of these proteins as a means to obtain high yields of oil globules. 

Applications


  • Higher yields of oil for food and biodiesel

  • Higher yield of the pigment astaxanthin or beta carotene in pigment-accumulating algae


Advantages


  • Obtaining valuable materials (oil and pigments) with a relatively simple manipulation (i.e., over-expression of the globule-associated protein)
  • Cost-effective

Technology's Essence


In many microorganisms (e.g., yeasts, micro-algae and bacteria), the accumulation of oil globules appears to be induced specifically in response to environmental stresses such as nutrient limitation, high irradiance or osmotic stress. One specific protein, found only in micro-algae, was enriched in isolated globules and in stressed cells, in correlation to astaxanthin accumulation. This correlation makes the protein a promising candidate to function in stress response, and more specifically, in globule buildup. Therefore, it may be expected that its over-expression in plants or in algae could increase the accumulation of oil (tryglycerides).

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  • Prof. Uri Pick
1583
The thermoelectric effect is the direct conversion of temperature differences to electric voltage and vice versa. Thermoelectric effects are used in various applications, where heat energy is saved, that would be otherwise lost. Although the TE conversion efficiency is nowadays low (5-8%), the novel...

The thermoelectric effect is the direct conversion of temperature differences to electric voltage and vice versa. Thermoelectric effects are used in various applications, where heat energy is saved, that would be otherwise lost. Although the TE conversion efficiency is nowadays low (5-8%), the novel technique developed at Weizmann Institute, has a disruptive potential to change this market.  

Prof. Y. Imry and his team at Weizmann Institute came up with Thermal Electric conversion technique, based on a new TE device architecture which allows performance enhancement. The core invention is in the field of Bi-junction thermoelectric device architecture, having a thermoelectric gate interposed between two electric regions, leading to thermal electric conversion efficiency optimization.

Applications


Various TE devices will benefit from better TE efficiency, achieved by the developed conversion technique. The growing market for thermoelectric energy harvesters will reach $865 million by 2023. Current TE market is driven by consumer energy harvesting applications and some niche segments:

  •  Automotive energy harvesting applications, since around 40% of the energy produced by internal combustion engines is currently lost in heat through the exhaust.
  • Wireless devices/sensors segment is forecasted to account for over a third of the overall market for thermoelectric harvesters and cooling by 2023.

Advantages


In order to drive down the thermoelectric module costs and facilitate broad deployment, TE has several barriers to overcome: 

  •  low conversion efficiency;
  • toxicity and low availability of chemical elements constituting part of the thermoelectric materials.

 In this context, the main TE market challenges are reaching higher efficiencies using low cost thermoelectric materials. These challenges can be addressed by the proposed technology.


Technology's Essence


Prof. Y. Imry and his team at Weizmann Institute have developed novel bi-junction TE device, having a thermoelectric gate interposed between two electric regions, aiming at TE efficiency improvement. Thermoelectric efficiency depends on the figure of merit (ZT). The figure-of-merit curves, for the developed 3-T TE device configurations show that higher ZT should be achieved.  

The secret essence of the invented configuration is in using two independently adjustable input parameters - voltage and temperature - as drivers for optimizing device thermoelectric efficiency.

 

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  • Prof. Yoseph Imry
1585
Our scientific team has discovered a method to apply the Gabor Transform to signal processing and data compression. Compared to existing methods that are based on Fourier transform, the new method provides for up to 25% savings in content size for video, audio and images, without any loss in quality...

Our scientific team has discovered a method to apply the Gabor Transform to signal processing and data compression.

Compared to existing methods that are based on Fourier transform, the new method provides for up to 25% savings in content size for video, audio and images, without any loss in quality.

By embracing our method, content providers, ISPs and mobile carriers can achieve major savings in data storage and data transfer costs.

Applications


The method can be used in virtually all applications involving data storage, communication and signal processing. One of the main commercial application is for lossy data compression for video, audio and images. Those types of content constitute the bulk of today’s Internet traffic, and improved compression will generate substantial savings in storage and data transfer costs.

The method also applies to the storage, communication and processing of quantum information and may therefore be expected to have applications in quantum calculations, quantum communication and quantum information processing.


Advantages


Existing data compression methods are based on numerical implementations of the Fourier transform, known as FFT, DCT and similar.

Compared to these methods, Gabor transform method demonstrates a very significant advantage in terms of the size of compressed material.  

The method provides for up to 25% savings in data size, while keeping the same perceived quality of the content.


Technology's Essence


We have discovered the definitive solution to the problem of obtaining accuracy and stability in the Gabor transform.  We realized that there must be an exact informational equivalence between the Gabor transform and the discrete Fourier transform (DFT). The latter is known to provide an exact representation of functions that are band-limited with finite support.  Since the DFT implicitly assumes periodic boundary conditions, to obtain this exact equivalence one needs to modify the Gaussians in the Gabor transform to obey periodic boundary conditions. This leads to Gaussian flexibility with Fourier accuracy --- precisely what has been sought since 1946.

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  • Prof. David J. Tannor
1587
An innovative technique to preserve and prolong shelf-life in crop-plants cost-effectively. Different agricultural crops from Solanaceous species which include tomato, potato and eggplant, overcome oxidative stress by the production of steroidal glycoalkaloids (SGAs) and steroidal saponins. Although...

An innovative technique to preserve and prolong shelf-life in crop-plants cost-effectively.
Different agricultural crops from Solanaceous species which include tomato, potato and eggplant, overcome oxidative stress by the production of steroidal glycoalkaloids (SGAs) and steroidal saponins. Although SGAs contribute to plant resistance to a wide range of pathogens and predators some are considered as toxic to humans, with potato known as most relevance to food safety.
This innovative technology offers improvement  of nutritional composition and prolonged shelf-life of Solanaceous species, which are widely consumed crop-plants with a market size of hundreds of billions of tones produced yearly worldwide.

Applications


Modification of steroidal glycoalkaloids and steroidal saponins compounds in plants can be used for two purposes:
1. Widely used crop-plants from Solanaceae species with reduced anti-nutritional components.  Leading to a longer shelf-life of crop-plants with safer nutritional compounds. 
2. Highly resistant modified plant with enriched toxic steroidal glycoalkaloids content for non-edible usage. 

Advantages


  • Prolongs shelf-life- by preventing post-harvest elevated toxicity levels.
  • Reduction of undesired anti-nutritional alkaloids, by means that do not affect other biological plant pathways.
  • Helps avoiding spoilage and toxicity of plants that manifest during storage and process.
  • Stress and pathogen-resistant plants for non-edible usage: Genetically modified plants with elevated toxic steroidal glycoalkaloids content will result in enhanced resistance to stress related factors. The outcome will also be prolonged shelf-life achieved in a clean economic manner (reduced need of pesticides/ insecticides).

Technology's Essence


The invention relates to key genes and enzymes on the biosynthesis pathway converting cholesterol to SGA. Biosynthesis involves an array of genes. Modulation of specific regulatory, transcription factor genes had enabled strict control of the production of steroidal alkaloids and glycosylated derivatives therefore.
Prof. Asaph Aharoni discovered the key genes in the biosynthesis of steroidal saponins and steroidal alkaloids in his lab at the Weizmann institute. He also developed a method for altering the gene expression and the production (reduction or elevation) of these components in plants from the Solanaceae species.

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  • Prof. Asaph Aharoni
1593
The study of social behavior in groups of mice may have crucial implications for understanding the social aspects of different disorders.  To be executed correctly, group studies require the ability to track individual’s behavior within the group structure. The main challenge of current research tools...

The study of social behavior in groups of mice may have crucial implications for understanding the social aspects of different disorders. 
To be executed correctly, group studies require the ability to track individual’s behavior within the group structure. The main challenge of current research tools is to allow individuals identification while maintaining sufficient resolution for accurate tracking.
The present technology provides a system that utilizes fluorescent fur dyes to differentially mark and track individuals within a group. Using a sensitive color camera and a newly designed tracking algorithm, behavior of groups may be recorded and analyzed with high temporal and spatial resolution.   
The technology further offers a method for characterizing the group’s interactions using the maximum entropy model.

 

Applications


 


Advantages


  • High spatial and temporal resolution – enabled by sensitive color video tracking.
  • Enables high detailed analysis of individual behavior within the group.
  • Suitable for community study of groups - limited only by available fur dyes.
  • Compatible with long-term analysis.
  • Simple, cost effective.
  • Minimal suffering and improved animal welfare.

  • Technology's Essence


    The present technology takes advantage of the fact that mice are nocturnal (active at night) animals, to mark their fur with different fluorescent dyes. Under ultraviolet light, the mice can be accurately and automatically tracked, over a number of days. As the mice are allowed to move freely in an interesting arena for exploration containing ramps, nest boxes and barriers (Figure 1), their trajectory and behavior are recorded using a sensitive color camera.
    The system further includes an image processing module which analyses the recorded images, calculates a spatiotemporal model and the nature of social interactions between individuals.
    Combining detailed behavioral and genetic analysis ate the level of individuals, in association with group analysis, may enable the identification of genetic and neuronal correlates of complex social interactions. 

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    • Prof. Alon Chen
    1596
    A beam of light has several properties which can be measured for a variety of applications. The most commonly measured properties of light include Intensity, Color, Phase, and Polarization.In recent years there has been a growing demand to have well-defined optical beams. In order to accomplish this a...

    A beam of light has several properties which can be measured for a variety of applications. The most commonly measured properties of light include Intensity, Color, Phase, and Polarization.In recent years there has been a growing demand to have well-defined optical beams. In order to accomplish this a light beam requires fast, accurate, and simple measurement techniques to fully characterize it’s properties.Currently, the ability to measure light polarization exists only qualitatively and at only one specific point in a light beam. Our scientific team has developed a new method to measure changing light polarizations in real-time. 
    Our demonstrated system presents a simple way to continuously measure and quantify light polarizations in real-time, throughout the entire length of a light beam. This method has the potential to set a new industry standard, and could lead to a number of applications that were previously not possible.
     

    Applications


    • Molecular imaging
    • Medical and industrial lasers
    • Non-destructive testing
    • Analytical chemistry
    • Fiber-optic communications
    • Cryptography
    • Astronomy

    Advantages


    • Proved accuracy
    • Simple technique
    • Compact configuration
    • Incorporate into existing equipment
    • Can measure fully polarized, partially polarized, and un-polarized light
    • Two modes of operation:   Space-variant polarization measurements and Wavelength-variant polarization measurements

    Technology's Essence


    Our polarization measurement technique is based on splitting an input light beam into six parallel beams, each having a predetermined shift in the polarization state with respect to the other beams. The beam components are simultaneously detected using a pixel matrix, such as a CCD camera, to determine their intensity distribution. From this, the polarization state distribution along the cross-section of the input optical beam is determined and we can calculate the Stokes parameters, a set of values which defines polarized light. This allows us to characterize and quantify fully polarized, partially polarized, and un-polarized light at every point in the beam in real-time, with either static or dynamic polarization states. Our method can be applied for two conditions of varying polarizations – changing with position (space-variant) or changing in color (wavelength-variant).

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    • Prof. Nir Davidson
    1597
    Metal-oxide material generates electromechanical stress an order of magnitude above existing materials.The ability to develop a mechanical stress in response to the application of an external electric field has many uses, and characteristic materials are classified as either piezoelectric or...

    Metal-oxide material generates electromechanical stress an order of magnitude above existing materials.The ability to develop a mechanical stress in response to the application of an external electric field has many uses, and characteristic materials are classified as either piezoelectric or electrostrictive. Modern inorganic piezoelectric devices are used for a wide variety of applications from inexpensive speakers and headphones, to sophisticated sonar transducers. Over the last several decades, these materials have become highly reliable and technologically mature, but the magnitude of the mechanical stress they can generate in response to an input electric signal has reached an upper limit.This innovative technology applies Gadolinium-doped Cerium Oxide (Gd-doped CeO2) to piezoelectric and electrostrictive devices and will enable high-performance electromechanical materials with output capabilities an order of magnitude above existing solutions, in excess of 500 MPa. This could facilitate the next generation of many consumer and industrial electronic devices.

    Applications


    • Wide range of personal electronic devices
    • Industrial and fine electronics – specifically powerful acoustic transducers

    Advantages


    • Generate large displacement and large stress simultaneously
    • Sensitive and tunable properties

    Technology's Essence


    In piezoelectric devices, stress develops due to the deformation of a non-centrosymmetric lattice under the application of an electric field. In commercial electrostrictors, or materials with centrosymmetric lattices and very large dielectric constants, an external electric field distorts the unit cells of the lattice, rendering them locally non-centrosymmetric. In both cases, the electromechanical stress develops due to a small displacement of atoms within each unit cell. Increasing the magnitude of the response would lead to more powerful actuators, and permit a decrease in the operating voltage; therefore, the search for novel mechanisms of electromechanical response in solids remains an important objective for both fundamental and applied science.

    We have demonstrated that Gd-doped CeO2, specifically Ce0.8Gd0.2O1.9, can generate stress an order of magnitude greater than the best electromechanically active materials. The large stress develops in response to the rearrangement of cerium-oxygen vacancy pairs and their local environment. This effect is expected to be two-fold; i) an applied electric field results in strain and stress directly, and ii) application of the external electric field affects the elastic modulus of Ce0.8Gd0.2O1.9 by suppressing the chemical strain effect. This is a fundamentally different mechanism than materials currently in use. In this view, Gd-doped CeO2 is representative of a new family of high-performance electromechanical materials.

     

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    • Prof. Igor Lubomirsky
    1601
    A potent combination therapy against non-invasive breast cancer Breast cancer is the most common cancer in females. Among the different subtypes of breast cancer, ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS) represents an intermediate step between normal breast tissue and invasive breast cancer. Currently, about 25...

    A potent combination therapy against non-invasive breast cancer

    Breast cancer is the most common cancer in females. Among the different subtypes of breast cancer, ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS) represents an intermediate step between normal breast tissue and invasive breast cancer. Currently, about 25% of breast cancers that are diagnosed in the US are DCIS. DCIS is commonly treated by surgical intervention followed by adjuvant radiation therapy. However, a significant fraction of the DCIS lesions, which display HER2 gene amplification, are associated with increased relapse rate following surgery. Therefore, in cases of HER2-overexpressing DCIS a molecularly targeted therapy might be necessary for complete eradication of microscopic remnants following surgical tumor removal. The current technology presents an potential DCIS therapeutic strategy that collectively targets the functionally linked HER2 and Notch pathways.

     

    Applications


    • Combination therapy for DCIS patients following surgical tumor removal.
    • Classification of DCIS patients according to HER2 Notch activation patterns to identify patients with increased risk of relapse after surgery.
    • Diagnostic antibodies to NRG4 to screen for cancer cell subtypes that express/over-express NRG4.
    • NRG4 fusion conjugates, where NRG4 acts as a vehicle to direct the conjugate to cells specifically expressing the receptor ErbB4.

     


    Advantages


    • Targeted cancer therapies will give doctors a better way to tailor cancer treatment.
    • Targeted cancer therapies hold the promise of being more selective, thus harming fewer normal cells, reducing side effects, and improving the quality of life.
    • The proposed treatment strategy may prove beneficial in DCIS patients with poor prognosis.

     


    Technology's Essence


    The HER2/Neu oncogene, a member of the HER/ErbB signaling network, encodes a receptor-like tyrosine kinase, whose overexpression in breast cancer predicts poor prognosis and resistance to conventional therapies. Pre-invasive lesions, such as DCIS, overexpress HER2 at higher frequency than invasive ones. Another signal transduction pathway critical for breast cancer progression comprises Notch family receptors and their membrane-bound ligands. In the current technology, a team of researchers from the Weizmann Institute of Science uncovered that overexpression of HER2 in a novel experimental model of DCIS leads to transcriptional upregulation of Notch pathway components, resulting in enhanced tumor cell survival and proliferation. Combined treatment with HER2 and Notch pathway inhibitors resulted in decreased proliferative and tumorigenic potential. The current technology offers specific and combined targeting of HER2 and Notch pathways for DCIS treatment. This approach may also be tailored for DCIS patients with enhanced co-expression of HER2 and Notch.

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    • Prof. Yosef Yarden
    1602
    A novel technology for robust downregulation of bacterial genes.RNAi (RNA interference) is a powerful method for downregulation of gene expression in eukaryotic systems. RNAi-based technologies are extensively applied as scientific research tools, as well as actively explored as promising therapeutic...

    A novel technology for robust downregulation of bacterial genes.RNAi (RNA interference) is a powerful method for downregulation of gene expression in eukaryotic systems. RNAi-based technologies are extensively applied as scientific research tools, as well as actively explored as promising therapeutic agents. However, although an efficient way to dowregulate bacterial and microbial gene expression has been long sought after, RNAi is not applicable in these species. The present technology offers a rapid and simple means to silence gene products in prokaryotic systems.

    Applications


    • Treatment of bacterial infection, by targeting bacterial genes vital for antibiotic resistance or bacterial virulence.
    • Enhanced biofuel production by targeting genes that interfere with ethanol and/or hydrogen biosynthesis.
    • Generation of improved bacterial strains for the diary industry (e.g. phage-resistant strains).
    • Discerning prokaryotic gene function by silencing the expression of the gene product.

    Advantages


    • The present technology may offer means to treat antibiotics-resistant strains.
    • Because CRISPR-based technology does not involve ‘classical’ genetic engineering, the resulting products do not require labeling as 'genetically modified'.
    • CRISPR-based technology system allows for the development of a rapid, scalable and high-throughput platform to probe the function of genetic circuits in prokaryotes.

    Technology's Essence


    CRISPR (clusters of regularly interspaced short palindromic repeats) is a recently discovered anti-viral system that functions as the prokaryotic-equivalent of the adaptive immune system. CRISPR provides bacteria with protection against foreign genetic elements such as viruses by incorporating short stretches of invading DNA sequences in genomic CRISPR loci. These integrated sequences are thought to function as a genetic memory that prevents the host from being infected by the viruses and other genetic elements containing this recognition sequence. A team of researchers at the Weizmann Institute, headed by Dr. Rotem Sorek, has developed a unique technology to gain robust and rapid silencing of prokaryotic gene expression by exploiting the CRISPR system capacity to efficiently downregulate gene products. This potent technology can potentially be utilized in a broad range of areas such as in the agriculture, food and pharmaceutical industries as well as in the scientific research arena.

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    • Prof. Rotem Sorek
    1604
    Novel reporter gene for magnetic resonance imaging applications.The ability to image the duration and location of gene expression in vivo and noninvasively is imperative for the future of biology and clinical medicine. Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) is a widely used noninvasive clinical diagnostic...

    Novel reporter gene for magnetic resonance imaging applications.The ability to image the duration and location of gene expression in vivo and noninvasively is imperative for the future of biology and clinical medicine. Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) is a widely used noninvasive clinical diagnostic tool that offers views into deep tissues at exquisite spatial resolution. Recently, MRI has emerged as a valuable tool for monitoring the expression of genes by utilizing metal-complexed MRI agents to display transgene activity in vivo. However, administration of metal complexes into tissues and cells is challenging. Intra-cellular metalloproteins such as Ferritin have been utilized as endogenous MRI contrast agents, but offer relatively low sensitivity. The present technology provides a novel Ferritin-based transgene with enhanced MRI contrast.

     

    Applications


    • Non-invasive imaging of gene expression in transgenic mice models.
    • Monitoring target gene expression in pre-clinical studies.
    • Long-term cell labeling and tracking.
    • Visualization of cellular- and gene-based therapeutics.

    Advantages


    • Does not require delivery of exogenous substrate.
    • Enhanced MRI contrast over current Ferritin-based reporters.
    • Conversion to magnetite is achieved in physiological conditions and not by synthetic modification or by extreme heating. 

    Technology's Essence


    Ferritin, the main Iron storage intracellular protein, contains a paramagnetic ferryhydrate core, and thus was proposed as an endogenous MRI reporter gene. However, Ferritin provides relatively low sensitivity. One way to increase sensitivity of Ferritin is to convert the non-crystalline ferrihydrate in its core into crystal magnetite as has been done chemically, to form magneto-ferritin. The current method enhances the magnetic properties of Ferritin by engineering a Ferritin protein fused to a bacteria-derived peptide. This novel recombinant fusion protein facilitates conversion of ferrihydrate into crystal magnetite and by this induces MRI contrast. The new construct can serve for monitoring delivery and differentiation of cells in vivo in cellular based therapy. 

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    • Prof. Michal Neeman

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