Birzeit, Palestine

Birzeit University
Birzeit, Palestine

Birzeit University , often abbreviated as BZU, is a non-governmental public university located in Birzeit, Palestine, near Ramallah. Established in 1924 as a school for girls, Birzeit University is the oldest university in the State of Palestine.Birzeit University, with the highest admission averages among other Palestinian universities, offers graduate and undergraduate programs in information technology, engineering, science, social policy, nursing and health science, economics, and management. It has 9 faculties, including a graduate faculty. These offer 47 B.A. programs for undergraduate students and 26 M.A. programs for graduate students. Wikipedia.

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News Article | May 17, 2017

A new study targets the fizz in your soda as one of the major culprits for why sodas lead to higher obesity rates (Credit: yalcinsonat1/Depositphotos ) There has been a flurry of research in recent times examining the links between sugar-free soda and obesity. Many have pointed the finger at artificial sweeteners for having counter-intuitive effects that actually cause weight gain instead of preventing it. But what if the actual carbonation in soda was having an effect on increasing waistbands, regardless of the sugar content? A recent study conducted at the Department of Biology and Biochemistry at Birzeit University in the West Bank set out to explore the effect of carbonated beverages in relation to the body's production of a hormone called ghrelin. Secretion of the hormone ghrelin has been linked to feelings of hunger and has previously been shown to activate appetite. The first part of the study examined four groups of rats. Each group was given a different category of beverage for over a year: tap water, a degassed carbonated beverage, a regular carbonated beverage and a diet carbonated beverage. Each rat had its weight and food consumption closely monitored, and levels of ghrelin in the blood were regularly tracked. The results showed that the rats consuming carbonated beverages, either diet or regular, gained weight at a faster rate than rats on the same beverage but degassed. They also saw that the rats consuming the carbonated beverages generally increased their overall food consumption compared to the rats drinking the degassed beverage or the tap water. When examining the rats ghrelin levels it was found that the rats on carbonated beverages, again either regular or diet, secreted significantly higher levels of the appetite-producing hormone compared to the rats drinking water or degassed beverages. The researchers then extrapolated their study into human subjects, taking 20 male students, and examined their blood ghrelin concentrations one hour after meals consumed with different beverages. Compared to water, a six-fold increase in ghrelin concentration was seen when a carbonated beverage was consumed. Furthermore, a three-fold increase in ghrelin was seen when consuming a degassed carbonated beverage compared to meals consumed with any carbonated beverage, even carbonated water. So, they essentially saw lower blood ghrelin levels in subjects that consumed degassed regular sugar-filled soda compared to those that consumed plain carbonated water. The study makes a pretty definitive claim by the end, with the researcher's writing, "These results implicate a major role for carbon dioxide gas in soft drinks in inducing weight gain and the onset of obesity via ghrelin release and stimulation of the hunger response in male mammals." The contentious part of the study comes when the researchers attempt to infer a causal connection between the two primary observations in their research. If carbonated beverages are indeed causing an increase in the release of the hormone ghrelin, then how could that be? The research hypothesizes that when one ingests a carbonated beverage the pressurized carbon dioxide comes into contact with the stomach wall, resulting in a release of ghrelin through a process called mechanosensation. While the study raises some compelling questions it is by no means definitive, or even clear, in its results. The initial experiments were only conducted on rats and the human follow-ups were very limited in their scale and scope. The ultimate relevance of ghrelin levels in relation to adult obesity has not been studied and the lifestyle factors connected to people who tend to drink fizzy drinks must be taken into account. Ultimately, the study raises more questions than it answers, so it's certainly not a sign anyone out there should switch their drink of choice from plain carbonated water to flat Coca Cola, despite the study's potentially hyperbolic conclusion. The research was published in the journal Obesity Research and Clinical Practice.

Morgan C.,University of London | Alshwaikh J.,Birzeit University
Mathematical Thinking and Learning | Year: 2012

In this article we consider data arising from student-teacher-researcher interactions taking place in the context of an experimental teaching program making use of multiple modes of communication and representation to explore three-dimensional (3D) shape. As teachers/researchers attempted to support student use of a logo-like formal language for constructing 3D trajectories and figures in a computer microworld, a system of gestures emerged. Observations of multimodal classroom communication suggest that teachers/researchers and students used similar words and gestures to represent different types of movement. We discuss possible sources of these differences, contrasting formal mathematical and everyday systems of representation of 3D space. More generally, we argue that understanding the structures of everyday discourse and their relationships to the structures of specialized mathematical discourse can provide insight into student interactions. © 2012 Copyright Taylor and Francis Group, LLC.

Aloqeili M.,Birzeit University
ESAIM - Control, Optimisation and Calculus of Variations | Year: 2017

In this paper, we solve an inverse problem arising in convex optimization. We consider a maximization problem under m linear constraints. We characterize the solutions of this kind of problems. More precisely, we give necessary and sufficient conditions for a given function in Rn to be the solution of a multi-constraint maximization problem. The conditions we give here extend well-known results in microeconomic theory. © EDP Sciences, SMAI 2016.

Karain W.,Birzeit University
Proteins: Structure, Function and Bioinformatics | Year: 2016

The dynamics of a protein and the water surrounding it are coupled via nonbonded energy interactions. This coupling can exhibit a complex, nonlinear, and nonstationary nature. The THz frequency spectrum for this interaction energy characterizes both the vibration spectrum of the water hydrogen bond network, and the frequency range of large amplitude modes of proteins. We use a Recurrence Plot based Wiener–Khinchin method RPWK to calculate this spectrum, and the results are compared to those determined using the classical auto-covariance-based Wiener–Khinchin method WK. The frequency spectra for the total nonbonded interaction energy extracted from molecular dynamics simulations between the β-Lactamase Inhibitory Protein BLIP, and water molecules within a 10 Å distance from the protein surface, are calculated at 150, 200, 250, and 310 K, respectively. Similar calculations are also performed for the nonbonded interaction energy between the residues 49ASP, 53TYR, and 142PHE in BLIP, with water molecules within 10 Å from each residue respectively at 150, 200, 250, and 310 K. A comparison of the results shows that RPWK performs better than WK, and is able to detect some frequency data points that WK fails to detect. This points to the importance of using methods capable of taking the complex nature of the protein–solvent energy landscape into consideration, and not to rely on standard linear methods. In general, RPWK can be a valuable addition to the analysis tools for protein molecular dynamics simulations. Proteins 2016; 84:1549–1557. © 2016 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. © 2016 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

Abu-Madi M.,Birzeit University | Rayyan M.A.,Engineers Association
Environmental Pollution | Year: 2013

The main GHGs (CO2, NOx, and SO2) have been quantified based on national energy and population statistics. The results show that the contribution of households' energy consumption in the West Bank to global CO2 emission is about 0.016%, while contribution of total energy consumption by all sectors is about 0.041%. The results show that wood is the most polluting energy source in terms of CO2 and NOx emission, while electricity is the most polluting source in terms of SO 2. Other sources like diesel, kerosene, and LPG that contribute to the GHGs emission are also quantified. The total amounts of CO2, NOx, and SO2 by households in the West Bank are 4.7 million tonne per year, 3.02 thousand tonne per year, and 2.23 thousand tonne per year respectively. This study presents a set of measures that might help in reducing the level of GHGs emission and protect the environment. © 2013 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

Naddaf L.,Birzeit University | Sayyed-Ahmad A.,Birzeit University
Archives of Biochemistry and Biophysics | Year: 2014

The dimerization rate of the bacterial cell division protein FtsZ is strongly affected by the intracellular crowding. Yet the complexity of the intracellular environment makes it difficult to investigate via all-atom molecular dynamics or other detailed theoretical methods. We study the crowding effect on FtsZ dimerization which is the first step of an oligomerization process that results in more elaborate supramolecular structures. In particular, we consider the effect of intracellular crowding on the reaction rates, and their dependence on the different concentrations of crowding agents. We achieved this goal by using Brownian dynamics (BD) simulation techniques and a modified post-processing approach in which we decompose the rate constant in crowded media as a product of the rate constant in the dilute solution times a factor that incorporates the crowding effect. The latter factor accounts for the diffusion reduction and crowder induced energy. In addition we include the crowding effects on water viscosity in the BD simulations of crowded media. We finally show that biomolecular crowding has a considerable effect on the FtsZ dimerization by increasing the dimerization rate constant from 2.6 × 107 M-1 s-1 in the absence of crowders to 1.0 × 108 M-1 s-1 at crowding level of 0.30. © 2014 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Jubeh G.,Birzeit University | Mimi Z.,Birzeit University
Water Resources Management | Year: 2012

Water resources in the Middle East are under enormous stress, due to an increase in population growth and the extensive use of water resources, which exceeds the water demand in this regional bloc. Moreover, climatic changes pose another dimension of stress on water resources; these changes have significant environmental, social, and economic effects. In fact, the governance of these countries has the tendency of increasing this stress or decreasing it, depending on its performance and efficiency in applying policies, legislation and managerial plans towards decreasing the poverty and the vulnerability of the countries specially those suffering from poverty. In this paper, the vulnerability of five countries-Israel, Jordan, Lebanon, Palestine and Syria-will be assessed based on the extent of climate changes and the type of climate governance and their effects on water resources. This paper will introduce a new index, which will be called the Governance and Climate Vulnerability Index (GCVI). The index will measure the vulnerability of each country vis-à-vis water-related issues, while taking into account governance and climatic indicators. The vulnerability of these countries will also be ranked, for purposes of comparison. This paper concludes with the recommendation for governments to develop appropriate water resources management and to improve their environmental policies, including raising awareness on multiple levels. These strategies are expected to lead to decreased vulnerability to climatic changes. © 2012 Springer Science+Business Media B.V.

Fataftah H.,Birzeit University | Karain W.,Birzeit University
Proteins: Structure, Function and Bioinformatics | Year: 2014

The dynamic cross-correlation Map(DCCM) technique has been used extensively to study protein dynamics. In this work, we introduce the use of the method of correlation of probability of recurrence (CPR) as a complementary method to detect correlations between protein residue atoms. Time series of the distances of the Cα atoms of the β-lactamase inhibitory protein (BLIP) from a reference position are analyzed using CPR and mutual information (MI). The results are compared to those provided by DCCM. In comparison to MI, CPR is found to detect more of the correlations present in DCCM. It is also able to detect a small number of significant correlations between distant residues that are not detected by DCCM. © 2014 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

News Article | November 18, 2015

"Azmeh," which means traffic jam in Arabic, and "Qalandiya," the name of a major Israeli checkpoint on the outskirts of Jerusalem, join a slew of other global traffic apps, including the Israeli-developed Waze. What sets the two Palestinian apps apart is how they go beyond daily rush hour traffic and touch at the heart of a central Palestinian criticism of Israeli occupation. The free apps, launched over the last month, are still in their infancy, with only a few hundred downloads each. But as they grow in popularity, their developers say the crowdsourced apps present a partial solution to the jams that checkpoints cause, and they hope will catch on with drivers. "The occupation affects the Palestinian people from all aspects, and takes from them lots of rights. One of those rights is the freedom of movement," said Basel Sader, 20, a Palestinian resident of east Jerusalem and a law student at Jerusalem's Hebrew University who developed Azmeh. "This application can't give them the freedom of movement but it can make things easier for them." Israel operates a series of checkpoints that dot the West Bank and separate it from Israel, restricting travel for Palestinians on a number of roads. When tensions are heightened, a 120-mile (200-kilometer) jaunt from the southern tip of the West Bank to the north can become a complicated journey that could take hours. Checkpoints pose particular problems for Palestinians who want to enter Israel for jobs, family visits, medical care or to pray. Israel says the restrictions are meant as a security measure, and officials note that the number of military checkpoints has been greatly reduced as violence has subsided over the last decade. But Palestinians see the limits on movement as a form of collective punishment that disturbs their routine and can often include intrusive and humiliating searches by guards. In contrast, Israeli settlers can travel freely in and out of Israel and pass quickly through military checkpoints set up to protect their communities. Palestinians need permits to enter Israel, as well as Israeli-annexed east Jerusalem, and must pass through Israeli-controlled border crossings to enter neighboring Jordan. This dual treatment also affects Palestinian travel inside the West Bank. Well-maintained, high-speed roads serve settlements and connect them to each other and Israel. Palestinians are not expressly barred from using these roads, but the highways usually bypass Palestinian communities. Many of the roads connecting Palestinian areas are decrepit and in poor condition. In times of conflict, Israel also puts up additional military checkpoints that can slow or halt movement between Palestinian towns. The apps could relieve a bit of that burden. For now, they are used mainly for checkpoints separating Israel and the West Bank, where drivers are often stuck for hours in a tangle of traffic. The apps are relatively basic. With Azmeh, users can post updates about the status of the hold-up at a checkpoint, using green to mark no traffic, orange for moderate and red for heavy, allowing other users to choose to divert to other, less clogged checkpoints. For now, the app tracks traffic at half a dozen checkpoints. Qalandiya also has users mark the level of traffic at the checkpoint, using green, red or yellow car icons. Users can also inform others if the checkpoint has been closed. Unlike Waze, the apps do not time the wait at a checkpoint or suggest a different route. Users must decide that on their own. Milena Ansari, a 21-year-old from east Jerusalem who studies at Birzeit University in the West Bank, drives through the Qalandiya checkpoint every day and uses the Azmeh app. "I check it every morning when I wake up and decide which road to take," she said. If Qalandiya is backed up, she said she takes a longer but less congested route through a smaller checkpoint. She said she sends reports in whenever she crosses. The apps themselves are hobbled by Israeli restrictions. According to interim peace agreements, Israeli authorities control cellular networks in the West Bank and they have not granted Palestinian telecommunication companies 3G access, meaning many data-heavy apps cannot be used on the road. Palestinians who choose to subscribe to an Israeli cellular provider can access 3G. Drivers using the apps connect through 2G, a previous generation of wireless technology that is sluggish. "The limitations of the Internet connectivity cause us problems," said Ahmed Zaytoun, the developer of Qalandiya. "When I worked on the application, I made sure that it wouldn't need a high speed (connection)." Palestinians have been using social media like Whatsapp and Facebook groups to share traffic updates but Zaytoun said users were posting unrelated content that made navigating the groups cumbersome. Mashhour Abu Daka, a former Palestinian minister of telecommunications and information technology who now works as a consultant, welcomed the apps but said they could only go so far in assisting Palestinian motorists in the face of Israeli restrictions. "It will be helpful. But it would be even more helpful if we didn't have checkpoints," he said. In this Tuesday, Nov. 10, 2015 photo, a Palestinian driver stands in traffic to enter Jerusalem at Qalandia checkpoint between Jerusalem and the West Bank city of Ramallah. A pair of new mobile apps hopes to help Palestinians navigate their way around snarled traffic at Israeli checkpoints in the West Bank, offering a high-tech response to an intractable problem: constant, burdensome and often seemingly random restrictions on movement. (AP Photo/Majdi Mohammed) Explore further: 'Hackers take down' Palestinian servers

Agency: European Commission | Branch: FP7 | Program: CSA | Phase: ICT-2007.9.1 | Award Amount: 798.55K | Year: 2008

MEDAR addresses International Cooperation with the Arabic region on Speech and Language Technologies. MEDAR is structured around 3 pillars, 4 main objectives, and a number of instruments.\n\nThe 3 pillars are 1) producing a knowledge base on Human Language Technology (HLT) players, existing language resources (LRs) and processing tools, activities and products for Arabic, 2) designing a strong cooperation roadmap between EU and Arabic countries, within the Arabic countries, and between academia and industry and 3) focusing on Machine Translation (MT) and Multilingual Information Retrieval (MLIR) for which required technology components, LRs, benchmarking methodologies will be identified.\n\nThe 4 objectives are 1) consolidating a network of players in all areas of HLT, 2) developing the Cooperation Roadmap based on a clear picture of the foreseeable technological trends, market potentials, and cooperation possibilities, 3) Updating the Basic Language Resource Kit: the minimum set of resources and tools necessary for carrying out research and training on LRs and HLT, with a focus on MT and MLIR and 4) Supporting the development of tools and resources, in particular MT and MLIR on the basis of partners technologies and open source code (e.g. Statistical MT, MLIR, and speech recognition) and the framework for their benchmarking.\n\nA variety of instruments will be used to achieve the objectives: Surveys will be conducted as well as market analysis. Partners background will be exploited to identify the best multilingual open-source tools to customize to Arabic. Expertise on evaluation within the consortium will create the right benchmarking framework. Key achievements will be highlighted for each strategic partnership in addition to the actions to be taken. Human resources will be at the heart of our recommendations. Information will be disseminated through e.g. website and e-newsletter, and a major conference on LRs, tools, and Evaluation for Arabic.

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