News Article | March 1, 2017
PORTLAND, Ore.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--D.A. Davidson & Co. has announced that Gil Luria has joined the firm as its new Director of Institutional Equity Research, part of an Equity Capital Markets team that includes more than 160 professionals. “Over a long career as a top-rated analyst and industry leader, Gil has proven his commitment to providing the highest-quality research to clients,” said Monte Giese, President of Equity Capital Markets. “Thoughtful and timely industry-driven research will continue to drive D.A. Davidson’s full-service platform in a time of significant change and opportunity, and Gil’s leadership will provide a new and exciting stage of growth for our business.” Luria joins from Wedbush Securities, where he worked for 11 years, most recently serving as Director of Research. He previously was with Sanford C. Bernstein and Deloitte Consulting, both based in New York. He holds an MBA from Columbia Business School and a bachelor’s degree in Economics from the Hebrew University in Jerusalem. Luria will be responsible for a team of more than 30 research professionals providing timely and idea-driven industry research to clients. The team’s 16 senior analysts provide institutional research coverage within five core industries for almost 300 publicly traded companies. D.A. Davidson offers its research to investors and institutional clients across North America, and consistently ranks among the top in the nation in awards from various research groups and business publications. D.A. Davidson’s Equity Capital Markets group provides capital markets services and products that include investment banking, institutional sales, trading, research and corporate services. The firm’s industry-driven research team is supported by a dedicated group of sales and trading professionals. D.A. Davidson Companies is an employee-owned financial services firm offering a range of financial services and advice to individuals, corporations, institutions and municipalities nationwide. Founded in 1935 and headquartered in Montana, with corporate offices in Denver, Los Angeles, Portland and Seattle, the company has more than 1,300 employees and offices in 23 states. Subsidiaries include: D.A. Davidson & Co., the largest full-service investment firm headquartered in the Northwest, providing wealth management, investment banking, equity and fixed income capital markets services and advice; Davidson Investment Advisors, a professional asset management firm; D.A. Davidson Trust Company, a trust and wealth management company; and Davidson Fixed Income Management, a registered investment adviser providing fixed income portfolio and advisory services.
News Article | February 22, 2017
LOS ANGELES & JERUSALEM--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Phytecs Inc., a biotechnology company exploring innovative research into and potential treatments targeting the endocannabinoid system (ECS), together with Yissum Research Development Company, the technology-transfer company of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, announced a new partnership with two aims: to synthesize novel compounds that show increased efficacy over existing phytocannabinoids in targeting specific elements of the ECS, a key homeostatic regulator of the human body; and to continue testing semi-synthetic, patented fluorinated cannabidiol (F-CBD) compounds developed under a previous licensing agreement, which was signed with Yissum, University of São Paulo (USP) and Federal University of Rio Grande Do Sul (UFRGS). Work conducted under the new partnership will complement Phytecs’ existing research into therapeutic applications for various phytocannabinoids and terpenoids sourced from cannabis, and combinations thereof. A Hebrew University research team led by Professor Raphael Mechoulam, MS, PhD, working closely with Tamás Bíró, MD, PhD, DSc, director of applied research for Phytecs, and other members of the Phytecs Scientific Advisory Board, will explore new therapeutic opportunities offered by these compounds for certain health conditions, with an initial focus on mental and immune disorders. The new Phytecs-Yissum partnership will also build on previous licenses between the two organizations that led to compounds currently under investigation as treatments for central nervous system (CNS) and skin disorders. Financial details of the partnership were not disclosed. Professor Mechoulam, whose pioneering work during the past half-century has supported a global expansion of research into phytocannabinoids from cannabis and other plants, said: “I am gratified to see the growing understanding among physicians and researchers of the body’s native ECS and its role in homeostatic regulation. Since ECS dysregulation is implicated in multiple pathological conditions, data suggests that modulating the ECS may have benefits across a huge range of human diseases. “My team at Hebrew University shares confidence with Yissum and Phytecs that our work will identify compounds with even greater therapeutic promise than the naturally occurring cannabis compounds (e.g. THC or CBD) my lab identified decades ago. We are particularly excited to extend our already productive partnership with testing on the patented F-CBD compounds licensed exclusively by Phytecs.” Dr. Bíró said: “Data from preclinical work previously conducted by Phytecs in partnership with Yissum is already encouraging in assays for epilepsy, schizophrenia, anxiety and depression, among other areas. For example, we are hopeful that F-CBD compounds, which exhibit greater efficacies and potencies than CBD, will one day deliver the same or greater benefits to patients with CNS disorders as may be possible with CBD, at lower therapeutic doses. We are thrilled to be able to build upon this in close collaboration with Professor Mechoulam as we apply his and his team’s deep expertise.” Gary Hiller, president and COO of Phytecs, said: “We are excited to be building upon the data generated from our work with F-CBD by expanding our research slate, creating a pipeline of semi-synthetics and identifying new and more effective compounds – as well as putting together a world-leading team to translate ECS knowledge into value for patients. This pipeline correlates perfectly with our continued work on phytocannabinoids and reflects our focus on developing effective, efficient, accessible ECS therapeutic agents, regardless of their source.” Dr. Shoshi Keynan, vice president of healthcare business development at Yissum, said: “New cannabinoid research under the Phytecs-Yissum partnership promises to yield significant commercial opportunities and solutions for patients in the coming decade, not just in well-known areas such as treatment-resistant childhood epilepsy and pain relief, but in other disorders across a wide range of health areas including dermatology and mental health.” About Phytecs Phytecs is a biotechnology company developing interventions that address the endocannabinoid system (ECS). The Phytecs team pioneered the modern understanding of how the ECS regulates aspects of physiology including immunity, pain, inflammation, mood, emotion, learning, memory, metabolism, appetite, weight, sleep, embryo development, neuroprotection and stress response; and how dysregulation of the system affects human health and disease. The unique Phytecs R&D and product development platform includes not only compounds isolated from the Cannabis plant but also novel, highly effective synthetic and semi-synthetic cannabinoid agents. Phytecs is currently conducting research in the United States, Hungary, Israel and Switzerland. www.phytecs.com The Phytecs logo is a registered trademark of Phytecs, Inc. About Yissum Yissum Research Development Company of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem Ltd. was founded in 1964 to protect and commercialize the Hebrew University’s intellectual property. Products based on Hebrew University technologies that have been commercialized by Yissum currently generate $2 billion in annual sales. Ranked among the top technology transfer companies in the world, Yissum has registered over 9,325 patents covering 2,600 inventions; has licensed out 880 technologies and has spun out 110 companies including Mobileye, Briefcam, Orcam, Avraham Pharmaceuticals, Betalin Therapeutics, CollPlant and Qlight Nanotech. Yissum’s business partners span the globe and include companies such as Microsoft, Intel, Johnson & Johnson, Novartis, Roche, Merck, Teva, Syngenta, Monsanto and many more. For further information please visit www.yissum.co.il.
News Article | February 15, 2017
'One of the most exciting archaeological discoveries -- and the most important in the last 60 years -- in the caves of Qumran' Excavations in a cave on the cliffs west of Qumran, near the northwestern shore of the Dead Sea, prove that Dead Sea scrolls from the Second Temple period were hidden in the cave, and were looted by Bedouins in the middle of the last century. With the discovery of this cave, scholars now suggest that it should be numbered as Cave 12. The surprising discovery, representing a milestone in Dead Sea Scroll research, was made by Dr. Oren Gutfeld and Ahiad Ovadia from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem's Institute of Archaeology, with the collaboration of Dr. Randall Price and students from Liberty University in Virginia, USA. The excavators are the first in over 60 years to discover a new scroll cave and to properly excavate it. The excavation was supported by the Civil Administration of Judea and Samaria, by the Israel Nature and Parks Authority, and the Israel Antiquities Authority (IAA), and is a part of the new "Operation Scroll" launched at the IAA by its Director-General, Mr. Israel Hasson, to undertake systematic surveys and to excavate the caves in the Judean Desert. Excavation of the cave revealed that at one time it contained Dead Sea scrolls. Numerous storage jars and lids from the Second Temple period were found hidden in niches along the walls of the cave and deep inside a long tunnel at its rear. The jars were all broken and their contents removed, and the discovery towards the end of the excavation of a pair of iron pickaxe heads from the 1950s (stored within the tunnel for later use) proves the cave was looted. Until now, it was believed that only 11 caves had contained scrolls. With the discovery of this cave, scholars have now suggested that it would be numbered as Cave 12. Like Cave 8, in which scroll jars but no scrolls were found, this cave will receive the designation Q12 (the Q=Qumran standing in front of the number to indicate no scrolls were found). "This exciting excavation is the closest we've come to discovering new Dead Sea scrolls in 60 years. Until now, it was accepted that Dead Sea scrolls were found only in 11 caves at Qumran, but now there is no doubt that this is the 12th cave," said Dr. Oren Gutfeld, an archaeologist at the Hebrew University's Institute of Archaeology and director of the excavation. "Finding this additional scroll cave means we can no longer be certain that the original locations (Caves 1 through 11) assigned to the Dead Sea scrolls that reached the market via the Bedouins are accurate." Dr. Gutfeld added: "Although at the end of the day no scroll was found, and instead we 'only' found a piece of parchment rolled up in a jug that was being processed for writing, the findings indicate beyond any doubt that the cave contained scrolls that were stolen. The findings include the jars in which the scrolls and their covering were hidden, a leather strap for binding the scroll, a cloth that wrapped the scrolls, tendons and pieces of skin connecting fragments, and more." The finds from the excavation include not only the storage jars, which held the scrolls, but also fragments of scroll wrappings, a string that tied the scrolls, and a piece of worked leather that was a part of a scroll. The finding of pottery and of numerous flint blades, arrowheads, and a decorated stamp seal made of carnelian, a semi-precious stone, also revealed that this cave was used in the Chalcolithic and the Neolithic periods. This first excavation to take place in the northern part of the Judean Desert as part of "Operation Scroll" will open the door to further understanding the function of the caves with respect to the scrolls, with the potential of finding new scroll material. The material, when published, will provide important new evidence for scholars of the archaeology of Qumran and the Dead Sea caves. "The important discovery of another scroll cave attests to the fact that a lot of work remains to be done in the Judean Desert and finds of huge importance are still waiting to be discovered," said Israel Hasson, Director-General of the Israel Antiquities Authority. "We are in a race against time as antiquities thieves steal heritage assets worldwide for financial gain. The State of Israel needs to mobilize and allocate the necessary resources in order to launch a historic operation, together with the public, to carry out a systematic excavation of all the caves of the Judean Desert."
News Article | February 15, 2017
On her hands and knees, 23-year-old Liberty University graduate student Christy Connell slowly crawled for hours through a narrow cave on the cliffs west of Qumran, near the northwestern shore of the Dead Sea in Israel, over a two-week span in January. “In the smallest parts of the cave it was so narrow I had to crawl on my stomach,” Connell said. “It was pitch black. I couldn’t see anything in front of me. I was crawling over pieces of animal bones and gravel.” Connell, who is pursuing her Master of Arts in History, was part of a team of six Liberty faculty members and students, led by distinguished research professor Dr. Randall Price, who assisted in discovering evidence that shows Dead Sea scrolls were stored there. While no physical scrolls were found, fragments of storage jars, scroll wrappings, string, and a piece of worked leather that was a part of a scroll were all found inside of the cave. This marks the first discovery related to the Dead Sea scrolls in 60 years. The finding of pottery and numerous flint blades, arrowheads, and a decorated stamp seal made of carnelian (a semi-precious stone) also revealed that the cave, known as Cave 12, was used in the Chalcolithic and the Neolithic periods, according to a news releasefrom Hebrew University. Connell said after working for Price at Liberty, she has always kept an ear to the ground about potential archeological digs, especially in Israel. When she learned about the December trip, Connell said she made sure to ask Price if she could go. “When I was there, we had found things that had indicated there were scrolls in the cave. It’s just really amazing to be a part of history, especially something that I’ve studied for so many years.” School of Communications & Creative Arts associate professor Eva Palmer was also on the trip. Palmer, who teaches studio art, said she had been to Israel before, but had dreamed of exploring the caves where the Dead Sea scrolls were found. "I was facinated with the caves," Palmer said. "We would always drive by them on the highway, and I wanted the chance to see them up close." To be at the same site of this discovery was a special experience, she said. "We were so excited to hear that they had found shards of the storage pots," she said. "This is actual evidence of the Bible and what we believe." The group left on Dec. 28 for the 15-day trip, but Price said it wasn’t until they returned to the United States that they learned the true significance of their findings. “I got a text that the team had found something which turned out to be a piece of leather that held the scrolls together,” Price said. “They told me I needed to get back out there.” He then returned to Israel in January, during the first week of the spring semester, along with junior Biblical Studies major Casey Olson, who documented the finds through her camera lens. Olson was the only team member from the first trip to return to the site with Price. The two were there for an additional week and a half until the dig concluded on Jan. 30. The dig was the first discovery by the Operation Scroll team, a joint effort by Hebrew University, the Israel Antiquities Authority, the Israel Nature and Parks Authority, and the Civil Administration of Judea and Samaria, to protect historical artifacts from thieves. Cave 12 was first discovered in 2006 by Price, who worked for several years to secure permission to extract the cave, along with Dr. Oren Gutfeld and his assistant Ahiad Ovadi, both of the Hebrew University’s Institute of Archaeology. While experts have known about the cave for several years, this dig was the first detailed look at the contents inside. It is one of 12 caves that have been found to have housed scrolls at one time. “I knew the cave had potential,” said Price, who has been busy this week doing interviews with National Geographic, CBS News, and other major media outlets. “This is only the beginning of our search for more scrolls. Undoubtedly, they are out there, and we know of some 300 caves in the area. Our team is planning to return to excavate other caves in the near future.” Price said he was excited to be able to take faculty and students along on the dig to not only learn about field work, but to be part of the extraction of artifacts. “This is a once-in-a-lifetime experience,” Price said. “Now that we were successful, it means there are new opportunities for us to get in there and continue to study these caves. The goal is to find scrolls.” Price is also curator of the Liberty Biblical Musem, located at the terrace level of the Jerry Falwell Library. The museum has thousands of artifacts from the Holy Land dating from 4,000 B.C. to the 6th Century A.D. Special exhibits include a replica of the Dead Sea s5crolls. For more information, including hours of operation, call (434) 592-3249. About Liberty University Liberty University, founded in 1971, is the largest private, nonprofit university in the nation, the largest university in Virginia, and the largest Christian university in the world. Located near the Blue Ridge Mountains on more than 7,000 acres in Lynchburg, Va., Liberty offers more than 500 unique programs of study from the certificate to the doctoral level. More than 250 programs are offered online. Liberty’s mission is to train Champions for Christ with the values, knowledge, and skills essential for impacting tomorrow’s world.
News Article | February 21, 2017
In both groups, recreational sun exposure, black hair-dye use, a history of hospitalization for infection, and having a first-degree relative with a blood cancer were associated with B-NHL. Each group had unique risk factors too. Non-Hodgkin lymphomas (NHL), tumors which may originate from B or T lymphocytes, account for approximately 3% of the worldwide cancer burden. Most epidemiological studies of NHL have been carried out in North American and European populations, with a few focusing on East Asian populations. Very few epidemiological studies have been conducted on B-cell non-Hodgkin lymphoma (B-NHL) in Middle Eastern populations. Since Israelis and Palestinians represent genetically and culturally diverse populations living in geographic proximity, research analyzing their risk factors can enrich our understanding of genes and environment in the causation of lymphoma. Despite sharing the same ecosystem, the populations differ in terms of lifestyle, health behaviors and medical systems. Yet both populations report high incidences of NHL, which represents the fifth most common malignancy in Israel and the eighth most common malignancy among West Bank Palestinians. (As of 2012, Israel also ranked first in the world in NHL incidence rates.) Now, Israeli and Palestinian researchers have conducted a large scale epidemiological study examining risk factors for B-NHL and its subtypes in these two populations. The team was led by Prof. Ora Paltiel, Director of the Hebrew University-Hadassah Braun School of Public Health and Community Medicine, in the Hebrew University's Faculty of Medicine, and a Senior Physician in Hadassah's Hematology Department. Recruiting from both the Palestinian Arab and Israeli Jewish populations, the researchers looked at medical history, environmental and lifestyle factors among 823 people with B-cell non-Hodgkin lymphoma (B-NHL) and 808 healthy controls. Using data from questionnaires, pathology review, serology and genotyping, they uncovered some risk factors common to both populations and other factors unique to each population. The data, reported in the peer-reviewed journal PLOS ONE, showed that in both populations, overall B-NHL was associated with recreational sun exposure, black hair-dye use, a history of hospitalization for infection, and having a first-degree relative with a blood cancer. An inverse association was noted with alcohol use. Some exposures, including smoking and greater-than-monthly indoor pesticide use, were associated with specific subtypes of B-NHL. The data also pointed to differences between the populations. Among Palestinian Arabs only, risk factors included gardening and a history of herpes, mononucleosis, rubella, or blood transfusion, while these factors were not identified in the Israeli Jewish population. In contrast, risk factors that applied to Israeli Jews only included growing fruits and vegetables, and self-reported autoimmune diseases. The researchers concluded that differences in the observed risk factors by ethnicity could reflect differences in lifestyle, medical systems, and reporting patterns, while variations by lymphoma subtypes infer specific causal factors for different types of the disease. These findings require further investigation as to their mechanisms. The fact that risk factors operate differently in different ethnic groups raises the possibility of gene-environment interactions, that is, that environmental exposures act differently in individuals of different genetic backgrounds. But this divergence may reflect differences in diet, cultural habits, socioeconomic, environmental and housing conditions, medical services, exposure to infections in early life or other factors. This study reflects a unique joint scientific effort involving Israeli and Palestinian investigators, and demonstrates the importance of cooperative research even in politically uncertain climates. Cancer epidemiology will be enriched through the broadening of analytic research to include under-studied populations from a variety of ethnicities and geographic regions. "Apart from the scientific contribution that this research provides in terms of understanding risk factors for NHL, the study entails an important research cooperation among many institutions. The study provided opportunities for training Palestinian and Israeli researchers, and will provide for intellectual interaction for years to come. The data collected will also provide a research platform for the future study of lymphoma. Epidemiologic research has the potential to improve and preserve human health, and it can also serve as a bridge to dialogue among nations," said Prof. Ora Paltiel, Director of the Hebrew University-Hadassah Braun School of Public Health and Community Medicine, and a Senior Physician in Hadassah's Hematology Department. Participating institutions in this research included: Braun School of Public Health and Community Medicine, and Depts. of Hematology and Pathology, Hadassah-Hebrew University Medical Center; Dept. of Medical Laboratory Sciences and Dept. of Community Medicine, Faculty of Medicine, Al Quds University; Cancer Care Center, Augusta Victoria Hospital; Beit Jalla Hospital; Department of Statistics, Hebrew University; Department of Primary Health Care, Palestinian Ministry of Health; Tisch Cancer Institute and Institute for Translational Epidemiology, Mount Sinai School of Medicine; Rambam Medical Center and Rappaport Faculty of Medicine, Technion; Chaim Sheba Medical Center and Meir Medical Center and Tel Aviv University.
News Article | February 15, 2017
Albert Einstein considered the origin of the Earth's magnetic field one of the five most important unsolved problems in physics. The weakening of the geomagnetic field, which extends from the planet's core into outer space and was first recorded 180 years ago, has raised concern by some for the welfare of the biosphere. But a new study published in PNAS from Tel Aviv University, Hebrew University of Jerusalem, and University of California San Diego researchers finds there is no reason for alarm: The Earth's geomagnetic field has been undulating for thousands of years. Data obtained from the analysis of well-dated Judean jar handles provide information on changes in the strength of the geomagnetic field between the 8th and 2nd centuries BCE, indicating a fluctuating field that peaked during the 8th century BCE. "The field strength of the 8th century BCE corroborates previous observations of our group, first published in 2009, of an unusually strong field in the early Iron Age. We call it the 'Iron Age Spike,' and it is the strongest field recorded in the last 100,000 years," says Dr. Erez Ben-Yosef of TAU's Institute of Archaeology, the study's lead investigator. "This new finding puts the recent decline in the field's strength into context. Apparently, this is not a unique phenomenon -- the field has often weakened and recovered over the last millennia." Additional researchers included Prof. Oded Lipschits and Michael Millman of TAU, Dr. Ron Shaar of Hebrew University, and Prof. Lisa Tauxe of UC San Diego. "We can gain a clearer picture of the planet and its inner structure by better understanding proxies like the magnetic field, which reaches more than 1,800 miles deep into the liquid part of the Earth's outer core," Dr. Ben-Yosef observes. The new research is based on a set of 67 ancient, heat-impacted Judean ceramic storage jar handles, which bear royal stamp impressions from the 8th to 2nd century BCE, providing accurate age estimates. "The period spanned by the jars allowed us to procure data on the Earth's magnetic field during that time -- the Iron Age through the Hellenistic Period in Judea," says Dr. Ben-Yosef. "The typology of the stamp impressions, which correspond to changes in the political entities ruling this area, provides excellent age estimates for the firing of these artifacts." To accurately measure the geomagnetic intensity, the researchers conducted experiments at the Paleomagnetic Laboratory of Scripps Institution of Oceanography (SIO), University of California San Diego, using laboratory-built paleomagnetic ovens and a superconducting magnetometer. "Ceramics, baked clay, burned mud bricks, copper slag -- almost anything that was heated and then cooled can become a recorder of the components of the magnetic field at the time of the event," said Dr. Ben-Yosef. "Ceramics have tiny minerals -- magnetic 'recorders' -- that save information about the magnetic field of the time the clay was in the kiln. The behavior of the magnetic field in the past can be studied by examining archaeological artifacts or geological material that were heated then cooled, such as lava." Observed changes in the geomagnetic field can, in turn, be used as an advanced dating method complementary to the radiocarbon dating, according to Dr. Ben-Yosef. "The improved Levantine archaeomagnetic record can be used to date pottery and other heat-impacted archaeological materials whose date is unknown. "Both archaeologists and Earth scientists benefit from this. The new data can improve geophysical models -- core-mantle interactions, cosmogenic processes and more -- as well as provide an excellent, accurate dating reference for archaeological artefacts," says Dr. Ben-Yosef. The researchers are currently working on enhancing the archaeomagnetic database for the Levant, one of the most archaeologically-rich regions on the planet, to better understand the geomagnetic field and establish a robust dating reference. Tel Aviv University (TAU) is inherently linked to the cultural, scientific and entrepreneurial mecca it represents. It is one of the world's most dynamic research centers and Israel's most distinguished learning environment. Its unique-in-Israel multidisciplinary environment is highly coveted by young researchers and scholars returning to Israel from post-docs and junior faculty positions in the US. American Friends of Tel Aviv University (AFTAU) enthusiastically and industriously pursues the advancement of TAU in the US, raising money, awareness and influence through international alliances that are vital to the future of this already impressive institution.
News Article | February 22, 2017
The infection process involves hundreds of genes and proteins, both in the infectious bacteria and the human host. However, the processes by which the pathogens establish themselves in our gut are poorly understood. Now, a new study published in the prestigious journal Science, by researchers at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem's Faculty of Medicine, describes how pathogens sense their host, and tailor their gene expression to exploit their host to cause disease. The research was led by led by Prof. Ilan Rosenshine, the Etta Rosensohn Professor of Bacteriology at the Hebrew University. Working with a pathogenic strain of E. coli, the researchers found that the bacteria can sense attachment to the human intestinal cells and activate gene expression in response. This was demonstrated by engineering one of these genes to express a protein that stains the expressing bacteria to appear green under the microscope. Under microscopic examination, the researchers observed that only the attached bacteria fluoresce in bright green, whereas non-attached bacteria remain dark. The researchers also deciphered how upon sensing that it has attached to intestinal cells, the pathogen reorganizes its gene expression, including genes involved in virulence and metabolism, to exploit the host cell. These findings may lead to the development of new strategies to combat bacterial infection. "The next steps include mapping in detail the genes that change their expression upon attachment, and describing the precise effects of this expression remodeling," said Prof. Ilan Rosenshine. "Another important issue is testing whether similar regulation is involved in the infection processes of other pathogens." Explore further: Bacterial survival strategy: Splitting into virulent and non-virulent subtypes More information: Naama Katsowich et al. Host cell attachment elicits posttranscriptional regulation in infecting enteropathogenic bacteria, Science (2017). DOI: 10.1126/science.aah4886
News Article | February 15, 2017
Antibiotic resistance is a major and growing problem worldwide. According to the World Health Organization, antibiotic resistance is rising to dangerously high levels in all parts of the world, and new resistance mechanisms are emerging and spreading globally, threatening our ability to treat common infectious diseases. But how these bacterial resistance mechanisms occur, and whether we can predict their evolution, is far from understood. Researchers have previously shown that one way bacteria can survive antibiotics is to evolve a "timer" that keeps them dormant for the duration of antibiotic treatment. But the antibiotic kills them when they wake up, so the easy solution is to continue the antibiotic treatment for a longer duration. Now, in new research published in the prestigious journal Science, researchers at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem report a startling alternative path to the evolution of resistance in bacteria. After evolving a dormancy mechanism, the bacterial population can then evolve resistance 20 times faster than normal. At this point, continuing to administer antibiotics won't kill the bacteria. To investigate this evolutionary process, a group of biophysicists, led by Prof. Nathalie Balaban and PhD student Irit Levin-Reisman at the Hebrew University's Racah Institute of Physics, exposed bacterial populations to a daily dose of antibiotics in controlled laboratory conditions, until resistance was established. By tracking the bacteria along the evolutionary process, they found that the lethal antibiotic dosage gave rise to bacteria that were transiently dormant, and were therefore protected from several types of antibiotics that target actively growing bacteria. Once bacteria acquired the ability to go dormant, which is termed "tolerance," they rapidly acquired mutations to resistance and were able to overcome the antibiotic treatment. Thus, first the bacteria evolved to "sleep" for most of the antibiotic treatment, and then this "sleeping mode" not only transiently protected them from the lethal action of the drug, but also actually worked as a stepping stone for the later acquisition of resistance factors. The results indicate that tolerance may play a crucial role in the evolution of resistance in bacterial populations under cyclic exposures to high antibiotic concentrations. The key factors are that tolerance arises rapidly, as a result of the large number of possible mutations that lead to it, and that the combined effect of resistance and tolerance promotes the establishment of a partial resistance mutation on a tolerant background. These findings may have important implications for the development of new antibiotics, as they suggest that the way to delay the evolution of resistance is by using drugs that can also target the tolerant bacteria. Unveiling the evolutionary dynamics of antibiotic resistance was made possible by the biophysical approach of the research team. The experiments were performed by a team of physicists, who developed a theoretical model and computer simulations that enabled a deep understanding of the reason behind the fast evolution of resistance that were observed. Researchers involved in the research are affiliated with the Racah Institute of Physics and the Harvey M. Kruger Family Center for Nanoscience and Nanotechnology at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, and the Broad institute of Harvard and MIT.
Gerson U.,Hebrew University |
Weintraub P.G.,Israel Agricultural Research Organization
Annual Review of Entomology | Year: 2012
This review discusses the economically important pest mites (Acari) of greenhouses, aspects of their biology, and the acarine predators that attack them as well as various insect pests. Greenhouse factors affect pest mites as well as their natural enemy populations and their interactions. Conversely, pest mites affect greenhouse management in terms of the chemical and biological methods required to control their populations. Structure affects heating, cooling, and light, which can be manipulated with suitable screens. Crops often select for pests and their mite enemies. Both groups may be affected in greenhouses by adding pollen and by a CO2-enriched atmosphere. These factors impact pest mite populations, the damage they cause, and the methods used to control them. The possibility of incipient evolution occurring in greenhouses, along with the benefits and consequences for pest control, is discussed. © 2012 by Annual Reviews. All rights reserved.
Baneth G.,Hebrew University
International Journal for Parasitology | Year: 2014
A wide variety of pathogens is transmitted from ticks to vertebrates including viruses, bacteria, protozoa and helminths, of which most have a life cycle that requires passage through the vertebrate host. Tick-borne infections of humans, farm and companion animals are essentially associated with wildlife animal reservoirs. While some flying insect-borne diseases of humans such as malaria, filariasis and Kala Azar caused by Leishmania donovani target people as their main host, major tick-borne infections of humans, although potentially causing disease in large numbers of individuals, are typically an infringement of a circulation between wildlife animal reservoirs and tick vectors. While new tick-borne infectious agents are frequently recognised, emerging agents of human tick-borne infections were probably circulating among wildlife animal and tick populations long before being recognised as clinical causes of human disease as has been shown for Borrelia burgdorferi sensu lato. Co-infection with more than one tick-borne infection is common and can enhance pathogenic processes and augment disease severity as found in B. burgdorferi and Anaplasma phagocytophilum co-infection. The role of wild animal reservoirs in co-infection of human hosts appears to be central, further linking human and animal tick-borne infections. Although transmission of most tick-borne infections is through the tick saliva, additional routes of transmission, shown mostly in animals, include infection by oral uptake of infected ticks, by carnivorism, animal bites and transplacentally. Additionally, artificial infection via blood transfusion is a growing threat in both human and veterinary medicine. Due to the close association between human and animal tick-borne infections, control programs for these diseases require integration of data from veterinary and human reporting systems, surveillance in wildlife and tick populations, and combined teams of experts from several scientific disciplines such as entomology, epidemiology, medicine, public health and veterinary medicine. © 2014 Australian Society for Parasitology Inc.