General News from Bar-Ilan University

Students Return to Campus

Life is returning to relative normality for Israel and Bar-Ilan University thanks to Israel’s successful vaccination campaign and a massive reduction in COVID-19 infections. Students have returned to classrooms and labs, as well as to the campus gardens and eateries. With hybrid (on-campus and online) learning, there’s excitement in the air. Check out the photos.

Bar-Ilan University Awards Dr. Tal Zaks Honorary Doctorate

Bar-Ilan University awarded an honorary doctorate to Dr. Tal Zaks in recognition of his role in leading the development of Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine. The ceremonial hooding of Dr. Zaks took place at an in-person ceremony on campus during his stay in Israel. Watch Israel’s Channel 12 video clip of Dr. Tal Zaks receiving the honorary doctorate here. Read the article here.

This Coral Refuge May Disappear If Climate Change Brings Cooler Winters

Although climate change will certainly bring warmer conditions, it will also bring greater shifts in global weather patterns – and the Red Sea may be cooling unlike other coral reef habitats around the world. This phenomenon led scientists from the Interuniversity Institute for Marine Science in Eilat and Bar-Ilan University to study the effects of cooling on corals in the Gulf of Aqaba. The researchers found that winters even 1°C cooler than the current average could be stressful for corals. Read More.

Eliminating the Need for a Biopsy

Scientific advances in cancer research and new means of diagnosis and treatment have made it possible to cure many patients. The probability of cure depends largely on the type of cancer tumor and the stage at which the disease is discovered. Accurate means of diagnosis in the early stages is key to saving lives.

New Israeli research by Isotopia Molecular Imaging Ltd., and led by Prof. Sharon Ruthstein from the Department of Chemistry at Bar-Ilan University, is being conducted to develop a hypoxia radioactive marker, a phenomenon of lack of oxygen in cells, based on the Copper 64 isotope to identify oxygen-deficient cells. Read More.

Maternal Antibodies to Prevent Alzheimer’s Disease

The accumulation of the amyloid-beta protein in the brain leads to the type of cognitive impairment observed in people suffering from Alzheimer’s disease or Down Syndrome. A study conducted by Prof. Eitan Okun’s group at the Paul Feder Alzheimer’s Disease Research Laboratory in BIU’s Gonda (Goldschmied) Multidisciplinary Brain Research Center found that immunity transmitted from the mother to the fetus may lead to a significant reduction in the accumulation of the amyloid-beta protein and less damage. Read More.

Teddy Bear Hospital Open Day

BIU’s Azrieli Faculty of Medicine will open a Teddy Bear Hospital on Monday, May 3. The event aims to alleviate any pre-existing fears that children might have toward medical treatment. Children aged 3-7 are invited to bring a favorite teddy bear or doll and to ask questions about illness, injuries, or medical care. Azrieli Faculty students and doctors will talk to the children, suggest medical treatment for their dolls and teddy bears, and answer questions.

The Teddy Bear Hospital is a popular community event held annually by the Azrieli Faculty of Medicine in the Galilee for children, their parents, and educators. This year, the event will take place via Zoom (in Hebrew). Read More

The Mobile Vision Clinic

The mobile clinic of the School of Optometry and Vision Science in BIU’s Goodman Faculty of Life Sciences recently arrived in Beit Shemesh to perform vision tests at a nursing home as well as for local welfare recipients. The mobile clinic regularly goes out to the field, providing free vision tests mainly for residents of the periphery and underprivileged populations. Read More.

Coronavirus: Israel is nearing herd immunity, expert tells ‘Post’

Israel is approaching herd immunity against corona, which has allowed the country to celebrate recent holidays and gradual rounds of openings without experiencing any new outbreaks, according to the head of the immunotherapy laboratory at Bar-Ilan University.

“My opinion is that we are nearing the state of herd immunity,” said Prof. Cyrille Cohen. “Why do I say it? Because even after so many openings, and Purim, and Passover, the reproduction rate of the virus in Israel has remained between 0.7 and 0.8.” Read More.

To Heal Body and Soul

Geoffrey Clarfield visited the Azrieli Faculty of Medicine in Tsfat, northern Israel and wrote about it in The Epoch Times. “Tsfat’s Azrieli Faculty of Medicine and upgraded Ziv Medical Center are thanks to the hard work and dedication of Bar-Ilan University, based in Ramat Gan near Tel Aviv. I wanted to know more, so I visited Noam Reshelbach, administrative head of the faculty,” he said in the article. Read More.

Light Rail en Route to BIU

Bar-Ilan University’s central location in the Tel Aviv metropolitan area has put it on the map of the purple line of the new light rail (now under construction), with two stations that will facilitate the commute to campus. Read More.

Influencing Gender Equality and Equity

Prof. Orna Sasson-Levy from Bar-Ilan University’s Faculty of Social Sciences, and advisor to the BIU President on gender equity, notes that women today figure prominently among Israeli university students and graduates. However, they are underrepresented among academic faculty (especially in the sciences), among the higher academic ranks, and in academic management. Read More.

Groundbreaking Israeli treatment may offer cure for blood cancer

A groundbreaking treatment developed by an Israeli team might offer a cure against multiple myeloma, a type of blood cancer. “We are reprogramming another type of the immune system’s cells called T-cells in order to teach them to fight the cancer inside the blood of the patient,” said Prof. Cyrille Cohen, head of the Immunotherapy Laboratory at Bar-Ilan University. Read More.

Pfizer shot protects even with exposure to infected family

People who received both doses of the Pfizer BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine seem to be protected from the disease even after prolonged exposure to infected family members. This encouraging news comes from infectious disease experts at Israel’s Ziv Medical Center and affiliated-BIU School of Medicine, both located in Safed (Tzfat). Read More.

An Extraordinary Achievement

What role can music play in enhancing group cohesion and influencing performance? In May 2020, Bar-Ilan University researchers (a collaboration between social-neuroscientists and scholars from the Department of Music) reported that while members of a group drum together, aspects of their heart function actually synchronized. The findings of the study were published in the journal, Scientific Reports.

The article, Physiological and Behavioral Synchrony Predict Group Cohesion and Performance, was downloaded more than 4,100 times, placing it as one of the journal’s top 100 downloaded neuroscience papers in 2020. Read More.

Appointments and Prizes for Faculty and Students

Bar-Ilan University’s faculty members and students are appointed to prestigious positions or win awards every year. While these are not their only achievements, these accolades enhance their personal success while adding prestige to the university, and we are incredibly proud of their accomplishments. This article lists some of the faculty members and staff who have been rewarded over the past few months. Read More.