THE HEBREW UNIVERSITY CENTER FOR NANOSCIENCE AND NANOTECHNOLOGY

Faculty Members


The Nanocenter of the Hebrew University is a vibrant hub of pioneering research in all areas of science. It promotes excellence in science and commercialization. The fruits of the research of center members contribute significantly to finding solutions to humanity’s main challenges. The Center and its researchers are at the cutting edge of international research.

Dr. Raed Abu-Reziq Institute of Chemistry, Faculty of Science

Research Interests
Design and construction of nano-catalytic systems; polymeric and inorganic micro-and nanoreactors; sol-gel based methods for micro-and nanoencapsulations
Specific research topics related to Nanoscience and Nanotechnology
  • Catalytic nano- and microreactors
  • Magnetically separable nanocatalysts.
  • Particulated ionic liquids.
  • Catalytic periodic mesoporous organosilica (PMO) nanospheres.
  • Catalytic solid lipid particles.
  • Nano- and microencapsulation methods.

Brief Summary of research
Catalysis play a central role in the chemical industry and academic research. It is applied in a wide range of fields such as preparation of fine and bulk chemicals, energy production and environmental protection. There are two types of catalysis, homogeneous catalysis and heterogeneous catalysis. The homogeneous catalysts require mild operating conditions and they can usually offer excellent reactivity and high selectivity. However, this type of catalysts has limited application in the chemical industry due to the difficulties in their separation and recovery, which can increase the costs of their application in industrial processes. On the other hand, the heterogeneous catalysts can be separated and recovered easily, but they need harsh operating conditions due to their reduced reactivity and they usually give less selective transformations. Our research aims at developing new catalytic materials by nanotechnology that can bring about bridging between homogeneous and heterogeneous catalysis.
Currently, we focus on developing different types of polymeric or inorganic nano- and microreactors containing dissolved catalysts or dispersed metal nanoparticles in their cores. These catalytic nano- and microreactors shows a unique reactivity and selectivity in different organic transformations. Moreover, the utilization of the nano- and microreactors enables a facile tuning of reactivity and selectivity of the same encapsulated catalysts. For examples, A catalytic system was built by incorporation of chiral ruthenium catalyst within the shell of silica microcapsules that contain in their cores magnetic nanoparticles (Figure 1). The preparation of the silica microcapsules was based on interfacial polycondensation of tetraethoxysilane (TEOS). This catalytic system was tested in aqueous asymmetric transfer hydrogenation of ketones. It was found that the reaction can take place only if surfactants are utilized to facilitate the transportation of the substrates to the catalytic sites. The highest activity and enantioselectivity were obtained when cationic surfactants were used. An additional catalytic system based om microreactors was prepared by interfacial polymerization of polyisocyanate monomers with diamines in oil-in-oil emulsions (Figure 2). The core of these microreactors contained palladium nanoparticles and polyethylene glycol (PEG) as medium for the catalytic transformations. These catalytic microreactors were tested in various hydrogenation reactions of olefins and alkynes. They showed an excellent reactivity in the hydrogenation reactions, which was much higher than the homogeneous sodium tetrachloropalladate catalyst dissolved in PEG.
Brief Summary of research
Catalysis play a central role in the chemical industry and academic research. It is applied in a wide range of fields such as preparation of fine and bulk chemicals, energy production and environmental protection. There are two types of catalysis, homogeneous catalysis and heterogeneous catalysis. The homogeneous catalysts require mild operating conditions and they can usually offer excellent reactivity and high selectivity. However, this type of catalysts has limited application in the chemical industry due to the difficulties in their separation and recovery, which can increase the costs of their application in industrial processes. On the other hand, the heterogeneous catalysts can be separated and recovered easily, but they need harsh operating conditions due to their reduced reactivity and they usually give less selective transformations. Our research aims at developing new catalytic materials by nanotechnology that can bring about bridging between homogeneous and heterogeneous catalysis.
Currently, we focus on developing different types of polymeric or inorganic nano- and microreactors containing dissolved catalysts or dispersed metal nanoparticles in their cores. These catalytic nano- and microreactors shows a unique reactivity and selectivity in different organic transformations. Moreover, the utilization of the nano- and microreactors enables a facile tuning of reactivity and selectivity of the same encapsulated catalysts. For examples, A catalytic system was built by incorporation of chiral ruthenium catalyst within the shell of silica microcapsules that contain in their cores magnetic nanoparticles (Figure 1). The preparation of the silica microcapsules was based on interfacial polycondensation of tetraethoxysilane (TEOS). This catalytic system was tested in aqueous asymmetric transfer hydrogenation of ketones. It was found that the reaction can take place only if surfactants are utilized to facilitate the transportation of the substrates to the catalytic sites. The highest activity and enantioselectivity were obtained when cationic surfactants were used. An additional catalytic system based om microreactors was prepared by interfacial polymerization of polyisocyanate monomers with diamines in oil-in-oil emulsions (Figure 2). The core of these microreactors contained palladium nanoparticles and polyethylene glycol (PEG) as medium for the catalytic transformations. These catalytic microreactors were tested in various hydrogenation reactions of olefins and alkynes. They showed an excellent reactivity in the hydrogenation reactions, which was much higher than the homogeneous sodium tetrachloropalladate catalyst dissolved in PEG.

Prof. Aharon Agranat Institute of Applied Physics, School of Computer Science & Engineering

​​Research Interests
Optoelectronic computing laboratory

Specific research topics related to Nanoscience and Nanotechnology
  • Super resolution localization scheme based on conical diffraction (Together with G. Sirat Bioaxial S. A.)
  • Refractive index engineering by fast ion implantation: A generic methodology for constructing electrooptical integrated circuits in which electrooptical devices, nanophotonic structures and optical components are interconnected by a mesh of waveguides and operate in unison.
Research Interests
Optoelectroniccomputing laboratory
Specific research topics related toNanoscienceand Nanotechnology
Super resolution localization scheme based on conical diffraction (Together with G.SiratBioaxialS. A.)
Refractive index engineering by fast ion implantation: A generic methodology for constructingelectroopticalintegrated circuits in whichelectroopticaldevices,nanophotonicstructures and optical components are interconnected by a mesh ofwaveguidesand operate in unison.

Brief Summary of research
The research at the Optoelectronic Computing Laboratory revolves around four interconnected concepts:
  • Refractive Index Engineering: A generic platform for constructing complex electro-optic nanophotonic circuits by fast ion implantations in electro-optical circuits.
  • Electromagnetic wave propagation in soft condensed matter, in particular paraelectric and ferroelectric oxygen Perovskites in the vicinity of the phase transition.
  • Growth of composite paraelectric and ferroelectric materials and crystals.
  • Optoelectronic system architectures for enhancing the capabilities of parallel computing networks, and sensor networks.

Prof. Einat Aharonov Institute of Earth Sciences, Faculty of Science

​Research Interests
Powder lubrication in fault zones – the formation and role of nano-grains

Brief Summary of research
Brief Summary of research
Earthquakes are a result of a sliding instability on geological faults, which are thin fracture planes that separate gigantic tectonic plates. The sliding process on a fault and its stability are controlled by friction. In addition to controlling the generation of earthquakes, friction controls many other natural and artificial processes. My group studies the physics behind friction and related processes that occur in deforming rocks: how rocks break, slide and deform, on all scales, from Kms to Nano-scale. We use computer models, theory, laboratory methods, and field observations on rocks. Currently we are studying the formation and behavior of a layer of nano-scaled rock grains that forms during sliding, as a result of wear due to the intense forces involved in sliding. This very thin nano-layer coats the two sliding blocks and controls the friction of the whole tectonic process. This research has both implications to earthquake physics and also general implications to understanding “powder lubrication”.
Earthquakes are a result of a sliding instability on geological faults, which are thin fracture planes that separate gigantic tectonic plates. The sliding process on a fault and its stability are controlled by friction. In addition to controlling the generation of earthquakes, friction controls many other natural and artificial processes. My group studies the physics behind friction and related processes that occur in deforming rocks: how rocks break, slide and deform, on all scales, from Kms to Nano-scale. We use computer models, theory, laboratory methods, and field observations on rocks. Currently we are studying the formation and behavior of a layer of nano-scaled rock grains that forms during sliding, as a result of wear due to the intense forces involved in sliding. This very thin nano-layer coats the two sliding blocks and controls the friction of the whole tectonic process. This research has both implications to earthquake physics and also general implications to understanding “powder lubrication”.Brief Summary of research
Earthquakes are a result of a sliding instability on geological faults, which are thin fracture planes that separate gigantic tectonic plates. The sliding process on a fault and its stability are controlled by friction. In addition to controlling the generation of earthquakes, friction controls many other natural and artificial processes. My group studies the physics behind friction and related processes that occur in deforming rocks: how rocks break, slide and deform, on all scales, from Kms to Nano-scale. We use computer models, theory, laboratory methods, and field observations on rocks. Currently we are studying the formation and behavior of a layer of nano-scaled rock grains that forms during sliding, as a result of wear due to the intense forces involved in sliding. This very thin nano-layer coats the two sliding blocks and controls the friction of the whole tectonic process. This research has both implications to earthquake physics and also general implications to understanding “powder lubrication”.Brief Summary of research
Earthquakes are a result of a sliding instability on geological faults, which are thin fracture planes that separate gigantic tectonic plates. The sliding process on a fault and its stability are controlled by friction. In addition to controlling the generation of earthquakes, friction controls many other natural and artificial processes. My group studies the physics behind friction and related processes that occur in deforming rocks: how rocks break, slide and deform, on all scales, from Kms to Nano-scale. We use computer models, theory, laboratory methods, and field observations on rocks. Currently we are studying the formation and behavior of a layer of nano-scaled rock grains that forms during sliding, as a result of wear due to the intense forces involved in sliding. This very thin nano-layer coats the two sliding blocks and controls the friction of the whole tectonic process. This research has both implications to earthquake physics and also general implications to understanding “powder lubrication”.

Dr. Yinon Ashkenazy Institute of Physics, Faculty of Science

Research Interests
Nano-plasticity, mechanisms controlling response of metallic nano-structures to external drive.
Specific research topics related to Nanoscience and Nanotechnology
  • Nano-scale plastic response and the origins of breakdown on metallic surfaces
  • Irradiation response – controlling mechanisms at the nano-scale
  • Understanding nano-designed metallic structures as future irradiation resistance materials
Research Interests
Nano-plasticity, mechanisms controlling response of metallic nano-structures to external drive.
Specific research topics related to Nanoscience and Nanotechnology
Nano-scale plastic response and the origins of breakdown on metallic surfaces
Irradiation response – controlling mechanisms at the nano-scale
Understanding nano-designed metallic structures as future irradiation resistance materials

Brief Summary of your research
Nanoscale driven materials - Physical mechanisms controlling material response under strong drive conditions are of interest as they provide a way to design new materials which can provide specific properties. Furthermore, being able to reproduce response to external drive conditions can help validate material models, both on the atomistic and macroscopic levels.
Within this realm we study the following:
  • Using Nano-scale materials to enable calibration of atomistic based response models on experimentally available systems.
  • Using nanostructures to tailor specific novel properties on the macroscopic level, through achieving control on microscopic response mechanisms – such as point defect migration, dislocations motions and segregation
  • Modeling energetics and kinetics of small-scale structures leading to formation of specific steady state phases.

Dr. Michael Assaf Institute of Physics, Faculty of Science

Research Interests
Non-equilibrium statistical mechanics, stochastic population dynamics, large deviation theory, evolutionary game theory, statistical physics on networks

Specific research topics related to Nanoscience and Nanotechnology
  • Stochastic dynamics of gene regulation
  • Cellular decision making under demographic and environmental noise
  • Mathematical models of microbial evolution

Brief Summary of Research:
Many molecular species such as genes, RNAs, and proteins that make up intracellular reaction networks are present in low copy numbers inside a cell, which introduces relatively large fluctuations in the reaction rates. Such “noise” in cellular reactions can have important consequences, in that individual cells make independent decisions on which response to mount, if any. Probabilistic cellular decision making can lead to heterogeneous populations that display multiple stable and heritable phenotypes, even when the cells are isogenic and in identical environments.
Feedback-based genetic switches regulate diverse decision making processes such as microbial environmental adaptation, developmental pathways, nutrient homeostasis, and bacteriophage lysogeny. In recent years, there have been numerous theoretical studies on genetic switches driven by intrinsic (or demographic) noise, noise arising from within a closed system of interest. Yet, especially for high-copy-number biomolecules, extrinsic or environmental noise, which gives rise to time-fluctuating reaction rates, may be much more significant, likely governing the overall dynamics.
Our research is dedicated to developing a concise theoretical framework to describe the combined effect of intrinsic and extrinsic noise on the stochastic dynamics of genetic circuits. In particular we study how extrinsic noise affects escape times from (meta)stable decision states and the overall escape mechanism, in genetic switches. Our main goal is to achieve understanding on the implications of life in a noisy environment on microbial evolution. We investigate this question by exploring how various network motifs that affect the stability of decisions, may evolve to maximize the microbial population fitness in varying environments. The outcome of this research should increase our understanding on how biochemical networks have evolved to both control and exploit their underlying fluctuating environment.

Prof. Micha Asscher Institute of Chemistry, Faculty of Science

Research Interests
Nano catalysis: size dependent thermal and photo-induced catalysis over nanometer-range; metallic clusters over well defined oxide surfaces
Research Interests
Nano catalysis: size dependent thermal and photo-induced catalysis over nanometer-range; metallic clusters over well defined oxide surfaces

Brief Summary of research
Research is focused in five main topics as follows:
  • Laser ablation methodology has been utilized to form metallic nano-clusters coverage grating to investigate clusters surface diffusion,
  • The role of substrate defects-morphology and electronic structure on anchoring meta-stable nano-alloy clusters of Pd-Au, monitoring their unique thermal stability and chemical reactivity (catalysis), iii) Thin TiO2 film has been grown via the amorphous solid water (ASW) buffer layer assisted deposition method, revealing a unique low temperature sol-gel like growth mechanism., iv) We have established a well defined mechanism to explain the 3-4 orders of magnitude, selective, silicon inner pore corrugation size and wavelength dependent photo-desorption of Xe atoms from nanometer sized, porous silicon samples. The CO-TPD based, inner pores surface area monitoring method has been shown to provide accurate sampling of surface areas 2-3 orders of magnitude smaller than the commercial limits based on the BET technique, v) Understanding the coupled electrons transmission and charging of ASW has been characterized. This stable charged state is well characterized as a nano-plate capacitor.

Prof. David Avnir Institute of Chemistry, Faculty of Science

Research Interests
Hybrid ceramic, metallic and organic nanocomposites, nanoparticles and thin films: Methodologies and applications.

Specific research topics related to Nanoscience and Nanotechnology
  • Entrapment of organic molecules and polymers within metals, creating nanohybrid materials with applications in the fields of catalysis, water treatment, medical applications and corrosion prevention.
  • Entrapment of polymers and proteins within ceramic materials, creating nanohybrids-nanoporous materials with applications which range from fire retardants, to new enzymatically-active preparations, to novel surfactants.

Brief Summary of research
  • Metals entrapping organics: A new family of nanostructures hybrid materials. We have developed a new materials technology, which enables one to incorporate and entrap small organic molecules, polymers, biomolecules, and nanoparticles within metals; new nanostructures hybrid materials, denoted dopant@metal, are formed. We have demonstrated the feasibility of a number of key applications of these new composites, as detailed below. This general materials methodology has been unknown: the first publication (2002) did not cite prior art; thus they comprise an original advanced general materials methodology. These developments have already attracted a great deal of attention, represented, for instance, by highlights in C&EN and in Angew. Chem. and by the selection of a recent paper as one of the most interesting 2008 chemistry papers. Non-rusting iron, powerful antibacterial metals, chiral metal, new catalysts, and new concept in batteries, are just some of the many applications that have emerged so-far.
  • Designed nanoporosity and hybrid nanocomposition in sol-gel materials. The sol-gel methodology allows the preparation of porous glasses and ceramic at room temperature. We advanced a broad-scope and powerful concep: Utilize the low-temperature sol-gel process for the incorporation organic and bioorganic molecules within ceramic materials. Traditionally, this has been impossible, because of the very high temperatures employed in glasses and ceramic technology. Now the properties of ceramic materials could be altered to create the very wide range of previously unknown materials, by doping of glasses and ceramics with practically each of the ~30 million organic and bioorganic molecules known today. An endless horizon of new materials has opened. Significantly, the nanoporosity porosity of these materials and their nanophases, render them chemically and physically functional. Many useful applications emerged in four major areas:
  • I. Optics, including filters, colored coatings, luminescent materials, photochromic materials and more.
  • II. Reactive materials, including chemical sensors, new protected, efficient catalysts for organic synthesis, reagents (redox, acid-base, etc.), and photocatalysts.
  • III. Bioactive materials, including enzymatically active ceramic matrices, biosensors, bioactive materials for synthesis, catalysts based on antibodies, and films suitable for cell growth.
  • IV. Active adsorbents, including chromatographic materials (special ion-exchangers, indicating materials and more), chemical sponges for medical and environmental uses, immunoadsorbents with entrapped antibodies, and very recently, chirally imprinted materials.
  • Theoretical and computational studies of chirality and symmetry at the nanoscale We have introduced a structure-analysis tool that enables the measurement of the degree of symmetry or chirality on a continuous level. This tool has opened the possibility to identify quantitative correlations between symmetry/chirality content on one hand, and molecular or biological or material properties on the other hand. The continuous symmetry measure (CSM) and chirality measure (CCM) used for this purpose are of global nature, and take into account all angles and bond lengths of the molecular species. The measure is a special distance function which evaluates the minimal distance of a given structure to an a-priori unknown reference structure which has the desired exact symmetry. Many correlations, both descriptive and predictive, between physical, chemical and biochemical properties on one hand and quantitative symmetry and chirality on the other hand, have been identified. At the nanoscale this approach was employed for the study of parity-violation effects in chiral metallic nanoclusters, in identifying a large group of chirally nanoporous zeolites, in understanding temperature-dependent properties of optically active materials such as quartz, in quantifying and analysing the near-symmetry of protein nanoclusters, in analyzing the chirality of diffusion-limited clusters, and more.

Prof. Roi Baer Institute of Chemistry, Faculty of Science

Research Interests
Theoretical studies of electron dynamics in molecular electronics and small metallic nanoclusters

Specific research topics related to Nanoscience and Nanotechnology
  • Quasiparticle energies, charge transport and charge transfer excitations
  • Electronic structure of large systems containing thousands of electrons
  • Multexciton generation in nanocrystals

Brief Summary of research
Electronic Structure of Nanocrystals - Baer’s research concentrates on studying the electronic structure of large nano-meter systems. His recent work involved developing the new concept of non-empirical optimal tuning of range-separated hybrids, which entices the density functional theory orbital energies a meaning of quasiparticle energies (1-2) These approaches allow the accurate treatment of a broad class of transport and charge-transfer excitations.(3)
More recent work involves developing new computational approaches for large electronic structure calculations (4) allowing detailed treatment of systems having thousands of electrons. These methods allow the hitherto impossible feat of applying many-body perturbation theory (the GW method) to systems of thousands of electrons (5). These methods also allow studying the multiexciton generation rates in nanocrystals (6).

Prof. Uri Banin Institute of Chemistry, Faculty of Science

Research Interests
Nanocrystals: Synthesis, Basic Science, and Applications in materials, optics, electronics, energy and life sciences.

Specific research topics related to Nanoscience and Nanotechnology
  • Synthesis and development of new nanocrystals
  • Size, shape and composition dependence studies of optical and electronic properties of nanocrystals
  • Towards applications: Nanocrystals for display and lighting applications. Nanocrystals for solar energy harvesting in photocatalysis and in photovoltaic cells. Lasing and optical gain in nanocrystals. Biological fluorescence tagging and other bio-applications with nanocrystals. Sub-diffraction limit microscopy and its application to nanostructures

Brief Summary of research
Our research concerns the chemistry, physics and applications of nanocrystals focusing on the unique tuning of chemical, optical, electrical, magnetic, mechanical and thermodynamic properties afforded by control of size, shape, composition and organization on the nanometer scale.
We study colloidal semiconductor nanocrystals that are a class of nanomaterials that manifest the transition from the molecular limit to the solid state, as well as hybrid semiconductor-metal nanoparticles. The tunable properties along with the chemical accessibility also lead to significant potential for using nanocrystals as building blocks of nano-devices in diverse applications such as solid state lighting, displays, solar energy conversion, opto-electronic devices and biological fluorescence tagging.

Dr. Nir Bar-Gill Department of Applied Physics and Institute of Physics, Faculty of Science

Research Interests
Nitrogen-Vacancy centers in diamond, quantum information processing, nanoscale quantum sensing.

Specific research topics related to Nanoscience and Nanotechnology
  • Nano-sensors (e.g. nano-MRI)
  • Nano quantum devices (quantum information processing, spintronics)

Brief Summary of research
Quantum Information, Simulation and Sensing - Bar-Gill’s research aims to create a new platform for both fundamental studies in quantum nano science and interdisciplinary applications. Specifically, Bar-Gill is researching the nitrogen-vacancy (NV), a unique naturally occurring color center in diamond (pink diamonds have many such NVs) that can serve as a building block for quantum computers and for quantum information processing.

The NV center has remarkable quantum properties, which are readily accessible even at ambient conditions. Therefore, diamond-based devices embedded with these NVs could lead to breakthrough applications in a wide range of fields:
  • Quantum information processing, which could have profound implications in all aspects of information technology, including computing, communications and cryptography.
  • Spin-based electronics, dubbed "spintronics", which promises to revolutionize the electronics industry, creating fast and very low-energy-consuming nano-scale devices.
  • Nano-scale Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI), as is used today in hospitals, but in a small portable package. Such sensitive diamond-based MRI could be used in medical applications, and also for fundamental studies of chemical reactions and of outstanding biological processes, such as protein folding and neuronal activity.

Prof. Yechezkel Barenholz Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, , Faculty of Medicine

Research Interests
Development of liposomes' based nano-drugs : from basic research to applications​ and FDA approval

Specific research topics related to Nanoscience and Nanotechnology
  • Liposomes and other assemblies which serve as the basis of nano-drugs: From basic and transnational research to the clinics”.
  • Carbon Nanotubes-Liposomes conjugate as a platform for Drug Delivery into Cells in culture and in vivo in mice (with focus on toxicity issues)
  • Development and characterization of a novel drug nano-carrier for oral delivery, based on self-assembled ß-casein micelles.
  • Characterization of PEGylated nanoliposomes co-remotely loaded with topotecan and vincristine: relating structure and pharmacokinetics to therapy efficacy”
  • Development of novel siRNA and miRNA amphoteric lipid based liposomal delivery systems
  • Development of Chemically modified Nanodimonds for siRNA delivery and specific biological detection
  • A Lipogel formulation which include the local anesthetics bupivacaine loaded LMVV and the steroid MPS loaded LMVV.

Brief Summary of research
Membrane and Liposome Research - The Barenholz Lab research focuses on combining nano-technology and nano-medicine with various aspects of biophysics, nanotechnology, and biology to develop liposome- and nano-liposome-based drugs as nano-drugs for therapeutically efficacious applications. These include liposomes and nano-liposomes loaded with: antigens (as vaccines); nucleic acids (especially siRNA) for gene manipulation in vitro in tissue culture and in vivo in animals); low molecular weight drugs (as anticancer, anti-inflammatory, and local anesthetics).
Our first nano-drug developed, Doxil®, an anticancer drug, was the first nano-medicine in clinical use and also the first liposomal drug approved by the US FDA (1995). Doxil® has been sold all over the globe since 1996.
Two years ago our lab started to work as part of the Magnet program “Maagad Rimonim”, which includes 6 Israeli industries from various fields and academic labs. This project is led by QBI Ltd and my lab. Maagad Rimonim aims to develop a platform for siRNA therapeutic application. Our lab's contribution is development of nanoparticle-based delivery systems for siRNA. Our meeting the milestones of the first two years led to the approval of third-year funding.
Barenholz Lab research led to the foundation of 4 start-ups: Nasvax Ltd for vaccine development; Moebius Medical Ltd, for developing a novel treatment for osteoarthritis; Doxocure Ltd for production of liposome-based nano-drugs; and, Lipocure Ltd for the development of liposomal drugs for the treatment of cancer and inflammation and for pain control. The first 3 companies are in various stages of clinical trials.

Prof. Shimshon Belkin Institute of Life Sciences, Faculty of Science

Research Interests
Microbial-based biosensors

Specific research topics related to Nanoscience and Nanotechnology
  • Remote sensing of buried landmines and other explosive devices (with A. Agranat, Applied Physics; A. Nussinovitch, Faculty of Agriculture)
  • Microbial biosensors for the detection and monitoring of environmental pollutants (Diverse EU collaborators)
  • Whole-cell sensor arrays for toxicity and genotoxicity monitoring (with J. Y. Cheng, Academia Sinica, Taiwan)

Brief Summary of research
Microbial-based biosensors - Work in this direction in our lab focuses on whole cell biosensors: natural or genetically engineered live cells that sensitively report on the presence of either pre-determined classes of chemicals, or on the general toxicity of the sample. By using live cells we are able to detect the very complex series of reactions that can exist only in an intact, functioning cell. Only a sensor of this type can report on the “wellbeing” of a system, on the toxicity of a sample, the genotoxicity of a chemical or the bioavailability of a pollutant. No molecular recognition or chemical analysis can provide this type of information.
To turn such cells into usable biosensors, they need to be incorporated onto a solid platform and coupled into a signal transduction apparatus. We have taken several paths towards the integration of the genetically engineered reporter cells into various hardware configurations, including disposable whole-cell biochips.
Major research efforts over the last year have been focused on the development of biosensors for the remote detection of buried landmines (with A. Agranat, Applied Physics)

Dr. Ayal Ben-Zvi Department of Developmental Biology and Cancer Research, Faculty of Medicine

Research Interests:
The Blood Brain Barrier (BBB)
Molecular and cellular properties of BBB endothelial cells
Nano-scale cellular structures of the BBB – Tight Junctions, Vesicular Transport

Brief Summary of Research:
My lab is dedicated to study aspects of brain vasculature (blood vessels in the brain). In particular, we focus our efforts on understanding a critical topic in biomedical research, which is the biology of the "Blood Brain Barrier". Transport of materials from the blood into the brain is limited by this barrier, which is formed by blood vessels in the brain and is tightly controlled, limiting the possibility to deliver drugs ago the brains.
My work describing a new approach to study the development and function of the Blood Brain Barrier was recently published in Nature. This work uncovers the basic mechanisms of how this barrier functions, little about which was previously known. The central goal of my research group is to study the embryonic development of the Blood Brain Barrier, an approach that would provide fundamental understanding of its function in health and disease.
With development of novel methodology at this exciting time I believe we are in a position to be able to repair the blood brain barrier to ameliorate neurodegeneration, as well as to manipulate the barrier in order to transiently deliver drugs into the brain. These advances would have profound implications for the way we treat CNS pathologies, from a simple headache through neurological disorders, neurodegeneration and brain tumors.

Prof. Simon Benita School of Pharmacy - Institute for Drug Research, Faculty of Medicine

Research Interests
Polymeric Nanocarriers for Drug Targeting and Improved Drug Delivery

Specific research topics related to Nanoscience and Nanotechnology
  • Enhanced oral delivery of P-gp substrate drugs or peptides using double-coated trojan nanocapsules
  • Targeted delivery of chemotherapeutic drugs to specific cancerous cells using nanoparticles conjugated to monoclonal antibodies for decreased toxicity, enhanced drug-cell penetration and performance
  • Delivery of macromolecules to the skin and intracellular targeted sites of action (cell organelles)
  • Nanoemulsions and nanoparticles for drug delivery in ophthalmology

Brief Summary of research
Improving Drug Performance using Nanodelivery Systems - The search to design efficient nanodelivery systems is leading to refined drug targeting and enhanced oral, topical or ocular bioavailability of hydrophilic macromolecules or poorly absorbed lipophilic drugs which will improve the treatment of severe diseases such as cancers, ophthalmological, metabolic and immunological disorders. Double nano-encapsulated systems are being investigated for prolonged injectable delivery of peptides and proteins.

Dr. Ofra Benny School of Pharmacy - Institute of Drug Research, Faculty of Medicine

Research Interests
Nanomedicine for drug delivery in cancer and neovascular-diseases

Specific research topics related to Nanoscience and Nanotechnology
  • Nanomicelles for oral drug delivery
  • Nanoparticles for targeting tumor microenvironment
  • Vaso-active nanoparticles for enhanced drug delivery in tumors
  • Microfluidic approach for controlled nanoparticle fabrication

Brief Summary of research
Polymer Nanomicelles for Oral Drug Delivery - Chronic diseases requires long term disease management and treatment making oral delivery by far the most convenient mode of systemic drug administration. However, several of the compounds being identified as potential drugs are often limited by pharmacological properties such as short half-life, low solubility and poor oral availability. We designed a polymeric drug delivery system composed of Poly ethylene glycol- poly lactic acid (PEG-PLA) that can be used as a platform to deliver such drugs orally. The formulation, composed of di-block copolymers, can self-assembled into nanomicelles that in their solidified state can be absorbed in the small intestine as a particle, circulate and release drugs in target organs.
Nano-carriers for tumor drug delivery - The tumor microenvironment, of which the vascular system is a significant component, plays a key role in creating a niche that facilitates the implantation of disseminated tumor cells. Angiogenesis, the formation of new blood vessels, is critical for tumor progression and metastasis. Unlike normal vessels, the newly formed blood capillaries are highly abnormal. Their defective structure is characterized by large gaps between endothelial cells and low coverage of supporting cells (pericytes). These structural defects lead to fluid leakage from the intravascular space to the surrounding tissue and consequently to high interstitial pressure which substantially limit the accessibility of chemotherapy drugs into the tumors mass. We use different typed of polymer nanoparticles that can deliver drugs more efficiently to site of angiogenesis and exploit the vascular abnormality in order to increase drug accumulation in tumors. Once the nanoparticles are reaching the tumor site, they slowly release the carried drugs over long period of time. Using such approach allows the use of lower doses of drugs, less frequent administration and improved activity.

Dr. Galia Blum School of Pharmacy - Institute for Drug Research,, Faculty of Medicine

​​
​​​Research Interests
Generation of novel chemical probes targeted to proteolytic activity and their application for medical uses.

Specific research topics related to Nanoscience and Nanotechnology:
  • Gold nano activity based probes for CT imaging of proteases in cancer
  • Iodine based probes for CT molecular imaging of diseases
  • Targeted drug delivery by cathepsin nanofiber substrates ​

Brief Summary of research

My main research focus is on the generation of novel chemical probes targeted to proteolytic activity and their application for medical uses such as molecular imaging and therapy. In addition, I use my original probes for basic research investigating the involvement of proteases in normal and pathological conditions.

Prof. Ido Braslavsky Institute of Biochemistry Food Science and Nutrition, Faculty of Agriculture

Research Interests
Research interests include ice-binding proteins investigation with fluorescence microscopy and microfluidic devices, cryobiology, freeze casting for porous materials, and food structure.

Specific research topics related to Nanoscience and Nanotechnology
  • Ice binding proteins interaction kinetics with ice crystals
  • Investigation of ice templating for the construction of composite materials

Brief Summary of research
Freeze Control by Ice Binding Proteins - Many organisms are protected from freezing by antifreeze proteins, which bind to ice, modify its morphology, and prevent its further growth. These proteins have the ability to bind to ice surfaces and thus referred to as ice binding proteins, IBP. Since the initial discovery of AFPs in fish, they have been found in insects, plants, bacteria and fungi. These proteins have a wide range of applications in cryo-medicine, cryopreservation and frost protection for transgenic plants and vegetables. IBPs also serve as a model for understanding biomineralization, the processes by which proteins help form bones, teeth and shells. Yet the mechanism of action of different types of antifreeze proteins is incompletely understood. In my group, the kinetics of the interaction between IBP and ice is monitored by fluorescence microscopy. Several types of IBPs labeled with a fluorescent marker have been prepared mainly by our collaborator Peter Davies and in our lab. Additionally, we developed devices that can monitor the fluorescently labeled proteins with high sensitivity with in microfluidic devices in which the composition of the solution around tiny (~15 micrometers) ice crystals can be changes (PNAS, 2013). We use these devices to explore IBPs and their interaction with ice. The IBP phenomenon has multi-scale characteristics. The interaction of the proteins with ice occurs on the molecular level, the typical distances between molecules measure at the several nanometer. We currently investigate the shaping mechanism of ice by IBPs (R. Soc Interface 2012, and Proc. R. Soc A 2012). We also investigate the use of IBP in controlling crystallization during freezing procedures for the propose of advancing cryopreservation in which cells and tissue are preserved at low temperature. The IBP interaction with ice can be used as a model platform to understand bio-mineralization processes and thus its importance for future nanotechnology applications. Projects related to this subject are sponsored by IRG, ISF, ERC, and Sinica-HUJI.

Dr. Yaron Bromberg Institute of Physics, Faculty of Science

​Research interests: Complex Photonics Lab

Specific research topics:
  • Light in complex media
  • Multiple scattering of entangled photons
  • Quantum nanophotonics
  • Quantum imaging

Brief Summary of Research:

We study how light interacts with complex photonic systems, such as scattering media, disordered multimode fibers, aperiodic photonic crystals and more. Such systems are composed of a large number of spatial, spectral, and polarization degrees of freedom, which are strongly coupled due to disorder. Our curiosity driven research focuses on understanding the fascinating physical phenomena that emerge in these systems, which exhibit both the quantum (particle-like) and classical (wave-like) nature of light.
Our research is currently focused on three main projects: 1) Complex coherent phenomena in multimode fibers. Multimode fibers are an interesting complex media. On one hand, they support many spatial degrees of freedom that are randomly coupled due to imperfections of the fiber. On the other hand, multimode fibers have nearly perfect transmission, the propagating modes are confined in the real and momentum space, and all the spatial degrees of freedom of the fiber can be easily controlled. We take advantage of these unique properties of fibers to coherently control phenomena like coherent backscattering (also known as weak localization) and principal modes. 2) Multi-path interference of entangled photons. Light in complex media propagates through multiple different paths. For classical light (waves), the inference between all the paths the light can propagate through results in a random grainy pattern called speckle. We study how multi-path interference affects quantum states of light, such as entangled photons. Specifically, we are interested in generating states of light with quantum signatures that are immune to disorder and scattering. 3) Optical key distribution with classical and quantum light. The chaotic dynamics and extreme sensitivity to external perturbations make complex media particularly well-suited for optical cryptography. We are developing key distribution methods for optical encryption that rely on propagation of light through complex random media.

Dr. Amnon Buxboim Institute of Life Sciences and School of Engineering, Faculty of Science

Research Interests
Micro-to-Nano Mechanobiology of Stem cells and Nucleus

Specific research topics related to Nanoscience and Nanotechnology
  • Cell Mechanobiology
  • Nucleus Biophysics
  • Biophysics of Embryo Development

Brief Summary of research
Micro-to-Nano Mechanobiology of Stem cells and Nucleus - The Buxboim lab was opened early October 2014 and we are busy setting it up. On the Nano-Bio part, we are in the process of assembling a pressure-controlled Micro-Pipette Aspiration (MPA) system for studying cell and nucleus mechanics. The following is a short description of nuclear MPA experiment, which we will pursue in our lab in a short while.
Using a closed hydraulic channel that is pressure-regulated by a pressure transducer, we apply suction across a micropipette, typically 1-to-2 microns in internal diameter. The micropipette is carefully maneuvered to engage a live cell using a motorized micromanipulator. To probe the viscoelastic properties of the nucleus, cells are treated with drugs that induce the disassembly of the cell cytoskeleton. Once the cell is engaged, suction pressure is applied and an extension of the nucleus is increasingly flowing and stretching into the pipette. The relationship between the applied suction, and the extent and rate of deformation, are determined by the elasticity and viscosity of the nuclear compartment, respectively. We combine these physical insights with molecular studies to elucidate biophysical mechanisms of cellular mechanosensitivity, namely enabling cells to sense the physical properties of their microenvironment. These cellular processes are facilitated by specialized structural nuclear proteins whose assembly into nanometer-sized structures is tightly regulated at the inner nuclear membrane in a force-dependent manner.
During the past academic year, 2013-2014, we have applied MPA to study the mechanical properties of mouse and bovine embryos at early stages of pre-implantation development.

Dr. Liraz Chai Institute of Chemistry, Faculty of Science

Research Interests
Self assembly of bacterial proteins: aggregation, fiber formation and structure.

Specific research topics related to Nanoscience and Nanotechnology
  • Protein-protein interactions
  • Biomineralization

Brief Summary of research
The Extracellular Matrix in Bacterial Biofilms - from Basic Subunits to a 3D Network - Biofilms are communities of microbial cells that grow on natural and synthetic surfaces. Biofilms may be beneficial, for example when protecting plant roots from pathogens, however in most cases they are related with disease. Irrespective of whether biofilms are beneficial or detrimental to the host, their extracellular matrix is critical to their development and survival. The extracellular matrix is a network of biopolymers, mainly polysaccharides and proteins that connect the cells in the biofilm. Since the extracellular matrix is related with an increased resistance of the biofilm to antibiotics (compared to the single cell), there has been a great effort to identify the genes that are involved in its formation. However, a molecular understanding of the formation and the physical properties of this complex 3D structure from its components is still lacking. We examine the extracellular matrix from a chemical and a physical perspective and study the basic interactions between the biopolymers in the matrix using an Atomic Force Microscope (AFM). The findings of our study may be used to specifically target the extracellular matrix in the design of new anti-biofilm drugs and biofilm repelling surfaces.

Prof. Benny Chefetz The Department of Soil and Water Sciences, Faculty of Agriculture

Research Interests
Fate and Behavior of Organic Pollutants, Pharmaceutical Compounds and Nano-particles in the Agro-Environment

Specific research topics related to Nanoscience and Nanotechnology
  • The impact of carbon nanotubes on the composition of dissolved organic matter
  • Organic contaminant adsorption by carbon nanotubes

Brief Summary of research
Interactions between carbon nanotubes, dissolved organic matter and organic contaminants in aquatic environment - Carbon nanotubes (CNTs) are manufactured by rolling sheets of graphene into a cylinder along a lattice vector in the graphene plane. Their nano-scale size and morphology provides unique properties such as exceptionally high tensile strength, exceptional electrochemical activity and high thermal conductivity. They possess high adsorption capacity which is comparable to that of activated carbon. Thus, a sharp increase in the use of CNTs has been reported for a wide range of applications such as energy storage, microelectronics and biomedicine. Due to the increasing use of CNTs they have the potential to be released into the environment, in which they are capable to interact with other organic substances such as organic pollutants and organic matter.
Our group focuses on the interactions between CNTs, organic pollutants and dissolved organic matter (DOM) in aquatic systems. We aim to clarify the mechanisms involved in adsorption processes and elucidate the impact of DOM on the adsorption of organic contaminants by CNTs.
Our recent projects:
  • We investigated the interactions between single walled CNTs (SWCNTs) and three organic contaminants: phenanthrene, carbamazepine and bisphenol A. The impact of DOM and its structural fractions on organic contaminant adsorption was evaluated. The experiments included a series of adsorption trials with both pristine and functionalized SWCNTs. Competitive adsorption was examined by performing adsorption experiments with two organic contaminants. We concluded that the composition of DOM had great impact on organic contaminant adsorption by SWCNTs. The hydrophobic fractions of DOM exhibited stronger reductive effect on organic contaminant adsorption than the hydrophilic fractions. The degree of reduction was dependent on the physic-chemical properties of the contaminant. The competitive adsorption experiments showed that competition was more significant for organic contaminants with similar properties.
  • We evaluated the effect of SWCNTs on the composition of DOM. In order to do so, the DOM was separated into its structural fractions before and after interacting with the SWCNTs. Adsorption of the isolated structural fractions of DOM was also examined. This study showed that DOM is fractionated during adsorption by SWCNTs. Adsorption of DOM was governed by  based interactions between SWCNTs and hydrophobic acidic fractions. The preferential adsorption of hydrophobic fractions resulted in a richer hydrophilic character of the non-adsorbed DOM. These observations were supported by evaluating the adsorption affinity and capacity of the individual fractions. Isolated hydrophobic fractions exhibited higher adsorption affinity to SWCNTs than hydrophilic ones. Moreover, adsorption was concentration dependent for hydrophobic fractions, suggesting limited adsorption capacity. Adsorption affinities of bulk DOM calculated as the normalized sum of affinities of the individual structural fractions were similar to the measured affinities, suggesting that the structural fractions of DOM act as independent adsorbates. The altered composition of DOM due to the interactions with SWCNTs may affect the activity and reactivity of DOM in aqueous system.

Prof. Daniel Cohn Institute of Chemistry, Faculty of Science

Research Interests
2D and 3D polymers for biomedical and materials applications

Brief Summary of research
2D and 3D nano-sized structures -
  • Generating thermo-responsive surfaces: Surfaces can be rendered responsive to minor changes triggered by environmental stimuli, such as pH, light, and most importantly, temperature. Due to their temperature-dependent water solubility, the reverse thermo-responsive surface grafted chains adopt an extended conformation at a lower temperature, while at a higher temperature, they collapse generating nano-sized globular structures. Thermo-responsive surfaces were generated by covalently binding chains of various molecular weights comprising PEO-PPO-PEO triblocks, to the various polymeric substrates.
  • Engineering 3D nano-sized constructs: Here, work was conducted along two pathways: {i} Nano-fibrous polymeric biomedical structures and {ii} Thermo-responsive biomedical nano-shells.
Numerous applications for these nano-structures are foreseen in various biomedical areas, such as in drug and gene delivery and in the Tissue Engineering field.

Prof. Abraham Domb School of Pharmacy - Institute of Drug Research, Faculty of Medicine

Research Interests
Nanoparticulate and Polymeric Drug Delivery Systems

Specific research topics related to Nanoscience and Nanotechnology
  • Improved bioavailability of drugs using lipid nanoparticles
  • Surface crystallization of drugs
  • Antimicrobial nanoparticles
  • Gene delivery using cationic polysaccharide nano-complexes

Brief Summary of research
Nanomedicine- synthesis and applications of nanoparticulate systems - During this period we have investigated the solid lipid nanoparticulate system (Liposphere) for improved oral bioavailability of drugs with low oral bioavailability. The safety and application of dextran-spermine polycations for gene delivery was investigated in animals. We continue our research on antimicrobial polymeric nanoparticles, polymeric delivery systems for siRNA, TRH nanoparticles nasal spray delivery system and functional polymers for coating of inorganic nanoparticles.

Prof. Hagai Eisenberg Institute of Physics, Faculty of Science

Research Interests: Quantum optics with multi-photon states and the precision of optical measurements

Specific research topics related to Nanoscience and Nanotechnology:
  • Quantum limited resolution of measurements
  • A single photon on-demand source using a surface wave plasmonic collimator

Brief Summary of research: Quantum optics with multi-photon states -
The generation and study of “entangled quantum states” is crucial for understanding the foundations of our perception of the physical world. In the last 30 years, as technology advanced and enabled these studies, more and more experiments involving entangled quantum states where done. Entanglement has been shown to be a very useful resource in the field of “Quantum information”. In this approach, information is stored inside the state of quantum system instead of in a classical computer memory. The manipulation of these so called q-bits (quantum bits) is very efficient and it was shown that for some computational problems, a “quantum computer” can exceed the speed of standard computers by many folds. Another demonstrated use for qubits is the ultimately secured communication line – quantum cryptography. As the number of entangled particles involved in these peculiar states is increased, the boundaries between the quantum reality and our everyday world are being probed. Entangled states of many particles also increase the number of possibilities for their various uses. Recently, states with up to 14 particles were produced and studied, but as the particle number increases, the harder it is to create the state.We intend to study experimentally the effects of using multi-photon entangled states on the various uses of quantum information. To do so, we will also need efficient new sources of entangled optical states. Such states will also be useful for quantum photo-lithography.

Dr. Rivka Elbaum Institute of Plant Sciences and Genetics in Agriculture, Faculty of Agriculture

Research Interests
Structure, composition, and function of the plant cell wall

Specific research topics related to Nanoscience and Nanotechnology
  • Plant movements: structures in plant tissues that initiate pre-programmed movement
  • Plant bio-silicification

Brief Summary of research
The composition, structure and function of plant cell walls - Plants do not have a skeleton that supports their body. Instead, each cell is confined in a stiff cell wall that protects the cell content. Specialized mechanical tissues develop very thick cell walls. These tissues are organized to hold the leaves upright, enable plants to grow high, up to hundreds meters, and even to move rapidly to disperse their progenies. The cell wall is a composite material, made of stiff nano-crystalline cellulose microfibrils embedded in a pliable matrix of poly-sugars, aromatic polymers, proteins, and other additives. The mechanical properties of the cell wall (and thus the plant organs), and their behavior under changing physiological conditions (pH, osmotic level, humidity level, and more) are governed by the organization of the cellulose nano-crystals within the matrix, and the composition and spatial distribution of the matrix components on subcellular level. We study the nano and micro structure and the chemical composition of plant tissues, aiming to gain new insights on their physio-mechanical function. We work mainly in two directions: (1) Hygroscopic movement in seed dispersal, concentrating on mechanisms that produce coiling movement, and (2) The roles of silicon oxide in plant physiology. Our aim is to understand the biological control over plant silicification – a process that was hardly studied. Our methods relay on microscopic analysis using polarized light, fluorescence, electron, and Raman micro-spectroscopy, in combination with whole tissue analysis based on X-ray diffraction, thermal gravimetric, and chemical analysis.

Dr. Simon Emmanuel Institute of Earth Sciences, Faculty of Science

Research Interests
Nano-scale study of mineral reactions and material properties in geological media

Specific research topics related to Nanoscience and Nanotechnology
  • Nano-scale mechanisms controlling the evolution of reacting rock surfaces
  • Nano-scale mechanical properties of organic matter in mudrocks

Brief Summary of research
Chemical and physical evolution of geological media at the nano-scale - Chemical and physical changes are constantly occurring in the rocks, soils, and sediments that make up the Earth's crust. My group studies the impact that processes like mineral dissolution and compaction have on geological materials, and the way those processes influence water, oil, and gas flow in the subsurface. In many cases important changes occur at the nano-scale, and probing the precise mechanisms requires the use of high resolution imaging methods. We use a combination of cutting edge experimental techniques, state-of-the-art modeling, and field observations to study a range of topics from precipitation and dissolution in carbonate rocks to nano-scale mechanical properties in shales.

Dr. Lioz Etgar Institute of Chemistry, Faculty of Science

Research Interests
Development of new nanostructures and molecular materials for the third generation solar cells

Specific research topics related to Nanoscience and Nanotechnology
  • Synthesis and characterization of nanocrystals of organic-inorganic perovskite for solar cells applications.
  • Nanometric layers of Sb2S3 in extremely thin absorber cells.
  • Growth of ZnO on flexible substrates.

Brief Summary of research
Organic-Inorganic hybrids for excitonic solar cells - The research of my group is focused on the development of radically new nanostructures and molecular materials for the production of innovative solar cells, third generation solar cells. It is concentrated on functional materials for solar energy application and the assembly and the characterization of the solar cell.
In our research we are using CH3NH3PbI3 perovskite and NH2CH=NH2PbI3 perovskite, which have high absoprtion coefficent, high stability, and its optical properties can be tuned by modification of its chemical strucutre.

Dr. Sara Eyal School of Pharmacy - Institute for Drug Research, Faculty of Medicine

Research Interests
Imaging brain diseases using nanoparticles, detectible by MRI and optical imaging.

Specific research topics related to Nanoscience and Nanotechnology
  • In vitro and in vivo imaging of nanoformulation kinetics
  • Use of nanoformulations for CNS drug delivery

Brief Summary of research
Development of nanoformulations for biomedical imaging - In vivo functional imaging is being increasingly used to obtain information on the occurrence and location of molecular events in health and disease. In particular, reliable markers for imaging of diseases are important in that they (1) assist in monitoring response to therapy, and (2) provide means to localize an abnormal tissues which may be removed surgically, e.g., in patients with epilepsy or malignant tumors.
Our research is aimed at better understanding of the factors that affect probe (and drug) distribution across biological barriers, such as the blood-brain barrier (BBB), introducing novel markers for studying molecular changes in the barriers themselves, and developing delivery systems which would be able to overcome these anatomical and functional barriers.
Since the lab has been established, in 2011, we have begun utilizing nanoparticles and liposomes for imaging CNS disease which involve neuroinflammation. These include epilepsy and cerebral malaria. Our findings so far indicate that the liposomes and nanoparticles are rapidly uptaken by macrophage-like cells in vitro, are not toxic to cells, and can be detected in inflamed brain regions in vivo and ex vivo.

Prof. Yuri Feldman Institute of Applied Physics , School of Computer Science & Engineering

Research Interests
Dielectric response of complex systems at mesoscale

Specific research topics related to Nanoscience and Nanotechnology
The research is focused both on solid as well as liquid systems, such as: Structure and non-exponential dynamics in glass forming systems.

Brief Summary of research
The research interests of the laboratory of Dielectric Spectroscopy are centered on the area of soft condensed matter physics for investigation of the structure, dynamics, and macroscopic behavior of complex systems. (CS). CS is a very broad and general class of materials, which include associated liquids, polymers, biomolecules, colloids, porous materials, composites ferroelectrics and liquid crystals.
The dynamical processes occurring in Complex Systems involve different length and time scales. Fast as well as ultra-slow molecular rearrangements take place in the presence of the microscopic, mesoscopic and macroscopic organization of the systems. Commonly, the complete characterization of these relaxation behaviors requires the use of variety techniques in order to span the relevant ranges in frequency. In this view, the use of Dielectric Spectroscopy (DS) is very advantageous. The modern technique may overlap extremely wide frequency (10-6 -1012 Hz) and temperature (-170 oC - +500 oC) ranges, and therefore, these method is more than any others appropriate for such different scales of molecular motions.
The general goal of the DS study of complex systems is to determine their structure and its dynamics, how it arises, and how it influences the macroscopic behavior. It is of great fundamental interest since while we understand the physics controlling the behavior of individual atoms and molecules, the physics controlling the behavior of macroscopic chunks of matter, we are relatively ignorant of the complex connection between these well-known limits and completely new and unexpected behaviors often arise. The significance of these studies is not only to attempt to systematically study the influence of geometrical peculiarities on molecular dynamics, but also to lay the experimental and theoretical foundations for future technological progress in this field. The studies provide the theoretical and experimental foundation for designing and fabricating new materials and devices with prescribed architectures.

Prof. Israel Felner Institute of Physics, Faculty of Science

Research Interests
Superconductivity and magnetism of amorphous carbon; Fe-As superconductors

Specific research topics related to Nanoscience and Nanotechnology
Search for superconductivity in the YFe2Si2 doped systems

Brief Summary of research
Search for superconductivity in the YFe2Si2 doped systems - Due to the similarity between AFe2As2 (A=Ba, Sr) and RFe2Si2 (R=La, Y and Lu), the RFe2Si2 system has been proposed as a potential candidate for a new high TC superconducting family containing Fe-Si (instead of Fe-As) layers as a structural unit. Substitutions have been made in all three different sites of RFe2Si2. Various Ho1-yYyFe2Si2, R(Fe1-xMx)2Si2 (M= Mn, Ni and Cu) and YFe2(Si1-zGez)2 materials were synthesized and measured for their magnetic properties. A pronounced peak at 232 K was observed in the magnetization curve of YFe2Si2 (Fig. 1 inset). High pressure resistivity measurements (up to 18.8 kbar) indicate that YFe2Si2 is not superconducting (SC) down to 1.2 K. Similar peaks at various temperatures also appear in all other synthesized systems. (See Fig. 2). While Ho substitution does not change much the peak position, both isovalent Ge (and C) substitutions, shift the peak to lower temperature e.g. in YFe2SiGe the peak position drops to 11 K. None of investigated materials is SC down to 1.8 K. Both, 57Fe Mössbauer studies and the linear M(H) below and above the peak position (Fig. 2) confirm the absence of any long range magnetic ordering at low temperatures.
Five independ factors affect the peak position and shift it to lower temperatures: (i) the lattice parameters, (ii) the concentration of x (iii) the applied magnetic field and (iv) the magnetic nature of M. (v) The huge drop observed in the YFe2(Si1-zGez)2 system clearly indicates that the dominant factor is the disorder induced in the Si site.
Apparently in all compounds studied the Fe ions are non-magnetic. It is proposed that the magnetic peaks observed in all substituted RFe2Si2 systems, represent a new nearly ferromagnetic Fermi liquid (NFFL) system, its nature is yet to be determined.

Prof. Assaf Friedler Institute of Chemistry, Faculty of Science

Research Interests
Protein-Protein interactions using peptides: A basis for drug design

Specific research topics related to Nanoscience and Nanotechnology
  • Quantitative biophysical studies of protein-protein interactions
  • Using peptides to study protein-protein interactions in biological systems related to cancer and apoptosis
  • Modulating protein oligomerization using peptides
  • Intrinsically disordered proteins as novel drug targets
  • Peptide arrays
  • Developing new synthetic methods for peptide synthesis

Brief Summary of research
Using peptides to study protein – protein interactions: a basis for drug design
Our research deals with quantitative analysis of protein-protein interactions at the molecular level as a basis for designing drug leads that affect the activity of proteins involved in cancer and AIDS. To achieve these goals, we developed an interdisciplinary experimental platform on combining chemistry, biophysics and biology. Some projects ongoing in our lab are:
  • The "shiftide" concept, by which peptides are used to modulate protein oligomerization for therapeutic purposes: About 35% of proteins in the cytoplasm act as oligomers and many of them exist in equilibrium between active and non-active oligomeric forms. Specific binding of a peptide to one of these oligomeric states will stabilize it and shift the oligomerization equilibrium of the protein towards it. This may result in inhibition or activation of the protein, depending on the oligomeric state targeted. The concept was first successfully demonstrated for inhibiting the HIV-1 integrase protein (Hayouka et al., PNAS 2007) as a novel approach for anti-AIDS therapy. Since then it was demonstrated as a general concept for inhibiting or activating other proteins such as non-muscle myosin II and the tumor suppressor protein p53. The work was recognized worldwide, including an ERC starting grant for Assaf friedler for the shiftides project in 2007 and the Israel chemical society prize for the outstanding young scientist in 2009. The shiftides approach is a general new concept that can be generally applied for every disease-related protein that acts in an oligomeric form.
  • Intrinsically disordered proteins: About one third of the genome encodes for intrinsically disordered proteins (IDPs) or regions in proteins. These lack stable tertiary structures and are extended, highly flexible, and composed of a large ensemble of conformations interchanging dynamically. Molecular recognition and assembly of IDRs typically involve multiple binding partners, which may result in disorder-to-order transitions. Various IDPs are involved in human diseases, making them attractive targets for drug design. Our research focuses on how intrinsic protein disorder regulates protein activity and how intrinsically disordered regions (IDRs) in proteins can be set as therapeutic targets.

Prof. Nissim Garti Institute of Chemistry, Faculty of Science

Research Interests
Novel micellar nanostructures and micellosomes for improved solubilization and delivery of bioactives

Brief Summary of research
Novel Micellar Cubic Nanostructures and the Corresponding Micellosomes for Improved Solubilization and Delivery of Bioactives -
  • Liquid nano-vehicles based on microemulsions and emulsified microemulsions.
  • Novel nanosized self-assembled liquid vehicles (NSSL technology).
  • Lyotropic liquid crystals as solubilization for non-soluble bioactives.
  • Transdermal and transmembrane competitive transport via nano-carriers.
  • Nutraceuticals and food supplements- structure, mechanisms and bioavailability.
  • Regioselectivity and interfacial enzymatic reactions.
  • Development of new and advanced analytical tools for studying structural aspects of nanosized systems such as SAXS, SD-NMR, Cryo-TEM, Dielectric Spectroscopy, DSC, rheology, EPR, NMR-chromatography.

Dr. Doron Gazit Institute of Physics, Faculty of Science

Research Interests
Nanostructures of Graphene and their implications in condensed matter and bio-physics

Brief Summary of research
Nanostructure of Graphene – Characteristics and Interplay with Electrical Properties - Dr. Gazit's relevant research focuses on Graphene, the two-dimensional nanomaterial coined: "the new silicon". The isolation of Graphene in 2004 has lead to awarding a Nobel prize in 2010 to Prof. Andre Geim and Prof. Kostya Novoselov. It has created a shock wave in the scientific world, echoing in physics, chemistry and electrical engineering. Made of a single sheet of carbon atoms, Graphene is the ultimate crystalline membrane. Its low-energy electronic structure is analogous to quantum electrodynamics (QED), and allows record high electron mobility. For these reasons, Graphene is considered not only as a “table-top” apparatus for the research of QED, but also as a prospective material for the next generation of electronics, combining previously unimaginable miniaturization with unprecedented characteristics. Dr. Gazit focuses on the structure of Graphene, and its interplay with the unique electronic properties, which are key elements for any future nanotechnological applications and scientific use of Graphene.
The structure of Graphene reveals unique features. In particular, ripples and charge inhomogeneities are found on the surface. Dr. Gazit, in a recent work, has given a theoretical explanation for these two previously unexplained phenomena, tracing their origin to the free electrons in the membrane. This system – an electronic crystalline membrane – is found to be prone to charge inhomogeneities. These charge fluctuations couple to the topography of the membrane, and induce ripples with the same characteristic size.
For doped Graphene, the interplay between the structure and the electronic properties is even more pronounced, as Dr. Gazit predicts in a recent publication, since the size of the ripples changes as a function of the doping level. This opens a path to future applications in the field of lasers and electrical grating of the membranes.

Prof. Dan Gazit Institute of Biomedical Sciences in Dental Medicine, Faculty of Dental Medicine

Research Interests
Nanostructured scaffolds and nanobiomechanics in stem cell-based tissue engineering

soon to be added

Dr. Ori Gidron Institute of Chemistry, Faculty of Science

Research interests:
Organic Electronic Materials, Chirality, Supramolecular Chemistry, Molecular Recognition.

Specific research topics related to Nanoscience and Nanotechnology:
  • Design and synthesis of graphene nanoribbons.
  • Conducting polymers with strong near infrared fluorescence.
  • Chiral organic semiconductors.

Brief Summary of Research
The main goal of our research is to discover new electronic and optical properties of conjugated organic molecules and polymers. In particular, we are interested in various aspects of conjugated molecules with axial chirality, and in their prospects as chiral organic semiconductors. Using computational tools, we screen for potential candidate molecules with desired properties, synthesize these target molecules, and investigate their properties using various advanced methods.

Prof. Gershon Golomb School of Pharmacy - Institute for Drug Research, Faculty of Medicine

Research Interests
Drug and gene delivery by nanoparticles

Brief Summary of research
Drug and Gene Delivery by Nanoparticles -

Targeted Nanoparticles to Extracellular Matrix for siRNA Delivery
Osteopontin (OPN) and the fibroblast growth factor receptor 1 are proteins involved in cancer development and progression, thus inhibiting their expression utilizing siRNA technology represents a promising therapeutic strategy. Successful application in-vivo has significant obstacles due to the short half-life of siRNA molecules, their large molecular size and high negative charge density, which limit their cellular uptake. A safe and effective delivery system of siRNA would be targeted nanoparticles (NP) composed of biocompatible biomaterials (polymeric or lipoid based), which can protect the siRNA from degradation and at the same time providing effective uptake at the tumor site. In several important pathologies, including cancer, the ECM is exposed due to increased endothelial cell permeability. NP conjugated with ligands targeted to extracellular matrix (ECM) binding sites can achieve selective and safe drug delivery for cancer.
Subendothelial low-density lipoproteins (LDL) retention through proteoglycan interaction is enhanced in diseases of enhanced endothelial permeability, including cancer. We hypothesized that a peptide shared by apo-B100 (25 AA), the LDL protein moiety, would effectively bind proteoglycans. In vitro studies identified amino acid sequences in delipidated apo-B100, which bind to negatively charged proteoglycans. We have synthesized lipid and polymeric conjugates with the apo-B peptide ligand for high ECM affinity. siRNA against FGFR1 and OPN was encapsulated in polymeric NP (poly(d,l-lactide co-glycolide (PLGA)) and core-shell type liposomes, decorated with the apo-B ligand via a poly(ethylene glycol) (PEG) spacer. Results show that the siRNA was effectively encapsulated in the NP (< 150 nm), using a double emulsion system or a liposome-lipoplex complex for formulating polymeric NP and core-shell liposomes, respectively. The uptake of the targeted NP was examined in cell and ECM cultures assisted by fluorescent labeling of the formulations (BODIPY). Flow cytometry (FACS) studies showed effective uptake in rat primary smooth muscle cells that naturally shed proteoglycans. The in vivo therapeutic effect was examined in a murine model of mammary carcinoma. It is concluded that siRNA can be effectively encapsulated in biocompatible and biodegradable targeted NP, and the siRNA is stable and bioactive in mammary carcinoma animal model.

Convection Enhanced Delivery of Liposomes to the Brain
Convection-enhanced drug delivery (CED) greatly enhances the distribution of drugs in the brain by creating an infusion-mediated pressure gradient through intracranial catheters. This technique enables in situ drug concentrations several orders of magnitude greater than those achieved by systemic administration over large brain volumes. Gd-DTPA is a Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) contrast agent that can be infused by CED into brain tissue. Since Gd-based contrast agents do not penetrate the cells, follow-up MRI performed 24 hours post treatment shows no residual Gd in the brain. In the current study we assessed the feasibility of using PEGylated and nonPEGylated liposomes to obtain increased cell internalization of therapeutic agents delivered by CED in rats. Feasibility was demonstrated by liposomes loaded with Gd-DTPA. PEGylated and nonPEGylated liposomes contained similar Gd-DTPA concentration. Their signal intensity following incubation with cancer cells was significantly higher than that of empty PEGylated liposomes treated cells. All groups showed enhancement in T1 MRI immediately after CED. After 2 days there was no noticeable residual Gd-DTPA in the brains of rats treated with Gd-DTPA in saline. In contrast, enhancement was noticed even 2 weeks after treatment with PEGylated and NonPEGylated Gd liposomes. The volume of distribution of the PEGylated liposomes in the brain was nearly twice than that of the nonPEGylated liposomes.

Dr. Elad Gross Institute of Chemistry, Faculty of Science

Prof. Daniel Harries Institute of Chemistry, Faculty of Science

Research Interests
Association, dissociation and function of macromolecules complexes in diverse biological environments

Specific research topics related to Nanoscience and Nanotechnology
  • Peptide folding and self assembly with relevance to amyloid formation
  • Colloidal and nanoparticle interactions in solution
  • Tuning environmental solution conditions for macromolecular solvation and self assembly
  • Membrane biophysics at the nanoscale

Brief Summary of research
Self-assembly of biomacromolecules at the nano scale -
Controlling Protein Self-assembly using Ligands and Cosolutes
Proteins, nano-scale biomolecules responsible for normal cell function, are able to change the way they operate as well as their physical properties in response to ligand binding or variation in solution conditions. The aim of our research is to formulate methods to control proteins self-assembly, and modulated their complex structure to gain specific biological functions or material properties.
A prominent example of protein self assembly is the formation of amyloid fibrils. These are naturally occurring, fibrillar protein aggregates that are implicated in several devastating pathologies, such as Alzheimer’s disease and type II diabetes, making them targets for biomedical applications. In addition, the irreversible nature and robustness, as well as the abundance of amyloid forming peptides and proteins, have motivated investigations into their use as self assembled, biocompatible nanomaterials3. Recently, much research was devoted to the way the aggregate assembly and properties are modulated by the solvating environment. In the cell, this aqueous environment is composed mainly of molecules that do not bind the protein directly, and are referred to as cosolutes. It was found that while some cosolute molecules promote the formation of fibrils, others act to inhibit and even reverse the process.
The aim of our work is to develop informed strategies for controlling the formation of amyloids, thus helping to avoid their detrimental pathological consequences, or to modify their physical characteristics, affording control of material properties. We have been following two distinct families of cosolutes. Short, linear sugars, belonging to a family of molecules termed osmolytes, are used by cells to counteract extreme environmental conditions. Several of these osmolytes have been shown to inhibit the formation of amyloid aggregates4,5. The second cosolute family is composed of longer polymeric chains, polyethylene glycol (PEG), which act to simulate the crowded cellular environment.
Using a model peptide, we have been able to show that while PEGs of various sizes had little or no effect on amyloid aggregation kinetics, the presence of osmolytes such as sorbitol and glycerol inhibited the onset of aggregation in a concentration dependent manner6. Fitting these results to a kinetic mechanistic model, we recently showed that the difference in aggregation behavior can be traced to two distinct stages – the dissociation of monomers from the fibril is slowed in the presence of osmolytes, whereas the rate at which the fibrils break and form new aggregation sites is increased in the presence of PEGs7. Currently, we are developing a computer simulation model of the aggregation process. By closely matching the experimentally observed behavior of the monomers8,9 as well as that of the cosolutes, we hope to gain an accurate computational model of amyloid self-assembly. The simulations are run on high-performance computational clusters, and will be analyzed to give thermodynamic, kinetic, and physical characteristics of the fibrils formed in different solutions. In addition, advanced electron microscopy techniques are used to capture images of amyloids formed in the presence of both cosolutes and in aqueous solution. A specialized image-analysis software has been developed in the group to quantify the physical characteristics of the fibrils created in different solvating environments.
This research is aimed to provide new insights into the fundamental interactions that determine the difference in amyloid assembly under variable solvating environments, thus leading to a better understanding of how we can modulate the mechanism and physical properties of the resulting nanofibrils.

How sterol tilt regulates properties and organization of lipid membranes and membrane insertions
Serving as a crucial component of mammalian cells, cholesterol critically regulates the functions of biomembranes. We have been focusing on a specific property of cholesterol and other sterols: the tilt modulus χ that quantifies the energetic cost of tilting sterol molecules inside the lipid membrane. We have shown how χ is involved in determining properties of cholesterol-containing membranes, and recently detailed a novel numerical approach to quantify its value, as well as that of the bending rigidity Kc from atomistic molecular dynamics (MD) simulations. Specifically, we have linked χ with other structural, thermodynamic, and mechanical properties of cholesterol-containing lipid membranes, and delineated how this useful parameter can be obtained from the sterol tilt probability distributions derived from relatively small-scale unbiased MD simulations. We demonstrated how the tilt and splay moduli quantitatively describe the aligning field that sterol molecules create inside the phospholipid bilayers, and we relate χ to the bending rigidity of the lipid bilayer through effective tilt and splay energy contributions to the elastic deformations. Moreover, we showed how χ can conveniently characterize the “condensing effect” of cholesterol on phospholipids. Finally, we demonstrated the importance of this cholesterol aligning field to the proper folding and interactions of membrane peptides. Given the relative ease of obtaining the tilt and splay moduli from atomistic simulations, we propose that they can be routinely used to characterize the mechanical properties of sterol/lipid bilayers, and can also serve as a required fitting parameter in multi-scaled simulations of lipid membrane models to relate the different levels of coarse-grained details.

Zvi Hayouka Institute of Biochemistry, Faculty of Agriculture

Research Interests
We are developing chemical tools to inhibit microbial or fungal growth. Our interdisciplinary research program combines food science, peptide chemistry, nanotechnology, biochemistry and microbiology toward the design of novel antimicrobial agents and surfaces.
Specific research topics related to Nanoscience and Nanotechnology
  • Development of bioactive surfaces
  • Development of novel food preservative
  • Designing anti-biofilm agents
  • Inhibiting specific protein-protein interaction in bacteria

Development of antimicrobial packaging and food preservatives

We have recently designed random peptide mixture materials that display broad antimicrobial activities (1) and strong antibiofilm activity( 2). These peptide mixtures are random in terms of sequence but highly controlled in terms of chain length, composition and stereochemistry. We will explore and expand the use of random peptide mixtures as components of new antimicrobial food packaging and as preservatives to prevent contamination and increase the shelf life of food.

Prof. Amnon Hoffman School of Pharmacy - Institute of Drug Research, Faculty of Medicine

Research Interests
The effect of disease states on the kinetics of drug action and on bone resorption. Lymphatic drug absorption

Specific research topics related to Nanoscience and Nanotechnology
  • The effect of self nanoemulsions formulations on the oral bioavailability of lipophilic drugs
  • Pharmacokinetic implications of nano drug delivery systems
  • The fundamental interactions of nano particles with enterocytes

Brief Summary of research
Self Nano-Emulsifying Drug Delivery Systems (SNEDDS) for Improved Bioavailability of BCS Class 2 Compounds: Effects on Solubilization, Intra-Enterocyte Metabolism, and P-gp Efflux -

Purpose: Numerous BCS Class 2 compounds exhibit low and erratic bioavailability. SNEDDS was previously reported to improve bioavailability of Class 2 compounds. SNEDDS previously developed by our group significantly improved oral bioavailability of Cyclosporine A in humans. Our study aims to elucidate the mechanisms involved in the improved bioavailability achieved by incorporation of these compounds into SNEDDS.

Methods: SNEDDS of amiodarone (AM) and tacrolimus (TCR), Class 2 compounds, were developed and optimized. PK was assessed in-vivo. Permeability was evaluated in-vitro (Caco-2) and ex-vivo (Ussing chamber). Solubilization was assessed by in-vitro dynamic lipolysis model. LDH assay was used for cytotoxicity evaluation. The effect on intraenterocyte metabolism was evaluated in CYP3A4 microsomes. P-gp efflux inhibition was determined in-vitro, using talinolol - a P-gp substrate that is not subjected to intraenterocyte metabolism. Transepithelial electrical resistance and mannitol permeability were measured to assess tissue damage.

Results: In-vivo, AM-SNEDDS showed significantly higher AUC vs. AM (9.23±0.83 vs. 6.28±3.0 hr*µg/ml) with significantly higher Cmax following PO administration. No effect on bioavailability was found when AM was administered 2h subsequent to blank SNEDDS. AM-SNEDDS exhibited more consistent absorption. Similar findings were observed in TCR studies, coupled with prominent reduction in plasma concentrations variation coefficient. Talinolol Caco-2 studies resulted in significantly higher permeability coefficient (Papp) of talinolol-SNEDDS vs. talinolol. AM-SNEDDS ex-vivo Papp was significantly higher than AM. Higher solubilized AM concentrations were found following AM-SNEDDS lipolysis vs. AM (90.5±1.33% and 59.1±9.45 % of initial conc. respectively). Significantly higher intact AM concentrations remained following incubation of AM-SNEDDS vs. AM with CYP3A4 (102.4±5.61% and 68.57±1.17%respectively). Adding blank SNEDDS to testosterone before incubation also resulted in significantly reduced testosterone metabolism. SNEDDS membrane toxicity was negligible and no damage to tissue integrity or tight junctions structure was observed.

Conclusions: Our SNEDDS not only improves solubilization, but also reduces intra-enterocyte metabolism and P-gp activity. Thus, our SNEDDS increases bioavailability of Class 2 compounds and reduces their typical high variability in bioavailability by multi-processes mechanism. Nonetheless, the effect of our SNEDDS on bioavailability is reversible, and can't be attributed to interruption of the GI wall structure or cell membrane damage. These notable findings contribute to our understanding of the investigated phenomenon of the in-vivo impact of SNEDDS on oral bioavailability. Better mechanistic understanding of these fundamental processes will further lead to finding intelligent pharmaceutical solutions for the enhanced bioavailability and reduced variability of Class 2 drugs and drug candidates

Dr. Nir Kalisman Institute of Life Sciences , Faculty of Science

Research Interests:
Structural biology of large protein complexes. Mass-spectrometry. Crystallography. Computational structural modeling based on multiple information sources.

Specific research topics related to Nanoscience and Nanotechnology:
  • Structural study of the interactions between the protein folding nano-machine - the CCT complex - and its main protein substrates, actin and tubulin.
  • Structural probing of the needle-like type III secretion system in bacteria. ​
  • The architecture of the transcription complex in the Dengue virus.

Brief Summary of research:
Our group is using cross-linking and mass-spectrometry to find the architectures of very large protein complexes. This emerging technique provides rich structural information on biological nano-machines that are inaccessible by crystallography and electron microscopy. We have previously solved the architectures of two central eukaryotic complexes: The CCT protein folding chaperonin (16 subunits; 1 Mega-Dalton) and the transcription pre-initiation complex (32 subunits; 1.5 Mega-Dalton). We are continuing to improve our structural models on these systems. In addition, we are launching structural studies to find the architectures of viral and bacterial virulence factors.

Prof. Nadav Katz Institute of Physics, Faculty of Science

Research Interests
Superconductivity at the nano-scale; material research into dielectrics at ultra-low temperatures. Quantum coherence of superconducting nano-devices and atomic ensembles

Specific research topics related to Nanoscience and Nanotechnology
  • Two level defect states in oxides
  • Doped crystals and coupling to superconductors
  • Fabrication of superconducting nano-devices

Brief Summary of research
The purpose of the Quantum Coherence Lab (QCL) at HUJI is to explore the phenomena of macroscopic quantum coherence and decoherence. We study superconducting Josephson circuits, in which macroscopic physical quantities such as magnetic flux behave quantum mechanically. We also study implementations of macroscopic quantum coherence in slow and stored light in atomic ensembles, manipulating and storing non-trivial patterns of light and subsequently retrieving them.
The study of decoherence, in addition to showcasing fundamental physics, is crucial in overcoming the main bottleneck in the field of quantum computation and quantum information processing.

Dr. Ori Katz Dept. of Applied Physics, School of Computer Science & Engineering

Research Interests:
Optical imaging, acoustic-optic tomogrpahy, photoacoustic imaging, microscopy, light in complex media, spectroscopy, endoscopy.
Specific research topics related to Nanoscience and Nanotechnology:
  • Development of miniaturized probes for novel endoscopic techniques based on light scattering from sub-micron structures
  • Investigation of spatiotemporal scattering from engineered scattering samples
  • Information retrieval on 3D samples from scattered light

Brief Summary of research
The research in dThe advanced Imaging Lab lies at the interface between physics and engineering, and focuses on developing novel physics- and computational-based optical imaging techniques to overcome the limitations of current approaches.

Prof. Philip Lazarovici School of Pharmacy - Institute for Drug Research, Faculty of Medicine

Research Interests
Study of biocompatible porous scaffolds with longitudinally oriented nanochannels and neurotrophin-loaded nanocarriers in neuro protection and neural regeneration.

Specific research topics related to Nanoscience and Nanotechnology
  • Development of a fibrin/collagen 3D scaffold with neurotrophin loaded nanoparticles, to improve the neurotherapeutic effect of cord blood stem cells upon transplantation in mice with traumatic brain injury (TBI).
  • Preparation and characterization of biocompatible porous scaffolds with longitudinally oriented nano-channels to promote axonal outgrowth for spinal cord injury (SCI) therapy.
  • Bioengineering an innovative, targeted-nanocarrier drug delivery system of riluzole for improved neuroprotection of the motor neurons in Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS).

Brief Summary of research
Currently we perform an interdisciplinary program in neuropharmacological aspects of regenerative tissue engineering, focusing on nanotechnology-based natural and synthetic biomaterials and soft tissue engineering technologies, employing developmental biology principles to develop unique scaffolds and enhance the tissue-specific differentiation of embryonic and cord blood stem cells towards neuronal lineages. We are also developing nanoparticles for near infrared bio-imaging of tumors. Our long term goal is to develop novel principles and proof concepts for advancing clinical need-based interdisciplinary biomedical research and product development, focused on neurological diseases, and to translate exciting discoveries into clinical products and therapies.

Prof. Ovadia Lev Institute of Chemistry, Faculty of Science

Research Interests
Hydrogen peroxide in solid state materials; Natural and man made aqueous chemistry.

Specific research topics related to Nanoscience and Nanotechnology
  • Perhydrates, hydroperoxo- and peroxo-post transition elements.
  • Development of diagnostic tools for coupled electrochemistry – mass spectrometry techniques.
  • Development of generic method for coating of ATO and other non-transition metal oxides and mixed oxides on different substrates and their applications.

Brief Summary of research
Advanced Material for Analytical and Environmental Chemistry - Our research concerns advanced materials for analytical and environmental chemistry.
  • Preparation of hydrogen peroxide rich materials Transition-element peroxoacids are frequently used as precursors for metal oxide film and particle formation. Our laboratory is engaged in studies towards the preparation of hydrogen peroxide rich post-transition element peroxyparticles.
  • A generic method for conductive film coating of minerals and acid sensitive materials by antimony – doped tin oxide was introduced. The coating was performed from hydrogen peroxide stabilized stannate and antimonate and related precursor solutions. This was the first demonstration of ATO coating from organic ligand-free solution.
  • Lithium intercalation batteries are currently the most successful energy storage medium with billions of rechargeable batteries serving the communication and electric vehicle industries. We have demonstrated that it is possible to coat graphene oxides by thin films of different peroxoelements from hydrogen peroxide rich aqueous solutions. Further Treatment (heating and Sulfurization) converts to additional functionality.

Prof. Uriel Levy Department of Applied Physics, School of Computer Science & Engineering

Research Interests: Nanophotonics, silicon photonics, plasmonics and optoelectronic devices.

Specific research topics related to Nanoscience and Nanotechnology:
  • Light-matter interactions at the nanoscale: Nanoscale confinement of light and its interaction with matter for detection, emission, and nonlinear interactions of light.
  • Silicon nanophotonics: The realization of nanoscale photonic devices in silicon.
  • Nanophotonics for polarization control: Design of nanostructures for the control of polarization of light in space.
  • Nanomodulators: Optoelectronic devices on the nanoscale for light modulation and switching.
  • Silicon Plasmonics: Active silicon plasmonic components and devices

Brief Summary of research:
Nanophotonics and Nanoplasmonics -
In recent years, optical devices and systems are shrinking in size, with the ultimate goal of developing integrated on-chip photonic systems, similarly to VLSI electronic devices. Nanophotonics is expected to play a key role in future on-chip photonic devices and systems, being an enabling technology allowing the miniaturization and integration of optical components and devices. Our laboratory is focused on the design, fabrication and experimental characterization of various passive and active nanophotonics and nanoplasmonic devices for variety of applications including optical communication and signal processing, illumination, imaging, energy, localized heat sources and optical storage.

Prof. Aaron Lewis Institute of Applied Physics, School of Computer Science & Engineering

Research Interests
Nanometric confinement, manipulation and analysis of light, chemicals and light/material interactions.

Specific research topics related to Nanoscience and Nanotechnology
  • Super-resolution optical microscopy
  • Near-field optics
  • Second harmonic generation of membrane voltage
  • Chemical nanolithography of carbon nanotubes devices
  • Ultrahigh resolution laser medical devices for clinical intervention

Brief Summary of research
The Lewis laboratory pioneered near-field optics and broke the Abbe Diffraction limit of optical resolution that had stood since 1873. This limit was broken in X, Y and even Z for all modes of light interaction with matter be it fluorescence, absorption, collection or illumination. In addition, near-field optics remains the only optical technique today that can provide in parallel the phase of the optical wave while providing full correlation of the optical properties of a material with its 3D structure. It also critically is capable of imaging near-field evanescent waves which are lost in any far-field image. Lewis has developed state of the art scanned Probe Microscopes for transparent NSOM including pioneering multiprobe AFM/NSOM technology. These platforms have been commercialized by Nanonics Imaging Ltd, a company he founded, enabling hundreds of laboratories throughout the world to obtain near-field and far-field structurally correlated super-resolution information in areas such as silicon photonics, photonic band gap materials, plasmonics, organic and inorganic material science, and more recently in biological materials. His laboratory continues in this quest of fully addressing the super-resolution and phase aspects of imaging in all regimes of the electromagnetic spectrum in the near and far-field. The latter is exemplified by the demonstration of far-field phase interference with the light being emitted by a near-field source placed with AFM precision at one position on a sample. This advance has now allowed for solving, in a parallel fashion, the 3D far-field phase of an object using a CCD camera with parallel fast data acquisition and has super-resolution potential in the far-field. The fundamental advances made by the laboratory have pioneered a number of other fields including resonance Raman spectroscopy including critical data on retinylidene proteins (rhodopsin and bacteriorhodopsin) and the first emission ever observed from such proteins that has led to the accepted mechanism of visual excitation, second harmonic generation of biological systems including the development of this technique for membrane potential measurements, chemical nanolithography, time resolved x-ray absorption using synchrotron radiation and ultracold laser medical devices and non-laser emulation of such devices.

Prof. Shlomo Magdassi Institute of Chemistry, Faculty of Science

Research Interests
Formation and applications of nanomaterials in delivery systems, 3D and functional printing

Specific research topics related to Nanoscience and Nanotechnology
  • Nanoparticles for functional inks
  • 3D printing of functional materials
  • Transparent electrodes
  • CNT inks for functional coatings (sensors, solar cells, printed electronics)
  • Thermo-solar coatings and selective coatings with high absorption and high thermal stability
  • Nanoemulsions for medical applications

Brief Summary of research
  • Preparation of nanoparticles (NPs) based functional inks and their use for conductive coatings in printed electronics
  • Mechanism of sintering metallic nanoparticles.
  • 3D printing of porous structures and scintillating materials.
  • Formation of transparent electrodes, which can be used in various applications, e.g. for fabrication of flexible electrochromic devices.
  • Preparation of carbon nanotube inks and their utilization in functional coatings, sensors, solar cells and printed electronics.
  • Formation of thermo-solar coatings and selective coatings with high absorption and high thermal stability.
  • Development of nanoemulsions for medical applications.

Prof. Daniel Mandler Institute of Chemistry, Faculty of Science

Research Interests
Localized chemistry and electrochemistry

Specific research topics related to Nanoscience and Nanotechnology
  • Formation of 2D organized layers by the Langmuir-Blodgett approach.
  • Electrochemical deposition of nanostructured materials.
  • Solar-thermal coatings based on carbon nanotubes.
  • Biocomputing in 2D.
  • Local deposition of nanomaterials by scanning electrochemical microscopy.
  • Coating of medical implants.

Brief Summary of research
Electrochemically Functionalized Coatings - Our research focuses on different aspects of patterning and deposition of nanostructures by electrochemistry. Specifically, we have focused on the following topics:
Electrochemical deposition of nanostructures - We have developed a novel electrochemical method for the formation of nanocomposite thin films made of different nanoobjects, such as carbon nanotubes and nanoparticles within a sol-gel matrix. More recently, we have successfully electrochemically deposited electrochromic materials, such as WO3.
Preparation and Characterization of Mono and Multilayer Films Using the Langmuir–Blodgett Technique – Anisotropic nanohybrides consisting of CdS nanorod tipped by an Au nanoparticle on one edge (Au-NRs) were perpendicularly oriented using the Langmuir-Blodgett (LB) technique. These Au tipped hybrids reveal light induced charge separation at the semiconductor-metal interface. This property makes these particles suitable for photocatalitic and photovoltaic applications.
Local Deposition of Anisotropic Nanoparticles Using Scanning Electrochemical Microscopy (SECM) – We demonstrated the localized electrodeposition of anisotropic metal nanoobjects, i.e. Au nanorods (GNR) on indium tin oxide (ITO), using scanning electrochemical microscopy (SECM).

Dr. Gilad Marcus Institute of Applied Physics, School of Computer Science & Engineering

Research Interests
Ultra fast dynamics of atoms and molecules from femtoseconds and attoseconds; Nanogrids for quasi-phase matching techniques

Specific research topics related to Nanoscience and Nanotechnology
Quasi phase Matching of high harmonics in plasma plumes, created from microstructures on metal surfaces. The structures are created by laser micro-machining and by metal 3D printing (collaboration with Prof Shlomo Magdassi)

Brief Summary of research
Modulated plasmas for quasi-phase matching intense high harmonics - We are focusing on the development of intense high harmonic coherent radiation source for the study of nonlinear optics processes in the XUV and probing ultrafast phenomena through XUV pump XUV probe. Our source is based on the interaction of intense femtosecond laser with periodically modulated plasma plumes from metal surfaces. High harmonics from certain metal plasma plumes shows strong resonance enhancement of some harmonics. Further enhancement is expected due to quasi phase matching in the modulated plasma and as a result, the extension of the effective interaction length.

Prof. Dan Marom Institute of Applied Physics, School of Computer Science & Engineering

Research Interests
Waveguides, nano-optics

Brief Summary of research
Nano activities within the Photonic Devices Lab - Our work focuses on realization of high index contrast optical waveguides made of polymer materials, with particular attention on doping these waveguides with semiconductor nanocrystals to modify the material properties and introduce giant  (3) (Kerr) instantaneous nonlinearities. The high index contrast material selection results in an optical mode of dimension ~1.5m×1.5m, yielding a tight optical mode with large optical intensity for an early onset of nonlinear response while still having low propagation losses.

Prof. Gad Marom Institute of Chemistry, Faculty of Science

Research Interests
Graphite nanoparticle-based polymeric nanocomposites and hybrids

Specific research topics related to Nanoscience and Nanotechnology
Polymer nanocomposites and nanostructures;
Orientated and confined crystallization in polymers by CNT, GNP and VGCF;
Entrapment of carbon nanofillers in a metallic matrix

Brief Summary of research
Nanocomposites and hybrids - In our group we focus on research and development projects such as composite materials and hybrids, nanocomposites, polymers and biomedical composites, encompassing: microstructure-property relation; morphology of bulk crystallinity, transcrystallinity and confined nanostructures; fracture mechanisms and failure modes; mechanical and physical property testing & evaluation; calorimetric, thermal, thermomechanical and thermophysical properties; biomedical composites for soft tissue prostheses; intercalated carbon nanoparticle based composites of conductive polymers. Specific projects pertaining to nano materials include:
  • Improvement of mechanical properties of composite materials by specific placement of nanoreinforcement in critical sites
  • Orientated Morphology in Thermoplastic Nanocomposites
  • Triple hybrid nanomaterials: Dye-doped silver particles supported on ceramic nanofibers

Prof. Oded Millo Institute of Physics, Faculty of Science

Research Interests
Nanostructured semiconductors, superconductors and composite materials

Specific research topics related to Nanoscience and Nanotechnology
  • Level structure of individual hybrid semiconductor nanocrystals
  • Transport and photo-voltaic properties of and nanocrystalline semiconductor assemblies
  • Proximity effects in hybrid nanostructured superconductor systems

Brief Summary of research
Nanostructured semiconductor, superconductor and composite materials - The research in my group focuses on scanning-probe and transport studies of nanostructured and hybrid superconductor and semiconductor systems. Cryogenic scanning tunneling spectroscopy (STS) was employed for characterizing the spatial variations of the local density of states in such systems, whereas conductive atomic force microscopy and other AFM related techniques were used to study the local electronic, transport and photo-transport properties of semiconductor NC-solids and nano-composite systems These microscopic measurements are performed in correlation with ‘macroscopic’ transport, photo-transport, optical and magnetization measurements. Such a combination is very effective in understanding nanostructure, hybrid and composite systems in general, since the local electrical properties and their spatial variations determine their macroscopic behavior. The main issues addressed in recent years are: 1. Long-range proximity effect in ferromagnet-superconductor and superconductor-Bi2Se3 (topological insulator) hybrids, providing strong evidence for induced triplet-pairing superconductivity. 2. Proximity effect in graphene-superconductor interfaces; emergence of non-conventional pairing symmetry. 3. Hybrid superconductor/linker-molecules/nanoparticle systems (with Yossi Paltiel). 4. Electronic and photo-transport properties of Si and Ge nanocrystals (NCs) and their assemblies, focusing on the effect of quantum-confinement and surface recombination. 5. Photo-voltaic properties of polycrystalline Cu(InGa)Se2 films and solar-cells, focusing on the role of grain-boundaries and other extended defects. 4. Thermal doping effects in Cu2S NCs and the corresponding conductance enhancement in their arrays (with Uri Banin). 5. Inter- and intra-NC effects in the electrical transport through NC arrays (with Banin).

Dr. Yael Mishael Department of Soil and Water Sciences, Faculty of Agriculture

Research Interests
Environmental chemistry, physical chemistry of soil, composites for water treatment

Specific research topics related to Nanoscience and Nanotechnology
  • Developing herbicide slow release formulations based on herbicide solubilization in micelle adsorbed on clay surfaces
  • Developing polymer-clay composite materials as sorbents for the removal of pollutants from water

Brief Summary of research
Adsorption of nano-carriers on clay minerals - My scientific interests within the fields of soil chemistry and mineralogy center on colloid and interface phenomena. My approach has been to conduct basic science studies which serve as a basis for environmental application-oriented research.
My expertise is designing modified clay surfaces which in turn efficiently bind pollutants. The modification is achieved by adsorbing organic molecules as monomers, micelles, polymers or proteins on the clay surface thereby forming clay composites. I focus on characterizing these clay composites and studying the interactions within the composite (clay surface and modifiers) and the interactions of pollutants with these composites.
Two main applications for water and soil remediation and protection have derived from these studies: (1) herbicide controlled-release formulations (CRFs) which are designed to reduce herbicide migration to non-target areas and (2) sorbents of pollutant molecules for water treatment.

Prof. Yaakov Nahmias Institute of Life Sciences and Bioengineering, School of Computer Science & Engineering

Research Interests
Biomedical engineering: Microdevices for Liver Tissue

Specific research topics related to Nanoscience and Nanotechnology
  • Microfluidic Arrays
  • Human-on-a-Chip Devices
  • BioMEMS

Brief Summary of research
MicroLiver Technologies Group - Our group is focused on the engineering of high-throughput microfabricated platforms for the study of liver development, regeneration, and metabolism. Such platforms allow the screening of thousands of new drugs or elucidate the genetic basis of toxicity. We use these platforms to gain a fundamental understanding of how liver cells process information and make metabolic decisions. Our goal is to control patient’s metabolism using this approach, aiming to develop the next generation of drugs for the treatment of metabolic diseases such as diabetes, obesity, and atherosclerosis

Prof. Oded Navon Institute of Earth Sciences, Faculty of Science

Research Interests
Nano and micro inclusions in natural diamonds: a key to diamond formation in the Earth's mantle

Specific research topics related to Nanoscience and Nanotechnology
  • The mineralogy and composition of nano-inclusions in diamonds

Brief Summary of research
Diamonds and diamond-forming fluids in the earth's Mantle - The focus of my group is the formation of diamonds in the earth's mantle and the sources of the fluids from which they grew. Many diamonds are fibrous and carry many nano-inclusions (10-500 nm) that trapped fluids during the formation of the diamond. We study the composition and mineralogy of the trapped fluids using EPMA, FTIR, Raman, TEM, X-ray Topography and LA-ICP-MS. The fluids are of great interest as they represent the initial melting of lithospheric rock. Their compositions tell us about the melting of the mantle at depth of 200 km and the early stages of the formation of basalts in the mantle.

Prof. Masha Niv Institute of Biochemistry Food Science and Nutrition, Faculty of Agriculture

Research Interests
Nature-inspired design of bioactive peptides and peptidomietics; Molecular recognition in the chemical senses.

Specific research topics related to Nanoscience and Nanotechnology
  • Rational design of peptides and peptidomimetics
  • Molecular recognition: specificity and promiscuity
  • Chemosensation – prediction and development of computational chemosensors

Brief Summary of research
Molecular recognition in the chemical senses and nature-inspired design of bioactive peptides - In order to understand and modify the determinants of specificity in molecular recognition, to control cell signaling and to develop novel bioactive agents, we use and develop computational tools. Molecular modeling, molecular dynamics, docking,virtual screening, bioinformatics and chemoinformatics approaches, are geared towards understanding and modifying the structure, function and dynamics of peptides and proteins.

Prof. Yossi Paltiel Department of Applied Physics, School of Computer Science & Engineering

Research Interests
III-V semiconductors; device nano physics; nano process; MOVPE & MBE growth; optoelectronics; single photon detector

Specific research topics related to Nanoscience and Nanotechnology
  • Light induced charge separation in the nanometric scale
  • Local nano scale magnetization
  • Properties of self-assembled hybrid organic molecule nano dot multilayered structures

Brief Summary of research
Hybrid Organic Inorganic Quantum Nano-Devices - A century ago Quantum mechanics created a conceptual revolution whose fruits are now seen in almost any aspect of our day-to-day life. Lasers, transistors and other solid state and optical devices represent the core technology of current computers, memory devices and communication systems. However, all these examples do not exploit fully the quantum revolution as they do not take advantage of the coherent wave-like properties of the quantum wave function.
The traditional paradigm for quantum information processing relies on arrays of pure, isolated qubits and their coherent interactions to manipulate quantum superpositions and entangled qubit states. This approach has so far proved to be very difficult to realize. This is because of the detrimental effects of environmental noise, which destroys quantum resources like superpositions and entanglement. However, recently the role of noise as a potential enhancer, rather than destroyer, of quantum information processing, is being reconsidered in various scenarios, ranging from quantum simulations and complexity theory to the emerging field of quantum biology.
We are developing a novel nano tool box with controls coupling between the quantum states and the environment. This tool box which combines nano particles with organic molecules enables the integration of quantum properties with the classical existing devices at ambient temperatures. Our recent work concentrate on studies of charge transfer, spin transfer and energy transfer in the hybrid layers as well as collective transfer phenomena. These enable the realization of room temperature operating quantum electro optical devices.

Prof. Danny Porath Institute of Chemistry, Faculty of Science

Research Interests
DNA-based and SP1-based nanoelectronics

Specific research topics related to Nanoscience and Nanotechnology
  • Investigation of the morphology, electrical properties and energy spectra of DNA, G4-DNA, and metalized DNA by atomic force microscopy and related methods, by scanning tunneling microscopy and spectroscopy (STM/STS) and by direct electrical transport measurements.
  • Development and investigation of new DNA-based nanowires and nanodevices using the above methods and above candidates in collaboration with other groups.
  • Development of ultra dense memory arrays and nanoelectronic wires and networks made of SP1-nanoparticles hybrids in collaboration with other groups.
  • Investigation of DNA translocation in solid-state nanopores towards DNA sequencing and other, also bio-oriented, applications.
  • Investigation of medical relevant DNA-proteins interactions at the single molecule level with AFM.

Brief Summary of research
Our research is bi-directional: In the first direction we use bio-templated systems to realize one-dimensional conducting nanowires and nanodevices to investigate electrical charge transport in these systems for nanoelectronics and nanotechnology applications. Within this frame we characterize various aspects of DNA and its derivatives such as electrical charge transport through these molecules, their energy level spectrum, their polarizability and more. We also demonstrate charging, memory and logic operations in the hybrid SP1-nanoparticle systems. In addition we study the electrical charge transport in carbon nanotubes networks.
The other research direction focuses on an attempt to use our physical approach and tools to address biological issues. We investigate DNA translocation through narrow nanopores based on SP1 protein. The objective is to develop methods for rapid DNA sequencing or investigating the interaction of the translocated DNA with proteins. In another project we developed a detection system for biomarkers and proteins that is based on single molecule detection of nanoparticles. We also investigate in-vitro protein DNA-protein interactions using atomic force microscopy imaging: in one study we investigate a critical stage in the life cycle of the HIV virus, the integration of the "viral DNA" into "cellular DNA" and in another study we determine the influence of proteins on a unique DNA structure of pathogen parasites.

Prof. Nathalie Questembert-Balaban Institute of Physics, Faculty of Science

Research Interests: Soft lithography microfluidics for the quantitative study of single cells

Specific research topics related to Nanoscience and Nanotechnology:
  • Design and fabrication of novel microfluidic devices for analysis of single cells
  • Automated analysis systems for single bacteria characterization
  • Evolution of antibiotic tolerance at the single cell level: theory and experiments
  • Quantification of the response of single cancer cells to drugs in microfluidic devices
  • Mathematical analysis of noise

Brief Summary of research: Noise in Biological Systems - Biological systems are notoriously complex. Each gene interacts with a multitude of components in the cell. Biological physics' goal is to find new ways to deal with this complexity. We focus on extracting meaningful information on different biological systems by quantitative studies on the variability in those systems. Our aim is to develop an experimental and theoretical framework for the variation in populations of genetically identical single cells. For this purpose, we have developed new devices, based on soft lithography technology, in which single cells can be trapped and studied while controlling the environmental conditions. Soft lithography relies on micro- and nano- lithography for the patterning of a soft biocompatible transparent polymer. Very narrow channels can be designed to trap single cells and study them down to the molecular level. These devices are then placed under automated microscopy observation and the variability of the biological system quantified. In order to understand the mechanisms responsible for the observed variability, we develop simple mathematical models and compare them with our experimental results. This approach has lead to the inditification of new developmental steps in bacteria, as well as on quantitative data on the importance of variability on the interaction between bacteria and phage-particles.
We now extended our techniques and approach to study the source of variability in the response of single cancer cells to treatment.

Dr. Oren Ram Institute of Life Science, Faculty of Science

Research Interests: drop based microfluidics for the developing of single cells technologies
Specific research topics related to Nanoscience and Nanotechnology:
  • Design and fabrication of novel microfluidic devices for the process of single cells and hydrogel manipulations
  • Single cell RNA-seq and ChIP-seq technology development
  • Embryonic Stem Cells differentiation and chromatin regulation
  • Cancer epigenomics
  • Computational biology and complex data analysis

Prof. Ronen Rapaport Department of Applied Physics and Institute of Physics, Faculty of Science

Research Interests
Nanophotonics of Quantum Structures

Specific research topics related to Nanoscience and Nanotechnology
  • Excitonic-based quantum fluids: physics and devices
  • Active subwavelength hybrid nanophotonic devices: single photon sources and nonlinear light converters
  • Exciton polariton Physics in semiconductor waveguides: nonlinear nano-optical devices with mixed light-matter excitations

Brief Summary of research
Nonlinear Nanophotonics and Quantum Fluids Research - Our general research interest is of physics on the nanoscale. We are actively exploring the physics of semiconductor nanostructure, and in particular are studying collective quantum phenomena in low dimensional nano-structures as well as light matter interaction in nano-photonic and nano-plasmonic hybrid devices. Our interests range from the fundamental understanding of new physical systems and effects, to new concepts of photonic devices for possible future real-life applications.
Our experimental techniques include femto-, pico-, and nano-second time resolved imaging and spectroscopy, which allow us to follow system dynamics on different timescales, and various ultrafast nonlinear measurements with high intensity amplified laser systems. Experiments are performed from room to sub-Kelvin temperature range. We also exploit various nanofabrication techniques for our device preparation.

Prof. Uri Raviv Institute of Chemistry, Faculty of Science

Research Interests
High-resolution, Structure, Dynamics, and Interactions of Supramolecular Self-assemblies

Specific research topics related to Nanoscience and Nanotechnology
  • Development of solution x-ray scattering analysis tools

Brief Summary of research
Bio-molecular Structure and intermolecular interactions - Understanding of supramolecular structures of biomolecules, their dynamics and roles at the molecular level requires knowledge of the physics and chemistry of the proteins or lipids involved and their interactions. This knowledge is emerging from methods of molecular crystallography, typically used for single protein structure determination with Å resolution and considered crucial for determining the structure-function relations of proteins. It is still a challenge, however, to produce a large number of crystalline samples needed for studying protein-protein and protein – lipid interactions. Kinetic and dynamic aspects of macromolecular assemblies and their dependence on solution conditions are unapproachable at the solid phase.
Solution X-ray scattering methods are non-invasive methods and do not require crystalline samples and thus offer unique advantages for studying protein-protein and protein – lipid interactions. The structural resolution, although lower than the crystallographic level, is sufficient for most investigations, where the focus is on the association of proteins and/or lipids to form higher order complexes, hence allowing a thorough investigation of the self-assembled structures under various solution conditions. This approach is particularly relevant for understanding the phase behavior of supramolecular and biological assemblies that are in aqueous environment and are controlled by various parameters. Of particular significance is the increasing capability of these methods to provide time-dependent structural information at the molecular level - a means for addressing dynamical aspects of molecular self-assembly. Apart from inherent scientific interest the knowledge gained in this research may ultimately lead to novel ways for rational design of drugs or smart biomaterials for various applications, including drug delivery, controlled release, coatings and tissue engineering.

Dr. Meital Reches Institute of Chemistry, Faculty of Science

Research Interests
Bioinspired materials

Specific research topics related to Nanoscience and Nanotechnology
  • Peptides self-assembly in solution and on surfaces
  • Peptide-based coating as antifouling materials
  • Biomineralization

Brief Summary of research
Biomolecular Self-assembly - In nature complex and functional structures are formed by the spontaneous organization of simple building blocks by a process termed biomolecular self-assembly. Research in the lab focuses on developing new approaches for mimicking this process in order to create ordered and functional architectures for various applications.
One application is the generation of functional coating that prevents the adsorption of organisms to a substrate, termed antifouling coating. This coating can potentially preclude the adsorption of bacteria to medical devices and consequently reduces the number of cases of hospital-acquired infections. In addition, it is also highly relevant for the marine industry as it reduces the adsorption of marine organisms (e.g. barnacles, zebra mussels etc) to marine devices and therefore decreases biocorrosion and consumption of fuel.
The lab is developing environmentally-friendly and biocompatible antifouling coating that are based on biomolecular self-assembly.
Other biomolecular assemblies that have been recently discovered in the lab are currently being studied for their potential use as new biomaterials for tissue repair and engineering and as vehicles for drug delivery.

Prof. Renata Reisfeld Institute of Chemistry, Faculty of Science

Research Interests
Science and technology of sol-gel based glasses and application to solar energy and luminescent materials

Brief Summary of research
Novel Materials for Solar Energy, Lasers and Sensors Applying Nanotechnology - Professor Reisfeld research group interest is concentrated on theoretical and practical development of luminescent solar concentrators which will allow decrease of price of photovoltaic electricity. The work is based on long time research in spectroscopy of lanthanides and organic dyes in glasses; basic studies of energy transfer between ions and molecules in amorphous media. Specific projects include:
  • Theoretical and practical study of sophisticated glasses including luminescent solar concentrators
  • Spectroscopy and energy transfer of rare earths and transition metal elements
  • Nanotechnology of quantum dots and noble metal plasmon in glasses
  • Porous glasses doped by luminescent species, noble metal nanoparticles its.

Dr. Alex Retzker Institute of Physics, Faculty of Science

Research Interests
Quantum technologies, Quantum sensing, opto-mechanics, theory of trapped ions and NV centers in diamond

Specific research topics related to Nanoscience and Nanotechnology
quantum computation, sensing and metrology, quantum simulations, quantum information, entanglement theory, open quantum systems, trapped ions and nano-mechanical oscillators

Brief Summary of research
We study the foundations of future quantum technologies. In particular, we study and propose theoretical methods to probe, extend and control coherence. Exploiting coherence, we investigate its prospects for technological use, mainly for quantum simulations, precise measurements and polarization.
Our work includes theoretical proposals for the implementation of quantum technologies via various platforms, concentrating on NV centers in diamond and trapped ions. We extensively collaborate with experimental groups from various fields on the realization of quantum technology goals.

Prof. Guy Ron Institute of Physics, Faculty of Science

Research Interests
Nuclear physics, Tests of the standard model, and Material studies using nuclear techniques

Specific research topics related to Nanoscience and Nanotechnology
  • Development of particle detectors using 3D printing technologies.
  • Development of a positron beam as a tool for material characterization.

Brief Summary of research
Fundamental Interactions Group - My research deals with nuclear physics, both in the conventional, accelerator based sense, and in the somewhat newer field of utilizing techniques borrowed from AMO to perform nuclear physics experiments.

The main experiments/projects I am currently involved with are:
  • Construction of a Magneto Optical Trap for radioactive neon isotopes, in order to probe the properties of the beta-decay process.
  • A novel measurement of the proton radius using scattering of a muon particle beam.
  • Construction of an electrostatic ion trap for trapping radioactive ions (initially 6He).
  • Construction of a slow positron beam at the Hebrew University which will be use for material characterization, both of the electronic momentum wave function, and the characterization of radiation damage to the materials.
  • Development of techniques to utilize 3D printing technology for the manufacture of particle detectors.

Prof. Abraham Rubinstein School of Pharmacy - Institute for Drug research, Faculty of Medicine

Research Interests
Drug delivery by immunoluiposomes

Specific research topics related to Nanoscience and Nanotechnology
  • Recognizable fluorescent polyacrylamide vehicles for malignant tissues diagnosis.
  • Intra-operative real-time identification of peritoneal cavity micro-metastases by remote degrading composite platforms of targeted polymer and fluorescent nanoparticles.
  • Bypassing lysosomal degradation of peptide nucleic acids by masking cell penetrating peptides.
  • Oral platforms for colonic administration of drugs.
  • Proinflammatory cytokines in the colonic mucosa and their involvement in protein expression relevant to local drug targeting in IBD.

Brief Summary of research
Targeting the gastrointestinal tract epithelium with novel delivery vehicles - The research conducted in my laboratory is geared at the investigation, development and biological assessment of biorecognition vehicles for directing theranostic molecules to typical targets along the gastrointestinal (GI) tract. The targets are assigned to distinctive GI tract diseases expressed in the mucosal tissues layering the digestive tube. The uniqueness of our methodology is the attempt to approach these disease-related biomarkers from the lumen (apical) aspect of the GI tract by orally administered delivery systems or mucoadhesive platforms that can be mounted with the aid of endoscopic devices.

Prof. Amir Sa'ar Institute of Physics, Faculty of Science

Research Interests
Science and technology of silicon based nanostructures

Specific research topics related to Nanoscience and Nanotechnology
  • Synthesis and Fabrication of group IV based nanostructures
  • Structural, optical and electronic properties of group IV nanostructures
  • Towards Applications: Photovoltaic cells made of thin films of silicon nanostructures; hybrid structures of conjugated polymers and porous silicon for solar cell applications; thin films of MOS like transistors; nonvolatile optical memory and light emitting devices based on silicon nanostructures. Developing biosensors based on silicon photonic crystals; Composite structures of porous silicon; methods of printing silicon and silicon based nanostructures.

Brief Summary of research
Science and applications of group-IV based nanostructures - The purpose of our research is developing a novel class of semiconductor nanostructures that are based on group IV elements, e.g. silicon (Si) and carbon (C). Carbon is the foundation for essentially all organic materials; yet, in its pure state, carbon can form either an ideal insulator known as diamond or a semiconducting material known as graphite. Silicon on the other hand is the dominant material in the semiconductor industry that has revolutionized communication, computation and automation technologies. In particular, over the past few decades the Si technology has evolved to a level where highly efficient and compact integrated devices are routinely fabricated and used in essentially all areas of technology. In spite of the tremendous progress of miniaturized device technology, further developments are still limited by scientific and technological barriers. Nanotechnology and particularly the ability to develop and create novel classes of nanodevices that are compatible with the silicon technology are greatly required. This is essentially the aim of research projects conducted in our group.

Prof. Yoel Sasson Institute of Chemistry, Faculty of Science

Research Interests
Stabilized metallic nanoparticles as process and environmental catalysts

Brief Summary of research
Nanotechnology in Catalysis and Photocatalysis - Our group is active in the area of green chemistry and catalysis. We develop novel catalysts for selected chemical processes and for the destruction of pollutants in waste streams and in flue gases. Many of our activities are related to nanotechnology, mainly in the framework of novel catalysts development. Specifically two projects:
Photocatalysis: In a continuation of our study on bismuth based visible light driven photocatalysts for water treatment we have discovered, synthesized and characterized a series of novel composite bismuth oxyhalides with the general formula BiOClxBr1-x. These materials are nontoxic and environmentally friendly and thus are highly suitable for application in water technologies.
Nanoparticles in Hydrogen Transfer Catalysis: Using advanced nano-characterization techniques we have demonstrated that numerous allegedly homogeneous catalysts reported in the literature as active in hydrogen transfer reactions are actually just precatalysts that are transformed into nanoparticles of the zero valent free metal which are evidently the true catalysts. This was demonstrated for 5 generations of different ruthenium and rhodium derived complexes including some prominent chiral homogeneous catalysts.

Prof. Eran Sharon Institute of Physics, Faculty of Science

Research Interests
Experimental study of pattern formation in complex systems, equilibrium configurations of thin sheets with nontrivial intrinsic geometry.

Specific research topics related to Nanoscience and Nanotechnology:
  • Self assembly of chiral macromolecules
  • Defects in amorphous materials

soon to be added...

Prof. Roy Shenhar Institute of Chemistry, Faculty of Science

Research Interests
Development of polymer-based self-assembly strategies for nanomaterials design

Specific research topics related to Nanoscience and Nanotechnology
  • Polymer mediated nanoparticle organization
  • Employment of block copolymer in composite systems for nanoparticle synthesis
  • Design and synthesis new block copolymers
  • Development of assembly strategies using block copolymers

Brief Summary of research

Nanoscale Construction - Research in the Shenhar group focuses on developing self-assembly strategies for non-lithographic creation of nanostructures. We specialize in “block co-polymers” – a family of chain-like molecules containing two types of “beads” organized in sequences (such as AAAAAAAAAAAAA-BBBBBBBBBBBBBBBB). These materials are available in a variety of compositions and chain lengths. When we create very thin films of these materials, periodic structures spontaneously form. We utilize these structures as templates for organizing functional nanoscale components such as metal and semiconductor nanoparticles. Besides the fundamental interest in expanding our abilities to organize material on the nanoscale, the creation of arrays of nanoparticles that are periodically ordered gives rise to unique properties, which could be useful for photonic application and sensing devices.

Dr. Eilon Sherman Institute of Physics, Faculty of Science

Research Interests
Biophysics, super-resolution microscopy. Statistics and modeling of protein interactions

Specific research topics related to Nanoscience and Nanotechnology
  • Super resolution microscopy – Far-field optical imaging beyond the diffraction-limit of light
  • PALM – Photo-activate localization microscopy
  • Single molecule spectroscopy, including Fluorescence correlation spectroscopy (FCS) and Fluorescence resonance energy transfer (FRET)
  • The assembly and nanostructure of protein complexes in intact cells

Brief Summary of research
Studying mechanisms of protein assembly and organization at the single molecule level - In the laboratory for Biophysics at the Racah Institute of Physics, we aim to develop a fundamental understanding of critical mechanisms of cell activation in health and disease in single molecule detail. Ultimately, such a level of understanding could serve to identify novel and efficient ways of intervening in aberrant signaling pathways and cellular malfunctions. To overcome current limitations in research techniques, we rely on cutting-edge microscopy techniques at the single molecule level of intact cells on functionalized interfaces, advanced statistical methods and quantifiable models based on physics of complex systems. Research in our lab is currently focused on the activation of T cells, which play a central role in mounting adequate immune responses to foreign pathogens.
Specifically, we develop and apply photoactivated localization microscopy (PALM) in multiple colors. This method permits the study of signaling complexes in single molecule detail in intact cells with resolution down to ~20nm. Previous work has resulted in several intriguing findings, such as that signaling complexes at the plasma membrane of T cells have nanoscale structure and organization that facilitate intact cell activation. PALM imaging of multiple molecular species in locations of high molecular densities will further allow us to study the complexity of molecular interactions, including potential cooperativity or competition in molecular binding.
Additional projects in the lab involve the development and integration of spectroscopic techniques to identify molecular interactions in intact cells and to allow for accurate force measurements. Additional research aims to resolve the structure and assembly mechanisms of protein complexes, including viral proteins and ion channels.

Prof. Oded Shoseyov Institute of Plant Sciences and Genetics in Agriculture, Faculty of Agriculture

Research Interests
Self assembled nano bio materials

Specific research topics related to Nanoscience and Nanotechnology
  • SP1 as A Novel Scaffold Building Block for Self-Assembly Nanofabrication.
  • Resilin-CBD/NCC as bio-reinforcing agents in Nano adhesive composites.
  • Development and production of novel recombinant proteins that will serve as a component in Nano-composites for bio-adhesive/sealant.
  • Production of recombinant resilin nanocomposites in transgenic plants.
  • Expression and Characterization of spider-silk protein in transgenic tobacco plants.
  • Biodegradable light spectrum tunable plastic sheets for walk-in tunnels, greenhouses and warapping.
  • Nanocellulose based hybrid systems: assembly and characterization of NCC-NPs.
  • Core shell biocomposite fibers for medical applications.
  • Immunogenicity reduction of human source proteins expressed in plants

Brief Summary of research
Genetic Engineering of Self-assembled Proteins - Shoseyov laboratory has been working on enzymes, protein engineering and nano-biotechnology. In the last 10 years the research in Prof. Shoseyov laboratory has focused on bioinspired nano structured cellulose composites along with polymeric proteins such as recombinant human collagen, recombinant spider silk and recombinant resilin. Cellulose Nanocrystals (CNC) production and application systems has been developed in Shoseyov's laboratory and served as the basis of two nano-technology companies (MELODEA Ltd, and VALENTIS Ltd) that develop various applications of CNC.
  1. In recent years, due to climate changes and declining oil supply, synthetic materials are becoming more and more unfavorable, thereby enhancing the need to find green alternatives among them biopolymers. Cellulose and silks are preferred biopolymers for different applications e.g. textile, construction and medical applications. Recently, we have developed novel composite materials based on recombinant spider Silk, recombinant Resilin (an insect's protein) and CNC, fused to a cellulose binding domain (CBD). Silk-CBD successfully bound cellulose and unlike recombinant silk alone, self-assembled to form micro-fibers even in the absence of NCC. The binding of Resilin-CBD to CNC resulted in crosslinked, rubbery materials. In addition, we have demonstrated that Resilin-CBD-CNCs could be directly inserted into a hydrophobic epoxy matrix, giving a 50% improvement in the Young’s modulus and a higher elasticity of the nanocomposite compared to the neat epoxy. More recently, we have developed films made of Resilin-CBD-CNCs plus 0.5 wt. % glycerol displayed superior mechanical properties in all parameters tested with a remarkable increase in toughness of ca. 250% and elasticity of ca. 200%, compared to neat CNC films.
  2. Another example of our research related to the Carbon Nanotubes (CNT)-SP1 composite. CNT have stimulated research due to their wide range of applications. However, their existence as aggregates and the difficulty in debundling and dispersion makes them poorly soluble and limit the improvement of properties when used as fillers. Many techniques have been employed to obtain such dispersions including mechanical, ultrasonic and solution mixing resulting in limited effect. Attaching a protein moiety such as SP1 showed promising results. SP1 is a thermally stable protein, originally isolated from Poplar trees, which self assembles to an extremely stable 11 nm ring-shape dodecamer. SP1 is stable under extreme conditions (high temp, high pH and detergents), thus allowing inexpensive production for a variety of industrial application. Linkage of CNT to specific peptides on SP1 N-terminus by genetic engineering resulted in 12 CNT binding sites per ring. This enabled the creation of SP1 variants which tightly bind to carbon nanotubes to form a stable SP1/CNT complex. These scientific findings set the ground for the establishment of FULCRUM Nano materials Ltd.

Prof. Micha Spira Institute of Life Science, Faculty of Science

Research Interests
Neuro-electronic hybrid systems

Brief Summary of research
The development of Brain Machine Interface (BMI) technologies is driven by the belief that when successful such interfaces could be applied to replace damaged sensory organs (as the retina), replace motor part (limbs), link disrupted neuronal networks (injured spinal cord), generate hybrid neuro-electronic computers and others. Nevertheless, despite decades of research and development, contemporary approaches fail to provide satisfying scientific concepts and technological solutions to generate efficient and durable interfaces between neurons and electronic devices.
My laboratory is developing novel biologically inspired approaches to enable the generation of efficient bidirectional electrical coupling between cultured neurons and extracellular multi-microelectrode array. The cell biological, molecular and physical principals underlying the novel neuroelectronic configuration were recently discussed by us in a review paper published in Nature Nanotechnology 2013 (cover attached).

Dr. Hadar Steinberg Institute of Physics, Faculty of Science

Research Interests
Low temperature electronic transport, topological insulators, graphene.

Specific research topics related to Nanoscience and Nanotechnology:
  • Thin films
  • Graphene
  • Topological Insulators

Brief Summary of research
Electronic transport in topological insulators and grapheme - Topological insulators (TIs) are materials with gapped bulk states and conducting surface states. The surface states have a linear dispersion (like graphene), and have a special spin-momentum relation. My research focuses on the study of topological insulators using electronic transport and tunneling. By building devices consisting of ultra-thin layers of topological insulator materials, I look for physical effects where the special surface properties are manifst. These include coherent transport, effects in high magnetic field, and the study of quantum states which emerge at the interface between topological insulators and superconductors.
My research utilizes a new fabrication technique called “mechanical transfer”, which allows the exfoliation and subsequent stacking of ultra-thin layers of different materials. The device appearing the picture was fabricated using this technique. It consists of a layer of graphene deposited on top of topological insulators (Bi2Se3). My group studies the properties of the graphene- Bi2Se3 interfaces, which are shown to act as high quality tunnel barriers. In the study of these devices, we are seeking for effects of strong graphene-TI hybridization and of spin-injection.

Dr. Daniel Strasser Institute of Chemistry, Faculty of Science

Research Interests
Time-resolved molecular reaction dynamics, developing a general technique for visualization of structural dynamics

Specific research topics related to Nanoscience and Nanotechnology
  • From single molecule to nanometer scale clusters, size dependent studies investigating linear and non-linear interactions of lasers with molecular cluster anions.

Brief Summary of research
Time Resolved Molecular Reaction Dynamics Lab - We develop new ways to use intense femtosecond laser pulses to excite and probe ultrafast molecular dynamics. Dynamics are studied in isolated systems of controlled size from a single isolated molecule to nanometer scale cluster. Of specific interest are dissociation dynamics that exhibit extremely non-Born-Oppenheimer competition between autoionization and fragmentation decay pathways, multiple fragmentation mechanisms, intense field interaction with molecular matter and the evolution of molecular dynamics with increasing system complexity.
With the advent of a cold supersonic expansion ion source and mass spectrometric techniques we perform systematic experiments on systems of increasing size from a single molecule to a nano scale. For example, we presently investigate how intense field interaction with an isolated molecular SF6- molecular anion is modified by forming clusters of the Xn·SF6- form, gradually increasing the system size from few angstroms of a single molecule (n=0) to the nanometer sized clusters, where Xn can be a cluster of n additional SF6 molecules, a small water cluster or a loosely bound rare-gas cluster.
Presently the group is developing two experimental approaches:
In lab 1 we combine amplified ultrafast lasers with advanced fast ion beam imaging techniques and develop time resolved photo-fragment imaging that allows coincidence detection of both charged as well as neutral dissociating products of a single molecule at a time.
In lab 2 we presently construct the "Ultrafast EUV probe", a new project aimed at developing a general technique for time resolved visualization of structural dynamics, using the emerging technology of high order harmonic generation (HHG) of ultrafast extreme ultraviolet (EUV) pulses for performing single photon coulomb explosion imaging (CEI). With this method we hope to resolve long standing debates about the exact mechanisms governing complex rearrangement dynamics within molecular complexes such as the double proton transfer in DNA base pairs.

Dr. Yossi Tam Institute for Drug Research, Faculty of Medicine

Research Interests: Nanodelivery of cannabinoids in metabolic diseases

Specific research topics related to Nanoscience and Nanotechnology:
  • Nanoparticles for peripheral administration of CB1 receptor blockers
  • Tissue (Cell and Organelle) targeted of cannabinoid drugs for the treatment of fatty liver and chronic kidney diseases

Brief Summary of Research:
My research projects over the years has crossed subjects, disciplines and methodologies, yet the main research interests are focused on the different pathophysiological aspects of the endocannabinoid system. My current research interests are based on my most significant findings demonstrating that targeting the peripheral endocannabinoid system/cannabinoid-1 (CB1) receptor has the potential to treat several metabolic diseases (such as obesity, diabetes, fatty liver disease, diabetic nephropathy and osteoporosis). Our aim is to develop and test cell- and organelle specific CB1 receptor antagonists and/or cannabinoid-like molecules. To that end, we are currently encapsulating synthetic cannabinoids into biocompatible polymeric nanoparticles that serve as targeted drug delivery systems, via their conjugation to targeting ligands. These have the ability to deliver insoluble lipophilic drugs, increase drug stability, and provide sustained drug release directly to a diseased tissue. Our approach highlights the role of tissue-specific CB1 receptor as a potential therapeutic target devoid of the psychiatric liability that led to the downfall of global CB1 receptor blockade as a therapeutic option for the metabolic syndrome.

Dr. Ady Vaknin Institute of Physics, Faculty of Science

Research Interests
Biological sensors

Brief Summary of research
Biological Sensors - Sensory processes play a fundamental roll in many aspects of living cells. Motile bacteria use such systems to navigate along chemical gradients in their environment. This ‘chemotaxis’ behavior shapes the distribution of the bacteria in the environment and influences their ability to colonize host organisms or form microbial communities. This behavior relies on molecular sensors that span the membrane bilayer and relay external signals into the cell to regulate different cellular processes. In E. coli, these sensors form complex two-dimensional extended arrays, which contain thousands of molecules. The molecular signaling within such arrays and the effect of such extended arrays on receptor signaling as well as on bacterial behavior are not well understood. We use microscopy-based fluorescence polarization and FRET techniques as well as new behavioral assays, to study in vivo the responses of this system at the receptors physical changes, the down-stream signaling, and the behavioral levels.

Prof. Itamar Willner Institute of Chemistry, Faculty of Science

Research Interests
Functional Nanostructures for Nanobiotechnology and Materials Science

Specific research topics related to Nanoscience and Nanotechnology
  • Development of semiconductor quantum dots (QDs)-based optical and photoelectrochemical sensors.
  • Development of optical sensors based on metallic nanoclusters (NCs) or on the aggregation of metallic nanoparticles.
  • Development of ultrasensitive DNA sensors or aptasensors through autonomous catalytic cycles.
  • Design of DNA machines and their switchable reconfiguration in the presence of fuels/anti-fuels.
  • Application of DNA machineries for computing.
  • The use of DNA machines for the programmed switchable reconfiguration of metallic nanoparticles and for the switchable control of plasmonic fluorescence functions.
  • Design of programmed switchable hydrogels.
  • Development of stimuli-responsive mesoporous nanoparticles for controlled drug delivery and release.
  • Application of nanomaterials and nanostructures for the development of energy storage and conversion systems (biofuel cells, photobioelectrochemical cells).

Brief Summary of research
Nanobiotechnology and Nanotechnology with Nanoparticles and Functional Nanoengineered Structures - The research program has addressed various research topics in the areas of nanotechnology and nanobiotechnology. Specific topics that were addressed include the application of semiconductor quantum dots and silver nanoclusters for sensing and design of optoelectronic devices, the use of mesoporous NPs for drug delivery and functional supports for electrical sensing and fabrication of biofuel cells, the development of DNA machines and their application for reconfiguration of Au NPs and controlling plasmonic effects, the development of DNA hydrogels and shape-memory hydrogels and the application of nanomaterials for energy conversion and storage. Specific accomplishments include:

Development of Sensing Systems:
  • Different DNA machineries for the amplified and multiplexed analysis of DNA, aptamer-ligand complexes, and metal ions were developed.
  • Luminescent nucleic acid-stabilized Ag0 nanoclusters were applied to develop optical sensors for DNA and aptamer-ligand complexes. Multiplexed analyses were demonstrated using different-sized Ag nanoclusters. Nucleic acid-modified Ag nanoclusters were combined with graphene oxide to yield effective hybrids for optical sensing.

DNA machines:
  • Different DNA machines and switches were synthesized. These include interlocked catenane (five-ring olympiadane, seven-ring robot), rotaxane, and new tweezers structures were prepared. The dymamic reconfiguration of the DNA nanostructures was demonstrated. Switchable catalytic systems and luminescent switches were prepared using the DNA machines as functional scaffolds.
  • Reconfiguration of DNA machines modified with Au NPs or nanoparticles and fluorophores led to switchable NPs structures and to the dynamic control of the plasmonic properties of the nanostructures.
  • Reversible aggregation/deaggregation of semiconductor quantum dots and the switchable ON-OFF control of the chemiluminescence resonance energy transfer in the systems were demonstrated.

Stimuli-responsive mesoporous nanoparticles and DNA hydrogels:
  • Mesoporous SiO2 nanoparticles were loaded with an anti-cancer drug and capped with stimuli-responsive locking units. Different DNA nanostructure or redox-active ligands were used as capping units. Biomarkers (ATP, NADH), pH, dissociation of G-quadruplexes, and enzymatic reactions on the capping units were used to unlock the pores and release the drug. Intracellular experiments and in vivo experiments in tumor-infected mice revealed that the drug-loaded mesoporous NPs can be an effective drug delivery and controlled release nanocarriers.
  • Stimuli-responsive hydrogel undergoing gel-liquid or gel-solid transitions were prepared. Thermal, pH, metal-ion and K+-ion/crown ether were used as stimuli that trigger the phase transitions. Catalytic hydrogels and shape-memory hydrogels were prepared and characterized.

Nanomaterials for energy conversion:
  • Mesoporous carbon nanoparticles (NPs) are loaded with relay units and capped by redox enzymes. Electrically contacted mesoporous carbon NPs-based electrodes are prepared and applied as amperometric biosensors and biofuel cells. Multi-enzyme anodes for multiplex analyses and for the oxidation of several fuel products constituting biomass were prepared. Similarly, effective catalytic O2- reduction cathodes were constructed.
  • Photosynthetic reaction centers PSI and PSII were applied as functional biomaterials for the construction of photobioelectrochemical cells. Integrated electrically wired electrodes consisting of PSI and PSII were prepared and used to construct photobioelectrochemical cells mimicking the photosynthetic Z-scheme apparatus. Photobioelectrochemical cells leading to photocurrents only upon irradiation of water (no added sacrificial components) were demonstrated.

Dr. Eylon Yavin School of Pharmacy - Institute of Drug Research, Faculty of Medicine

Research Interests
Developing strategies for efficient therapeutic sequence-specific DNA&RNA modifying agents

Specific research topics related to Nanoscience and Nanotechnology
  • siRNA and ASO drug delivery

Brief Summary of research
Nucleic Acids Chemistry Laboratory - My laboratory has expertise in nucleic acid chemistry, lipids, and peptide chemistry.
The avenue of research is the synthesis of chemically-modified siRNA and miRNA as therapeutic molecules. In addition, we are developing strategies for efficient and sequence-specific DNA and RNA modifying agents.
Peptide Nucleic Acid (PNA) based molecular beacons are also developed as novel diagnostic tools for detecting endogenous RNA in cells and human biopsies. In addition, we are using PNAs as antisense molecules for silencing genes in plasmodium falciparum; the most lethal form of malaria.
In relation to nanomedicine, my laboratory is involved in several projects that are related to drug delivery using nanomaterials. These projects are in collaboration with Prof. Simon Benita and deal with drug delivery of siRNAs and Antisense oligonucleotides (ASOs) by a novel drug delivery system developed at the Benita lab.
In addition, my lab collaborates with Prof. Y. Barenholz in a project that deals with the synthesis of novel liposomes that have the following unique properties:
Amphoteric synthetic lipids that are expected to be less toxic and aid in endosomal escape of the active molecule (i.e. siRNA).
In collaboration with Prof. A. Rubinstein, my lab aids in the synthesis of modified polymeric supports as nano-vehicles that act as a recognition platform for the detection of adenomateous polyps in the colon of DMH-induced colorectal cancer in rats in-vivo.

Dr. Roie Yerushalmi Institute of Chemistry, Faculty of Science

Research Interests
Nanomaterials- molecular design of materials and surface chemistry. Basic science and applications in photocatalysis and nano devices.

Specific research topics related to Nanoscience and Nanotechnology
  • Hybrid Nanostructure synthesis
  • Bottom-up synthesis and assembly of nano architectures
  • Catalytic properties of nanostructure arrays
  • Molecular control of the optical and electronic properties of hybrid oxide films

Brief Summary of research
Hybrid Nano Structures; Synthesis, Assembly & Surface Chemistry - The research in our lab aims at synthesis, characterization, and understanding of reactivity of materials with nanometric scale structures. In particular, our research focus on the synthesis of nanostructures and understanding of unique reactivity characteristics related to the nanoscale. Our work combines synthetic methods for the formation of nanostructures with controlled chemical composition and reactivity. We have recently developed a method for the formation of highly active photocatalytic layers using molecular layer deposition. This method may be useful for large range of applications including water purification from organic contaminants and clean energy production harnessing light energy.
Additional research activities in our laboratory focus in developing new methods for controlling the electronic properties of nanometric semiconducting structures. The new method is expected to contribute towards the formation of non-symmetric nanometric doping profiles with self-registry, namely, the ability to form heterogeneous nanometric structures and macroscopically connect to specific regions of the nanometric structure without the need for high resolution techniques.

Prof. Shlomo Yitzchaik Institute of Chemistry, Faculty of Science

Research Interests
Molecular layers containing biosensors and biomimetic memory elements

Specific research topics related to Nanoscience and Nanotechnology
  • Neuromorphic computing devices
  • Nanoporous photoactive smart gels
  • Molecular-nanolayers based biochemical sensors
  • Hybrid thin films for photovoltaic solar cells applications

Brief Summary of research
Molecular layers containing interfaces- Our research concerns the surface chemistry, physics and applications of nanolayers focusing on the unique tunability of chemical, biological, optical and electrical properties afforded by control over molecular architectures, composition and organization on the nanometer scale. We study self-assembled monolayers that are a class of nanomaterials which manifest the interface in between organic or biological molecules and the metalic or semiconducting solid state. The highly tunable molecular properties along with the chemical accessibility also lead to significant potential for applications in nano-devices ranging from hybrid photovoltaic cells and opto-electronic devices including neuromorphic computing to biological sensors interfacing solutions, cells and soft tissues.
Kinase-mediated phosphorylation plays a major role in regulating signalling pathways in cells. Abnormal phosphorylation has been reported to facilitate cancer development. Here we refer to selectivity data in the kinase-promoted phosphorylation of peptidic substrates, either in microarrays or electrode-immobilized using the serine/threonine kinases PKA, PKC, and CaMK2. Peptide substrates were investigated using in situ kinetics by electrochemical impedance spectroscopy (EIS) and square wave voltammetry (SWV) methods. EIS based sensor shows a remarkably high sensitivity and sequence specificity. These studies suggests that the enhanced activities and kinase-selectivity are related to the monolayer's packing motifs on the various inorganic substrates. Nanoscopic studies demonstrate a distinct disordering of the monolayer following phosphorylation, which can explain the amplified sensitivity for transducing the biocatalytic phosphorylation process into very large impedimetric signals. An even better sensitivity is demonstrated with the SWV amperometric sensor that allow screening new kinase-inhibitors as anticancer drug candidates.

Dr. Alon Zaslaver Institute of Life Science, Faculty of Science

Research Interests
Neurogenetics and Systems biology: From genes and neurons to behavior

Specific research topics related to Nanoscience and Nanotechnology
  • Microfluidic devices for delivering fine controlled stimuli to C. elegans worms and measuring neural activity

Brief Summary of research
Design principles in neural systems - Neural networks are made of connected neurons. Their orchestrated activity generates complex behavioral outputs, such as foraging for food and seeking for a mating partner. But how does the collective activity of neurons generate meaning? Moreover, how gene expression programs shape neural activity and consequently behavior?
To address these fundamental questions we use C. elegans worms as the animal model system. With a fully-mapped wiring diagram of 302 neurons, and its compatibility with a myriad of molecular and genetic manipulations, C. elegans worms offer a unique opportunity to address such questions.
In the lab we study these questions on multiple levels - from gene expression programs and functional dynamics in single neurons to computation in neural circuits and behavior. For this we use Systems Biology approaches combining experiments, modelling and theory.