This collaboration aims at setting up a joint research course for advanced MA and doctoral students of our two universities. The course addresses the process of globalisation through the prism of international immigration. In a nation-based state characterised both politically and ideologically by immigration such as Israel, understanding migration and associated social, cultural, and economic struggles is of particular importance. By contrast, Western European countries have needed to adapt to a multiple waves of migration due to ageing populations, a need for labour, post-colonial connections, and generous asylum policies since the end of the Second World War, despite the fact that their constitutions and cultures are not entrenched in immigration. The waves of migration have brought with them increased diversity amongst minorities in Western Europe and have contributed to a qualitative shift known as the third demographic transition. Western European countries and Israel are currently undergoing this transition. As such, this research and teaching project addresses the effects of the third demographic transition on society, and in doing so discusses the types of policies associated with migration and minorities in an age of globalisation, including particular attention to the role of international cooperation and international organizations. In addition, this collaborative project is an excellent catalyst for cooperation between the Hebrew University and Geneva’s researchers. Today, meaningful research projects in the field of globalisation and migration are based on cooperation between various researchers from a plurality of institutions. Such international cooperation is requested and frequently required by research funding bodies, particularly in light of Israel’s accession to the grants programme of the EU. Furthermore, in particular with globalisation and migration, it is not possible to carry out meaningful research at the local or national level alone. To that end, the subject of research is connected to developments internationally, and it is fit that researchers in Israel and Geneva should adjust their research perspective to the global level. The joint project would run over the academic year 2017/18. Elyakim Kislev and Sandra Lavenex will teach in parallel a course for Master's and PhD students in their respective programmes in which the following joint sessions will be integrated: 1. During December students from University of Geneva will come to Jerusalem for the Annual Graduate Conference in Political Science, International Relations and Public Policy at the Hebrew University: https://gradcon.huji.ac.il/ 2. In the Annual Graduate Conference, half a day of a joint workshop will be devoted to the students registered on the courses in participating universities. The workshops will be delivered by professors from both institutions. This will be an opportunity for initial introductions and the attribution of research topics to the participating students. 3. In the following months the students will work at their home universities on the research topics and prepare research papers. 4. In the summer of 2018, the students from both institutions will meet for a week-long workshop in Geneva that will be taught by research staff from both institutions, as well as guest researchers. This workshop will include visits to pertinent international organizations and NGOs in Geneva. These visits will be merged with the programme of the Summer School on Global and Regional Migration Governance at Unige. 5. Students will present their research results in the workshop. 6. Participation in all aspects of the course (workshops in the Annual Graduate Conference, course lectures, summer workshop) will be mandatory and together will form a research course worth four (for HUJI students) or six (for Geneva students) academic credits.
Circadian oscillation of biological processes has been described in light-sensitive organisms from bacteria to human beings, reflecting the existence of underlying intrinsic clocks. Our recent work suggests that α- and β-cellular clocks are oscillating with distinct phases in vivo and in vitro. These cellular oscillators impact critically on the temporal profiles of insulin and glucagon secretion, and on the transcriptional patterns of key functional genes in the islet cells. Parallel analysis of the molecular properties of α- and β-cell oscillators was conducted by establishing a mouse model expressing three reporters: one diagnostic for α-cells, one specific for β-cells, and third monitoring circadian gene expression. Rodent β-cells have a significant potential for regeneration, suggesting that regenerative therapy for diabetes is feasible. A model for studying β-cell regeneration following 70-80% ablation, proposed and characterized by the Dor’s lab, in combination with the triple reporter mouse strain developed by the Dibner’s lab, represents a unique and powerful tool for characterizing circadian oscillator upon hyperglycemic conditions, and during β-cell regeneration. Crossing these mice to genetic clock-deficient mouse strain will allow unraveling the impact of functional circadian clock on the regenerative capacity of β-cells. In vivo studies in genetic rodent models will be translated to the human model, employing human islet isolated from type 2 diabetic donors, synchronized in vitro. Molecular and functional analysis of the islet cellular clockwork upon type 2 diabetes conditions and during β-cell regeneration will be of high scientific importance and clinical relevance.
Stromatolites represent the oldest forms of life and are commonly defined as laminated organo-sedimentary structures built by the trapping, binding and/or precipitation of minerals via microbial processes. Dead-Sea stromatolites have attracted considerable attention and recently have been used to constrain the late Quaternary lake level curve. This closed-basin contains living and fossil stromatolites at a wide range of water salinity, temperature, oxidation state, and lighting. The basin thus offers a unique opportunity to understand the environmental factors controlling their formation as well as to develop a better chronology for the last glaciation, respectively. We propose to study recent microbial mats (stromatolites) around the Dead-Sea and identify relationships between the environment and observable characteristics that might be recorded in rocks. Based on stromatolites we have mapped around the Dead-Sea, we will combine a geomorphological and geomicrobiological approach to: - Better resolve lake level changes by quantifying the variation of water volumes in the Dead-Sea from the Late Pleistocene to the Holocene - Determine the natural environmental conditions where modern stromatolite types are growing around the Dead-Sea. - Carry out experimental investigations in the laboratory under controlled conditions, from a nanometric- to a mm-scale. By dating these microbialites we will provide a more robust chronology of lake level changes as well as their tempo and magnitude. This is critical for developing predictive patterns of the present day Dead-Sea level changes that are of major societal interest. This is also crucial for unraveling conditions at the "agricultural revolution" incurring around the lake during its last recess.
Scholars of the Mesopotamian literature of the Old Babylonian period (roughly 2000-1500 BCE) usually deal with one of three literatures written in cuneiform script that are distinguished linguistically: (1) Myths, epics, wisdom literature, hymns and prayers written in the main register of Sumerian (Emegir) and known mainly from the scribal schools; (2) Lament-prayers in the Emesal register of Sumerian; and (3) myths, epics, wisdom literature, hymns, prayers, and incantations, written in the Akkadian languages. On the one side, usually each of these literatures is dealt with independently, and the connections between these genres are only very rarely investigated. On the other side, on the rare cases that such connections are treated, the limits are often completely removed by reconstructing a common tradition for the Sumerian and Akkadian bodies of literature. Both approaches reflect extreme positions, but neither of them seems convincing. The main goal of the present proposal is to converge the extreme positions and to gently start crossing the borders between the three literatures without treating them on the other hand as belonging to one large corpus. The two applicants have each worked independently on these corpora, and together they will try to identify the literary “agents” that allowed the flowing of motifs and themes, between the three main bodies of literature of this period.
The purpose of this research project is to examine the interface of cybersecurity breaches and legal liability under private law, according to two perspectives:
1- The first perspective is to conduct a legal analysis on how current private law doctrines (both particular and general torts-based liability) respond to cybersecurity breaches. In addition to a critical-comparative examination of current law, the research will examine whether there is a need for a legal reform, in private law, that will craft explicit norms for cybersecurity breaches. In addition to general torts liability aspects, particular legal branches to be examined include (as an inconclusive list): privacy law; consumer law; software and computer law; insurance law, trade secrets and intellectual property liability regimes.
2- The second perspective of the research will attempt to examine and shape legal policy proposals based on field analysis of particular industries in areas that are either related to cybersecurity or that raise cybersecurity concerns: software companies; cybersecurity companies; "the internet of things" companies; autonomous cars and more and will be made in light of the legal analysis realized above.
Elucidating the neural mechanisms that subserve conscious awareness is a fundamental goal of neuroscience. There is abundant evidence that conscious perception is gated by the ability to direct attention to behaviorally relevant stimuli in the environment, through top-down modulation of sensory pathways by attention control networks. Attention can be directed by internal goals (endogenous) or salient external cues (exogenous). There is also evidence that attention can be guided by emotional significance of stimuli even when these are goal-irrelevant (1), suggesting that emotional information can be detected prior to conscious awareness (2). The exact neural pathways and timing of these emotional effects remain unresolved, as well as their relationship to other attention mechanisms (3). Non-invasive electrophysiological methods with EEG and MEG provide powerful tools to dissect the specific types and stages of processing that controls how attention is directed to sensory stimuli (2) and can now be applied to ecological free-viewing conditions (4-7) rather than unnatural experimental paradigms as used in many studies (3). Here we will exploit the latter approach by combining expertise from both labs on emotion perception (1, 2, 3) and combined EEG-eyetracking methodology (4,5). We will record fixation-related brain potentials (FRPs) while participants freely explore visual scenes and direct their gaze at stimuli with different properties: either goal-relevant (target objects to be searched/counted), emotionally significant but task-irrelevant (e.g. faces, animals), or physically salient and irrelevant (based on sensory feature analysis of pictures (8). FRPs will allow us to identify and compare neural signatures for different conditions of attentional capture.
The scope of this joint proposal is the application of multiscale modeling for the systematic study of photoreceptor proteins and their mutants. Photoreceptor proteins are the key molecules for response to and sensing of light in many organisms. They mediate a variety of functions in nature such as visual perception, regulation of circadian rhythm, phototaxis and light-oriented growth of plants. However, due to the large size of these proteins their computational studies are challenging. The unfavorable scaling of quantum chemical methods renders any explicit treatment of the environment unfeasible. Multi-scale methods -i.e. based on interfacing treatment at different levels of theory for different parts of the system- were hence developed as solutions to this problem. Frozen Density Embedding Theory (FDET) [1,2] uses the electron density of the environment (ρB) to describe its effect on a system of interest. While maintaining a quantum-level description of the whole system, FDET allows for the use of any method for generating ρB, including experimental densities and time-averaged densities from Molecular Dynamics (MD) simulations. Furthermore, FDET could be interfaced with quantum mechanics/molecular mechanics (QM/MM) resulting in a QMA/QMemb/MM approach for an even better trade-off between accuracy and computational cost. MD simulations provide a comprehensive insight into the time evolution of light induced processes.[4,5,6] Such reactions often have non-adiabatic effects that enable efficient transfer of electronic excitation energy to nuclear kinetic energy and vice versa, often causing irreversible transfer of potential energy to heat, or form a unique mechanism for reactions which are forbidden in the adiabatic framework. With our collaboration we aim to explore the possibilities of combining FDET with nonadiabatic molecular dynamics and QM/MM simulations to study photoreceptor proteins.
One of the major problems that societies are facing is intergroup conflicts. To ease tensions, scholars study conflict mechanisms as well as develop evidence-based interventions. Among them, scholars from the Swiss Center for Affective Sciences (CISA) and from the Psychology of Intergroup Conflict and Reconciliation (PICR) dedicated their research to better understand the role of emotions in conflicts and to test emotion-based interventions in order to promote conflict resolution. In this line, researchers from the CISA and PICR have started to collaborate in 2017 and create a research project aiming to test compassion training effects in interpersonal and intergroup conflicts in Switzerland and in Israel. In addition, they want to compare compassion training effects with those of a well-known emotion-based intervention in the field of conflict interventions, the reappraisal training. First steps of this research have been to test in Switzerland compassion training and reappraisal effects on conflicts at the interpersonal level. After promising preliminary results, a study in Israel is planned to investigate compassion training in a real-life intergroup setting: the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The main goal is to observe compassion training effects on the attitudes and behaviors of Israelis towards the outgroup, in this case, Palestinian population. To this purpose we plan several short-term research stays to carry out successfully the study creating a vivid exchange between experts of the University of Geneva and the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. We truly believe that testing compassion training in a real-life intergroup setting will provide useful and evidence-based guidelines for peacebuilders.
Synaptic connectivity plays an important role in determining brain function. Such structure-function relations in the brain are typically studied by observation and analysis of existing connectivity patterns. However, in order to gain a more causative understanding of how brain structure corresponds to brain function, it is necessary to manipulate connectivity, to insert, delete or reroute specific synaptic connections in vivo and to then examine the impact on function and behavior. Many methods exist for modifying synaptic communication. However, these tend to target overall neuronal input or output rather than specific connections between pre- and postsynaptic neurons. A new synthetic approach consisting of manipulating specific synaptic connections in vivo could boost our capacity to unravel the functional significance of synaptic connectivity. It could also offer potential new strategies for brain repair and pave the way towards applications of artificial life. The Jabaudon (UNIGE) and Rabinowitch (HUJI) labs are independently engaged in efforts to artificially rewire brain circuits in vivo in different systems (vertebrate vs. invertebrate) using distinct approaches. Our goal is to join forces in order to advance our ability to edit synaptic connectivity. As a first step, we wish to organize an intensive joint research workshop in Jerusalem that will enable our teams to learn in detail about each other's work, to consult with external experts and to forge the foundations for a long-term collaboration that would substantially augment our grasp of structure and function in the brain.
Attentional control is the ability to streamline information processing by selecting and amplifying task-relevant information while ignoring irrelevant information in order to conduct goal-directed behaviors. Recently, it has been proposed as a key mechanism in enhancing plasticity and learning, since it enables participants to learn to selectively use the attended features through feedback connections from higher-level areas to sensory areas. The goal of the current collaborative project is to collect preliminary data to further test the hypothesis that enhancing attentional control facilitates learning in a population of depressed individuals, by studying changes in neural mechanisms during learning.
This new project leverage a recently-funded collaboration (the EU-supported DiSCoVeR project) aiming at enhancing attentional control in individuals with depression using a novel intervention that combines non-invasive brain stimulation over the prefrontal cortex and video game play. We now have a rare collaborative opportunity that will allow us to begin to elucidate the underlying mechanisms of the plastic changes induced by this novel intervention, using brain imaging paradigms developed in the Bavelier and Hummel labs. Critically, these paradigms are to be implemented in Nahum’s lab (HUJI) as patients from the DiSCoVeR project will be enrolled at her site but not at the UNIGE site. Results from this pilot project will be used to support a larger EU grant submission which aims at understanding the neural mechanisms of plasticity enhancement via attentional control modification, in both healthy individuals and clinically depressed ones.
The Armenians and their contribution to late medieval Middle Eastern History (ca. 1000-1500 CE)” is a multi-disciplinary project that considers the wider historical and cultural context. Certainly, anyone with a deep interest in Middle Eastern, Caucasian and Mediterranean history in this period should consider the role of the Armenians. The 11th century saw the large-scale migration of Armenians to southwest Anatolia, into an area called Cilicia, with the eventual establishment of an Armenian state. As in the Armenian homeland to the north, Armenian Cilicia dealt with the influx of Seljuq-led Turcomans. Crusaders entering the country, and then moving south, towards the end of the 11th century created more challenges. Through the 12th century modi vivendi were worked out with these groups, but the coming of the Mongols in the 1230s necessitated a strategic change. Both Armenian polities enthusiastically joined the Mongol imperial project. In the long-run, however, the Mongols were unable to provide protection to Cilicia, and after 1260 the Mamluks of Syria and Egypt overran the country, eliminating Armenian independence there in 1375.
The Armenians were key players in the politics of the time, and should be taken into account to properly understand regional developments, while the wider context must be considered to fully appreciate internal Armenian cultural, social and political changes. There has been interesting and important research on these topics, but there is still much to do. We thus call for two workshops.
1- “The Armenians face new challenges: Seljuqs and Crusaders (1000-1240)” 2- “The Armenians and new world orders: Mongols and Mamluks (1240-1500)”
This project aims to investigate the embodied potential of children's participation in shaping their local and global
environment, also concerning climate changes, and to get a better understanding of its relation to children's wellbeing.
The rationale is based on the children's right for participation in all matters affecting their lives. The
opportunity to participate relates and contributes to the children's well-being in person and as a group in the
present and in the future. However, children and youth are consistently excluded and unrepresented in decisionmaking
processes, mostly in the public arena. Studies show that the children's physical environment plays a
crucial role in their well-being, uniquely addressing their safety affected by the biological and physical threats. The
United Nations' Agenda 21 declared that "the specific interests of children need to be taken fully into account in
the participatory process on environment and development”. Programs for children's representation in the
authorities' planning process have succeeded in improving child-related indicators of health, education, protection,
etc., but their contribution is insufficient. Moreover, being at a critical developmental stage, children are more
vulnerable healthily, psychologically and socially, and face greater risks by climate changes. We argue that children
should be broadly involved in the subject, allowing their voices to be heard and realizing their potential when
dealing with it locally and globally. For that cause, we propose a program of intensive research seminars with the
goals of studying the field and formulating a broad international study project.
The brain is constantly learning, acquiring new knowledge extracted from experiences and senses, but little is known of how different brain areas containing billions of neurons and an even higher number of synapses interact during this process. An area central to learning is the cerebral cortex. It receives sensory information from the thalamus, which was long considered a passive relay station. However, recent evidence suggests that higher-order thalamic nuclei actively interact with multiple cortical areas at a time, thereby forming thalamocortical loops that are thought to be crucial for learning. Thus, it is essential to understand how information from individual thalamic nuclei is distributed over various cortical areas, and how this alters during learning. In the proposed collaboration, we will bridge the study of brain-wide mesoscale neuronal activity with microscale synaptic plasticity. At both HUJI and UNIGE, we will train mice on a sensory discrimination task and continuously image neuronal activity as they learn. At HUJI, we will apply a mesoscale approach, using wide-field imaging and fiber photometry to simultaneously image neuronal populations in both the higher-order thalamus and many cortical areas (Fig. 1 left). This will enable us to study the interactions between those regions and identify cortical areas of interest. At UNIGE, we will implement a microscale approach, zooming in on areas of interest and image axonal terminals originating from the thalamus to study synaptic plasticity (Fig. 1 right). This combined approach is made possible through this unique HUJI-UNIGE collaboration, and will help unraveling the mechanisms of learning.
With 65 million people worldwide suffering of epilepsy and the inadequacy of current pharmacological approaches,
the need to advance our understanding of the molecular aetiology of this disease is clear, as is the urgency to
develop novel medical treatments. Several hundred genes linked to epilepsy have been identified. The
collaborating labs at UNIGE and HUJI work on two of them: GNAO1 and WWOX. GNAO1 encodes G?o – the
major neuronal ?-subunit of heterotrimeric G proteins. De novo mutations in GNAO1 were described in a subset of
paediatric epileptic patients, suffering in addition to epilepsy from motor dysfunction and developmental delay.
Although occurring in amino acids conserved from humans to Drosophila, these mutations and their functional
consequences have not been analysed at the biochemical or neuronal levels, preventing development of
therapeutic interventions. WWOX encodes a protein containing two N-terminal WW domains and C-terminal
catalytic domain homologous to short chain dehydrogenase/reductase family proteins. High sequence conservation
of WWOX orthologues from insects to humans suggest its significant role in physiology and homeostasis. Indeed,
data obtained from human patients and animal models demonstrate that WWOX deregulation results in severe
pathological consequences, including neuropathy and epilepsy. The collaborating laboratories will establish models
of encephalopathy / epilepsy caused by mutations in GNAO1 and WWOX. The goal will be to identify molecular
mechanisms underlying the aetiology of disease in order to ultimately advance towards drug discovery programs. A
unifying theme behind our research on GNAO1 and WWOX in epilepsy is their potential to affect the Wnt signalling
In the next few years, millions of autonomous vehicles (AV) will be on the road with various levels of vehicle autonomy. This project is concerned with AVs equipped with higher automation levels still requiring or allowing the human to override the vehicle (3rd and 4th level of automation (L3 and L4), but not 5th level) . For the near future, this level of automation is predicted to be the most prevalent and therefore requires more focus.
The project aims to look into the liability regime linked to the Driver-Vehicle Interfaces (DVIs) design of (autonomous vehicle) AV and requirements for DVIs technical standards. AVs are not simple vehicles. They run on the road thanks to advanced technologies that are embodied inside, as radar and LiDAR technologies, GPS, sensors, digital and video cameras. AVs also use Internet of things (IoT) devices which allow them the interconnection with other connected objects within the network. When an accident occurs, many actors of the AV building process might be held jointly liable. This project is concerned with one of these actors: the DVIs design.
Human and vehicles communicate and exchange messages and information through DVIs. The DVIs convert the machine inner thinking into an external representation for a human.
In L3 AVs the human and algorithmic driver essentially share the control over the vehicle – with authority over the vehicle changing over time and in different situations. In this model of operation it is of the upper most importance that DVIs use comprehensible language, signals or representations, in order for human drivers to understand them properly. This is especially the case in emergency situations, where the vehicle guides human driver to take a specific action. In this context, the design shall enable the human driver to understand quickly and unambiguously the notifications sent from the system, and if necessary adapt to the specific drivers' condition (whether psychological or medical) or state of mind.
Leveraging an interdisciplinary team of computer scientists and law experts this project investigates the following research questions:
How to design standardised DVIs adapting to the current situation of the driver?