Photoinduced electron transfer (PET) and energy transfer (ET) are key processes in biological systems. For example, in photosynthesis PET plays a crucial role. This process is also important in artificial systems such as organic solar cells. Electron/Energy Donor-bridge-acceptor systems are excellent benchmarks for the study of PET and ET. In biological systems, these processes often take place in helically chiral media. It has been assumed that the helicity plays a crucial role in such processes, but the effect of helicity on PET and ET processes has not been investigated so far. Recently, the Gidron group introduced a family of π-conjugated molecules with tunable helicity – tethered twistacenes. We found that fundamental electronic and optical properties are directly affected by the degree of helicity. Having also introduced extendable units on the tunable twistacenes, we are now ready to explore the effect of bridge helicity on ET and PET processes. The Vauthey group has been applying various ultrafast spectroscopic techniques for more than a decade to obtain a deeper understanding of PET and ET processes.
In this collaborative project, we intend to study the effect of helicity on PET and ET processes, using π-conjugated twistacenes as bridges with different degrees of twisting, and porphyrins as donor and acceptor units. The Gidron group will perform DFT calculations to select the ideal donor and acceptor units, and synthesize the selected candidates. The Vauthey group will then investigate how the helicity of the bridge affects the dynamics of the PET and ET processes using a combination of complementary spectroscopic techniques on timescales ranging from a few tens of femtosecond to hundreds of microseconds. In the case of PET, these measurements will allow to understand the effect of helicity on both the charge separation (CS) process and the ensuing charge recombination (CR). For most practical applications, CS has to be as fast as possible, whereas CR must be slow. Controlling helicity might allow fine tuning of these two processes.
The two groups involved have a common interest in studying RNA modifications. However, their research focus within this area are different. While the Pillai group at UNIGE studies chemical modifications of messenger RNAs (mRNAs) in the mouse germline, the Nachmani group at HUJI studies ribosomal RNA modifications in the mouse hematopoietic system.
The proposed collaborative project will investigate the biology of a mouse RNA methyltransferase METTL17. Unpublished data from the Pillai lab initially characterized this enzyme as being essential for mouse embryonic development. Immuno-gold labelling experiments showed that the protein has a presence in both the cytosol and within the mitochondrial matrix. Complex purifications of METTL17 revealed that it is associated with components of the small subunit of the mitochondrial ribosome, and this led to the idea of a collaboration, as rRNA modifications is the topic of interest in the Nachmani lab. The Pillai lab will investigate its role on cytosolic mRNAs, while the Nachmani group will examine how the enzyme functions within the mitochondria. The Pillai group will develop a human cell line expressing the tagged version of the enzyme for better complex purifications, which should allow its use for in vitro enzymatic assays. The Nachmani lab will use this cell line to investigate the METTL17 complex and associated rRNA and ribosomal proteins. Mapping the rRNA modifications using methods available in the lab will be another contribution from HUJI. The Pillai group will attempt to produce recombinant versions of the enzyme and its partner proteins for biochemistry in vitro. iCLIP experiments will also be conducted to identify RNA targets in both cytosolic and mitochondrial compartments.
Overall, this collaborative project should result in a more comprehensive picture of gene regulation by METTL17. It will pool complementary expertise present in both labs, and exchange of personnel on short-term visits should facilitate training/exchange of protocols. Finally, this collaboration will serve as a foundation for a future larger project looking at rRNA modifying enzymes more broadly in germline gene regulation. The hope is to prepare such a joint project proposal for funding by national or international agencies (HFSP etc).
In this project, we address the gaps in knowledge regarding collective victimhood and online harassment behavior by proposing a mechanism in which collective victimhood mentality leads to hostility towards women by endorsing conspiracy beliefs about women.
Such research is timely, as we have seen a troubling rise in reports of harassment and intimidation directed at female politicians in recent years (Krook, 2018), particularly in online spaces. For example, Twitter users directed more abusive tweets toward female politicians than male politicians, with messages challenging women’s right to be elected representatives (Southern & Harmer, 2021). This alarming rate of online harassment may prevent women from entering politics and or may facilitate them to leave the office earlier than planned.
Moreover, while women have increasingly taken up political leadership roles, politics remains a domain structured by hegemonic masculinity (Löffler et al., 2022). As such, when women enter these traditionally male-dominated arenas, men can feel that their group is being harmed intentionally, and they can perceive this harm to be undeserved, unjust, and immoral, and they might feel that they cannot prevent this harm. Namely, they may take up a collective victimhood mentality (Bar-Tal, 2009).
Collective victimhood is usually discussed in connection to historical traumas or violent conflicts (Bar-Tal et al., 2009). However, in this project, we take a different temporal focus by concentrating on current societal changes and perceptions of victimization that have recently begun (i.e., dominant or high-status group members feel threatened by advancements of lower-status group members entering and being successful in “their” domains). We suggest here the novel research idea that collective victimhood may explain hostility towards successful women on a different dimension than sexism and political attitudes.
While some previous research indicates that collective victimhood mentality is associated with negative attitudes towards outgroup members (Noor et al., 2017), we still know very little about the mechanism behind it and whether it also affects behavior and not only attitudes. This project aims to answer these two questions by looking at behavioral measures and by trying to find the mechanism underlying the relationship between collective victimhood and hostility towards female leaders.
Recent research has suggested that shared feelings of victimization may comprise a framework for an individual’s conspiratorial perceptions (see Armaly & Enders, 2021) and that the belief in conspiracy theories can motivate and endorse non-normative actions (Imhoff et al., 2021; Vegetti & Littvay, 2022). As such, in our model, we propose that collective victimhood leads to hostility towards women by endorsing conspiracy beliefs about women. We predict that:
H1. Men scoring high (vs. low) on male victimhood display more hostility towards female (vs. male) political leaders.
H2a. Men scoring high (vs. low) on male victimhood adopt more conspiracy beliefs about women.
H2b. And, in turn, display more hostility against female political leaders.
Place naming reflects ethnic, national and territorial identities and politics. It also serves as a marketing tool, aiming to promote images that enhance local development, while digital mapping and georeferenced big data provide opportunities for the private sector and activist organizations in place (re)naming through the promotion of names appearing in electronic maps and databases.
Place (re)naming, their motivations, controversies and consequences attract growing interest in different academic disciplines. Relevant questions are: does place (re)naming reflect local preferences or top-down decisions? What narrative does the toponomascape convey internally and externally? What knowledge and memories are valued or minimized? Do place (re)naming initiatives opt at the unique and historically-geographically distinguished or at generic branding? Does place (re)naming represent inclusion or exclusion of indigenous populations, minority and historically subaltern groups? What is its relevance for peace and sustainable development objectives?
Our study brings together two cases – Israel and Switzerland – that provide complementary insights into contemporary issues in place (re)naming. Israel is a politically centralized but socially diverse, characterized by contested spaces, intensely influenced by the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and substantial local action to promote development. Switzerland represents decentralized federalism, linguistic diversity and cross-border territorial dynamics in a less conflictual context. We will assess the impact of current sociopolitical transformations on place-naming trajectories and the impact of place-naming, at the background of a broader international comparative perspective to be further elaborated in an EU-COST proposal.
In Israel, post-1948 transformations included naming of hundreds of new Jewish localities, and replacing Arabic names by Hebrew ones. Greater consideration of local views, acknowledging social diversity, has apparently been evident since the 1990s. Increasingly, renaming has been justified by branding and marketing in a neoliberal context, turning from unique historical-geographical names to generic ones.
In Switzerland, multilingual signage is managed by the cantons, with reference to the European Charter for Regional and Minority Languages. At the local level, rural micro-toponymy records dialects and is valued in the context of the dual process of addressing the countryside and of heritage, particularly in cultural and leisure signage. Ongoing municipal restructuring is an opportunity to promote new names that combine internal geopolitics and territorial marketing. Cities also engage in naming new eco-districts and street names in an inclusive and decolonial perspective.
The proposed pilot study will mainly focus on the illustrative cases of greater Geneva and Jerusalem, looking at city, neighborhood and street (re)naming and signage. It will also include a preliminary examination of municipal (re)naming initiatives in both countries, explicit and implicit considerations of disputed identities, inclusiveness and rebranding; and whether expectations have been fulfilled.
Methodology will include an examination of primary documents and interviews with officials and ordinary citizens. The pilot study be summed up in a paper on the Israeli and Swiss cases. It will also provide insights for the broader proposed project that includes a broad cross-national perspective and additional related subtopics, such as the digital turn in cartography and the heritagization and commodification of urban narratives.