APPLE’S NEWEST iPad 370.
(photo credit: Shannon Stapleton/Reuters)
In 2009, the natural sciences library at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem was
one of the first in the country to lend laptops to faculty and
Today, it is offering them iPads on loan.
beginning of the academic year, the library purchased iPads for making it
possible to read articles and electronic books from the library’s
So far it has bought 10 of the digital devices for students
as a pilot program; the library has thus become the first in the country to lend
Michal Hai-Atias, the director of the Harman Library for
Natural Sciences, said that “we take care to keep our fingers on the pulse of
technology and provide our readers with the most advanced equipment to support
teaching and research in the faculty.”
“The new service will make maximum
accessibility possible at any time and in any place. We are happy to offer this
quality service first to students of mathematics and the natural sciences and
all who come to the library.”
SLOWING DOWN DNA WITH LIGHT Ultra-fast,
low-cost sequencing of DNA would revolutionize healthcare and biomedical
research, sparking major advances in drug development, preventive medicine and
personalized medicine. By gaining access to the entire sequence of an
individual’s genome, a doctor could determine the probability that he’ll develop
a specific genetic disease or tolerate selected medications.
of that goal, Prof. Amit Meller has spent much of the past decade spearheading a
method that uses solid state nanopores – two-to-five-nanometer- wide holes in
silicon chips – that read DNA strands as they pass through to optically sequence
Now Meller and a team of researchers at Haifa’s
Technion-Israel Institute of Technology and Boston University have discovered a
simple way to improve the sensitivity, accuracy and speed of the method, making
it an even more viable option for DNA sequencing or characterization of small
proteins, such as ubiquitin, in their native folded state.
findings in Nature Nanotechnology, the team demonstrated that focusing a
low-power, commercially available green laser on a nanopore increases current
near walls of the pore, which is immersed in salt water. As the current
increases, it sweeps the salt water along with it in the opposite direction of
incoming samples. The onrushing water, in turn, acts as a brake, slowing down
the passage of DNA through the pore. As a result, the nanoscale sensors can get
a higher-resolution read of the DNA as it crosses the pore, and identify small
proteins that could not previously be detected.
Meller explained: “The
light-induced surface charge modulation phenomenon that we describe in this
paper can be used to instantly switch on and off the ‘brakes’ acting on
individual biopolymers, such as DNA or proteins sliding through the nanopores.
This critically enhances the sensing resolution of solid-state nanopores and can
be easily integrated in future nanopore-based DNA sequencing and protein
“Slowing down DNA is essential to DNA or RNA
sequencing with nanopores, so that nanoscale sensors can make the right call on
what’s passing through.”
NEW JCT PRESIDENT Prof. Chaim Sukenik, former
dean of Bar-Ilan University’s faculty of exact sciences and director of the
Minerva Center for Nanoscale Particles and Films, has become president of the
growing Jerusalem College of Technology. At the Ramat Gan university, the
US-born scientist who came on aliya with his family in 1995 was responsible for
a research system of 400 people and 30 labs working in the fields of physics,
chemistry, engineering and life sciences.
He replaces as JCT president
Prof. Noah Dana-Picard, a leading Frenchborn mathematician who ran the
college for the past four years. Dana-Picard is not leaving JCT, which combines
Torah studies with engineering and other hi-tech fields for men and women (on
separate Jerusalem campuses). A chair in mathematics, Torah and education has
been established where Dana- Picard and students will investigate this
integrated subject. The chair was inaugurated recently on campus in memory of
his parents, both of them French lawyers.