Growing the Next Generation of Medical Innovators

The Alexander Grass Center for Bioengineering at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem is a multidisciplinary research center supporting faculty members and young investigators aiming to create cutting-edge tools for the study of biology or the practice of medicine. Research projects range from nanotechnology-based diagnostics to innovative medical devices and advanced computational models.

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Latest News

Prof. Nahmias meets with the Argentine ambassador to Israel

Prof. Nahmias meets with the Argentine ambassador to Israel

29 July, 2020

Professor Yaakov Nahmias hosted the Argentine Ambassador to Israel, Sergio Urribarri, in his lab, to discuss the Professor's latest breakthrough in COVID-19 research.

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Urribarri is the first foreign representative to visit Nahmias' lab in light of the new breakthrough.

The two discussed the possibility of conducting some of the trials in clinical centers in Argentina.


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Prof. Nahmias cracked the mechanism of the corona virus

14 July, 2020

A new research by Prof. Nahmias, together with Prof. Benjamin Tanover from Mount Sinai Hospital in New York has led to a significant breakthrough in understanding the modes of action of the SARS-CoV-2 virus.

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The researchers found that the virus causes a massive accumulation of fat in human lung cells after it rewires the metabolic mechanisms in the cell. Prof. Nahmias' robotic scanning system showed that lung cells infected with the virus consumed more carbohydrates, such as glucose, which are needed for the rapid distribution of the virus, and formed fats that accumulated in the lung tissue. These findings explain why high blood sugar (hyperglycemia) and high cholesterol (dyslipidemia) are a major risk factor for corona, even in the absence of diabetes.

Prof. Nahmias: "Our analysis is the first comprehensive description of the human lung response to the SARS-CoV-2 virus. We show that the lung response to SARS-CoV-2 is primarily metabolic, leading to healthy fat accumulation. Our data indicate that fat accumulation Improper may establish critical aspects of COVID-19 development. This is a breakthrough that opens up possibilities to neutralize the action of the virus through targeting the host tissue activity that allows it to develop a substrate".

Prof. Nahmias was able to find a drug called fenofibrate (Ticor) that was approved by the FDA as early as 1975. Fenofibrate has been used in the past to treat high levels of cholesterol and triglycerides in the blood, and has since been replaced by statins. In a laboratory experiment, Fanofibrate allowed lung cells to break down lipids quickly and block the ability of the corona virus to "snatch" the metabolism of lung cells, thus actively suppressing its replication - and consequently, the development of the disease.

Prof. Nahmias: "Our discovery came just in time, because there are new indications that vaccines that are being developed today may only protect patients for a few months. However, if our results are confirmed in a clinical trial, drug treatment can within a few months, reverse COVID- 19 for a type of cold".

The collaboration between Prof. Nahmias and TenOever Laboratories "demonstrates the power of adopting a multidisciplinary approach to SARS-CoV-2 research", added Prof. Benjamin Tanauber, Prof. Nahmias' research partner at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York, "Our findings may truly reduce the global burden of COVID-19".

At the press:

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Cutting Edge Innovation

Accelerating Medical Device Innovation

Israel BioDesign: Medical Innovation is a multidisciplinary program led by the Grass Center for Bioengineering in partnership with the Hadassah Medical Center and the School of Business Administration. The program is taught over one academic year taking outstanding medical fellows, bioengineering and business graduate students and tutors them in the science and practice of bringing a medical innovation to the market. 

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Direct PhD Program

Our small department allows students to develop meaningful relationships, while our new facilities and access to the Schools of Computers and Engineering offer unparalleled resources.