Summit Program

Summit Program

The Dead Sea Research Institute

Second global scientific summit


Life in Extreme Conditions – A Lesson from Nature

March 11-13, 2019


Monday, March 11th

10:00 – 10:30 Greetings & Opening Remarks

Dov Litvinoff - Mayor, Tamar Regional Council in Israel’s Southern District

Prof. Joseph Klafter - President, Tel Aviv University (TAU)

Prof. Yona Chen - ICA Board of Directors

Porter Foundation - Dame Shirley Porter, Founder


10:30 – 12:30 Opening session:

Chair: Prof. Ehud Gazit - Faculty of Life Sciences, Academic Director of the BLAVATNIK CENTER for Drug Discovery, Head of the Laura Schwartz-Kipp Institute for Biotechnology, TAU


The Dead Sea: from the past to the future

Prof. Colin Price - Department of Geophysics, Head of the Department of Environmental Studies, Porter School of the Environment and Earth Sciences, TAU


Treasures & Uniqueness of the Dead Sea region

Dr. Mira Marcus-Kalish- Director, International Research Affairs, TAU, VC Medical Informatics HBP



Advances in Soft Materials and their Impact on Aging Population and the environment

Prof. Samuel I. Stupp – Departments of Chemistry, Materials Science & Engineering, Medicine, and Biomedical Engineering Simpson Querrey Institute for Bio-Inspired Science and Technologies



Microbiome - a New Frontier That Might Just Affect Everything

Prof. George Weinstock - Evnin Family Chair and Director of Microbial Genomics, Jackson Laboratory for Genomic Medicine, USA


12:30 – 13:30 Lunch


13:30– 15:30 Session II: Microbiome


Chair: Prof. Eliora Ron - President Elect of IUMS (International Union of Microbiological Societies), George S. Wise Faculty of Life Sciences, TAU

Effect of exposure to sun on skin microbiome

Dr. Nurit Harel - School of Molecular Cell Biology and Biotechnology, George S. Wise Faculty of Life Sciences, TAU


From halophilic viruses to antibiotic resistance

Prof. Uri Gophna - School of Molecular Cell Biology and Biotechnology, George S. Wise Faculty of Life Sciences, TAU


The Terrestrial Holobiont: Ecological, agricultural and medical research

Dr. Amir Szitenberg - Dead Sea & Arava Science Center


Effect of E. coli vaccines on the microbiome

Dr. Mariagrazia Pizza - Discovery Project Leader R&D Centre GSK Vaccines


Microbial Variety in Desert Trees

Dr. Ashraf Al Ashhab - Dead Sea & Arava Science Center


15:30 – 16:00 Coffee Break


16:00 - 18:00 Session III: Geophysics / Climate

Chair: Prof. Michael Krivelevich, Dean Faculty of Exact Sciences


 Lessons from the longest earthquake record in the world

Prof. Shmuel Marco - Department of Geophysical, head of the Porter school of the Environmental and Earth Sciences, TAU


Scientific, Political, and Ethical Challenges Facing a Sustainable Anthropocene

Prof. Jagadish Shukla - The Center for Ocean-Land-Atmosphere Studies, George Mason University USA


Depletion, degradation, diversion – the death and life of inland seas as global policy challenge

Prof. David L. Feldman - Urban Planning and Public Policy, School of Social Ecology University of California, Irvine, USA


The Dead Sea rift as a unique site for sensor calibration from orbit

Prof. Eyal Ben-Dor - Department of geography, Porter school for environment study and earth science, TAU

First High-resolution Dead Sea Studies employing remote sensing and Meteorological model

Prof. Pinhas Alpert - Atmospheric Sciences, the Mikhael M. Nebenzahl and Amalia Grossberg Chair Professor in Geodynamics, Porter school for environment study and earth science, TAU

Pushing the limits of Earthquake Early Warning Systems: Is it time for A paradigm shift?

Dr. Hillel Bloch - Department of Geophysical, Atmospheric and Planetary Sciences, Raymond and Beverly Sackler Faculty of Exact Sciences, TAU


19:00 Dinner          


Tuesday, March 12th


09:00 – 10:30  Session IV: Health – Extreme Responses to Extreme Conditions

Chair: Prof. Oliver Gunter - President, Potsdam University


Evidence-based therapeutic properties of the Dead Sea                                        

Dr. Marco Harari, MD - Joint Research Institute on Climatotherapy for Skin Diseases at  the Dead Sea, Hadassah Medical Center and Dead Sea & Science Center

Apple of Sodom (Calatropis procera) callus, a novel skincare active compound

Dr. Zeev Ma’or - CTO R&D, AHAVA - Dead Sea Laboratories

Expanding the Horizon for skin Restoration

How to battle UV-induced damage: a lecture from Nature

Dr. Guy Cohen, Dead Sea & Arava Science Center               


10:30 – 11:00     Coffee Break


11:00 – 12:30  Session V: Health

Chair: Prof. Karen B. Avraham- Vice Dean, Sackler Faculty of Medicine 


A novel platform for manipulating genes in health and diseases.

Prof. Dan Peer - Managing Director, Center for Translational Medicine, Department of Cell Research & Immunology, Chair, Cancer Biology Research Center, Faculty of Life Science, TAU.


Understanding Individual Pathogenesis of Orthopedic Conditions and Integrative Approaches for Treatment.

Prof. Frank-Norbert Bittmann- Head of the Department of Regulatory Physiology and Prevention, Potsdam University


Desert Chemistry for Drug discovery targetting Cancer and Brain Research

Dr. Rivka Ofir- The Dead Sea & Arava Science Center


Pathways to a Cure: Space Age for the Aging Space

Mr. Homer Quintana (MCTM), Methodist Research Institute, USA


12:30– 13:30 Lunch


13:30 – 15:30  Session VI: Zoology – Adaptation to Extreme Conditions

Chair: Prof. Yoav Henis - VP R&D TAU


Are you a morning or an evening person? The adaptive significance of chronotypes

Prof. Noga Kronfeld-Schor - Head, School of Zoology, Head of Ecological and Evolutionary Physiology Laboratory, Faculty of Life Sciences, TAU


Using computer simulations and experiments to predict biological impacts of Climate change

Dr. Ofir Levy - School of Zoology, George S. Wise Faculty of Life Sciences, TAU


Diverse Functions of Torpor

Prof. Fritz Geiser - Director, Centre for Behavioral and Physiological Ecology (BPE), School of Environmental and Rural Science, New England University, Australia


Surviving the long, cold, and dark: Animal strategies for overwintering in the Arctic

Prof. Brian Barnes - Director, Institute of Arctic Biology, Professor of Zoophysiology, University of Alaska Fairbanks


Sugar as a source for antioxidant for nectarivores                 

Prof. Eran Levin - Zoology school, George S. Wise Faculty of Life Sciences, TAU


15:30-16:00 Coffee break


16:00 – 18:00 Masada Excavation

A guided tour with Dr. Guy Stiebel- Institute of Archeology, Lester and Sally   

Entin Faculty of Humanities, TAU


18:00 – 19:00 Session VII: Humanities

Chair: David Benshabat - Director Dead Sea Research Institute, Head of Center for Regional Thinking


Writing Blooms in the Desert

Prof. Jonathan Price - The Fred and Helen Lessing Chair of Ancient History, Lester and Sally Entin Faculty of Humanities, TAU


Transboundary Environmental Research- Nature knows no Borders

Dr. Tareq Abuhamed – Director of Academic Studies, Head of renewable energy, The Arava Institute


Regional Peace Activities in Extreme Conditions – From Owls to Space

Prof. Yossi Leshem – Department of Zoology, George S. Wise Faculty of Life Sciences, TAU


20:00 Dinner at Ein Gedi Outdoors


Wednesday, March 13th


09:00 – 10:30 Session VIII: Botanic/Ecology/Energy

Chair: Prof. Abdussalam Azem - Dean, George Wise Faculty of Life sciences, TAU


How hydrogen production can be used to study and engineer photosynthesis to the extreme

Dr. Iftach Yacoby – Head of the laboratory for renewable energy studies, School of Plant Sciences and Food Security, George S. Wise Faculty of Life Sciences, TAU

Inorganic life of plants

Dr. Ofir Katz - Dead Sea & Arava Science Center


Mechanisms that monitor the development of plants in response to heat stress, drought and salt

Prof. Shaul Yalovsky - School of Plant Sciences and Food Security, George S. Wise Faculty of Life Sciences, TAU


Keynote: The Taken-for-granted Supply Chain

Prof. Jonathan Trent - Director, OMEGA Global Initiative; Biomolecular Engineering, UC Santa Cruz, NASA, USA


10:30 – 11:00 Coffee Break


11:00 – 12:10 Session IX: Humanities

Chair: Prof. Raanan Rein - Vice President, TAU 


The Dead Sea Genome

Prof. Noam Mizrachi – Acting Chair, Department of Biblical Studies, Faculty of Humanities


Millefiori - the reconstruction of Herod's royal horticulture

Dr. Dafna Langgut - Head of the Laboratory of Archaeobotany and Ancient Environments at the Institute of Archaeology, TAU


Keynote: The Globalization of Science

Prof. Alan I. Leshner - Chief Executive Officer, Emeritus, AAAS and former Executive Publisher, Science, USA


12:10 – 13:30 Panel Discussion - Joint Collaboration Opportunities

Prof. Alan I. Leshner - Chief Executive Officer, Emeritus, AAAS and former Executive Publisher, Science, USA


Prof. Theng Yin Leng - Research Director, Research Strategy & Coordination Unit, President's Office, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore

Dr. Rino Rappuoli - Chief Scientist & Head of External R&D GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) Vaccines

Prof. Dana Burr Bradley - Dean, Erickson School of Aging Studies, Professor of Social Gerontology, University of Maryland, USA


Concluding Remarks


13:30 – 14:30  Lunch


Return to Tel Aviv


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