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Science News from the Weizmann Institute of Science

Weizmann Wonder Wander

18 Jun, 2024
Just a few years ago, we could hardly have imagined that millions of people around the world would have access to easy-to-use generative AI applications that produce texts, images and videos. These apps can generate outputs that look as if they were created by human beings, as well as create thi…
10 Jun, 2024
Like treetops reaching high into the sky to sense the sunlight, our sensory neurons – whose role is to collect information about what is happening in and around the body – grow long, intricate extensions known as axons. These extensions spread out throughout the body, conveying various sensation…
6 Jun, 2024
Vortices are a common physical phenomenon. You find them in the structure of galaxies, tornadoes and hurricanes, as well as in a cup of tea, or water as it drains from the bathtub. Normally, vortices are formed when very fast-flowing air, water or another substance encounters an area with a slow…
3 Jun, 2024
Autophagy, which literally means “self-eating,” is a cellular cleaning-out process that maintains our bodies in good order, but excessive autophagy can be too much of a good thing. Now Weizmann Institute of Science researchers have revealed a dietary control device – one that keeps the mouth of …
1 Jun, 2024
Once upon a time, we were all nothing but a mass of densely packed stem cells. Over time, this mass elongated, sprouted limbs on either side, buttocks at the rear, a stomach in the front and a head on the top. The process by which embryonic stem cells give rise to distinct organs, rescuing us fr…
28 May, 2024
For the size of any population to remain stable over time, its birth and death rates must be balanced. If the birthrate is too high, there could be a population explosion; if it is too low, the population will shrink. This kind of balance exists, for example, among the 10,000 billion or so cells…
21 May, 2024
I want to thank the Weizmann Institute of Science for having me here. It is an honor to receive this recognition. To be here in Israel at this moment feels like a moral duty. Israel’s existence as a Jewish state remains nothing short of a modern miracle. I was born in a country where “Jew” was …
19 May, 2024
A sociologist of education, a geneticist of skin cells, a chess grandmaster, a founder of Israel’s pharma industry and a couple who are scientists and philanthropists – these are the six recipients of honorary Doctor of Philosophy degrees from the Weizmann Institute of Science for 2023, bestowed…
30 Apr, 2024
Jerusalem has been inhabited continuously for thousands of years, serving as both a center of religious significance and a seat of power for kingdoms, yet despite the vast number of historical texts about the city, there are still gaps in its absolute chronology. Researchers from the Weizmann In…
26 Apr, 2024
We, the presidents of the research universities in Israel, express our deep concern over the recent surge of severe violence, antisemitism, and anti-Israel sentiment across numerous leading universities in the United States. These disturbing events are often organized and supported by Palestinia…
21 Apr, 2024
Psychedelics are a hot topic in labs all over the world because they hold great potential for relieving the symptoms of depression, anxiety, PTSD and other mood-related conditions. Still, there is a major hurdle to developing these substances into safe, effective medications: Very little is know…
15 Apr, 2024
The Weizmann Institute of Science, in a joint initiative with the Miriam and Aaron Gutwirth Fund, is set to establish a medical school, through which it will launch a unique program to train the next generation of physician-scientists. The program, which will be open to graduates and postgraduat…
11 Apr, 2024
Life sciences have never been more digital. To learn more about life processes, biologists are collecting massive quantities of data that computer scientists analyze by means of sophisticated computational models that they develop. Over the past few years, Dr. Ori Avinoam of the Biomolecular Sci…
3 Apr, 2024
For animals, including humans, one’s place in the social hierarchy can affect everything, including one’s health and lifespan. Researchers at the Weizmann Institute of Science have now used a naturalistic approach to studying how mice form social hierarchies, and they discovered something unexpe…
27 Mar, 2024
Humankind has long turned to the skies in search of answers. Accounts of supernovae – exploding stars – go back thousands of years, but while we know today that these events create the building blocks of life itself, the conditions that cause a star to explode still remain very much a mystery. R…
18 Mar, 2024
Researchers at the Weizmann Institute of Science have identified a yeast that might be used to prevent invasive candidiasis, a major cause of death in hospitalized and immunocompromised patients. The study, published today in the Journal of Experimental Medicine (JEM), shows that the novel yeast…
8 Mar, 2024
Bacterial cells do not wake up one morning and decide to become parents. But there is a point in their cell cycle – after growing sufficiently and replicating their genomes – when they split in two, creating new cells that then repeat the process. What tells the bacterium that it’s time to split…
26 Feb, 2024
The human brain is a well-guarded control center. Its system of blood vessels is surrounded by a densely packed cellular barrier that prevents most substances from getting in or out. This fortified architecture protects the brain, but it can also stop it from getting help when it needs it – for …
14 Feb, 2024
When Profs. Joel Sussman and Israel Silman were asked to mentor Chinese students online during the COVID-19 pandemic, the last thing they expected to come out of the experience was highly innovative research on protein evolution that could change our understanding of the way new proteins come in…
8 Feb, 2024
No one would ever confuse a human being with, say, a mouse or a chicken. But at the very start of their different developmental paths, they share a striking similarity. In fact, even the most experienced researchers have a hard time saying whether an embryo in its gastrulation stage – one of the…
2 Feb, 2024
An unexpected observation has led researchers at the Weizmann Institute of Science to challenge a 200-year-old doctrine regarding the embryonic origins of the pituitary gland. Situated at the base of the brain, this pea-sized organ, also known as the hypophysis, plays a central role in maintaini…
25 Jan, 2024
In the late nineteenth century, physicians started treating human disease with blood serum extracted from immunized horses. But those extracts – which contained antibodies that target disease agents – often produced disastrous immunological responses. In the late twentieth century, researchers p…
18 Jan, 2024
Winning on the battlefield takes a combination of precise intelligence and resolute soldiers. But when it comes to the battle against cancer, the immune system’s fighters – the T cells – quickly lose their ability to kill and become exhausted, while the intelligence-providing dendritic cells are…
14 Jan, 2024
As they have done over the past decade, Prof. Avraham Levy and Naomi Avivi-Ragolsky of the Weizmann Institute of Science planned to conduct a field experiment with wheat this year at the Gilat experimental station, the southern branch of the Agricultural Research Organization of Israel’s Ministr…
9 Jan, 2024
How many mutations do I, or any member of my species, need to improve our chances of survival? There is no single correct answer to that question, but one might think about it in terms of the inherent tension between innovation and conservation. If the mutation rate is high – that is, if more er…