Drug Discovery – ADSSC
This department is part of the ADSSC
The Arava Center for Drug Discovery
The Arava is a harsh environment, high in radiation and very dry. For plants to survive here they must have developed a unique biochemistry that might be of pharmaceutical interest. Dr. Rivka Ofir has collected some 250 desert plants from the region and is screening the compounds extracted from these special plants against models for human diseases. This library was already found to be a source of potential drugs for anti-cancer and anti-neurodegenerative diseases using cell-based models.
Animal models for biotechnology purposes
Development and improvement of drugs requires the use of animal models, usually mice. Still, the zebrafish (Danio rerio) and research-nematode (Caenorhabditis elegans) are becoming important model systems for human diseases, models that in many cases replace mouse models.
Dr. Niva Russek-Blum has established a culture facility for growing Zebrafish lines that are being used as animal models for studying Alzheimer, ALS and Parkinson diseases in humans.
Dr. Yael Bar Lavan is developing C. elegans as the animal model for studying the misfolding of proteins.
Niva is also mentor highschool kids for 5 grade in biology.