Israel is home to very active and highly collaborative bioinformatics, computational biology and systems biology communities, and therefore constitutes a hub of excellent science. Over the last two decades Israel was involved, with the support of the Ministry of Science and Technology (MOST), in several European initiatives to promote these topics. Thus, it is natural that Israel will play a role in the emerging initiative of ELIXIR. It meets the national vision that was expanded in recent years for preparing the sustainability of resources and databases toward the goal of “improving the life of individuals and society.” The number of leading scientists in systems biology, data analysis, computational biology and bioinformatics is rapidly growing in all of Israel’s seven leading universities and research institutions, all of whom maintain training and education programs in bioinformatics, data analysis and computational biology.
The mission of the Israel Node within ELIXIR is to establish and sustain an infrastructure for biological information in Europe. This knowledge will be applied toward applications in medicine, the environment and biotechnology. The Israel Node will work in coordination with the ELIXIR Hub and with the other Nodes in supplying access to biological databases for the active Israeli community. In addition, the Israel Node will contribute to ELIXIR and its large body of European users by focusing on subjects in which Israel is producing biological data that can be used by the ELIXIR community:
- Maintenance, upgrade and integration of bioinformatics tools and databases produced by the Israeli research and biomedical community
- Developing the Israel Node to match the emerging needs of genomics for the disease-oriented bioinformatics and services to the biology and medical community
- Knowledge exchange for analysis of next-generation sequencing and proteomics data analysis
- Updating and sustaining major proteomics databases and servers (e.g., ProtoNet, ConSurf, GeneCards)
- Supporting bioinformatics solutions for storage, retrieval and data trafficking by proposing cost effective solutions
Dr. Berta Strulovici received her Ph.D. from the Weizmann Institute of Science in Rehovot, Israel. She then conducted postdoctoral research under the guidance of Professor Robert J. Lefkowitz at the Howard Hughes Medical Institute of the Duke University Medical School in Durham, NC, USA. Berta has a track record in building and leading outstanding, productive teams, while integrating innovative processes into seamless, successful enterprises in start-up and Big Pharma environments. At Merck Sharpe and Dohme in North Wales, PA, Berta was Vice President of Basic Research in charge of building a state-of-the-art Center of Excellence for early drug discovery for Merck Worldwide. She was involved in the discovery of lead compounds that are currently in clinical trials for various diseases. In 2011, Berta joined a new start up biotech, iPierian, in the Bay Area as Founding Chief Technology Officer. At iPierian, she focused the company on applying induced Pluripotent Stem Cell technology to drug discovery for neurodegenerative diseases. Most recently, Berta undertook a new role as Director of the National Center for Personalized Medicine in Israel, located at the Weizmann Institute of Science. The Center will be applying novel technologies in genomics, proteomics and High Throughput Screening to enable and advance Personalized Medicine in Israel.
Danny Ben-Avraham received his Ph.D. from the Hebrew University. After completion of his degree, he spent three years as a research fellow in the institute for Aging Research at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine (NY) where his research focus was the human genome and epigenome and its impact on aging and longevity. Prior to joining the Center, Danny worked at Proteologics Ltd., a biopharmaceutical company that specializes in the ubiquitin system, as the Head of Bio & Cheminformatics group. In this role, he built expert systems, used statistical methods and advanced techniques in computer-aided drug design such as QSAR, Pharmachophores, Docking and homology modeling. Previously, he worked at Quark Biotech Inc., as an Advanced Annotation team leader in the Bioinformatics group, and at Comverse Technology, Inc. as a programmer and activity leader.
Mr. Sharon Dahan holds a Bachelor of Technology (B.Tech.) in Civil Engineering and various Software and System Engineering certificates. Sharon is an Information Technology and Operations Executive experienced in implementation of innovative technology and operational processes that enable enterprise scalability with a focus on efficient and effective resource investment. Prior to joining the Center he worked for ten years in an international company dbMotion, holding the role of CIO. He enabled the company to become a global player and has played a major role in the growth of the company. dbMotion is an innovative provider of medical informatics. The dbMotion™ Solution facilitates Interoperability and Health Information Exchange (HIE) . Sharon is an expert in many of the fields needed for the development and implementation of the Information Technology Platform in order to create the IT vision and long term strategy for the G-INCPM Center and to build a strong Information Technology capability to handle BIG DATA with the volume and complexity generated.