The Otto Warburg Minerva Center for Agricultural Biotechnology

Israel's advances in agriculture are based on the development of sophisticated and innovative techniques of research, in which the scientists of the Faculty of Agricultural, Food and Environmental Quality Sciences play a considerable role.

The development of molecular tools as means to manipulate biological processes stressed the need for an interdisciplinary effort in agricultural research. The need for teamwork to enable a coordinated approach in agricultural biotechnology prompted the Hebrew University to set up a research center in this field.

The center was established in 1984 as a joint Israeli-German venture endowed through the offices of the Minerva Society. The Center integrates and coordinates the research activities of its 15 members into interdisciplinary networks.

At the forefront of biotechnological research, the Center provides state-of-the-art equipment and services. Advanced techniques are used to improve agricultural crops in Israel and abroad, with research activities in crop improvement, plant pest control, cell & tissue culture, beneficial microorganisms and food improvement.

The emerging fields of genomics and proteomics are creating an infrastructure for the exploration of genes and proteins. Access to databases enables efficient of newly characterized genes into accelerated breeding programs and the production of desirable plants and crops.

The research-related activities at the Center include:

  • Symposia and workshops, bringing together students and researchers from Israel with prominent scientists from Germany and other countries.
  • Scientific exchange programs, for the purpose of forming collaborations and learning new techniques in laboratories overseas.
  • Scholarships to promote the study of Biotechnology and to enable M.Sc. and Ph.D. students to concentrate on their research.
  • An annual prize for excellence to highlight outstanding research achievements by Ph.D. students.

Today, the Center aims at advancing the scientific basis of biotechnology in agriculture and creating a skilled, well-educated, human resource base. It focuses on enhancing international cooperation and collaboration while fostering interactions with industry to develop products of agricultural and commercial value.

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