The prolific scientific response to the COVID-19 pandemic has been nothing short of extraordinary, bringing hope and inspiration to humanity. At the Technion, researchers in more than 50 laboratories pivoted their work to focus on battling COVID-19 when outbreaks began appearing around the globe. As a result, they have produced innovative solutions to diagnose and contain the virus, bringing solace to people worldwide, while also becoming a more multidisciplinary and agile institution.
Join us for our first Live From Technion webinar of the new year to learn how the pandemic has led to some unexpected silver linings. While COVID-19 has clearly been one of the worst health crises in recent memory, scientific achievements emerging from its challenges are sure to have a positive impact for a long time to come.
Professor Alon Wolf, VP for External Relations & Resource Development, will address lessons learned from working in crisis mode, and offer an overview of the most promising COVID-related research at the Technion, including those being employed to keep the campus safe and open. Prof. Yair Ein-Eli will talk about his reusable face mask that can be cleansed by heat generated from a simple phone charger. Asst. Prof. Naama Geva-Zatorsky will introduce her NaorCov19 test which uses saliva samples to rapidly detect the SARS-CoV-2 virus and is currently in use on campus as part of a clinical trial. Asst. Prof. Yonatan Savir will discuss his device to remotely measure a person’s vital signs, boosting safety for front-line healthcare workers. Innovative technologies like these are helping solve critical challenges of the current pandemic and could prepare us for future crises.
ABOUT THE SPEAKER
Professor Alon Wolf ’95, Ph.D.’02 is Vice President for External Relations & Resource Development for the Technion, director of the Technion Biorobotics and Biomechanics Lab, and head of the Israeli Olympic Sports Research Center, a joint Technion-Olympic Committee project to boost the performance of Israel’s elite athletes. He also leads FIRST Robotics Israel, which mentors STEM-oriented high school students.
Prof. Wolf’s lab is best known for creating robotic search and rescue snakes, and he later developed surgical snakes at the company he co-founded, Medrobotics. Popular Science named the innovations to their best technology lists for 2012 and 2014. After receiving all three degrees at the Technion, he worked at the University of Pittsburgh’s School of Medicine, the Robotics Institute at Carnegie Mellon University, and the Institute for Computer-Assisted Orthopedic Surgery at West Penn Hospital. In 2006, he joined the Technion Faculty of Mechanical Engineering.
Professor Yair Ein Eli has served as the Dean of the Materials Science and Engineering Faculty at the Technion since 2018. His heat-cleansing mask grew out of his expertise in battery technology, working in the field of power sources involving advanced materials for Li-ion batteries, alkaline batteries, metal-air cells, and fuel cells. Prof. Ein Eli earned his bachelor’s and Ph.D. degrees at Bar-Ilan University in 1990 and 1995, respectively. He was a postdoctoral fellow at Covalent Associates, Inc. in Massachusetts, and then vice president of R&D at Electric-Fuel Ltd. in Israel before joining the Technion in 2001.
Assistant Professor Naama Geva-Zatorsky heads a lab in the Rappaport Technion Integrated Cancer Center (RTICC) at the Ruth and Bruce Rappaport Faculty of Medicine. She is also affiliated with the Russell Berrie Nanotechnology Institute at the Technion. The Geva-Zatorsky lab studies the interaction of gut microbes and the host immune system in health and disease. Pivoting her research at the onset of the pandemic, Prof. Geva-Zatorsky developed the NaorCov19 test which uses saliva samples to rapidly detect the SARS-CoV-2 virus. She has received numerous awards including the Alon Fellowship for outstanding young researchers, the Johnson & Johnson WiSTEM2D prize, the International L’Oréal-UNESCO Prize for Women in Science, and the John F. Kennedy Prize for academic excellence and scientific accomplishments. She was also selected as a CIFAR-Azrieli Global Scholar in the Humans and Microbiome program. Prof. Geva-Zatorsky received her bachelor’s degree from Tel Aviv University in 2002, majoring in both biology and chemistry, and her master’s and doctoral degrees in systems biology from the Weizmann Institute of Science. She conducted her postdoctoral work at the lab of Prof. Dennis Kasper at Harvard Medical School prior to joining the Technion.
Assistant Professor Yonatan Savir ’04 heads a lab in the Technion’s Rappaport Faculty of Medicine that studies information processing in biological systems and its failure in aged cells. His interdisciplinary research has led to unique algorithms that extract precise data from inexpensive thermal imaging cameras — technology that was used in his COVID-19 device. He holds dual Technion bachelor’s degrees in physics and electrical engineering, received his master’s and Ph.D. degrees from the Weizmann Institute of Science, and conducted postdoctoral research at Harvard Medical School before joining the Technion in 2015.