Letter from Our CEO

January 6, 2023


Dear Friends,

Around the end of the old year and the beginning of the new, I find myself reflecting on what was and what I hope will be. While we don't know what the year has in store for us, I am confident that 2023 will bring an abundance of interesting and innovative news from Tel Aviv University (TAU). I am looking forward to sharing ground-breaking research with the potential to save lives, solutions to help the planet, technological advances, and innovation in multiple fields. In that vein, please read on for some of the most recent news coming out of TAU and impacting the world.

A new study from researchers at the Shmunis School of Biomedicine and Cancer Research identified over 100,000 new types of viruses that science had not seen before. The team discovered novel and diverse RNA viruses in multiple environments including soil samples, oceans, lakes, and other ecosystems. This discovery is expected to advance the development of anti-microbial drugs and aid in protecting against agriculturally harmful bacteria, fungi, and parasites.

Tel Aviv University recently announced the launch of The Colton Center, a new multidisciplinary center for research of autoimmune diseases, which will collaborate with Israel's medical institutions to enable big data analytics of medical information and biological samples. Autoimmune diseases represent the third most common cause of chronic illness in the United States, and the National Institutes for Health (NIH) estimates that they collectively affect between 5% and 8% of the U.S. population. TAU's unique approach will focus on big data analytics that will direct any traditional scientific wet lab work.

In a first-of-its-kind study, physiological data recorded by smartwatches was used to examine the safety of Covid-19 booster vaccines and found the booster is safe, showing no evidence of unusual adverse events. The joint study outfitted almost 5,000 Israelis with smartwatches and monitored physiological parameters such as heart rate, quality of sleep, and the number of daily steps taken over two years. Researchers evaluated the safety of the vaccine from three perspectives: subjective, objective, and clinical.

This past week, researchers at Tel Aviv University's Center for Nanosatellites launched the first Israeli nanosatellite designed to communicate from space with an optical ground station. This is the third nanosatellite built and launched by TAU, and the one that will pave the way toward quantum communication. Additionally, this is the first optical ground station in Israel and one of the very few worldwide that can lock onto, track, and collect data from a nanosatellite. I encourage you to watch the launch.

Thank you for being our partner and for your interest in Tel Aviv University. Your support is critical to helping make advancements such as these possible. I look forward to continuing to share breakthroughs and news throughout 2023. Wishing you and your families a happy, healthy, and joy-filled new year.

Shabbat shalom.

Jennifer Gross
Chief Executive Officer