BAR-ILAN UNIVERSITY The spirit of innovation

Discover some of the creative start-ups coming out of Bar-Ilan University’s impact creation platform, and meet some of the graduates making their mark

Understanding Alzheimer’s

Faced by a need to upgrade medical services and infrastructure in the north of the country, Bar-Ilan University was chosen by the government to open Israel’s fifth medical school — the first to be inaugurated in 40 years, as well as the first such institution in the Galilee. This year, the Azrieli Faculty of Medicine will celebrate its 10th anniversary. One area of research in

which the medical school is currently involved is treating Alzheimer’s disease. Dr Srikanth Dutt, a PhD graduate of neuroscience, focused on deciphering the mechanism of learning, memory and anxiety, and developing novel therapeutic methods that may ultimately be used to treat Alzheimer’s. “This was a great place to experience how to address a scientific question and to learn the diferent ways of approaching and solving a scientific problem,” he says. The position of the medical

school in the Galilee region also enabled it to address the needs of the area during Covid-19. Dozens of medical students were placed in clinics in various towns to provide assistance to medical professionals, whose workload had increased overwhelmingly since the onset of the pandemic.

True to its vision of influence and spirit of innovation, Bar-Ilan University’s contribution doesn’t stop with progressive research and scientific discovery — it extends to entrepreneurship as well. Enter its Entrepreneurship Center, which aims to connect academia and industry, creating an atmosphere of creativity and innovation. A recent initiative established by the university

is UnBox Ventures — a platform that creates, curates and invests in start-ups founded by Bar-Ilan researchers and off-campus entrepreneurs that have the potential to make real change on a global scale. Some of the exciting projects to have emerged

from the first UnBox class include BikeHive — a fast-charging energy storage system for electric-bike and scooter fleets; CDR3, which focuses on artificial intelligence-based diagnostics for personalized immunotherapy; and Pentaomix, which uses AI-based, high-veracity tumor diagnosis from biopsy samples. There’s also MuLTI, a game-like AI-based learning disability assessment for pre-school children using voice samples, and OtheReality, another inventive virtual reality-based social-ware developer that generates empathy for reduced

32 Israeli Academia | 2021

bias, harassment and bullying in schools as well as the workplace. And the list goes on. All these ideas deserve praise, but it’s the

bright sparks behind the innovations that are key to creating real positive impact in our fast-changing world. For this reason, the graduates of the International MBA program are celebrated at Bar-Ilan University. Emily Kirschenbaum co-founded Purple Chia, a

two-woman team of content experts that helps small businesses grow their influence by creating valuable content. Bayla Haskel, meanwhile, started off in high-tech, but then decided she wanted to help people (especially her husband and three children) eat healthier. She founded Veg It Out, a platform that uses machine learning to create customized recipes and menus based on personal preferences, DNA and budget. Finally, there’s Jason Kirsch, a Certified Financial Planner who founded Grow, an investment company that educates millennials on today’s economic realities and provides them with solutions to improve their lives. These are just three examples of Bar-Ilan

University’s many high-flying graduates, whose work in various fields is creating tangible changes in the modern world.

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