The Institute of Biochemistry, Food Science and Nutrition directed by Prof. Oren Froy engages in a wide range of cutting-edge research endeavors dedicated to studying the effects of nutrients on health at the molecular, cellular, and physiological levels, as well as the molecular composition, physical and chemical properties and technological aspects of foods. Food safety and food security are also the main research goals of the Institute.
According to an age-old saying, a person is what he eats. The Institute fosters a multidisciplinary research environment that combines biochemical and medical expertise in nutrition and metabolism with an understanding of the chemistry, physics, microbiology and technology of food and food components.
The staff includes 13 research scientists and 3 full-time teaching members.
This outstanding Institute offers well-equipped facilities and laboratories, state-of-the-art equipment, information resources and friendly and dedicated team. When combined with the beauty of the Faculty, the Institute is an exciting and pleasant place to study and conduct research. The relatively small campus enables staff and students from the Institute to interact with other people in the Faculty in a stimulating and professional environment.
Visiting scientists, exchange students, and post-doctoral fellows from around the world enhance the important exchange of new ideas in the Institute. Research and studies in the Institute focuses on biochemistry, food sciences, and nutrition. The research ranges from basic to applied science and often combines interdisciplinary collaborations among scientists from the faculty and from all over the world.
In addition, the Institute of Biochemistry, Food Science and Nutrition awards degrees at both the undergraduate and graduate levels with high admission standards. Each year 170 students are awarded bachelor's degrees (70 in Biochemistry and Food Science and 100 in Nutritional Science), 40 are awarded master's degrees, and 100 are enrolled in both the Masters and PhD programs. Every other year, the Institute holds an International MSc Nutritional Sciences Program, hosting students from all around the world.
The Institute researchers and their research topics are:
Prof. Oren Froy: Molecular analysis of the biological clock in mammals. Effect of food on the biological clock. Obesity, metabolism and diabeses & the biological clock. Meal timing. The circadian clock and ageing.
Prof. Betty Schwartz: Elucidation of the nature of interaction between nutrients and genes involved in mechanisms associated with cellular homeostasis, especially those governing the maintenance & health of the gastrointestinal tract.
Prof. Oren Tirosh: Elucidation of cellular and molecular action of dietary antioxidants. Understanding the physiological beneficial or pathological deleterious effects of reactive oxygen species (ROS) in cellular and biological systems.
Prof. Aron Troen: Homocysteine, Folate, vitamin B12 and one-carbon metabolism. Cerebral blood flow & metabolism in age-associated cognitive decline; Nutritional prevention of cerebrovascular disease & dementia.
Prof. Efrat Monsonego-Ornan: Nutritional and environmental aspects of bone development; Cellular mechanisms underlying the effects of the western diet components and mechanical loading on the process of endochondral ossification.
Prof. Hagai Abeliovich: Starvation-induced membrane dynamics in eukaryotic cells. Membrane trafficking and mitochondrial quality control in baker’s yeast. Metabolic engineering of yeast for the production of plant secondary metabolites in the production of functional foods.
Prof. Ido Braslavsky: Biophysics, Food Biophysics, Ice Physics, Cryopreservation, Ice binding proteins, Antifreeze protein investigation with fluorescence microscopy and microfluidic devices, 3D printing of food materials.
Prof. Masha Niv: Taste perception and behavioral effects. Molecular recognition, genotype-sensory interactions and structure-taste relations of bitter and sweet compounds. Prediction of taste based on chemical structure, sensory evaluation, classification of bitter molecules.
Prof. Zohar Kerem: Health promoting natural products from edible plants (the seven species): extraction, separation, structure elucidation, and characterization of modes of action. Special emphasis on saponins and polyphenols.
Dr. Roni Shapira: Molecular characterization of regulating elements involved in bacteriocin production in lactic acid bacteria. Using bacteriocins in food systems for shelf life extension and controlling pathogens.
Dr. Zvi Hayouka: Food-borne and other infectious enteric diseases are significant sources of morbidity and mortality worldwide. The high demand for minimally processed, easily prepared and ready-to-eat ‘fresh’ food products poses a major challenge for food safety and quality.
Dr. Ido Goldstein: Regulation of gene expression in the liver and how this regulation affects liver biology. Gene regulatory networks that mediate the liver’s response to nutritional status such as fasting, ketogenic diet, iron overload etc.
Dr. Aliza Stark: Nutrition education and health promotion to improve dietary habits in Israel. Populations include soldiers, Ethiopian families, schoolchildren and the mentally handicapped. Clinical Nutrition Projects including developing the Nutrition Care Process in Israel.
Dr. Anna Aronis: Dietary supplements in health and disease. Nutritional assessment of specific population groups in hospitals.
Dr. Merav Fichman: Implementation and application of computational methodologies for the design of new and improved natural and food compounds. Exploring structural features in proteins responsible for ligands activity and specificity.
This article was published in a special issue for World Food Day 2019