Israeli Researchers Win UK Discovery Award
December 4, 2017 | A group of Israeli researchers from Haifa’s Bnai Zion Medical Center and the Technion, calling themselves Team Prismatix, have won a Discovery Award for promising developments in rapid diagnostics for antibiotic resistance. Team Prismatix is a collaboration between Professor Ester Segal’s research group at the Technion – Israel Institute of Technology department of biotechnology and food engineering and clinicians from Haifa’s Bnai Zion Medical Center. Discovery Awards are UK seed grants helping teams and individuals develop ideas to for solutions to combat antibiotic resistance for the Longitude Prize, a challenge worth £10 million ($13.4 million). The program is run by UK innovation foundation Nesta and Innovate UK as a partner in funding. Thirteen teams from countries such as India, Israel, Australia, Belgium, Holland, the USA, and the UK receive awards between £10,000 and £25,000 (between $13,000 and $34,000.) The technology developed by Team Prismatix determines antibiotic resistance in less than three hours. Bacteria are grown on small photonic silicon chips, using minimal volumes, according to the ACS Nano journal where the findings were published. Leading researcher and Technion PhD student Heidi Leonard said in a statement that “by measuring how light reflects off the surface of those bio-chips, we can determine whether bacteria are growing or dying in the presence of certain antibiotics.” Other researchers on the team include graduate Liran Holtzman; Dr. Ofer Nativ, chairman of urology at Bnai Zion; Dr. Sarel Halachmi, vice chairman of urology at Bnai Zion; and Prof. Leigh Canham from the University of Birmingham, England.