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Project Profile

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Central Arava Extension of the Dead Sea and the Arava Science Center

Research equipment to enable absorption of graduate students & researchers in the Arava


One cannot overestimate the importance of absorption of graduate students in the region.  These students are the 21st Century Zionists. They are either second generation in the Arava or young people who wish to work in research while breaking out of the Beer-Sheva – Haifa boundaries.

The Central Arava Science Center has recently completed the absorption of 3 Ph.D. students. It is a big success to the region and to its future: (1) Marcia lives in Sapir. She is involved in fish research and completed her M.Sc in Sde-Boker. It needed some effort to set her a Tetrahymena [*1] research laboratory. This effort "saved" thousands of driving kilometers to Sde Boker (~200 Kms round trip). Now she goes there only for complicated tasks that require more advanced research tools. (2) Irit was born in Ein-Yahav. Her husband works in a Hi-Tech company in Nes-Ziona. Last year they returned from his 3 years assignment in the U.S. They want to live and raise their children in the Arava.  However, it is impossible if they work in Beer-Sheva and Nes-Ziona. Presently, we've succeeded in setting some primary research facilities so Irit can do a fraction of her biodegradation of plastics project in the Arava.  (3) Valeria is a new immigrant from Argentina .  A research subject and facilities have been arranged for her in collaboration with the Yair Agricultural Experimental Station and with leading faculty members from Sde Boker and Rehovot.  Valeria moved to Hazeva together with her companion who is presently working as a research assistant in Yair station.  Valeria's research team just won a prestigious ISF research grant.

In addition to these three students there are two more M.Sc students who work with Prof. Zehavi within the facilities of Hazeva field school. They are also part of the science center.

Within the last 15 months we were approached by three more potential graduate students who wanted to study some regional related issues. Unfortunately, for various reasons, including, and mainly because of limited research infrastructure, none of these connections fulfilled itself.

The science center has the space and basic infrastructure to absorb more graduate students and researchers.  To complete the absorption of Marcia, Irit and Valeria and enable future research staff, we have to set some wider and more advanced research facilities, as detailed in the next section.

[1] Tetrahymena – a parasitic ciliate that infects guppies


The main objective of the project is to expand the research infrastructure in order to complete the absorption of the existing three Ph.D students and to enable future absorption of students and researchers that will move to work and live in the Arava.

Requested infrastructure:

(1) Refrigerated shaker - essential for growing living cells and/or microorganism in fully controlled conditions. It’s a must for the biodegradation of the plastic project. It will be used also in the on-going project with the library of desert plants and extracts.

(2) CO2 incubator is required to grow animal cell lines. It can be used both in the Tetrahymena sp. project and for screening the library of extracts against different bio-models.

(3) pH meter, electrical conductivity (EC),  dissolved oxygen (DO) meter and BOD[1] sets - required for preparation of basic solutions,  it is essential for any research laboratory especially for projects that deal with living organisms such as our on-going composting project and water quality assessment.  (4) PCs: our 3 students share two PCs, one belong to one of the students.

[1] BOD – Biological Oxygen Demand, a measure of living organisms, activity or vitality

Dr. Arieh Heilig

  • גידול דגי זברה למחקר באלצהיימר ע"י דר' ניבה בלום