UNESCO Biotechnology, Educational and Training Center

About the Center

In 1995, the UNESCO Biotechnology Educational and Research Center (BERCEN) was established at B.U. by the Biotechnology Action Council (BAC). This followed a proposal submitted by Dr. Naim Iraki, and a positive response by Prof. Indra Vasil, (University of Florida, USA) and Chairman of the BAC.

The UNESCO BERCEN aims at promoting the development of plant molecular biology research as well as Agricultural Biotechnology in the Palestinian areas and Arab countries. This aim is achieved by means of three types of activities:

  1. Organizing intensive lecture programs, workshops, and courses in the various fields of plant biotechnology for Palestinian and Arab scientists.
  2. Training in modern research techniques for young Palestinian and other Arab scientists in plant and agricultural biotechnology at the BERCEN laboratory at B.U. and other local labs in the area.
  3. Conducting large-scale research projects in plant molecular biology and agricultural biotechnology.


1. Establishment of  a laboratory for detection of bacterial and viral diseases in plant propagation material.

2. Development of a tomato cultivar resistant to tomato yellow leaf culr virus.

Research Activities

Mechanisms of abiotic stress responses in tomato (Solanum lycopersicum)

February 21, 2020

Plants as sessile organisms have to efficiently cope with adverse environmental conditions. Abiotic…

UNESCO Biotechnology Educational and Research Center – Developmental

February 21, 2020

The research involves isolation and identification of new strains ofentomopathogenic nematodes from Palestinian…

UNESCO Biotechnology Educational and Research Center – Developmental

February 21, 2020

biology and symbiosis of the bacto-helminthic complex Heterorhabditisbacteriophora and Photorhabdus luminescens for the…

Mission and Objectives

The missions of the UNESCO BERCEN are to empower innovative plant biology research and to transform the basic scientific research outcomes into applied technologies that would serve the Palestinian agriculture. Also, our missions include encouraging collaboration among the Palestinian plant scientists and promoting scientific education and professional development of our undergraduate and graduate students.