UNESCO-BETC – Activities


Besides research, educational activities in various topics of plant molecular biology and agricultural biotechnology are conducted periodically at the UNESCO BERCEN targeting Palestinian agronomists, undergraduate and graduate students.

Educational Activities

Workshops/Courses/short training sessions in various topics including:

Plant Tissue Culture Techniques; Introduction to Genetic Engineering for high school students; Genetic Engineering for graduate students; Biological Control; Diagnosis of plant pathogens, Advanced Techniques in Plant Molecular Biology, Protein electrophoresis; Western Blotting; and Gene Transfer in Plants.

Research Activities

Current research activities include:

  1. Studying the mechanisms of abiotic stress responses in tomato (Solanum lycopersicum). Funded by DFG-Germany and in cooperation with Muenster University, this research project aims at first; comparatively investigate the function of the ROP10/ROP11 GTPase pair that has likely resulted from a recent duplication in Arabidopsis since the corresponding ROP10 in tomato is encoded by a single gene. Second to investigate the function and interactions of selected tomato CBL/CIPK/PP2C/ROP modules. Here we will put emphasis on their role in fruit ripening as well as heat and drought tolerance. And finally to identify the molecular basis for the heat tolerance in fruit set of a Palestinian tomato variety that has been identified at Bethlehem University. To achieve these goals we will pursue a combination of genetic, cell-biological, biochemical, and molecular biological approaches.
  2. Assessments of genetic diversity of fig (Ficus carica L.) in the West Bank based on Simple Sequence Repeat (SSR) and Inter-Simple Sequence Repeat (ISSR) markers. This project is funded by an IRG, Dean of Research office at BU and aims at analyzing the genetic diversity among 20 Palestinian fig cultivars were collected from different regions (northern, middle. Southern) of Palestine by using simple sequence repeat (SSR) and inter simple sequence repeat (ISSR).

Previous research activities

  1. Developmental biology and symbiosis of the bacto-helminthic complex Heterorhabditis bacteriophora and Photorhabdus luminescens for the biological control of white grubs (Maladera matrida) in the Middle East.
  2. Development of a regional viral indexing and certification program for plant propagation materials in the Middle East.
  3. The molecular basis for pathogenicity of Clavibacter michiganensis sub.sp. michiganensis, Erwinia herbicola pv.gypsophilae, and E. herbicola pv. Betae and its Application for diagnosis.
  4. Evolutionary Divergence, Reproductive Biology and Conservation of the Royal Irises (Iris section Oncocyclus ) in Israel and the West Bank.
  5. Transformation of Palestinian tomato cultivars for TYLCV and drought resistance.