UNESCO-BETC – Message from Director

Dr. Omar Darissa


  • Science Building, Office: S-207
  • odarissa@bethlehem.edu
  • 022741241 ext. 2224

Message from Director

Since its establishment, the UNESCO BERCEN has been involved in various research and educational activities aiming at improving the agricultural sector in Palestine.

The outcomes of several large-scale research projects in various fields of plant molecular biology and biotechnology that have been conducted in the Center have improved the agricultural sector in Palestine in several ways.

For example, the Center is the sole provider of the plant pathogen diagnostic services for the Palestinian Ministry of Agriculture, nurseries’ holders, and farmers. Moreover, several local insect-pathogenic strains of fungi and nematodes have been isolated, characterized, and tested in the field as possible biocontrol agents to reduce the use of chemical pesticides in the country.

Furthermore, a tomato cultivar resistant to TYLCV, heat, and drought has been developed by conventional breeding and is under characterization toward commercialization. Regarding the educational activities, the Center has been organizing workshops and training sessions in various biotechnological topics targeting Palestinian agronomists, undergraduate, and graduate students.

Moreover, the UNESCO BERCEN has improved the teaching quality at the Biology Department at BU by introducing theoretical and practical sessions to some of the offered undergraduate and graduate courses. These sessions include modern techniques and up-to-date scientific topics derived from the research activities at the Center.

I believe that the Center will continue improving the agricultural sector, education, and teaching quality at BU by attracting locally and internationally funded research projects.

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…