Our Biological Models

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Caenorhabditis elegans as model for screening leads for drugs against brain diseases

 

Caenorhabditis elegans (C. elegans ) is a multicellular animal model. C. elegans provides an opportunity to study complex biological networks in an intact organism, allowing for a fast and economic identification of mediators of compound action, as well as an assessment of the general effects of the extract on a living organism. C. elegans has become an important model system, owing to its sequenced genome and genetic tools, a short life-cycle, an established lineage and transparency that have proven useful when using C. elegans as a model system for human disease. Benefiting from these characteristics, a number of C. elegans neurodegenerative disease models have been recently characterized, including Alzheimer’s disease (AD), Parkinson’s Disease (PD) and Huntington’s Disease (HD) models. The use of C. elegans as model organisms can expedite identification of molecular targets and signaling pathways affected by plant extract administration and thereby may facilitate the development of improved therapies for disease states and disorders.

C. elegans therefore provides an attractive platform for devising and streamlining efficient drug discovery and drug target identification methodologies.

Antifungal activity of desert plant extracts and /or desert microbime
against phtopathgenic fungus

Diseases caused by phytopathogenic fungi are considered extremely harmful and are widespread worldwide. Fungal growth on plants can inhibit production of foliage, fruit, or seeds, as well as reduce the quality and quantity of the harvested crop. At present, the control of these diseases is based fundamentally on the use of chemical fungicides, despite their high toxicity and their low biodegradability. The aim of our lab is to evaluate the potential antifungal activity of desert plant extracts or desert plant bacteria against phytopathogenic fungi such as: Fusarium, Botrytis, rhizoctonia, Pythium and Aspergillus. Therefore, the use of desert plant extracts or probiotic bacteria can provide an effective approach for preventing fungal infection in plants without significant adverse side effects to the plant or to the environment.

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Desert plant extracts against cancer diseases

Testing of extracts in human cell cultures as a model for cancer and testing for anti-inflammatory action: The test is performed in an experimental system to test the inhibition of inflammatory processes in the aging  (senescence) model. This system is based on monitoring the expression of the enzyme beta-galactosidase after the addition of hydrogen peroxide. We will also examine the effect of the various extracts on induced mortality in leukemic cells (B24-1 from mice) in the MTT assay.