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The Zuckerberg Institute
for Water Research (ZIWR)

​​​Here below the positions for Research students that are currently available at the ZIWR. If you see something of interest, please be in touch with the proposing faculty member.​

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Looking for MSc student to study the microbial and chemical quality of gray water in the recognized and unrecognized Bedouin villages in the Negev

In both recognized and unrecognized Bedouin villages in the Negev, wastewater collection and treatment is limited. Thus, often untreated greywater is released to the environment or is used for irrigation. The project aims to study the potential health risk of using untreated greywater for irrigation. In the project, we will analyze the microbial and chemical contaminants in the water and the irrigated soil. The data will be used for risk assessment.

For more information, and to apply, please contact Prof. Zeev Ronen (zeevrone@bgu.ac.il) or Professor Amit Gross (amgross@bgu.ac.il)

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Effect of nano- and micro-textures on the ability of liquids to spread on surfaces (wetting phenomena) 

Controlling the surface wettability is desirable for many applications, including non-wetting, self-cleaning, and antifouling surfaces; and for completely wetting/spreading applications, such as creams, cosmetics, and lubricant fluids. During the project, the students will study the theory that correlates surface texture with wetting, as measured by contact angles. Then, using nano-fabrication techniques to prepare nano- and micro-textures, we will explore the effects of these textures on the contact angles.

For more information, and to apply, please contact Dr. Yair Kaufman (yairkau@post.bgu.ac.il)

Yair fig 1-student opps.jpg 

Figure 1: Scanning electron microscopy image of a texture that we studied during our “wetting project". The inset shows a water droplet that was placed on this textured surface, resulting in contact angle that is ~130° (hydrophobic). It is noted that the surface is made of silica, i.e., the contact angle on smooth and clean surface (without the texture) is below 30°.

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Self-assembly of biomimetic (bio-like) membranes on patterned surfaces

Biological membranes sense light, mechanical pressure, temperature, specific molecules and more. In addition, biological membranes can selectively (passively or actively) transport certain molecules, such as specific ions, and/or water molecules. During the last decade, it has been demonstrated that some of the functionalities of biological membranes can be realized with biomimetic membranes, and, in turn, these biomimetic membranes can be used for making the state-of-the-art bio-sensors and innovative separation processes. In this project, the students we will explore the parameters and the mechanisms that govern the self-assembly of biomimetic membranes on nano-fabricated patterns. During the project, apart from the theoretical aspects of the project, the student will get to use the state-of-the-art nano-fabrication techniques, such as electron-lithography, and hands-on experience with advanced atomic force microscopy techniques.

For more information, please contact Dr. Yair Kaufman (yairkau@post.bgu.ac.il​)

 Yair fig 2 student opps.jpg

Figure 2: Illustration of a biomimetic membrane that consists of lipid bilayer with embedded aquaporins, which are membrane proteins that selectively transport water molecules. This type of biomimetic membrane has the potential to increase the energy efficiency of the water desalination process.

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Measuring the chloride current through opsins

Opsins are membrane proteins that act as light-driven ion pumps. Recently, it was shown that neurons can be excited or silenced by light when opsins are incorporated in the neuronal membrane. It was also shown that upon the incorporation of opsins, the brain activity of mice can be controlled by light. Unfortunately, the intensity of the light that is needed to control the brain activity is not quantified. In this project, we will incorporate known number of oriented opsins in biomimetic membrane, and then we will measure the ion current for a given light intensity. The students will use the state-of-the-art fabrication techniques to prepare biomimetic membranes with opsins on nano-patterned surfaces. Then, the students will learn how to measure ion currents through these membranes.

For more information, please contact Dr. Yair Kaufman (yairkau@post.bgu.ac.il)

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Optimization of the tertiary treatment (SAT) at the Shafdan wastewater treatment plan 

In a nut-shell, we are looking at improving the SAT process, combining its hydraulic operation and biodegradation process.  This project is with cooperation with Prof. Alex Furman (Technion) and German partners.

For more information, please contact Prof. Noam Weisbrod (weisbrod@bgu.ac.il).

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Exploration and quantification of colloid facilitated transport of trace metals in fractures

Exploring and quantifying colloid facilitated transport of trace metals in fractures, emphasizing the micro-scale. This project is combining the use of state-of-the–art microscopy and visualization techniques (in cooperation with Dr. Avraham Beer).

For more information, please contact Prof. Noam Weisbrod (weisbrod@bgu.ac.il)

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Experimental exploration of dynamic dissolution of salt layers during flow​

Experimental exploration of dynamic dissolution of salt layers during flow in relation to the development of sinkholes along the Dead Sea (in cooperation with Drs. Ravid Rosenzweig and Eyal Shalev from the Geological Survey).      

For more information, please contact Prof. Noam Weisbrod (weisbrod@bgu.ac.il)

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Transport processes and water quality in Streams

Motivated M.Sc and Ph.D student are needed for studying various aspects of environmental processes in streams with implications to water quality and stream restoration. Projects are available on these topics:

  1. Coupled sand and clay motion in streams
  2. Oxygen consumption and CO2 production along flow paths in streambeds
  3. How streams are breathing?  And what is controlling nutrient cycling in urban streams.

    The studies are carried out in the laboratory of Dr. Shai Arnon at the Zuckerberg Institute for Water Research in Sde Boker (Ben-Gurion University of the Negev) and in collaboration with leading laboratories in the world.

    Background required for the research is a degree in science or engineering. The projects are relevant to a wide range of specializations, including physics, chemistry and biology and all kind of eng. Backgrounds.

    For more information, please contact Shai Arnon:  sarnon@bgu.ac.il

     pic for Shai's student opp.JPG


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Looking for Masters or PhD students for the following topics: 

Management modeling study of water desalination in the sea and transfer to the Kinneret and the Dead Sea for solving the sinkhole issues;

Researching wastewater treatment by wetlands.

For more information, and to apply, please contact Prof. Gideon Oron (gidi@bgu.ac.il)