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The UNESCO Biotechnology Educational and Research Center

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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.


Dr. Omar Darissa

Omar DarIssa, PhD

Director and
Principal Investigator

Biology Department

Tel: +972-2-2765404
Tel: +972-2-2741241, ext 2224
Fax: +972-2-2744440


Bethlehem University Foundation
Phone: +1-240-241-4381
Fax: +1-240-553-7691
Beltsville, MD USA
Bethlehem University in the Holy Land
Phone: +972-2-274-1241
Fax: +972-2-274-4440
Bethlehem, Palestine