Maidan Inbal

Research topic:

  • Explore the neural mechanisms that underlying gait in everyday life environments
  • Identify the compensatory brain mechanisms that are utilized in different neurodegenerative diseases during complex motor-cognitive tasks

Research methods:

  • Cross sectional and longitudinal assessments in clinical setting
  • Neuroimaging such as functional Near-Infra-Red Spectroscopy (fNIRS)
  • Electrophysiology such as Electroencephalography (EEG)

Projects in the lab include:

  • Using EEG to monitor brain activation during walking while performing visual and auditory oddball tasks and identifying changes in the role of cognition during gait in healthy elderly and patients with neurodegenerative diseases.
  • Examine the ability of the prefrontal cortex to compensate for reduced automaticity of motor control with Parkinson's disease progression, and the effects of dopaminergic therapy on this compensation mechanism.

Joint projects with other Faculty members in the Sagol School of Neuroscience:

  • Exploring changes in EEG during motor and cognitive tasks in patients with Parkinson's disease and Lewy Body Dementia – in collaboration with Prof. Nir Giladi and Prof. Anat Mirelman.
  • Identifying alterations in the compensatory role of the prefrontal cortex with increasing motor-cognitive load – in collaboration with Prof. Anat Mirelman.
  • Assessing the role of prefrontal cortex during complex walking situations that include obstacle negotiation – in collaboration with Prof. Jeffrey Hausdorff. 

Yechiel Levkovitz

Research topic:

  • Affective disorders
  • Schizophrenia
  • Neuromarkers for Affective and Cognitive Improvement

Research methods:

  • Non-invasive brain stimulation
  • Electrophysiology
  • Brain-computer interface
  • Virtual Reality

Projects in the lab include:

  • Exploring Neuromarkers of treatment outcome using neuromodulation in
    patients with Major Depressive Disorder (TMS, EEG, fMRI)
  • Characterizing and monitoring mental disorders using electrophysiological
    tools (Event-related potentials and EEG networks)
  • Evaluation of psychiatric conditions measuring cortical plasticity using TMS
    Evoked potential (simultaneous TMS-EEG)

Shein-Idelson Mark

Research topic:
• Organization of population dynamics and coding across brain states.
• Evolution of neuronal computation.

Research methods:
• In-vivo and in-vitro large-scale, high-density extracellular electrophysiology.
• Signal processing and data analysis
• Computational modelling
• Intra-cellular electrophysiology

Projects in the lab include:
• Visual processing in the ancestral three layered cortex of turtles.
• Mechanistic sources of neuronal variability and their impact on coding.
• Organization of neuronal activity during interaction between oscillating sub-populations.
• Continuous monitoring and processing of 3D posture information in reptiles.
• Evolution of cortical computation – investigation of the amphibian dorsal pallium.

Tavor Ido

Research topic:

Exploring the relations between brain structure, function and behavior by predicting variability in brain activity and human behavior from brain anatomy and connectivity measurements

Research methods: 

  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI): functional MRI and diffusion MRI
  • Computational modeling
  • Behavioral experiments

Main projects in the lab include:

  • Predicting task-evoked brain activity from scans acquired at rest
  • Developing behavioral tasks that induce functional and structural brain modifications
  • Investigating the underline mechanisms of functional neuroplasticity as measured with fMRI
  • Characterizing inter-subject variability in brain structure
  • Statistical modeling of MRI data

Elkon Rani

Research topic:

Our research focuses on understanding mechanisms of gene regulation. We aim at elucidating, using bioinofrmatic methods and analysis of various omic datasets, how gene expression is regulated at the layers of transcription, stability and translation, and at discovering how interruptions in these regulatory mechanisms contribute to the development of human pathological conditions.

Research methods: Bioinformatics; systems biology; omics data obtained by various deep-sequencing techniques

Projects in the lab include:

  1. Elucidate mechanisms that regulate gene expression at the layers of transcription, transcript stability and protein translation.
  2. Identify key regulatory modules that dictate cell fate in the CNS.
  3. Elucidate the effect of genetic risk variants for brain diseases on gene regulation

Stark Eran

Research topic: Spiking network mechanisms underlying cognition

Research methods:  Our unique approach combines high density extracellular recordings with multi-site/multi-color electrical/optogenetic/pharmacologic manipulations, in freely-moving rodents that perform cognitive tasks. Our work involves developing behavioral tasks, engineering (molecular biology, optics, and electronics), data analysis (algorithmic design, multivariate signal processing), and modeling (single-cell and network).

Main projects in the lab include:

  1. Spiking network mechanisms underlying short term memory
  2. Spiking network mechanisms underlying phase precession

Moshaiov Amiram

Research topic: Computer-supported assessments of biological systems including aspects such as: adaptation (evolution, development, life-long learning), behavior, and cognition

Research methods: Computational intelligence methods such as evolutionary computation, artificial neural-networks, fuzzy logic, and their hybridizations.

Main Projects in the lab include:

  1. Neuro-fuzzy Inferencing about Natural Systems – The development of a novel adaptive-neuro-fuzzy inference method for understanding the behavior of biological systems. In collaboration with Prof. Amir Ayali, we have already shown the effectiveness of this generic approach for the case of a marching locust in a swarm.
  2. Multi-payoff Games – In the past utility-based game theory has been used for the understanding of natural systems. In collaboration with Dr. G. Avigad and others, we have developed a non-utility based approach to multi-payoff games (games involving conflicting objectives for each player). We postulate that our recent achievements in defining rationalizable strategies in such games may lead to some new developments in understanding natural systems.
  3. Computational Neuroevolution – We have developed several unique approaches to artificially evolve neural-networks. For example, we suggested a unique algorithm for multi-objective topology and weight evolution of recurrent neural networks. While developed for robotics, we suggest that it may be used for understanding natural systems. Note: The postulations in item 2 and 3 are in accordance with our theory of multi- competence cybernetics. Initial presentation of this theory can be found in: Moshaiov, A. “Multi-competence Cybernetics: The Study of Multi-objective Artificial Systems and Multi- fitness Natural Systems.” In Multiobjective Problem Solving from Nature. Springer Berlin Heidelberg, pp. 285-304, 2008.

Plotnik Meir

Research topic: Physiology of gait and vestibular function. Motor learning; Sensory- motor – cognitive integration in gait and posture, Pathophysiology of gait and equilibrium disturbances in nervous system disorders. Mental, psychological and psychiatric interactions with motor performance.

Research methods: Subjects: Healthy (young and elderly) and patients.

Apparatuses:  V-Gait – Virtual reality system integrating motion, visual and auditory stimuli, CAREN (computer assisted rehabilitation environment) – High immersion virtual reality system integrating motion, visual and auditory stimuli, CODA – motion analysis system, Zebris FDM-T Treadmill, The GAITRite system – GaitRite, OPAL (ambulatory wearable Accelerometers, gyroscopes and magnetometers) Noraxon Telemyo EMG System (surface and fine wire telemetric EMG system), K4b2 – Portable system for monitoring energy expenditure; EEG. Procedures: Observational; clinical interventions.

Projects in the lab include:

  1. Complexity in physiological networks – for short and long term physiological processes, based on signal processing data obtained from physiological sensors.
  2. Gait disturbances in Neurodegenerative diseases (e.g., Parkinson’s disease)
  3. Perception and action in complex environments (with virtual reality systems).
  4. Development of assistive devices based on eye movements and brain activity and on miniaturized wearable devices.
  5. Technologically based diagnostic, treatment, rehabilitation and tele – rehabilitation tools.

Moran Anan

Research topic: Studying how ensembles of neurons from different nuclei of the brain (both cortical and sub-cortical) collaboratively process taste information to drive behavior, and how experience adaptively change their activity.

Research methods: in-vivo (rat) multichannel extracellular electrophysiology, optogenetics, pure behavior studies and computer simulations. Data analysis goes beyond the regular single neuron level and utilize sophisticated statistical models such as Hidden Markov models (HMM) to probe changes to neural ensemble state dynamics.

Projects in the lab include:

  1. Studying how the amygdala, and specifically the basolateral amygdala (BLA), is involved in shaping cortical neuronal ensemble dynamics during taste processing
  2.  Studying how the BLA influences gustatory cortex (GC) ensemble taste processing during acquisition of emotional learning
  3. Studying how learning-related BLA and GC responses change when synaptic plasticity in one brain region is inhibited during memory retention

Gabet Yankel

Research topic: We investigate the mechanisms of endocrine and genetic regulation of bone remodeling. We have several projects aimed at elucidating the control of bone remodeling by the brain.

Research methods: Micro-computed tomography, fluorescent and immuno-histomorphometry, molecular biology, TBI, bioinformatics, biomechanics.

Projects in the lab include:

  1. Our GWAS identified genes regulating Oxytocin production as causal determinant of bone microarchitecture in the appendicular skeleton. Because Oxytocin is normally produced in the hypothalamus and stored in the posterior pituitary gland, our results emphasize the physiological relevance of the Bran-to-Bone communication.
  2. We also study the effect of traumatic brain injury (TBI) on bone formation in the calvarial bone and its link to the endocannabinoid system.