Azem Abdussalam

Research topic: Understanding the function of mitochondria at the molecular level.

Research methods: The primary research approach that we utilize is reconstitution of a studied system from individual purified proteins.  We then employ a wide range of biochemistry and biophysics methods to study the structural properties of the reconstituted complexes, in vitro. Finally, we use functional assays (protein refolding and import) to establish a mechanistic link between the structure and function.  In parallel, we study the behavior of protein variants in a living system, using bacterial and yeast as model systems of normal and disease causing proteins.

Projects in the lab include:

  1. Molecular function of mitochondrial molecular chaperones on protein folding.
  2. Molecular mechanism of function mitochondrial protein import machinery.
  3. Nuclear encoded protein as a cause of mitochondrial disease.

Prag Gali

Research topic: Elucidating the decoding mechanisms of ubiquitin signals and their significance in neurodegenerative diseases

Research methods: Biophysical measurements including SPR, AUC, MST and SEC, X-ray crystallography, Bioinformatics, Biochemistry and bacterial genetics

Projects in the lab include:

  1. Molecular mechanisms that regulate membrane protein trafficking and Parkinson’s disease
  1. Mechanisms for regulation of sodium / potassium channels and dopamine transporter.
  1. The molecular basis of the involvement of the ubiquitin E3-ligases Ube3A and Ube3B in autism
  1. The involvement of ubiquitin-receptors in amyloid formation.

Mayo Lior

Research topic: We strive to better understand the mechanisms of autoimmunity and inflammation that underlie neurologic diseases and to translate these laboratory discoveries into new therapies.

Research methods: We take a transdisciplinary approach in our research endeavors using immunologic, genomic, proteomic and metabolomic approaches to study neuroinflammation in pre-clinical (murine) and clinical models. Our research combines state of the art technologies such as single-cell genome-wide sequencing, genomic editing, in-vivo imaging, targeted and un-targeted mass-spectrometry, in-situ molecular imaging and real-time metabolic analysis.

Main projects in the lab include:

  • Elucidating the immune function of the different glial cells in autoimmune diseases and neurologic disorders.
  • Investigating the immunometabolic response in the brain.
  • Studying the crosstalk between the innate and adaptive immune systems in the central nervous system.
  • Exploring the immunological aspects of the astrocyte-neuron relationship.
  • Developing novel strategies for manipulating glial activation and autoimmune responses.

Solomon Beka

Research topic:

  • Alzheimer’s disease.
  • ALS.

Research  methods:

  • .antibodies
  • .small molecules

Projects in the lab include:

  • Endogeneous stem cells for treatment of ALS.
  • Remyelinization process in neurodegenerative disorders.

Maggio Nicola

Research topic: The role of neuroinflammation and neurocoagulation in the pathophysiology of neurological disorders.

Research methods: Electrophysiology, Slice recording, Molecular biology, Biochemistry, Histology and Immunohistochemistry, Behavioral tests.

Main projects in the lab include:

  1. The role of thrombin in the brain: from physiology to pathophysiology.
  2. Neuroinflammation and Neurocoagulation in the brain.
  3. The role of stress and corticosteroid in synaptic transmission and plasticity.

Jablonka Eva

Research topic: The evolution of subjective experiencing and associative learning

Research methods: theoretical; literature synthesis; models (descriptive and other)

Main projects in the lab include:

  1. Evolution of associative learning
  2. Evolutionary approaches to the mind-body problem
  3. The evolution of symbolic communication

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.

Haitin Yoni

Research topic: The Molecular Basis of the Regulation of Microglial cells activity by Ion Channels

Research methods: Fluorescence-detection Size-Exclusion Chromatography (FSEC), membrane protein purification, proteoliposome reconstitution, unnatural amino acids (UAA) incorporation, transition-ion metal Fluorescence Resonance Energy Transfer (FRET), electrophysiology, patch clamp fluorometry, x-ray crystallography, deep mutational scanning, Single molecule Total Internal Reflection Microscopy (TIRF) imaging.

Projects in the lab include:

  1. Identification of the molecular determinants governing the activation of Ca2+-activated chloride channels.
  2. Elucidate the molecular rearrangements and architecture of membrane-embedded anion conductive Chloride Intracellular Channel (CLIC).
  3. Explore the functional expression and physiological importance of anion channels in resting and activated microglia

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

Beck-Barkai Roy

Research topic: Elucidating the molecular mechanisms and biophysics of nano-scopic self-assembled neuronal systems.

Research methods: Solution small and wide angle X-ray scattering (SAXS/WAXS), Atomic force microscopy (AFM), Electron microscopy (EM), Fluorescence and cross polarized optical microscopy, Molecular biology, Biochemical characterization techniques

 Main projects in the lab include:

  1. Structures and interactions of neuronal intermediate filaments
  1. Self-assembly of Myelin sheaths and de-myelination in multiple sclerosis
  1. Role of intrinsically disorder protein in the nervous system