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

Ashery-Padan Ruth

Research topic: We focus on understanding the molecular mechanisms that control the development of the visual system in mammals. Specifically we investigate the mechanisms that regulate cell-fate decisions, normal differentiation and survival of retinal neurons. Our studies are important for understanding the development of the eye and disease conditions that lead to vision loss.

Research methods: Transgenic mice; confocal microscopy; deep sequencing; retinal cultures; functional studies of genes in vivo and in cultures; analysis of promoter structure and activity, DNA microarrays.

Main projects in the lab include:

  1. Study of gene networks controlling cell-fate decisions in retinal neurogenesis
  2. Study function of transcription factors and micro-RNA in specific retinal neurons
  3. Investigating the development of ocular structures that are essential for normal vision; lens, cornea and the pigmented cell types of the eye

Ben-Yosef Dalit

Research topic: The lab focuses on studying issues related to early embryonic and developmental processes, genetic disorders and different aspects of cell therapy using our unique collection of PGD-derived human embryonic stem cells (hESCs).

Research methods: The Wolfe PGD-Stem Cell Lab focuses on studying issues related to early embryonic and developmental processes, genetic disorders and different aspects of cell therapy using our unique collection of PGD-derived human embryonic stem cells (hESCs). We derive human hESCs directly from affected embryos, following preimplantation genetic diagnosis (PGD). PGD is performed for couples at high risk of transmitting a genetic defect to ensure the birth of a healthy baby. Following in vitro fertilization and PGD, the affected embryos that are normally discarded are used to establish hESC lines carrying the genetic disease. These cells are now a valuable tool for studying the pathophysiology of these diseases in humans. See list of projects in our website. One of our major projects involves studying Fragile X syndrome (FXS) – the most common form of inherited intellectual disability. Using FXS affected hESCs we gained novel insight into the molecular mechanisms responsible for the development of FXS (Eiges et al., and Ben-Yosef, Cell Stem Cell 2007). We showed that the CGG expansion alone is not sufficient for FMR1 gene silencing. Following the course of differentiation of these cells into functional neurons we could further identify aberrant molecular functions and cell fate decisions that may underlie the disease (Telias et al 2013). We are now studying the molecular and cellular mechanisms by which FMR1 inactivation impairs neurogenesis, leading to the characteristic FXS phenotype of cognitive impairment. This will enable the identification of new therapeutic targets for FXS, whereupon our human FXS neurons can also be used as a reliable in-vitro drug screening platform.

Techniques used in our lab: in vitro neural differentiation of human embryonic stem cells, CRISPR/Cas9 genome engineering, next generation sequencing, direct cell fate conversion, advanced cloning and molecular biology techniques.

Lederkremer Gerardo

Research topic: Development and role of endoplasmic reticulum stress in the pathogenesis of neurodegenerative diseases.

Research methods: Molecular biology, Cell biology, Biochemistry, Protein chemistry, Glycan structural analysis, Immunohistochemistry, Cryosection analysis, Immunofluorescence, Confocal microscopy, STED microscopy, Live cell imaging.

Projects in the lab include:

  1. Study of cellular compartmentalization in the response to endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress in Huntington’s and other neurodegenerative diseases.
  2. Search for drugs that interfere with ER stress induced apoptosis in the brain striatum in Huntington’s disease.
  3. Mechanisms of ER quality control and ER-associated degradation (ERAD) in normal and disease model neurons.

Wollberg Zvi

Research topic: Characterization of genes in the human deaf population and corresponding mouse models; the regulation by microRNAs in the auditory and vestibular systems and their targets; networks of genes and proteins in the auditory system using transcriptomics and proteomics; the correlation between anxiety and balance defects in mouse models.

Research methods: Deep sequencing/massively parallel sequencing, gene cloning, quantitative RT-PCR, immunofluorescence, yeast two-hybrid assays, cell culture, scanning electron microscopy, mass spectrometry, in situ hybridization, bioinformatics.

Main projects in the lab include:

  1. Discovery and characterization of genes for inherited hearing loss in humans using deep sequencing technology
  2. microRNA regulation in the auditory and vestibular systems and link to deafness
  3. Identification of microRNA targets in the mammalian inner ear
  4. Characterization of mouse models for human forms of deafness
  5. Gene therapy in a loxP-cre connexin 26 mouse model for human deafness
  6. The search for biological networks of hearing: a transcriptomics and proteomics approach

Gordon Goren

Research topic: Understanding curiosity-driven behavior and the underlying cognitive, computational and neuronal mechanisms in infants, children and adults, during normal and abnormal development.

Research methods: computational models; behavioral measures; behavioral monitoring, e.g. facial expressions and body pose; social robotics; humanoid robotic platforms.

Projects in the lab include:

  1. Quantitative model-based assessment of curiosity in adults: assessing subjects’ behavior during a curiosity game, using facial expression and body pose monitoring.
  2. Development of full-scale brain-inspired computational models of perception, learning and behavior: intrinsic motivation and unsupervised learning-based models of emergent skills and perceptual capacities.
  3. Implementation of brain-inspired computational models in social robots: comparison of emergent exploration behaviors in robots to normal and abnormal behavior in infants and children.

Broday Limor

Research topic: Molecular regulation of sleep-like behaviour in the genetically tractable C. elegans model. Interactions between neuronal and metabolic signalling pathways.

Research methods: Live imaging, confocal microscopy, genetics, molecular biology, biochemistry

Projects in the lab include: We aim to understand how interactions among genetic conditions, biochemical modifications, dynamic subcellular organelles and physiological processes result in integrated organismal responses (embryonic development, stress response, aging and sleep). We approach our objectives using C. elegans, a microscopic round worm which has been a key multicellular model for biological discovery over the past 40 years.

  1. Regulation of sleep-like behavior by post-translational protein modifications.
  2. Regulation of embryonic morphogenesis by SUMO (small ubiquitin-like modifier)
  3. Regulation of stress response and aging by the E3 ubiquitin ligase RNF-5

Fattal-Valevski Aviva

Research topic: Insults to the developing brain, neurogenetic disorders in children

Research methods: Clinical and neuroimaging studies

Projects in the dep. include:

  1. Neuroimaging of children with hemiplegic CP
  2. Follow up of cognitive function in children with electrical status epilepticus in sleep (ESES) secondary to benign childhood epilepsy with centrotemporal spikes (BCECTS) – a prospective study
  3. Functional MRI in children with language Impairment due to infantile thiamine deficiency

Gordon Carlos

Research topic: Neurobiology of eye movement and of vestibular system with emphasis on ataxia and vestibular disorders.

Research methods: Eye movements and vestibulo-ocular reflex (VOR) recording using the magnetic search coil technique.
Functional and cognitive measures in neurological and vestibular disorders.

Main projects in the lab include:

  1. Vestibulo-ocular reflex and eye movement abnormalities as possible biomarkers of Spinocerebellar Ataxia type 3 (SCA-3).
  2. The effect of Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS) and pharmacological agents on SCA-3.
  3. Genetic, clinical and cognitive manifestations of SCA-3.
  4. The effect of visual cues and virtual reality on dizziness and vestibular disorders.
  5. Development of novel techniques to improve balance and prevent falls.
  6. Vestibular function and anxiety

Bar-Shalita Tami

Research topic: Elucidating Sensory modulation disorder (SMD) and pain processing

Research methods: Electrophysiology (EEG); psychophysical quantitative sensory testing (QST), self-report (standardized questionnaires)

Projects in the lab include:

  1. Design and implementation of neurofeedback system for evaluation and treatment of adults with sensory modulation disorder (SMD)
  2. Pain modulation and processing in SMD
  3. SMD in health conditions: (e.g.: mental health, chronic pain, substance abuse)
  4. The interference of SMD on participation in daily occupations and activities