Avital Avi (Avraham) - Assistant Professor Assistant Professor

Avital Avraham

1. PERSONAL DETAILS
Full Name: Avraham Avital
Date and place of birth: January 1st, 1972, Eilat, Israel.
Marital status: married to Ayelet and father to Ofir, Ella and Raphael

2. ACADEMIC DEGREES
1994 - 1997: B.A., Haifa University, Psychology and Statistics.
1997 - 1999: M.A., Haifa University, Psychobiology, magna cum lauda.
1999 - 2003: Ph.D, Haifa University, Psychobiology.

3. ACADEMIC APPOINTMENTS
2012 – Present : Assistant Professor, Bruce Rappaport Faculty of Medicine, Technion.
2008 - 2011: Head of The Center for Psychobiological Research, YVC.
2005 - 2011: Senior lecturer, Department of Psychology, YVC.
2003 - 2006: Postdoctorate training, Neurobiology, The Weizmann Institute of Science.
2000 - 2003: Adjunct lecturer, Department of Psychology, University of Haifa.

4. PROFESSIONAL EXPERIENCE
2012 - Present: Research development, Emek Medical Center.
2011 - Present: Board member: The Israeli Society for Biological Psychiatry.
1994 - Present: Member of The ISEF foundation aimed to promote education in peripheral cities in Israel.

5. TEACHING EXPERIENCE
Courses:
2000 - 2003: Neurobiology of learning and memory [undergraduate].
2000 - 2003: Neurobiology of mental disease [undergraduate].
2001 - 2011: The psychology of learning and behavior [undergraduate].
2001 - 2011: Statistics [undergraduate].
2004: Experimental Methodology and Statistics [undergraduate].
2004: Psychoneuroendocrinology [graduate].
2006 - 2009: Introduction to Physiology [undergraduate].
2009 - 2011: Schizophrenia as a multi-dimensional disease [undergraduate].
2013: Learning, memory and behavior [graduate].
2014 - Present: The Neurobiology of attention processes [graduate].
Programs:
2011: Rodent control training program (Certified by the Israeli Ministry of Health), [graduate and undergraduate].
2011 - Present: "Research methodology and statistics – from basic to clinical science", Emek Medical Center [graduate].
2012 - Present: Head of the young basic science leadership program: The Israeli Society for Biological Psychiatry [graduate].

6. PUBLIC PROFESSIONAL ACTIVITIES
1994 - Present: Volunteer in The ISEF foundation aimed to promote education in peripheral cities in Israel.
2003 - Present: Editorial responsibilities (reviewer): Journal of Neuroscience; Biological Psychiatry; European Journal of Neuroscience; Neurobiology of Learning and Memory; Neuroscience; Neurobiology of aging; European Neuropsychopharmacology; International
Clinical Psychopharmacology; Psychoneuroendocrinology; Journal of Cellular and Molecular Medicine; Developmental Psychobiology; PLoS ONE, Molecular Psychiatry, Translational Psychiatry, Schizophrenia Bulletin, Cerebral Cortex, European Journal of Integrative Medicine.
2007 - Present: Evaluation of research grants: Israel Science Foundation (ISF); US-Israel Binational Science Foundation (BSF); The Israeli National Institute for Psychobiology (NIPI).
2008 - Present: Member of Editorial Board: The Open Neuroscience Journal.
2011 - Present: Evaluation of Ph.D and M.A dissertations.
2011 - Present: Board member: The Israeli Society for Biological Psychiatry.
2012 - Present: Research advisor, Emek Medical Center, Afula.
2012 - Present: Member of the academic committee, Emek Medical Center, Afula.
2012 - Present: Head of the young basic science leadership program: The Israeli Society for Biological Psychiatry.
2014 - Present: Member of the educational committee of the European College of
Neuropsychopharmacology (ECNP).
2014 - 2015: Guest editor- in-chief: Neural Plasticity.

7. MEMBERSHIP IN PROFESSIONAL SOCIETIES
INTERNATIONAL:
- Member of The Society for Neuroscience.
- Member of The European Society for Neuroscience.
- Member of World Federation of Societies of Biological Psychiatry.
- Member of The European College of Neuro-Psychopharmacology.
- Member of The International College of Neuro-Psychopharmacology.
NATIONAL:
- Registered Psychologist (License #: 8013): The Israeli Ministry of Health.
- Member of The Israeli Society for Neuroscience.
- Member of The Israeli society for Biological Psychiatry.
- Member of The Israeli society for Physiology and Pharmacology.

8. HONORS
1998: The Haifa University Dean of Graduate Studies award for excellent M.A. students.
1998: The Haifa University Research Authority award for excellent M.A. students.
1998: The ISEF foundation and Haifa University special award for volunteering in the community.
1999: A special research fellowship from Haifa University Dean of graduate studies.
2000: The Haifa University Dean of graduate studies excellence award for M.A. student with highest honor.
2003: The ISEF foundation award for excellent Ph.D student.
2003: The German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) and the Israeli Ministry of Science, Culture and Sport (MOST) award for excellent graduate student.
2003 - 2004: Postdoctoral fellowship, Department of Neurobiology, The Weizmann Institute of Science.
2005 - 2006: Postdoctoral fellowship, The National Institute for Psychobiology in Israel.
2006: Forum of European Neuroscience Society (FENS) award for an excellent young scientist participating in the FENS Forum.
2007: Plenary lecture award, The 10th Jubilee Multidisciplinary Conference “Stress and Behavior”, I. Pavlov's Department of Physiology, St. Petersburg, Russia.
2013: Israeli Society for Biological Psychiatry Award for special contribution.

9. GRADUAT STUDENTS
Post Doc:
2013
: Adi Cymerblit-Sabba, PhD, Mapping the Developmental Trajectory of Stress Effects: Pubescence as the Risk Window. Primary supervisor: Dr. Avi Avital.
Ph.D. and M.Sc. Completed:
2011: Nur Abu-Hamed, MSc, "Effects of Carnitine on histological and biochemical markers of renal injury in a novel rat model of chronic kidney disease", Primary supervisor: Dr. Avi Avital , Co- supervisor: Dr. Monsonego Efrat.
2011: Hila Belhanes, MSc, "Postnatal interference of Sp1 activity predisposing to chronic stress – implication for schizophrenia", Primary supervisor: Dr. Avi Avital, Co- supervisor: Prof. Aron Weller. Publication: "Transient early interference with the expression of multiple genes leads to disparate behavioral response to sub-chronic and chronic stress in rats" (2013). Psychoneuroendocrinology.
2014: Talya Dolev, MSc, "Attention functioning following Striatal lesions and psychostimulants administration". Primary supervisor: Dr. Avi Avital.
In progress:
2013: Hagit Sason, PhD, "Characterization of ASCT1-KO mice that may play prominent roles in glia-neuron metabolic crosstalk and affect synaptic plasticity. Co-supervisor: Dr. Avi Avital.
2014: Yael Hazan, PhD, "When environment demands meet the genes: behavioral, molecular and physiological aspects of a rat model for social cooperation". Primary supervisor: Dr. Avi Avital.
2015: Ievgeni Havkin, MSc, "The effects of Methylphenidate on distinct types of attention". Primary supervisor: Dr. Avi Avital.
2015: Irena Kukulyanski, MSc, "The involvement of striatal sub regions and Methylphenidate in social cooperation, in a rat model". Primary supervisor: Dr. Avi Avital.
2015: Inon maoz, MSc, Primary supervisor: Dr. Avi Avital.
2015: Talya Dolev, PhD, Primary supervisor: Dr. Avi Avital.
2015: Zev Brand, PhD, Primary supervisor: Dr. Avi Avital.

10. RESEARCH GRANTS
2007 - 2008: The Planning and Budgeting committee of The Israel Council for Higher Education. Amount: 800,000 NIS, Awarded for the establishment of a new teaching and research infrastructure. PI: Dr. Avi Avital.
2009 - 2010: The Ministry of defense. Amount: 200,000 NIS Grant for special behavioral study (Classified). PI: Dr. Avi Avital.
2009 - 2011: The National Institute for Psychobiology in Israel. Amount: 50,000$. "Pharmacological-environmental interaction: Comparison of chronic versus acute early life trauma interactive effect with Ketamine – Toward novel model of Schizophrenia". PI: Dr. Avi Avital.
2010 - 2011: The Ministry of defense. Amount: 250,000 NIS. Grant for special behavioral study (Classified). PI: Dr. Avi Avital.
2011 : Israel Science Foundation. Amount: 17M $. Animal models research in the I-CORE program. PI: Prof. Yadin Dudai, Co-investigator: Dr. Avi Avital (As part of The Weizmann Institute group).
2012 : The Ministry of defense. Amount: 340,000 NIS. Grant for special behavioral study (Classified). PI: Dr. Avi Avital.
2012 - 2014: The U.S Secretary of Defense and NIH. Amount: 300,000 $. Infrastructure grant for excellent young scientist. PI: Dr. Avi Avital.
2012 - 2014: The U.S. Army Research Office. Amount: 150,000 $. Depicting developmental strategies to enhance coping abilities in adulthood: establishing an animal model for working dogs. PI: Dr. Avi Avital.
2012 - 2013: The Ministry of defense. Amount: 200,000 NIS. Animal repealing. PI: Dr. Avi Avital.
2012 - 2013: The Ministry of defense. Amount: 555,000 NIS. New concepts for behavioral training. PI: Dr. Avi Avital.
2013 - 2014: The Ministry of defense. Amount: 250,000 NIS. Animal repealing. PI: Dr. Avi Avital.
2013 - 2014: The Ministry of defense. Amount: 750,000 NIS. New concepts for behavioral training. PI: Dr. Avi Avital.
2014 - 2015: The U.S Secretary of Defense and Israeli Ministry of Defense. Amount: 100,000$.
Equipment grant for excellent young scientist. PI: Dr. Avi Avital.
2014 - 2015: The Ministry of defense. Amount: 390,000 NIS. New concepts for behavioral training. PI: Dr. Avi Avital.
2014 - 2015: The Ministry of defense. Amount: 200,000 NIS. Dog-handler interaction. PI: Dr. Avi Avital.
2014 - 2015: The Ministry of defense. Amount: 100,000 NIS. Odor trails. PI: Dr. Avi Avital.

11. SIGNIFICANT PROFESSIONAL PROJECTS
2007 - 2008: The establishment of The Center for Psychobiological Research in the YVC. Project Head: Dr. Avi Avital.
2007 - 2013: Developing a wearable, portable calming system for people under stress in collaboration with BioHug Technologies, Ltd. Project managers: Mr. Andrew Schiffmiller, CEO; Mr. Raphael Rembrand, CTO; Dr. Avi Avital.

12. CONFERENCES
Plenary, keynote or invited talks
2007 - The 10th Jubilee Multidisciplinary Conference “Stress and Behavior”, I. Pavlov's Department of Physiology, St. Petersburg, Russia.
2011 - Workshop: when animal model meets clinical trial. The Israeli Society for Biological Psychiatry, HaGoshrim, Israel. 2011.
2012: Plenary lecture, The Canine Science and Technology Forum (CSTF) Conference: Defense Science & Technology Laboratory, Imperial college,London, UK.
2012: Invited Workshop: The Neurobiology of animal behavior: from simple conditioning to complex behavior. Stanford Institute for Neuro-Innovation & Translational Neuroscience (SINITN) and US Army Research Laboratory (ARL). Stanford University, CA, USA.
2013: Plenary lecture, The Center for Adaptive Behavior and Cognition Max Planck Institute for Human Development, Berlin, Germany.
2014: Invited Talk, The Israeli society for Physiology and Pharmacology, Ma'ale Ha'aisha, Israel.
2014: Plenary lecture, The Canine Science and Technology Forum (CSTF) Conference: Defense Science & Technology Laboratory, North Carolina State University, Raleigh, USA.
2014: Invited Workshop: Mapping the Developmental Trajectory of Stress Effects: Implication of Animal Model for Cognitive, Emotional and Physiological Aspects. ECNP Seminar, Yerven, Armenia.

Contributed Talks and Abstracts
- Avital, A., Eilon, R. and Leshem, M. Exercise increases salt preference. The Israeli Society for Neuroscience, Israel, 1997. Oral.
- Shapira, M. Avital, A. and Richter-Levin, G. A comparison of underwater trauma with foot electric shock trauma in the rat. The 2nd Biennial Seminar of Pathophysiology of the Brain and the Nervous System, Ma'ale Hachamisha, Israel, 1999. Poster.
- Avital, A., Leschiner, S., Weizman, A., Spanier., I., Gavish, M. and Richter-Levin, G. The involvement of peripheral-type benzodiazepine receptors in acute and long-term stress in the Morris water maze. The 2nd Biennial Seminar of Pathophysiology of the Brain and the Nervous System, Ma'ale Hachamisha, Israel, 1999. Oral.
- Avital, A., Leschiner, S., Weizman, A., Spanier., I., Gavish, M. and Richter-Levin, G. The involvement of peripheral-type benzodiazepine receptors in acute and long-term stress in the Morris water maze. The Israeli Society for Biological Psychiatry, Kefar Gila'ad, Israel, 1999. Oral.
- Avital, A., Leschiner, S., Weizman, A., Spanier., I., Gavish, M. and Richter-Levin, G. The involvement of peripheral-type benzodiazepine receptors in acute and repeated swim stress. The Israeli Society for Neuroscience, Israel, 1999. Poster.
- Avital, A., Leschiner, S., Weizman, A., Spanier., I., Gavish, M. and Richter-Levin, G. Altered peripheral-type benzodiazepine receptor density following acute and repeated swim stress. FENS, Brighton, England. 2000. Poster.
- Goshen, I., Avital, A., Canaan, R., Shoami, E., Iverfeldt, K., Richter-Levin, G. and Yirmiya, R. Impaired interleukin-1 (IL-1) signaling is associated with memory impairments. The Israeli Society for Neuroscience, Israel. 2000. Oral.
- Avital, A., Goshen, I., Segal, M., Richter-Levin, G. and Yirmiya, R. IL-1 receptor knockout disrupts short- and long-term plasticity in mice hippocampus, In-vivo. The Israeli Society for Neuroscience, Israel, 2000. Oral.
- Avital, A., Goshen, I., Segal, M., Kemsler A., Iverfeldt, K., Richter-Levin, G. and Yirmiya, R. The role of Interleukin-1 in hippocampal-dependent memory processes and neural plasticity. The Israeli Society for Neuroscience, Israel, 2001. Poster.
- Avital, A., Ebril, E. and Richter-Levin, G. Early exposure to platform stress modulates the ability to cope with acute swim stress in adulthood, in the rat. The Israeli Society for Neuroscience, Israel, 2001. Poster.
- Avital, A., Jacobson, S., Yizraeli O. and Richter-Levin, G. Early exposure to stress modulates the ability to cope with stress in adulthood, in the rat. The Israeli Society for Neuroscience, Israel. 2000. Oral.
- Avital, A., Segal, M., Rojas, M., Hausvater, N., Sandbank, S., Liba, D., Moguillansky, L., Tal, I., Weizman, A. Correlation Between Prolactin Serum Levels in Patients Treated by Risperidone and the Schizophrenic Subtypes – a Pilot Study. The Israeli Society for Biological Psychiatry, Kefar Gila'ad, Israel. 2002. Poster.
- Avital, A., Segal, M., Rojas, M., Hausvater, N., Sandbank, S., Liba, D., Moguillansky, L., Tal, I., Weizman, A. More deluded, Less Hallucinatory: The Prolactin "Connection" in Paranoid Schizophrenia. The Israeli Society for Biological Psychiatry, Kefar Gila'ad, Israel. 2002. Poster.
- Segal, M., Avital, A., Rojas, M., Hausvater, N., Sandbank, S., Liba, D., Moguillansky, L., Tal, I., Weizman, A. Prolactin Serum Levels in First/Untreated Schizophrenic Patients. The Israeli Society for Biological Psychiatry, Kefar Gila'ad, Israel. 2002. Oral.
- Avital, A., Jacobson, S. and Richter-Levin, G. Brief Early-Life Experience Effects on Cognitive and Emotional Abilities in Adulthood, in the rat. The Israeli Society for Biological Psychiatry, Kefar Gila'ad, Israel. 2002. Oral.
- Avital, A., Jacobson, S. and Richter-Levin, G. Early Exposure to Stress Modulates the Response to Stress in the Adult Rat. FENS, Paris, France. 2002. Poster.
- Avital, A., Jacobson, S., Maayan, R, Ram, E, Weizman, A. and Richter-Levin G. Post-weaning pre-puberty exposure to stress effects on DHEA and DHEA-S in the rat hypothalamus and entorhinal cortex. The Israeli Society for Neuroscience, Israel. 2002. Poster.
- Avital, A. and Richter-Levin G. Early exposure to stress modulates the response to stress in the adult rat. The Israeli Society for Neuroscience, Israel. 2002. Poster.
- Avital, A., Richter-Levin, G., Matar, M., Zohar, J., Kaplan, Z. and Cohen H. Setting apart the affected: the use of behavioral criteria in animal models of Acute Stress Response and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. The Israeli Society for Neuroscience, Israel. 2002. Oral.
- Avital, A. and Richter-Levin G. Local Circuit alterations in rat model for PTSD. The Israeli Society for Neuroscience, Israel. 2003. Oral.
- Segal M.D, Avital, A., Rojas M.M, Hausvater N.S., Sandbank S.E., Liba D, Moguillansky L.P., Tal I., A. Weizman, A. Derevensky. Serum Prolactin levels in un-medicated first-episode schizophrenia patients: a possible marker for the disease. CINP, Paris, France. 2004. Poster.
- Segal M.D, Avital, A., Rojas M.M, Hausvater N.S., Sandbank S.E., Liba D, Moguillansky L.P., Tal I., A. Weizman, A. Derevensky. More persecuted, less hallucinatory. The "Prolactin connection" in schizophrenia subtypes. CINP, Paris, France. 2004. Poster.
- Kipnis J., Avital A., Cohen H. & Schwartz M. T-cell deficiency leads to abnormal brain function: implications for therapeutic vaccination for schizophrenia. FENS, Lisbon, Portugal. 2004. Poster.
- Avital A., Kipnis J., Lewitus G., Cohen H., Segal M. & Schwartz M. Impaired neuronal plasticity in immune deficient mice. FENS, Lisbon, Portugal. 2004. Poster.
- Kipnis J., Avital A., Ziv Y., Cardon M., Cohen H. & Schwartz M. Neurogenesis, long-term potentiation and learning and memory processes are impaired in immune deficient mice. SFN, San Diego, USA. 2004. Poster.
- Avital A., Segal M. Kipnis J. & Schwartz M. Autoimmune T cells play a role in short- and long-term plasticity. The Israeli Society for Neuroscience, Israel. 2004. Oral.
- Segal M.D., Avital A., Sandbank D. and Weizman A. Are hallucinations hypodopaminergic? The "Prolactin connection" of core symptoms in schizophrenia subtypes. The Israeli Society for Biological Psychiatry, Hagoshrim, Israel. 2005. Poster.
- Segal M.D., Avital A., Sandbank D. and Weizman A. Prolactin and schizophrenia subtypes in Risperidone treated men. World congress of Biological Psychiatry, Viena, Austria. 2005. Poster.
- Segal M.D., Avital A., Sandbank D. and Weizman A. Schizophrenia subtypes and street drug use in hospitalized patients. World congress of Biological Psychiatry, Viena, Austria. 2005. Poster.
- Avital A., Kamsler A., Greenberger V, and Segal M. Aged SOD over-expressing mice exhibit enhanced spatial memory while lacking hippocampal neurogenesis. impaired in immune deficient mice. The Israeli Society for Neuroscience, Israel. 2006. Poster.
- Avital A., Richter-Levin G. and Segal M. Contrasting roles of corticosteroid receptors in hippocampal plasticity. FENS, Viena, Austria. 2006. Poster.
- Segal M.D., Avital A., Sandbank D. and Weizman A. Prolactin and estradiol serum levels in un-medicated male paranoid schizophrenia patients. SIRS, Davos, Switzerland. 2006. Poster.
- Segal M.D., Avital A., Sandbank D. and Weizman A. The CK serum levels in un-medicated schizophrenia, schizoaffective and bipolar affective disorder. SIRS, Davos, Switzerland. 2006. Poster.
- Segal M.D., Avital A., Sandbank D. and Weizman A. Creatine Kinase differences in various forms of depression. CINP, Chicago, USA. 2006. Poster.
- Segal M.D., Avital A., Sandbank D. and Weizman A. Creatine Kinase levels in un-medicated bipolar patients. CINP, Chicago, USA. 2006. Poster.
- Segal M.D., Avital A., Mironov V., Pavlov M., Sandbank S. and Weizman A. Cognitive impairments in PTSD patient: a possible variant of adult ADHD comorbidity. The Israeli Society for Biological Psychiatry, Kefar Gila'adi, Israel. 2007. Poster.
- Avital A. Early Exposure to Stress Modulates the Response to Stress in the Adult Rat. Plenary lecture in The 10th Multidisciplinary International Conference of Biological Psychiatry "Stress and Behavior", St-Petersburg, Russia. 2007. Oral.
- Avital A. and Richter-Levin G. Juvenile stress modulation of adulthood stress effects on hippocampal activity and plasticity. FENS, Geneve, Switzerland. 2008. Poster.
- Rosenfeld M., Kavushansky A., Belhanes H. , Avital A. and Ben-Shachar D. Early interference with Sp1 activity in rats affects mitochondrial complex I subunits: implication for schizophrenia. The Israeli Society for Neuroscience, Israel. 2009. Poster.
- Belhanes H. , Kavushansky A., Rosenfeld M., Weller A., Ben-Shachar D. and Avital A. Postnatal interference of Sp1 activity induces schizophrenia like behavioral consequences. The Israeli Society for Neuroscience, Israel. 2009. Poster.
- Dolev T., Zubedat S. and Avital A. The effects of environmental enrichment and methylphenidate on behavioral consequences of stress. The Israeli Society for Neuroscience, Israel. 2009. Poster.
- Raphaely S. and Avital A. Stress cascade and schizophrenia-like symptoms: modeling in rat the etiology and onset. The Israeli Society for Neuroscience, Israel. 2009. Oral.
- Licht T., Goshen I., Avital A., Kreisel T., Segal M., Yirmiya R. and Keshet E. Modulation of hippocampal plasticity by VEGF. The Israeli Society for Neuroscience, Israel. 2009. Oral.
- Avital A., Dolev T. and Zubedat S. The effects of environmental enrichment and methylphenidate on behavioral consequences of stress. FENS Amsterdam, The Netherlands. vol 4, F49, 2010. Poster.
- Avital A. Contrasting effects of prenatal experiences on long-term behavioral and hormonal consequences. The Israeli Society for Biological Psychiatry, HaGoshrim, Israel. 2010. Oral.
- Belhanes H., Kavushansky A., Rosenfeld M., Ben-Shachar D. and Avital A. Postnatal interference of Sp1 activity induces schizophrenia like behavioral consequences. The Israeli Society for Biological Psychiatry, HaGoshrim, Israel. 2010. Oral.
- Avital A. Contrasting effects of prenatal experiences on long-term behavioral and hormonal consequences. The Israeli Society for Biological Psychiatry, HaGoshrim, Israel. 2010. Oral.
- Avital, A. Dolev, T.,Aga-Mizrachi, S. and Zubedat, S. The effects of environmental enrichment and methylphenidate on behavioral consequences of stress. FENS, Amsterdam, The Netherlands. 2010. Poster.
- Abu Ahmad N., Armaly Z. and Avital A. The effects of Carnitine on histological, biochemical and behavioral parameters in a novel model of chronic kidney disease. The Israeli Society for Neuroscience, Israel. 2010. Poster.
- Belhanes H., Kavushansky A., Rosenfeld M., Weller A., Ben-Shachar D. and Avital A. Postnatal interference of Sp1 activity predisposing to chronic stress –implication for schizophrenia. The Israeli Society for Neuroscience, Israel. 2010. Poster.
- Dolev T, Aga-Mizrachi S., Zubedat S., Avital A. Exposure to methylphenidate during adolescence leads to long term increase in anxiety and testosterone. The Israeli Society for Neuroscience, Israel. 2010. Poster.
- Asor E, Rosenfeld M., Kavushansky A., Klein E., Belhanes H., Avital A. and Ben Shachar D. Pre pubertal interference with Sp1 transcriptional activity and exposure to chronic mild stress later in life as a potential novel rat model for depression/Anxiety disorders. The Israeli Society for Biological Psychiatry, HaGoshrim, Israel. 2011. poster.
- Avital A. Workshop: when animal model meets clinical trial. The Israeli Society for Biological Psychiatry, HaGoshrim, Israel. 2011. Workshop.
- Zubedat S., Freed Y., Eshed Y., Ritter A., Nachmani M., Harush R. and Avital A. Short- and long-term effects of sleep deprivation on attention and motor-abilities in rat. The Israeli Society for Biological Psychiatry, HaGoshrim, Israel. 2012. Poster.
- Aga-Mizrachi S., Cymerblit-Sabba A., Zubedat S. and Avital A. Re-experiencing, avoidance and hyper-arousal: an animal model for PTSD. The Israeli Society for Biological Psychiatry, HaGoshrim, Israel. 2012. Poster.
- Asor E., Klein E., Avital A. and Ben shachar D. Modeling manic behavior in rats: implication of the gene-environmental interaction hypothesis. The Israeli Society for Biological Psychiatry, HaGoshrim, Israel. 2012. Poster.
- Avital A. Environmental Enrichment Preceding Early Adulthood Methylphenidate Treatment Leads to Long Term Increase of Corticosterone and Testosterone in the Rat. The Israeli Society for Biological Psychiatry, HaGoshrim, Israel. 2012. Oral.
- Avital A. The effects of various life circumstances on attention in rats. The Israeli Society for Biological Psychiatry, HaGoshrim, Israel. 2014. Session Chair (Oral).

Participation in organizing conferences
- "The 14th annual meeting of the Israel Society for Biological psychiatry", Kibutz Hagoshrim, 9-11 March 2010, Organizing and chairing a session titled: "Early programming of emotion-regulation and psychopathology".
- "Measuring Behavior and Physiology: Bridging the Genotype Phenotype Gap", The Weizmann Institute of Science, March 3rd 2011. Member of the organizing committee and Chairperson.
- "The 16th annual meeting of the Israel Society for Biological psychiatry", Kibutz Hagoshrim, 20-22 March 2012, Head of the organizing committee.
- "The 17th annual meeting of the Israel Society for Biological psychiatry", Kibutz Hagoshrim, 20-22 March 2013, Head of the organizing committee.

13. PATENT APPLICATION
Veenman L, Vainshtein A, Shterenberg A, Marek I, Avital A, Gavish M. Quinazoline scaffold based compounds, pharmaceutical compositions and methods of use thereof. Application No. TECH052 USP (23/4/2015).

Theses
M.A Thesis:
The change in density of peripheral-type Benzodiazepine receptors in acute and repeated stress in the Morris water maze (1999). Department of Psychology, University of Haifa. Supervisor: Prof. Gal Richter-Levin.
Ph.D Dissertation:
The Effects of Exposure to Juvenile Stress on Coping Abilities in Adulthood: Emotional and Cognitive Aspects (2003). Department of Psychology, University of Haifa. Supervisor: Prof. Gal Richter-Levin.

Refereed papers in professional journals:
Basic research (Hypothesis-driven)

1. Avital, A., Richter-Levin, G. Leschiner, S., Weizman, A., Spanier., I., Veenman L. and Gavish, M. Acute and repeated swim stress effects on peripheral benzodiazepine receptors in the rat hippocampus, adrenal, and kidney. Neuropsychopharmacology 2001; 25(5): 669-78.

2. Levkovitz, Y., Caftori,R. Avital, A. and Richter-Levin, G. The SSRIs drug Fluoxetine, but not the noradrenergic drug Desipramine, improves memory performance during acute major depression. Brain Res Bul 2002; 58(4): 338-345.

3. Mark D. Eyre, Richter-Levin, G., Avital, A. and Stewart, M.G. Morphological changes in hippocampal synapses following spatial learning in rats are transient. European Journal of Neuroscience 2003; 17(9): 1973-80.

4. Avital, A., Goshen, I., Segal, M., Richter-Levin, G. and Yirmiya, R. Impaired interleukin-1 (IL-1) signaling is associated with deficits in hippocampal memory processes and neural plasticity. Hippocampus 2003; 13: 826-834.

5. Avital, A., and Richter-Levin, G. Exposure to juvenile stress exacerbates the behavioral consequences of exposure to stress in the adult rat. International Journal of Neuropsychopharmacology 2005; 8(2):163-73.

6. Avital, A., Ram E., Maayan R., Weizman A. and Richter-Levin G. Effects of Early-life stress on behavior and neurosteroid levels in the rat hypothalamus and entorhinal cortex. Brain Research Bulletin 2006; 68 (6): 419-424.

7. Avital, A., Segal M. and Richter-Levin G. Contrasting roles of corticosteroid receptors in hippocampal plasticity. The Journal of Neuroscience 2006; 26 (36): 9130-9134.

8. Sullivan, R., Wilson,D., Feldon, J., Yee, B., Meyer, U., Richter-Levin, G., Avital, A., Tsoory, M., Gruss, M., Bock, J., Helmeke, C., Westerholz, S. and Braun, K. The International Society for Developmental Psychobiology annual meeting symposium: Impact of early life experiences on brain and behavioral development. Developmental Psychobiology 2006; 48(7):583-602.

9. Kamsler, A., Avital, A., Greenberger, V. and Segal, M. Aged SOD over-expressing mice exhibit enhanced spatial memory while lacking hippocampal neurogenesis. Antioxidants & redox signaling 2007; 9(2):181-9.

10. Tsoory, M.M., Vouimba, R.M., Akirav, I., Kavushansky, A., Avital, A. and Richter-Levin G. Amygdala modulation of memory-related processes in the hippocampus: potential relevance to PTSD. Progress in Brain Research 2008; 167:35-51.

11. Toth, E., Avital, A., Leshem, M., Richter-Levin, G., Braun, K. Neonatal and juvenile stress induces changes in adult social behavior without affecting cognitive function. Brain Res 2008; 190(1):135-9.

12. Rosenmann, H., Grigoriadis, N., Eldar-Levy, H., Avital, A., Rozenstein, L., Touloumi, O., Behar, L., Ben-Hur, T., Avraham, Y., Berry, E., Segal, M., Ginzburg, I. and Abramsky, O. A novel transgenic mouse expressing double mutant tau driven by its natural promoter exhibits tauopathy characteristics. Exp Neurol 2008; 212(1):71-84.

13. Daoud, F., Candelario-Martínez, A., Billard, J.M., Avital, A., Khelfaoui, M., Rozenvald, Y., Guegan, M., Mornet, D., jaillard, D., Nudel, U., Chelly, J., Martínez-Rojas, D., Laroche, S., Yaffe, D. and Vaillend, C. The role of the dystrophin-gene product Dp71 in excitatory synapse organization, glutamatergic transmission, synaptic plasticity, and selective behavioral functions. PLoS ONE 2008; 4(8):e6574.

14. Goshen, I., Avital, A., Kreisel, T., Licht, T., Segal, M. and Yirmiya, R. Environmental enrichment restores memory functioning in mice with impaired IL-1 signaling via reinstatement of long term potentiation and spine size enlargement. Journal of Neuroscience 2009; 29(11):3395–3403.

15. Ben Menachem-Zidon, O., Avital, A., Ben-Menahem, Y., Goshen, I., Kreisel T., Segal, M., Ben Hur T., and Yirmiya R. Astrocytes support hippocampal dependent memory and long-term potentiation via interleukin-1 signaling. Brain Behav Immun. 2010; 25(5):1008-16.

16. Licht, T., Goshen, I., Avital, A., Kreisel, T., Zubedat, S., Eavri, R., Segal, M., Yirmiya, R. and Keshet, E. Reverible modulations of neuronal plasticity by VEGF: Independent functions in Neurogenesis and enhanced memory.
PNAS 2011; 108(12):5081–5086.

17. Avital, A. Dolev, T.,Aga-Mizrachi, S. and Zubedat, S. Environmental enrichment preceding early adulthood methylphenidate treatment leads to long term increase of corticosterone and testosterone in the rat.PLoS ONE. 2011; 6(7): e22059.

18. Cymerblit-Sabba, A., Lasri, T., Gruper, M., Aga- Mizrachi, S., Zubedat, S. and Avital, A. Prenatal enriched environment improves emotional and attentional reactivity to adulthood stress. Behavioural Brain Research. 2012; 241:185-90.

19. Asor, E., Belhanes, H., Kavushansky, A., Zubedat, S., Klein, E., Avital, A.*, Ben-Shachar, D*. Early postnatal interference with the expression of multiple Sp1 regulated genes leads to disparate behavioral response to sub-chronic and chronic stress in rats. Psychoneuroendocrinology.2013; 38(10):2173-83. * Co-Correspondence author.

20. Ram, E., Raphaeli, S. and Avital, A. Prepubertal chronic stress and ketamine administration to rats as a neurodevelopmental model of schizophrenia symptomatology. Int J Neuropsychopharmacol. 2013; 16(10):2307-14

21. Zubedat, S., Freed, Y., Eshed, Y., Cymerblit-Sabbaa, A., Ritter, A., Nachmani, M., Harush, R., Aga-Mizrachi, S. and Avital, A. Plant-derived nanoparticle treatment with cocc 30c ameliorates attention and motor abilities in sleep deprived rats. Neuroscience. 2013; 253:1-8.

22. Zubedat S., Aga-Mizrachi S., Cymerblit-Sabba A., Shwartz J.,  Leon F., Rozen S., Varkovitzky I., Eshed Y., Grinstein D. and Avital A. Human-animal interface: the effects of handler's stress on the performance of canines in an explosive detection task. Applied Animal Behaviour Science. 2014; 158:69-75.
Ranked 2nd in the field.

23. Aga-Mizrachi, S., Cymerblit-Sabba, A., Gurman, O., Balan, A., Shwam, G., Deshe, R., Miller, L., Gorodetsky, N., Heinrich, N., Tzezana, O., Zubedat, S., Grinstein, D. and Avital, A. Methylphenidate and desipramine combined treatment improves PTSD symptomatology in a rat model. Translational Psychiatry. 2014; 4: e447.

24. Cymerblit-Sabba, A., Zubedat, S., Aga-Mizrachi, S., Biady, G., Nakhash, B., Rubin Ganel, S., Shapira, B., Grinstein D. and Avital, A. Mapping the Developmental Trajectory of Stress Effects: Pubescence as the Risk Window. Psychoneuroendocrinology. 2014; 52: 168-175.

25. Salman Zubedat, Shlomit Aga-Mizrachi, Adi Cymerblit-Sabba, Ami Ritter, Maayan Nachmani and Avi Avital. Methylphenidate and environmental enrichment ameliorate the deleterious effects of prenatal stress on attention functioning. Stress. In press

26. Hazem Safory, Samah Neame, Yoav Shulman, Salman Zubedat, Inna Radzishevsky, Dina Rosenberg, Hagit Sason, Simone Engelender, Avi Avital, Swen Hülsmann, Jackie Schiller, and Herman Wolosker. The alanine-serine-cysteine-1 (Asc-1) transporter is a regulator of glycinergic inhibitory transmission: Potential relevance to hyperekplexia. EMBO Reports. 2015 Mar 9;

Clinical Descriptive Research

27. Leshem, M., Avital, A. and Eilon, R. Exercise increases the preference for salt in humans. Appetite 1999; (32), 251-260.

28. Segal, M., Avital, A., Rojas, M., Hausvater, N., Sandbank, S., Liba, D., Moguillansky, L., Tal, I., Weizman, A. Serum Prolactin Levels in Unmedicated First-Episode and Recurrent Schizophrenia Patients: A Possible Marker for the Disease’s Subtypes. Psychiatry Research 2004; 127(3): 227-35.

29. Segal, M.*, Avital, A.*, Drobot, M., Lukanin, A., Derevenski, A., Sandbank, S. and Weizman, A. Prolactin and estradiol serum levels in unmedicated male paranoid schizophrenia Progress in Neuro-Psychopharmacology & Biological Psychiatry 2006; 31(2):378-382.

30. Segal, M.*, Avital, A.*, Drobot, M., Lukanin, A., Derevenski, A., Sandbank, S. and Weizman, A. Serum Creatine Kinase Level in Unmedicated Nonpsychotic, Psychotic, Bipolar and Schizoaffective Depressed Patients. European Neuropsychopharmacology 2007; 17(3):194-8.

31. Segal, M.*, Avital, A.*, Berstein, S., Derevenski, A., Sandbank, S., Weizman, A. Prolactin serum levels in paranoid versus nonparanoid male schizophrenia patients treated with Risperidone. International Clinical Psychopharmacology 2007; 22(4):192-6.

32. Segal, M.*, Avital, A.*, Drobot, M., Lukanin, A., Derevenski, A., Sandbank, S. and Weizman, A. CK levels in unmedicated bipolar patients. European Neuropsychopharmacology 2007; 17(12):763-7.

33. Segal, M.*, Avital, A.*, Rusakov, A., Sandbank, S. and Weizman, A. Serum creatin kinase activity differentiates alcohol syndromes of dependence, withdrawal and delirium tremens. European Neuropsychopharmacology 2009; 19(2):92-6.

34. Iancu, I., Sarel, A., Avital, A., Abdo, B. and Ram, E. Shyness and Social Phobia in Israeli Jewish vs. Arab students. Compr Psychiatry 2011; 52(6):708-14.

35. Masarweh, K., Horovitz, Y., Avital, A. and Spiegel, R. Establishing hospital admission criteria of pediatric Henoch–Schonlein purpura. Rheumatol Int 2014; in press.

36. Kertzman, S.*, Avital, A.*, Weizman, A. and Segal, M. Intrusive trauma recollections is associated with impairment of interference inhibition and psychomotor speed in PTSD. Compr Psychiatry 2014; 55(7):1587-94.

 

RESEARCH INTERESTS

The exposure of an organism to environmental hardship along the developmental trajectory is likely to have lasting behavioral, biochemical and electrophysiological consequences, depending on the timing and duration of the exposure. These environmental circumstances may contribute to the etiology of pathological conditions such as: post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), schizophrenia and attention deficits. The major brain regions affected in these psychiatric disorders include the hippocampus, amygdala, striatum and prefrontal cortex that also play a pivotal role in executive functions.
Attention is a set of cognitive processes apprehended by the nervous system which organizes the sensory input in order to generate coordinated behavior. Different forms of attention, such as sustained and selective, have been categorized as executive functions.
In order to get insight into different types of attention, that presumably play differential roles in the etiology of the psychiatric disorders, we will examine the involvement of different developmental conditions (stressful, enriched/impoverished environment) on various behaviors such as: emotional (resiliency, anxiety- or depressive-like behaviors), learning and memory and social cooperation. Using a computerized cooperation maze that we have developed, we recently begun to investigate different elements of social cooperation, such as sensory modalities that are essential for social communication in our rat model. We also have been examining gender differences as well as the inheritance of social cooperation.
Aiming to depict the effects of developmental environmental circumstances, we will integrate diverse research approaches, including behavioral, pharmacological, genetic, biochemical and neural plasticity paradigms to obtain insights into the mechanisms of executive functions, such as different types of attention and social cooperation of both lab and wild animal groups.
Pharmacologically, the monoamines dopamine and norepinephrine, through neuromodulatory influences over fronto-striato-cerebellar circuits, are known to play an important role in high-level executive functions. Methylphenidate (MPH, Ritalin©) inhibits dopamine and norepinephrine transporters, thereby increasing the extracellular concentration of these neurotransmitters, and this facilitation was observed in striatal regions, as well as in the prefrontal and temporal cortices. Therefore, we postulate that MPH may play a wider role in modulating executive functions. Indeed, we found that this drug has beneficial effects on PTSD symptoms.
On the neurophysiological end, we focus on investigating the involvement of the thalamo-cortical versus thalamo-striatal pathways as well as relevant brain regions such as the prefrontal cortex, hippocampus and dorsal striatum. Characterizing and examining changes in neural plasticity (in behaving animals) within and between these brain regions enable us to better understand the neural circuitry and plasticity that sub serve the neurophysiological basis of various attention processes and social cooperation, and their interaction with environmental conditions and inter-subjects relationships.
Finally, we also examine the gene-environment crosstalk as it will most likely be manifested at the epigenetic as well as on the molecular levels.
On the applied part of the aforementioned research, we have been occupying a semi-translational approach, in which mainly the behavioral paradigms, measures and insights from the basic studies (i.e. animal models), are implemented in other animals such as working dogs (K9) in various missions.

THE BEHAVIORAL NEUROSCIENCE LAB

The effects of developmental environmental circumstances seem to substrate behavioral and neural plasticity modulations. These can, in part, contribute to the etiology of pathological conditions that have presumable shared mechanism, such as: Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), Major depression, Schizophrenia and attention disorders.
Applying translational neuroscience approach including behavioral, biochemical and electrophysiological methods, we investigate these pathologies in both animal models and human patients. Currently, we are studying the cross-talk between attention processes and social cooperation, in order to get a better insight into their underlying mechanisms. In applied research we are also trying to implement behavioral concepts (tested in rats) to other animals such as working dogs (K9).

Our lab techniques:
Behavioral: Plus maze, T-maze, Open Field, Object Recognition, Pre-Pulse Inhibition, Startle response, Social Cooperation maze, Rotarod, Sucrose preference test, stress procedures, Porsolt test, 5-CSRTT. In addition we have the latest versions of Ethovision and Observer software that also serves as platform to custom-made software developed in our lab.
Biochemical: Elisa, Western blot analysis, immunohistochemical staining.
Electrophysiology: Extra cellular, in vivo recordings in behaving animals.

https://youtu.be/x6KzULFDfzI

Motor Monitor

Motor Monitor


Object recognition

Object recognition


Pre-pulse inhibition

Pre-pulse inhibition (PPI) - partial sustained attention /Auditory startle response – stress/anxiety


Social cooperation maze

Social cooperation maze


Dominancy tube test

Dominancy tube test


Morris Water maze

Morris Water maze


Radial maze

Radial maze


Fear Conditioning

Fear Conditioning


Shuttle box

Shuttle box


Rotor-rod

Rotor-rod


Enriched environment

Enriched environment


 

Funding -

Funding1 Funding3 Funding2