Research Department of Neuroscience
The Theoretical Neuroscience Laboratory of Assistant Professor Barak Omri. What is the nature of neural representation? How does the activity of neurons in the brain reflect the external stimuli and internal states of the animal? Even the simplest of behaviors utilizes large populations of neurons. Thus it seems unlikely that single neurons will exhibit clear and simple relationships to external stimuli or internal states. Our ability to record the detailed activity of single neurons, however, has led to a bias in searching for precisely these types of neurons. Recent advances in recording from larger populations of neurons in an unbiased manner reveal that complex response properties seem to be the rule, and simple neurons the exception. Using theoretical tools from the fields of Mathematics and Physics, along with analysis of experimental data from collaborating laboratories, my lab aims to understand the nature of neural representations.
The Psychobiology Laboratory of Associate Professor Ben-Shachar Dorit.
1. The cellular and molecular mechanism underlying mitochondrial dysfunction and neurodevelopmental aberrations in schizophrenia and in other mental disorders.
2. Impaired assembly of complex I of the respiratory chain as a possible cause for mitochondrial dysfunction in schizophrenia.
3. Synaptic molecular events following interaction between gene and environment relevance to major depression and PTSD.
The Spatial Perception and Memory Laboratory of Assistant Professor Derdikman Dori. How is space represented in the brain? How do we form our spatial memory? How are space and time related in the brain? What is the neuronal code for space? The Derdikman lab aims at researching these and related questions. We use diverse methods to conduct neuroscience research, including state-of-the-art electrophysiological recordings using tetrodes from awake-behaving animals, both tethered and telemetry-based, virtual-reality setups for animals, optogenetic methods, and mathematical modeling. The multi-disciplinary work in our lab hosts collaborations between biologists, electrical engineers, medical researchers, physicists, computer scientists, and mathematicians, all under the umbrella of brain science. We record neurons in the brain’s spatial cognitive map system, including grid cells in the entorhinal cortex, place cells in the hippocampus, and head-direction cells. We strive to understand the neural networks that encode our perception and dictate the animal’s behavior in such spaces.
The Neuropharmacology Laboratory of Professor Emeritus Finberg John. which is studying new therapies and new methods of early detection for Parkinson’s disease, as well as the etiology of this disorder. We have recently discovered the neuroprotective and neurogenetic properties of weak static magnetic fields in rat neurons in vivo and in vitro, and are investigating the mechanism of these effects. In collaboration with Professor Hossam Haick, Faculty of Chemical Engineering, Technion, we have observed alterations in the composition of exhaled volatile substances in Parkinsonian humans and rats, and are developing breath analysis as a potential technique for early detection of Parkinson’s disease. We are further investigating the role of monoamine oxidase B (MAO-B) in the regulation of dopamine levels in rat brain.
The Laboratory For Reseptor Research of Professor Gavish Moshe.
The Auditory/Visual Systems Laboratory of Professor Gutfreund Yoram. How the brain processes sensory signals, computes behaviorally important variables, learns from experience and generates adaptive behaviors? These basic questions are the focus of research in our lab. Our approach is neuroethological, progressing from animal behavior to the underlying neural mechanisms. Our research is focused on the barn owl, a nocturnal predator, specialized for detecting small prey in acoustically complex and dimly lit conditions.
The Brain System Organization and Neurodegeneration Laboratory of Assistant Professor Kahn Itamar. In my lab we seek to understand how systems-level dynamics give rise to various aspects of brain function and behavior in health and disease. To advance these goals, we take advantage of whole-brain functional imaging in humans and animal models. Functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) allows us to measure activity in multiple brain systems simultaneously, and to look at dynamic interactions between regions of the brain. To manipulate well defined populations of neurons, we are using optogenetic techniques that enable cell-type specific optical control of electrical activity at a millisecond resolution. Combining optogenetic techniques with whole-brain fMRI (termed opto-fMRI), we study the mechanisms governing neural dynamics at the level of the microcircuit and across brain regions.
The Technion Evoked Potentials Laboratory of Professor Pratt Hillel. The electrical activity of the human brain (Evoked Potentials) is studied using non-invasive techniques during task performance. The laboratory includes two sound-proof examination chambers equipped for the recording of sensory evoked potentials (auditory, visual and somatosensory) and cognitive event-related potentials from up to 64 electrodes. Auditory and visual stimuli are prepared on dedicated audio generation and editing systems. In addition, the laboratory is equipped with up to date software for ERP waveform analysis, source estimation, scalp mapping and stimulus generation with full control of temporal and spectral contents. Among the topics currently studied are speech and language processing, auditory illusions, brain-machine interfaces and novel methods for objective assessment of hearing in non-cooperative subjects.
The Cortical Computation Laboratory of Professor Schiller Jackie. is focusing on mechanisms of coding, learning and storing of information in central nervous system neurons.
The lab is using state of the art electrophysiological, imaging, optogenetics, phahrmacogenetics, histology and modeling techniques both in vivo in awake behaving animals and in vitro in a slice preparation to study how the motor and sensory cortical networks code and store information. In addition the lab studies the contribution of nonlinear dendritic mechanisms to sensory-motor coding and plasticity.
The Synaptic Dynamics, Remodeling and Tenacity Laboratory of Professor Ziv Noam. The Ziv lab uses long-term imaging and multielectrode array recordings to study the molecular dynamics of synaptic molecules and the remodeling of dynamics CNS synapses at both the population and individual synapse level. The focus of these studies is to determine the degree to which synaptic remodeling and tenacity depend on activity, specific molecules, and stochastic processes acting at many time scales.