המרכז לחקר הפדגוגיה, שותפויות אקדמיה-שדה

חיפוש

חיפוש

פעילויות מרכז המחקר

סמינרים עתידיים

Dr. Ben Engelhard​

Technion
Learning from dopamine's complexity: investigating dopamine circuits in the brain to understand how we learn complex tasks

:Abstract

Learning through rewards is a fundamental aspect of human behavior, and it is mediated by the dopamine system in the brain. Traditionally, the dopamine system was thought to facilitate learning by transmitting a single error signal to the brain's learning circuits. Computationally, this is analogous to the implementation of a simple algorithm (temporal difference  learning) previously discovered by the machine learning community. However, recent research has challenged this notion by demonstrating that the dopamine system exhibits significant diversity in its activity, which is inconsistent with the single error signal hypothesis. What does this mean for our understanding of how the brain learns? In the talk, I will explore  these recent findings and describe the research we are conducting in our lab to elucidate how diversity in dopamine activity can underlie learning. In particular, our work is based on the hypothesis that this diversity is especially important when learning something complex.​

 

​​​​Auditorium​ 015, the Nano Building (# 51)​

Prof. Segev Barak​​

TAU
Neuronal ensembles and transcriptional fingerprint of alcohol memories - understanding the molecular mechanisms of alcohol addiction​

:Abstract

Alcohol-associated memories play an important role in relapse in alcohol use disorder. Disrupting these memories, which become labile upon retrieval, through interference with their reconsolidation process, could reduce relapse. Memories are thought to be encoded within specific patterns of sparsely distributed neurons, called neuronal ensembles. We previously showed that pharmacological and behavioral interference with alcohol memory reconsolidation can reduce relapse in animal models. Recently, we also explored the role of neuronal ensembles in alcohol-memory reconsolidation and relapse and found that they display a unique transcriptional signature. In this talk, Prof. Barak will present different angles of his research on the neuronal and behavioral mechanisms of alcohol memory reconsolidation and maladaptive memories that cause relapse, and on the potential strategies for relapse prevention. 

 

​​​​Auditorium​ 015, the Nano Building (# 51)​

Dr. Shahar Alon​

Bar-Ilan University

​​​​Auditorium​ 015, the Nano Building (# 51)​

סמינרי עבר

Prof. Pablo Blinder​​​

Tel Aviv University 
Blood flow perturbations and its impact on brain structure and function: from microstrokes to heartbeats

​​​​Auditorium​ 015, the Nano Building (# 51)

 

Prof. Shira Knafo

Department of Physiology and Cell Biology
Faculty of Health Sciences, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev

​​​​Auditorium​ 015, the Nano Building (# 51)

 

Interplay Between Hippocampal TACR3 and Systemic Testosterone in Regulating Anxiety-Associated Synaptic Plasticity
 

Pubertal failure and anxiety are common symptoms in individuals with dysfunctional TACR3, yet the underlying mechanisms remain elusive. This study investigated the relationship between TACR3 expression, anxiety, sex hormones, and synaptic plasticity. Using a rat model, we discovered that severe anxiety is associated with reduced TACR3 expression in the ventral hippocampus. Furthermore, TACR3 expression in female rats fluctuates throughout the estrous cycle, indicating its sensitivity to sex hormones. Interestingly, during sexual development, we observed a substantial increase in hippocampal TACR3 expression concomitant with elevated serum testosterone levels, which coincided with a significant reduction in anxiety levels. Our findings also revealed a reciprocal regulation between hippocampal TACR3 expression and serum testosterone levels.
Notably, TACR3 is predominantly expressed in the cell membrane, including the presynaptic compartment, and its modulation significantly impacts synaptic function. Inhibition of TACR3 activity led to hyperactivation of the PKC pathway, CaMKII activation, enhanced AMPA receptor phosphorylation, and increased spine density, resulting in augmented synaptic connectivity. This increased connectivity was evident in stronger cross-correlations of firing among neurons in a multielectrode array system. Consistent with these findings, rats with TACR3 deficiency exhibited lower serum testosterone levels, abnormally elevated spine density in the dentate gyrus, and impaired long-term potentiation (LTP) in the same region.
Remarkably, aberrant expression of functional TACR3 in spines resulted in spine shrinkage and pruning, whereas expression of a defective TACR3 increased spine density, size, and the cross-correlation magnitude. Neurons expressing the defective TACR3 displayed inadequate firing pattern responses to LTP induction, which could be rectified by prior treatment with testosterone. Overall, our findings provide insights into the intricate relationship among TACR3, sex hormones, anxiety, and synaptic plasticity, offering potential targets for therapeutic interventions to alleviate anxiety in individuals with TACR3 dysfunction.

​Dr. Naomi Habib

Goren-Khazzam Lecturer in Brain Sciences | Edmond and Lily Safra Center for Brain Sciences | Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Israel​

​​​​Auditorium​ 015, the Nano Building (# 51)

The Road Not Taken: Distinct cellular dynamics in Alzheimer's disease and Aging. 

Alzheimer's Disease is a devastating neurodegenerative disease of advanced age that progresses slowly over more than 20 years. To effectively treat the disease there is a need to shift from therapies at late stages of the disease, to early detection and prevention therapies at the pre-symptomatic stage of the disease. Yet, for developing effective prevention therapies there is a need to uncover the changes in brain cells throughout the course of the disease and to uncover the differences between disease and healthy brain aging. To address this, we are applying cutting edge molecular technologies and machine learning methods to define the cellular and molecular events underlying the processes of disease and aging in mouse models and Human brains. Specifically, in this talk I will describe recent works in which we built detailed cellular maps of ~500 human aged brain. Our maps identified specific sets of cells predicted as drivers of Alzheimer's disease. Furthermore, we uncovered two distinct paths of cellular change in aging brains that distinguish between the processes leading to Alzheimer's Disease-dementia and the path leading to alternative brain aging. This discovery overcame several major obstacles in the field, predicted driver of disease and molecular markers of early pre-symptomatic stage of the disease, and highlights the differences between Alzheimer's and brain aging. Our work provides a new perspective of Alzheimer's Disease pathophysiology that could inform the development of new therapeutic interventions.

 

Dr. Avi Mendelsohn

Sagol department of Neurobiology, University of Haifa. 

​​​Auditorium​ 015, the Nano Building (# 51)​

Building long-term memories: the impact of reinforcement learning, social cognition, and musical tension​
An enduring question in memory research pertains to the environmental and situational conditions that facilitate the transfer of information to long-term memory. In this talk, I will discuss recent explorations concerning the factors influencing the formation of long-term memory. The first set of experiments will outline findings regarding the impact of musical tension on visual memory formation, while the second will demonstrate how individual strategies relating to learning from the actions of others interact with declarative memory.

​Dr. Arseny Finkelstein

Sagol School of Neuroscience, Faculty of Medicine, Tel Aviv University

​​​Auditorium​ 015, the Nano Building (# 51)​

Mechanisms of cortical communication during action-selection


Regulation of information flow in the brain is critical for many forms of behavior. In the first part, I will focus on information flow within the frontal cortex microcircuitry and present a new all-optical method for rapid mapping of local connectivity in vivo. Combining connectivity mapping with a novel naturalistic behavior in mice revealed functional connectivity motifs underlying a cognitive map for reward positions and outcomes in the frontal cortex. In the second part, I will show that analyses of interactions between 1,000,000 neurons, recorded simultaneously across multiple cortical areas during the same behavior, revealed an intricate organization of cortical population dynamics and inter-areal communication patterns during action-selection. Taken together, these results pave a road to study how neuronal interactions on different spatial scales give rise to behavior. ​

Prof. Avihu Klar
HUJI

​​​​Auditorium​ 015, the Nano Building (# 51)​

Stepping, flying or swimming - evolution of patterned locomotion in tetrapods

Dr. Tamar Kolodny
Psychology Department and a member of the Azrieli National Centre for Autism and Neurodevelopment Research
​BGU

​​​​Auditorium​ 015, the Nano Building (# 51)​

Maladaptive fronto-parietal connectivity as a mechanism of response inhibition in ADHD

Abstract: Reduced ability to suppress inadequate but prepotent responses is of the most prominent characteristics of children and adults with ADHD. It impacts academic performance, social interactions and quality of life. While response inhibition is executed via fronto-striato-parietal networks, the mechanisms underlying deficient inhibition in ADHD are largely unknown, and progress in recognizing the neural bases of ADHD is paramount to the development and evaluation of efficient treatments. In my talk I will present a series of studies utilizing multimodal imaging data alongside diagnostic, phenotypic and behavioral data to isolate inhibition-related neural activity. The findings force the point of treating ADHD as a continuum whereby brain correlates are scaled with severity, and point to the potential of individual differences in the modulation of IPS activation and in tract-specific functional and structural connectivity properties as neuromarkers of ADHD.

Dr. Tamar Kolodny
Psychology Department and a member of the Azrieli National Centre for Autism and Neurodevelopment Research
​BGU

​​​​Auditorium​ 015, the Nano Building (# 51)​

Maladaptive fronto-parietal connectivity as a mechanism of response inhibition in ADHD

Abstract: Reduced ability to suppress inadequate but prepotent responses is of the most prominent characteristics of children and adults with ADHD. It impacts academic performance, social interactions and quality of life. While response inhibition is executed via fronto-striato-parietal networks, the mechanisms underlying deficient inhibition in ADHD are largely unknown, and progress in recognizing the neural bases of ADHD is paramount to the development and evaluation of efficient treatments. In my talk I will present a series of studies utilizing multimodal imaging data alongside diagnostic, phenotypic and behavioral data to isolate inhibition-related neural activity. The findings force the point of treating ADHD as a continuum whereby brain correlates are scaled with severity, and point to the potential of individual differences in the modulation of IPS activation and in tract-specific functional and structural connectivity properties as neuromarkers of ADHD.

​​​

Prof. Tal Dvir​​

Director, Tel Aviv University Center for Nanoscience and Nanotechnology
Sagol Center for Regenerative Biotechnology,
Shmunis School of Biomedicine and Cancer Research, Faculty of Life Science
Department of Biomedical Engineering, Faculty of Engineering
Sagol School of Neuroscience

​​​​Auditorium​ 015, the Nano Building (# 51), 12:00AM​

Engineering personalized tissue implants: From 3D printing to bionic organs​

:Abstract
In this talk, I will describe cutting-edge bio and nanotechnologies for engineering functional tissues and organs, focusing on the design of new biomaterials mimicking the natural microenvironment or releasing biofactors to promote stem cell recruitment and tissue protection. In addition, I will discuss the development of patient-specific materials and 3D printing of personalized vascularized tissues and organs. Finally, I will show a new direction in tissue engineering, where micro and nanoelectronics are integrated within engineered tissues to form cyborg tissues and bionic organs. 

 

​Dr. Tal Yatziv

Department of Psychology, Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, Ben Gurion University 

​​​​Auditorium​ 015, the Nano Building (# 51)​

Understanding the Baby’s Mind: Neurocognitive Mechanisms of Caregiving
​​
​Parent-child relationships are fundamental for children’s development and well-being, particularly in infancy. Infants are inherently dependent on regulation by their caregiver, as they gradually develop the ability to regulate themselves. Infants use affective signals (“cues” such as facial expressions or cries) to communicate their needs, and parents are required to detect these signals, decipher their meaning, and meet the needs they communicate. In other words, successful regulation of the infant requires parental mentalizing—the ability to understand the infant’s mind and internal states. Yet, despite the importance and complexity of understanding and meeting the infant’s needs, the neurocognitive mechanisms supporting parental mentalizing are little understood. Recent work indicates neural plasticity in brain regions associated with mentalizing across the transition to parenthood, further highlighting the importance of understanding how parental mentalizing is shaped. In this talk, I will provide a framework for disentangling the neurocognitive processes supporting parental mentalizing and regulation of the infant. I will focus on (1) maternal neural, cognitive, and affective responding to infant distress and non-distress in pregnancy and precursors of caregiving risk and resilience, and (2) the role of working memory in real-time mentalizing about infant mental states via the concept of event segmentation. Through these two lines of research, I will demonstrate how gaining a better understanding of the neurocognitive mechanisms of caregiving can shed light on adaptive and maladaptive parenting behaviors and infant development.

Dr. Genela Morris​, ​Ichilov Medical Center

​​​​Auditorium​ 015, the Nano Building (# 51)​

Learning attention: a novel update mechanism for attention in a multidimensional world​​

For decades, the term reinforcement learning referred to describing how, in a given situation, we learn how to choose actions that are most beneficial. Algorithms have been devised, and their neural correlates have been sought and found in the cortico-striatal system, and its dopaminergic input. However, in realistic environments is actually a two-tier process. To correctly learn what to do in a given situation, one must also learn what attributes of the situation are relevant an should be learned about. In this talk, I will present our theoretical and experimental results on this distinction, and how it relates to motivation. Using rodent studies, I will describe results suggesting that neuronal activity in the structures controlling behavior is reshaped to represent the environment in behaviorally relevant dimensions, and that this process depends on dopamine. I will show that animals’ behavior indicates that state representation is modal, such that different attributes are represented and updated separately, and that they are weighted by an attention term, indicating the relative importance of a dimension. I will present a possible update rule for attention, and show preliminary results pointing to involvement of the striatal cholinergic system in this process.