Mechanisms leading to the onset and progression of devastating diseases such as Alzheimer's disease, Parkinson's disease, ALS and epilepsy are explored at the molecular, cellular and network levels.
We combine biochemistry, molecular biology and electrophysiology and use in vitro, in vivo models and computational techniques to investigate the mechanisms involved in the pathogenesis of these neurological disorders.
Our long term aim is to identify new candidate agents that will be the basis to develop new drugs for the treatment of neurodegenerative disorders by slowing or stopping their progression.
BGU has a strong neurorehabilitation community including the NeuroRehabilitation labs Cluster at the Faculty of Health Sciences.
We lead the pioneering BGU Translational NeuroRehabilitation Clinic in Aleh Negev Rehabilitation Hospital located in the South of Israel.
BGU is home to the National Autism Knowledge Center of Israel.
Approximately 25 researchers and physicians study autism in an inter-disciplinary manner at the center with the goal of understanding the underlying biology and neurophysiology of the disorder.
This understanding is utilized for testing new therapies and technological aids at the center.
Neurobiology of Diseases and Rehabilitation Researchers
The Motor Control and Rehabilitation of Walking Lab (MCRW) is a basic and clinical neuroscience lab dedicated to research and development of novel treatments and technologies in the field of walking rehabilitation.
We investigate mechanisms that control the function of walking in persons with typical walking patterns and those with disabilities due to brain damage.
Currently, the MCRW has several active studies examining topics such as integrative strategies to increase the role of somatosensation in the control of walking, optimal incorporation of the visual system to improve walking stability and the capacity to cope with perturbation while walking.
In Cerebral Palsy we investigate muscle oxygenation and hemodynamics as well as low-grade inflammation and additional health biomarkers following endurance versus strength training.
Our research focuses on interfacing biology with microelectronics. In particular, we study the integration of biological materials (such as DNA, proteins, and cells) with micro- and nano-electronic devices that will harness their unique functionalities for the development of the next generation of personalized health monitoring applications (such as electronic skin patches and implantable sensors that can continuously monitor our health).
My research in the Intelligent systems engineering laboratory (www.bgu-isel.org) in the department of Industrial Engineering and Management, at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, focuses on analysis and engineering of intelligent systems capable of dexterous motion. We develop deterministic and stochastic models for motion generation and representation, and apply them to the analysis of human motion and to the synthesis of robotic motion. Based on our models we study the interaction between perception and action in physical, virtual, and augmented environments. Finally we apply our findings to design and construct intelligent, integrated systems capable of dexterous motion in various application fields (agriculture, rehabilitation, the digital factory). In systems developed for agriculture we hope our studies will enhance production yield along with sustainability. In systems developed for upper-limb rehabilitation we hope our studies will lead to improvement in patient's quality of life. In systems developed for the digital factory we hope to attain robustness and high performance in remote scenarios.
We investigate the molecular and cellular mechanisms controlling neuronal development, which is fundamental for comprehending how the brain is assembled and functions. Moreover, we aim to translate our findings into a better understanding and treatment of brain disorders.
In particular, we explore the genetic pathways controlling the development, survival, function and degeneration of dopaminergic and serotonergic neurons. We combine this basic research approach with studying the pathophysiology of dopamine and serotonin-associated disorders such as Parkinson's disease and mood disorder, thus advancing the development of new therapies for these conditions.
Studies brain function and structure in developmental disorders including autism and ADHD with a strong emphasis on toddlers who have just been diagnosed. Onging projects include sensory, motor, and resting-state experiments using EEG and fMRI to study brain function as well as anatomical and DTI MRI scans to study brain structure.
Prof. Dinstein is the director of the National Autism Research Center located in BGU (www.autismisrael.org).
We employ computational
and experimental (in vitro and in vivo) approaches to understand the molecular
basis of neurodegenerative diseases, in particularly ALS. We focus on
elucidating the molecular mechanism of SOD1 structural transformation into
noxious species, the mechanism of their neurotoxicity and the ability of
self-propagation, and the development of therapeutic approaches to ameliorate
SOD1-dependent neurotoxicity in ALS.
My research focuses on autism genomics: understanding
the molecular mechanisms that underlie autism spectrum disorder and how they may be
leveraged for improved care for families with autism. My work integrates large scale
patient data from various sources not only to test scientific hypotheses,
but also to train predictive models for specific clinical goals.
We combine high-speed Na+ and Ca2+ fluorescence imaging, two-photon microscopy, patch clamp recordings and computational modeling in order to elucidate the mechanisms of action potential generation and propagation in central neurons
Studies the pathophysiology of several brain disorders and the effects of stress on the nervous system. Human and animal studies focus on dysfunction of the blood-brain barrier in epilepsy and neurodegenerative diseases, developing new imaging methods and novel therapies for the prevention and treatment of injury-related epilepsy and neurodegeneration.
The main focus of the research in our lab is on the cellular and molecular mechanisms that lead to the onset and progression of neurodegenerative diseases (e.g., Alzheimer's disease, Parkinson's disease, Huntington's disease) with special emphasis on amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS, Lou Gehrig's disease). These devastating diseases represent a major challenge to public health worldwide, especially as our population continues to age.
ALS is a progressive adult-onset neurodegenerative disorder characterized by the selective loss of upper and lower motor neurons in the brain and spinal cord, followed by paralysis and ultimately death within 2-5 years. The typical age of onset is between 50 to 60 years for most forms of ALS. The disease significantly affects the patient's quality of life, being characterized by progressive muscle weakness, atrophy and spasticity. Today, the disease is incurable, and there is no effective treatment to cure or even significantly slow disease progression.
We combine biochemistry, molecular biology and use both cellular and in vivo models to investigate the molecular mechanisms involved in ALS pathogenesis.
Our long term aim is to identify new candidate agents that will be able to slow or stop the progression of the disease. These agents will be tested in pre-clinical studies and will be the basis to develop new drugs for the treatment of ALS and other neurodegenerative disorders.
Investigates interactions between the central nervous system and the immune system with a particular emphasis on vaccine and cell-based therapies during advanced stages of development.
Investigates how epigenetic modifications and chromatin structure influence DNA repair, the roles of several uncharacterized proteins in the DNA damage signaling have on aging, and brain related diseases, as well as changes in epigenetic modifications and DNA damage in neurodegeneration.
Our research aims to understand the mechanisms that underlie rare neurological disorders and develop personalized therapeutic approaches. We generate patient-specific stem cells, by reprogramming skin fibroblasts or blood cells that are collected from patients, back into a pluripotent stage termed induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs). These cells are then differentiated into various cell types of the human brain, including neurons, astrocytes, oligodendrocytes and endothelial cells, and used to recreate diseases-in-a-dish. By studying monogenic diseases we study the molecular mechanisms that underlie the disease, and develop platforms for drug screening.
Traditional culture systems fail to represent the complexity of our physiology. The solution to some of these problems lies in microfluidic devices, also known as Organs-on-Chip, which provide 3D multicellular architectures and can mimic tissue-tissue interfaces, physicochemical microenvironments and vascular perfusion of the body, giving levels of tissue and organ functionality not attainable with traditional culture systems. In collaboration with our commercial partners we develop bioengineered platforms of the human blood brain barrier (BBB) and brain, which are specifically designed for predictive personalized medicine. Using these platforms, we develop approaches to predict and tailor optimal available treatments per individual.
Studies the critical alterations within the brain reward system that are associated with pathological conditions, and how localized electromagnetic stimulation (using TMS) of these networks can affect such conditions in animal models and humans with a specific focus on molecular and electrophysiological alterations in reward-related networks that are associated with and may cause depression, addiction and attention deficit disorders.