Primary AppointmentProfessor, Neuroscience
- BS, Biology, Life Sciences, Tel Aviv
- MS, Neurobiology, Weizmann Institute of Science
- PhD, Neurobiology, Weizmann Institute of Science
Neuroimmunology and glia biology in cognition, neurodevelopment and neurodegenration
We are interested in the role of immune system and glial cells, particularly microglia, in the following conditions:
CNS injury and neurodegenerative diseases - neuronal regeneration, neuroprotection, and neurogenesis.
Models: spinal cord injury, optic nerve injury, brain injury, glaucoma, Alzheimer's Disease.
Cognitive disorders and Neurodevelopmental disorders.
Models: Autism spectrum disorder, Rett syndrome, Dementia, Alzheimer's Disease.
Models: Schizophrenia, Depression.
In our lab we are working on the interaction of the immune and nervous systems. Up until recently, scientists assumed that the presence of immune system in the central nervous system (CNS) was a hallmark for undergoing pathological processes. However, a new line of evidence supports the notion that immune assistance is required for a better neuronal survival following injury. Microglia, the brain's resident macrophages, are playing a major role in brain disorders. Interestingly, microglia are the only cells in the brain that can be feasible replaced (even in patients) and thus represent an exceptional therapeutic target for genetic CNS disorders.
Moreover, we found that animals that lack the population of T lymphocytes (T cells) cannot perform cognitive tasks as well as normal animals do and are impaired in adult neurogenesis and neuronal plasticity. On the other hand, boost of immune response (vaccine) improves learning abilities in normal animals and accelerates neurogenesis.
We are trying to elucidate on cellular and molecular levels the mechanism underlying these beneficial effects of immune cells on healthy and diseased brain.