Research and Academic Activity

The Laboratory for Experimental Neurology was founded 40 years ago by Prof. Shaul Feldman and since then its researchers have published hundreds of scientific papers.

The Laboratory includes researchers with Ph.D./M.D. degrees who are also teachers in the Medical School, laboratory workers and students studying for M.Sc. and Ph.D. degrees.

In the laboratory there is a wide range of topics connected with diseases of the nervous system and other topics connected with understanding stress processes.

Research Topics

Neuroimmunology and Autoimmune Diseases
The research touches on interaction between the nervous system and messengers of the immune system in conditions of inflammation and in conditions of autoimmune diseases in which there is an attack on the nervous system.

Thelma Brenner: A. Imitation of inflammatory conditions by stimulation of glia cells in tissue culture. B. Treatment with alpha-fetoprotein as a protein which delays immune response. C. Use of anti-sense to acetylcholine esterase as a treatment for patients with myasthenia gravis.

Dimitrius Karussis: Use of bacterial preparations as a treatment in a model of multiple sclerosis.

Tamir Ben-Hur: Transplantation of stem cells into the brain as a means of repairing damage due to autoimmune responses or neurodegenerative responses.

Haim Ovadia: A. Use of anti-oxidants to treat damage caused by autoimmune inflammation of the brain. B. The influence of stress on immune response: changes in receptors to glucocorticoids in lymphocytes.

Prion Diseases
Prion diseases are derived from a genetic change in the normal prion protein or from an infection in the prion protein which has previously undergone a change in its structure and properties. As a result, there is an increase in the abnormal protein which causes destruction of grey cells in the brain.

Ruth Gabizon: Development of a method to test the phenomenon of the prion protein in urine. Basic research to characterize the biochemical differences between the normal protein and the ineffective protein and a search for pharmacological preparations whose purpose is to prevent the accumulation of the ineffective protein.

Today it is clear that many diseases have a genetic background. Our laboratory makes an effort to elucidate the genetic background of different neurological diseases. For this purpose, DNA samples are collected from families of patients to identify different mutations.

Hannah Rosenmann: Use of an animal model with expression of a defective TAU gene for elucidation of the process of neurodegeneration.

Zohar Argov: Mutations in patients with muscle diseases.

Neurovirology and Gene Therapy
In the Neurology laboratory viruses with a tendency to infect the nervous system are used as a drug or gene insertion vector for treatment.

Israel Steiner: Homing vectors for blood vessel endothelial cells in the brain. Gene therapy against apoptosis in neurodegenerative diseases. Development of herpes virus vectors for gene therapy in the brain.

Significant damage in brain functions in advanced age is derived from blockage of blood vessels. One may recover well from a stroke when treatment is given at the time of the event. The laboratory investigates this topic from the pharmacological perspective of a combination of different drugs designed to override a number of processes which cause the permanent damage to the brain.

Ronen Leker and Haim Ovadia: The use of free radical capture preparations in a combination of hypothermia lessen ischemic damage in the brain.

One of the important routes in the response to stress is the hypothalamus-hypophesis-adrenal axis whose action brings the release of cortisol. The laboratory tries to elucidate the nerve routes which contribute to the different stress responses.

Yosef Weidenfeld and Shaul Feldman: The nerve contribution of extra-hypothalamus centers in the response to noise and light stimulation. The involvement of cytokines in the stress responses.