Prof. Alon Friedman
Head of the lab


  • B.Sc. and M.D. at Ben Gurion University of the Negev.
  • MD-PhD, Ben Gurion University of the Negev.
  • Thesis: "Active and Passive Properties of Neocortical Neurons and their Role in Determining Neuronal Firing Patterns", summa cum laude


    Current Position

    Associate Professor in the Faculty of Health Science.


    Research Areas

    My research focuses on the pathophysiology of brain disorders and the effects of stress on the nervous system.

    My group is involved in a multidisciplinary, human and animal research studying novel therapies for the preventionand treatment of brain diseases, specifically injury-related epilepsy and neurodegeneration.


    Awards and Fellowships

    • The Marcatur Proffesorship,Charite Medical University, Berlin
    • The Michael Prize for Epilepsy Research -The Michael Stiftung, Bonn, Germany
    • The Students Excellency award for teaching - Ben-Gurion University, Beer-Sheva, Israel,
    • The Foulkes Foundation Research Award - for original contribution of scientific research to medicine
    • The Teva research prize for young investigators
    • The Zigler prize for original research - The Bruce Rappaport Faculty of Medicine, Technion, Israeli Institute of Technology
    • The APS Kass Award for Medical Research - The American Physicians Fellowship for Medicine in Israel
    • The Charles Smith Post-Doctoral Fellowships, The Alexander von Humboldt Fellowship, Institute for Neurohysiology, Humboldt University, Berlin
    • The volunteer award - The Association for Civil Rights in Israel
    • The Goulton Award - Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, Israel, support for graduate training
    • The Foulkes Foundation Fellowship, London, UK, - support for graduate training


    • The complete publication list can be found here.




    Dr. Yoash Chassidim

    Yoash is a research fellow, an image processing expert. Involved in several projects, mainly in the image and signal analysis and algorithmic perspectives. Currently: Blood brain barrier imaging, Cerebral blood flow analysis methods, Retinal computer aided diagnostic, Dynamic contrast enhanced MRI, early detection of siezures, fetus 4th ventricle shape analysis.



    Ofer Prager

    Ofer is a PhD student. In his research, Ofer focuses on in-vivo imaging and quantification of dynamic changes in cerebral blood flow and blood-brain barrier (BBB) permeability under normal and pathological brain conditions, including study the mechanism underlying the relation between the integrity of the BBB and neurovascular-coupling function.


    (1) Prager O, Chassidim Y, Klein C, Levi H, Shelef I, Friedman A. Dynamic in-vivo imaging of cerebral blood flow and blood-brain barrier permeability. NeuroImage. 2009; 49: 337-344.

    (2) Levi H, Prager O, Chassidim Y, Friedman A. A novel method to determine dynamic changes in brain vessels diameter. J Mol Neurosci. 2009; 39 (Suppl 1) Abstract.


    Guy Bar-Klein

    Guy is a PhD student in our laboratory. He has a B.Sc. in biophysics and M.Med.Sc in neurophysiology.
    In his research, Guy focuses on in-vivo electrophysiological recordings and molecular assays of epileptogenic processes and pathologies associated with blood-brain barrier (BBB) dysfunction. Studying the mechanisms regulating BBB permeability and the following effects, will hopefully lead to potential therapeutic treatments for BBB-related processes, emphasizing on post-traumatic epilepsy and other epileptogenic syndromes.


    (1) Karl Schoknecht, Yaron David, Christa Thöne-Reineke, Henning Witt, Luisa Cacheaux, GUY BAR-KLEIN, Aljoscha Reichert, Uwe Heinemann, Daniela Kaufer and Alon Friedman. 2010. Blood-Brain Barrier Dysfunction: A Target for the Prevention of Stroke Complications? Cardiovascular Psychiatry Neurol.

    (2) Luisa P Cacheaux, Sebastian Ivens, Yaron David, Alexander J Lakhter, GUY BAR-KLEIN, Michael Shapira, Uwe Heinemann, Alon Friedman and Daniela Kaufer, 2009. Transcriptome profiling reveals TGF-beta signaling involvement in epileptogenesis. Journal of Neuroscience, 29(28): 8927-8935.


    Rotem Saar-Ashkenazy

    I'm a PhD student in the Brain and Cognitive Sciences department. My research focuses on structural and functional brain alterations and their relation to emotion regulation and memory deficits in post-traumatic patients. I use behavioral tasks used in cognitive experimental psychology, and adapt them for studying patients. I measure behavioral responses (reaction time, accuracy etc.) as well as brain responses (using EEG, MRI and fMRI). In addition, I'm studying in the relationship between structural and functional connectivity alterations in patients after traumatic brain injury (TBI) and mild cognitive impairments (MCI) which are manifested in their performance in cognitive tasks.


    (1) Guez, J., Cohen, J., Naveh-Benjamin, M., Shiber, A.,Yankovsky, Y., Saar, R. & Shalev, H. (2013). Associative memory impairment in Acute Stress Disorder: Characteristics and Time Course. Psychiatry Research, 209(3), 479-484, doi: 10.1016/j.psychres.2012.12.013.

    (2) Saar-Ashkenazy, R., Cohen, J., Guez J., Gasho C., Shelef I., Friedman A. & Shalev H. Reduced Corpus-Callosum Volume in Posttraumatic Stress Disorder Highlights the Importance of Inter-Hemispheric Connectivity for Associative Memory. Journal of Traumatic Stress, 27(1), 18-26, doi: 10.1002/jts.21887.


    Chen Tiferet

    Chen is an M.A. student in the department of Cognitive neuroscience. She is investigating the effect of stress on the interaction between attention and emotion perception.
    Using a cognitive load paradigm, she tries to find the role of attention in emotional visual perception, in stressed and non-stressed healthy subjects.
    Together with Lavi, they try to find the electrical pattern underlying the emotional perception under those conditions, hopefully to be able to get more insights about the neuronal dysfunctions in the different stress disorders.


    Dan Milikovsky

    Dan is an MD/PhD student. He is trying to uncover mechanisms of interactions between albumin and white matter. In addition he is investigating inflammatory processes underling epileptogenesis.


    (1) Willingness to treat infectious diseases: what do students think?
    Milikovsky DZ, Ben Yona R, Akselrod D, Glick SM, Jotkowitz A.


    Mike Fassler

    Mike is a PhD student. In his study, he develops efficient lentiviral-mediated methods for specific gene targeting of cells from the rodent central nervous system (CNS). This novel approach is implemented in model of epilepsy to study the role of astrocytes in the pathogenesis of the disease and challenge its use as a therapeutic tool.


    Itai Weissberg

    Itai is a student in the combined MD/Ph.D. program at Ben Gurion University. Upon completion of his B.Med.Sc., he enrolled in the Ph.D. program and is currently on a sabbatical from his MD studies, pursuing his research.

    Research Activities:

    • Role of albumin in epileptogenesis
    • iEEG analysis and seizure detection


    Lynn Kamintsky

    Lyn is a student in the combined BSc/MSc program in the department of Biomedical engineering. She is interested in the development of technologies for the research and hopefully treatment of Epilepsy. She is currently focused on the development of a reliable and unbiased system for the detection of epileptic seizures in real time.



    Lab Alumni

    Dr. Yaron David

    Yaron studied in the combined MD/Ph.D. program at Ben Gurion University.
    He studied the mechanisms of epileptogenesis following Blood-Brain Barrier disruption and the effects of TGF-beta on the brain.


    (1) Karl Schoknecht, YARON DAVID, Christa Thöne-Reineke, Henning Witt, Luisa Cacheaux, Guy Bar-Klein, Aljoscha Reichert, Uwe Heinemann, Daniela Kaufer and Alon Friedman. 2010. Blood-Brain Barrier Dysfunction: A Target for the Prevention of Stroke Complications? In preparation.

    (2) YARON DAVID, Luisa P Flores, Sebastian Ivens, Uwe Heinemann, Daniela Kaufer and Alon Friedman. 2009. Astrocytic dysfunction in epileptogenesis: consequences of altered potassium and glutamate buffering? Journal of Neuroscience, 29(34):10588-10599.

    (3) Luisa P Cacheaux, Sebastian Ivens,YARON DAVID, Alexander J Lakhter, Guy Bar-Klein, Michael Shapira, Uwe Heinemann, Alon Friedman and Daniela Kaufer, 2009. Transcriptome profiling reveals TGF-beta signaling involvement in epileptogenesis. Journal of Neuroscience, 29(28): 8927-8935.

    (4) Browne R.O., Ben Moyal-Segal L., Zumsteg D., DAVID YARON, Kofman O., Berger A., Soreq H., and Friedman A., Coding region paraoxonase polymorphisms dictate accentuated neuronal reactions in chronic, sub-threshold pesticide exposure FASEB Journal. 20: 1733-1735


    Dr. Jonathan E. Cohen

    Dr. Jonathan Cohen studied in the combined MD/Ph.D. program at Ben Gurion University.

    Research Interests:

    • Role of acetylcholinesterases in adult murine denatate gyrus neurogenesis
    • Post Traumatic Strees Disorder: genetic, biochemical, neuroanatomical, neurophysiological and cognitive aspects.


    • Acetylcholine Modulates Dentate Gyrus Neurogenesis in the Adult Mouse. Cohen J.E., Dori A., Friedman A., Soreq H. Paper delivered at the 12th Annual Meeting of the Israel Society for Neuroscience. Eilat, Israel, 2003.
    • Functional Manipulations of Acetylcholinesterase Splice Variants Highlight Alternative splicing Contributions to Murine Neocortical Development. A. Dori, J. Cohen , W.F. Silverman, Y. Pollack, and H. Soreq. Cerebral Cortex, 2005.PUBMED, PDF
    • Acetylcholinesterase metabolism contributes to the maintenance of hippocampal granule cells in adult mice. Cohen J.E., Friedman A., Soreq H., Dori A., Poster presented at Zlotowski Center for Neuroscience annual retreat. Mitzpe Ramon 2005.
    • SC35 promotes sustainable stress-induced alternative splicing of neuronal acetylcholinesterase mRNA. Eran Meshorer, Boris Bryk, Debora Toiber, Jonathan Cohen, Erez Podoly, Amir Dori and Hermona Soreq. Submitted.


    Etti Ashkenazi

    Etti is an M.Sc. student in biomedical engineering, her research is in the field of signal processing, namely EEG signals. Currently she is trying to predict epileptic seizures, using methods from both EEG and speech processing fields.


    Netalee Efrat

    Netalee is an M.Sc. student in biomedical engineering. In her research, Netalee focuses on methods for non invasive localization of the epileptic focus in patient suffers from refractory epilepsy.
    She investigates whether the improvement of Interictal Epilpetiform Discharges (IEDs) detection and classification increases the efficiency of combined EEG source localization and fMRI as complementary methods for non-invasive localization of the epileptic source.
    She shows that automated IED classification can result in objective BOLD response models of IEDs and lead to improvement of non-invasive pre surgical localization of interictal epileptiform activity.


    Dr. Maya Ketzef

    Maya was a PhD student in the lab. Her research dealt with the development of epilepsy (epileptogenesis) in a genetic model for epilepsy - the Synapsin triple knock out (TKO) mice. In her work she employed different techniques such as: in-vitro intra and extra cellular recordings, RT-PCR, immunohistology, single channel surface and depth electrode EEG recordings.


    Lavi Shahar

    Lavi tries to find the tract and substrates that are a part of sub-threshold emotional visual stimulus processing.
    Experiments are conducted in two groups of patients: Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) patients, and epileptic patients whose epileptic focus is about to be removed.
    For PTSD patients, experiments are conducted with an Evoked Related Potentials (ERP) system and the sLORETA system (signal source localization tool), and for epileptic patients, he uses Electrocorticography (ECoG).
    He hopes to find the participating areas of the brain that help processing unconsciously perceived visual stimuli, the order of their activation, and the relevant frequencies used in this process.


    Asaf Kreh

    Asaf was an M.Sc. student in the lab. He worked on quantitative assessment of vascular permeability using dynamic contrast-enhanced MR imaging


    Dr. Lev Pavlovsky

    Lev was a PhD student in the lab.


    Dr. Oren Tomkins

    Oren was a PhD student in the lab.



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