Edi Barkai

Edi Barkai

Edi Barkai, Ph.D. - I received my doctorate from Ben-Gurion University in Israel and post-doctoral training at the psychology department at Harvard. I am currently Professor of physiology and Dean of the Faculty of Natural Sciences at the University of Haifa, Israel. My primary interest is the cellular mechanisms underlying learning and memory in the mammalian brain. In particular, I have been studying the biological bases of higher-skill learning. To that aim, I adopted a complex olfactory-discrimination task. Training rats in this particularly difficult task results with acquisition of superb capabilities to perform complex tasks, termed ‘rule learning’ or ‘learning set. The long-term modifications at the cellular, sub cellular and network levels that enable 'rule learning' acquisition and maintenance have been the subject of our research. We have been focusing on several key questions; what are the physiological, morphological and molecular mechanisms that enable the induction and long-term maintenance of enhanced learning capabilities? What roles do different brain areas have in these enhanced capabilities? How is the balanced activity maintained in the relevant neuronal networks in face of such multiple changes? We showed that at the cellular level learning-induced long-term modifications occur in the three components controlling neurons activation; the excitatory synaptic, the intrinsic neuronal excitability, and synaptic inhibition. Such modifications are maintained by persistent activation of key second messenger systems. Based on our result, we have been also engaged in developing a cognitive enhancer that will compensate for aging-induced and neurodegeneration-induced decline in cognitive capabilities.

Affiliations and Expertise

University of Haifa, Israel


Editors: Edi Barkai & Donald Wilson Release Date: 25 Apr 2014
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