The Neural Interfaces (“NeurInt”) Lab headed by Prof. Izhar Bar-Gad of the Leslie and Susan Gonda (Goldschmied) Multidisciplinary Brain Research Center is dedicated to research of bi-directional interaction between computerized systems and the central nervous system.
The long-term goal of the lab is to use this interaction to provide a deeper understanding of the pathophysiology of neural disorders and to create the electrophysiological basis for the treatment of their symptoms.
Bar-Gad’s research team utilizes a comprehensive approach which combines broad usage of animal models for different diseases, electrophysiological recordings from human subjects undergoing neurosurgery, and computational models.
The initial focus of Bar-Gad’s lab is to shed light on the neurophysiology of motor and behavioral disorders associated with basal ganglia malfunction such as Parkinson’s disease, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD), and Tourette syndrome, as well as their amendment using electrical or magnetic modulation.
This goal combines basic and clinical research, both for unraveling the information processing pathways of the cortico-basal ganglia loop, as well as for discovering a mode of intervention to improve the severe motor and behavioral disabilities associated with these disorders.
Parkinson’s disease is a common neurodegenerative disorder affecting 1% of the population over 60 years of age. Projects in the Neurint lab are performed on MPTP-treated monkeys, targeting the three way relationship between electrical stimulation of the basal ganglia or magnetic stimulation of the motor cortex, changes in the firing patterns of basal ganglia neurons, and clinical symptoms of the disease (tremor, rigidity, akinesia, bradykinesia).
Multiple projects in the Neurint lab target a group of disorders characterized by excessive movement or behavior.
These disorders, including Tourette syndrome, Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), chorea & Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), are characterized by high comorbidity and common physiological characteristics.
The Neurint projects focus on the relationship between motor, associative and limbic domains of the cortico-basal ganglia loop and the effect of this relationship on the manifestation of seemingly different disorders. Moreover, the effects of magnetic and electrical stimulation on the manifestation of the symptoms are being characterized.