Neurodegenerative diseases – Our research is focused on characterizing how immune alterations associated with aging affect neurodegenerative processes like Alzheimer’s disease (AD), studying: a) migration of bone marrow derived cells to the brain; b) cytokines enhancing neuronal recovery; c) the role of brain-specific antibodies entering the brain; d) immune regulation and homeostasis.
These aspects of the immune system can mediate neuronal recovery by affecting the clearance of toxic forms of amyloid from the brain and by inducing a local milieu supportive of neurogenesis. We have developed a unique AD mouse model that lends itself to the development of safe vaccination approaches aimed at prevention and therapy of the disease.
Autoimmunity – Currently, in collaboration with Prof. Smadar Cohen, two approaches are being taken to intervene with the progression of the autoimmune diseases type-1 diabetes and multiple sclerosis, with the aim of enhancing regulatory mechanisms via: a) the use of 3D-scaffolds to generate a transplantable lymphoid-like tissue with local immuno-regulatory properties; b) the use of peptide- or siRNA-containing microparticles to target cells of the immune system, inducing peripheral immunoregulatory properties.
These approaches offer a platform for the design of immune-based therapies to a variety of autoimmune disorders, whether they originate from immune deficient (e.g. cancer, neurodegenerative diseases) or hyper-immune responses (e.g. autoimmune diseases, allergies).
Deputy Dean for Research
The Shraga Segal Dept. of Microbiology, Immunology and Genetics
The Faculty of Health Sciences;
The National Institute of Biotechnology in the Negev;