Research in the laboratory focuses on the understanding of the neurobiology of stress-related disorders, particularly Post-traumatic stress disorder and stress-induced depression, and the effects of stressful experiences in early life on cognitive and emotional abilities in adulthood.

Our team consists of graduate students, post-docs and reseacrch associates, both Israeli and international students, each with his or her own approach to studying stress-related dosorders. Aside from developing novel behavioral models, our lab uses a wide range of methods to study the neurobiological mechanisms underlying the behaviors. These include in vivo electrophysiology, microscopy and various molecular and biochemical analyses.

Our work involves both basic and clinical research and works in collaboration with the Institue for the Study of Affective Neuroscience (ISAN) in the University of Haifa.

For more information on our current projects visit our Research Interests section.

Recent Publications

A novel approach to PTSD modeling in rats reveals alternating patterns of limbic activity in different types of stress reaction.

Ritov G, Boltyansky B, Richter-Levin G.

Mol Psychiatry. 2015 Nov 10. doi: 10.1038/mp.2015.169. 

Human reactions to trauma exposure are extremely diverse, with some individuals exhibiting only time-limited distress and others qualifying for posttraumatic stress disorder diagnosis (PTSD). Furthermore, whereas most PTSD patients mainly display fear-based symptoms, a minority of patients display a co-morbid anhedonic phenotype. We employed an individual profiling approach to model these intriguing facets of the psychiatric condition in trauma exposed rats. Based on long-term assessments of anxiety-like and anhedonic behaviors, our analysis uncovered three separate phenotypes of stress response; an anxious, fear-based, a co-morbid, fear-anhedonic , and an exposed-unaffected group . Immunohistochemical assessments for cellular activation (c-Fos) and activation of inhibition (c-Fos+GAD67) revealed a differential involvement of limbic regions and distinct co-activity patterns for each of these phenotypes, validating the behavioral categorization. 

Prof. Gal Richter-Levin

gal fixedHead of Lab

Prof. Gal Richter-Levin is currently the head of the Institute for the Study of Affective Neuroscience (ISAN), at the University of Haifa.

He earned his PhD (1992) at the Weizmann Institute, Rehovot, Israel, under the supervision of Prof. Menahem Segal.

Prof. Richter-Levin joined the University of Haifa in 1995 and since 2006 he is a full professor at the Department of Neurobiology and the Department of Psychology.

Prof. Richter-Levin has made major contributions to developing novel translational animal models of mood and anxiety disorders, as well as towards the understanding of the role of emotional and amygdala activation in traumatic memory and depression.