Yoav Livneh 2010-2011

Institution of PhD:
Hebrew University of Jerusalem
Academic Discipline of PhD:
PhD Advisor/s:
Prof. Adi Mizrahi
Dissertation Topic:
Adult Neurogenesis: From Synapse Formation, Through Sensory Coding to Animal Behavior
Year Awarded PhD:
Institution of Postdoc:
Harvard Medical School
Present Institution:
Harvard Medical School
Present Academic Position:
Postdoctoral Fellow
Links to Recent Publications:
Publication 1

Yoav Livneh is a neuroscientist and postdoctoral fellow at the Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in the Harvard Medical School, hosted by Prof. Brad Lowell.

Yoav received his PhD in 2014 from The Hebrew University of Jerusalem. His dissertation, “Adult Neurogenesis: From Synapse Formation through Sensory Coding to Animal Behavior,” was written under the supervisions of Prof. Adi Mizrahi. His research focused on questions of whether it will be possible to integrate new neurons into adult brains; if so, how they will become synaptically integrated and fully functional; and whether and how new neurons can contribute to the function of the network.

The regenerative capacity of neurons in the adult brain is limited; as they are lost in the course of a lifetime, over 99% are never replaced.  The capacity for treating the damage to brain regions that underlies neurological disorders such as Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s disease is therefore highly restricted.

The adult mammalian brain does maintain at least two stem cell niches that continuously regenerate under normal conditions.  These unique stem cells hold promise for exploiting their regenerative capacity in vivo and have been implicated in many different processes such as enhanced neural plasticity and learning and memory.  In his PhD research, Yoav explored the role of this unique neuronal population in the network’s function, and ultimately in behavior.  Using a wide array of neuroscience methods – genetic manipulation of specific subpopulations of neurons, in vivo structural and physiological imaging, electrophysiology and behavioral tests – Yoav aims to continue studying the unique population of adult-born neurons, in the hope of harnessing and using them to replace damaged neurons and thereby create better treatments for neurodegenerative and other neurological disorders.

Yoav’s findings have been published in several journals, including Neuron, Nature Neuroscience, the Journal of Comparative Neurology and the Journal of Neuroscience.