I did my BA in special education and psychology at the Tel-Aviv University. Although I started my BA with the intention of becoming a school teacher, during my studies I discovered the field of neuroscience and fell in love with it. Therefore, I went on to an MA and a PhD in neuroscience (never losing my passion for the field of education). My MA was also completed at the Tel-Aviv University under the supervision of Prof. Daphna Joel from The School of Psychological Sciences. My MA work explored the connection between hormonal fluctuations and symptom severity of obsessive – compulsive disorder (OCD). My PhD was carried out under the co-supervision of Prof. Joel and Prof. Ina Weiner. My PhD work explored how abnormalities in immune system function during the early post-natal period affects brain development and raises the risk of developing psychiatric disorders like schizophrenia and depression. During my PhD, I discovered that in addition to lab work and research, I also enjoy teaching students and talking about science with people without formal scientific training (science communication).
I believe that the dissemination of scientific knowledge is critical because it supports people’s decision making processes and how they live their day to day lives, thus enhancing quality of life at the personal and societal level. Moreover, I believe that knowledge accrued from neuroscience research has a transformative value for the individual and for the society as a whole: when people acquire knowledge about the brain, they acquire knowledge about themselves, become more aware as to how they react to other people and to the world around them and they understand the basis of these reactions better. As a result of this, they acquire the ability and the motivation to change behaviors and habits which impede them and nurture behaviors and habits that promote well-being.
In my work, I combine my three passions: neuroscience, education and science communication. In addition to being Sagol Center’s lab manager, I am also head of neuro-pedagogy development and in this capacity, I am in charge of creating and disseminating educational content about the brain with an emphasis on its relevance to well-being. I am an expert in communicating neuroscience to various audiences, including professionals in the fields of education and mental health as well as the general public. In addition, I teach courses about the brain to BA students at The Baruch Ivcher School of Psychology at the IDC and at The Open University of Israel.
Current research interests
My research focuses on an innovative pedagogy we developed at The Sagol Center which is called contemplative neuro-pedagogy. This Pedagogy combines theoretical knowledge from neuroscience with contemplative practices, in which the student acquires knowledge through first person experiences. In this way, the process of learning takes place in a wide context but also from a personal perspective which makes it relevant to the student, his or her personal values and day to day experiences. As part of my research I develop teacher workshops about the brain which combine contemplative practices. I study how these workshops nurture personal well-being of teachers and their students as well as their contribution to teacher professional development. My research is supervised by the head of the Sagol Center, Dr. Nava Levit Binnun, and in collaboration with Dr. Oren Ergas and Dr. Linor Hadar from the Beit Berl College.
Electronic versions of papers are provided as a professional courtesy to ensure timely dissemination of academic work for individual, noncommercial purposes. Copyright resides with the respective copyright holders, as stated within each paper. These files may not be reposted without permission.
Ergas, O., Hadar, L. L., Albelda, N., & Levit-Binnun, N. (2018). Contemplative Neuroscience as a Gateway to Mindfulness: Findings from an Educationally Framed Teacher Learning Program. Mindfulness, 1-13. Read the article.
Arad, M., Piontkewitz, Y., Albelda, N., Shaashua, L., & Weiner, I. (2017). Immune activation in lactating dams alters sucklings’ brain cytokines and produces non-overlapping behavioral deficits in adult female and male offspring: A novel neurodevelopmental model of sex-specific psychopathology. Brain, Behavior, and Immunity, 63, 35-49. Read the article.
Goltseker, K., Yankelevitch-Yahav, R., Albelda, N. S., & Joel, D. (2015). Signal Attenuation as a Rat Model of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. Journal of visualized experiments: JoVE, (95). Read the article.
Albelda, N., & Joel, D. (2012). Current animal models of obsessive compulsive disorder: an update. Neuroscience, 211, 83-106. Read the article.
Albelda, N., & Joel, D. (2012). Animal models of obsessive-compulsive disorder: exploring pharmacology and neural substrates. Neuroscience & Biobehavioral Reviews, 36(1), 47-63. Read the article.
Albelda, N., Bar-On, N., & Joel, D. (2010). The role of NMDA receptors in the signal attenuation rat model of obsessive–compulsive disorder. Psychopharmacology, 210(1), 13-24. Read the article.
Flaisher-Grinberg, S., Albelda, N., Gitter, L., Weltman, K., Arad, M., & Joel, D. (2009). Ovarian hormones modulate ‘compulsive’ lever-pressing in female rats. Hormones and behavior, 55(2), 356-365. Read the article.