THE SCHOOL OF PSYCHOLOGICAL SCIENCES
Tel Aviv University's School of Psychological Sciences is Israel's leading educator in matters of the mind — a magnet for local and international researchers, who visit the palm-tree-lined campus to debate, discuss and impact the future.
A True School of Thought
"TAU's School of Psychological Sciences unquestionably attracts the brightest students," says Prof. Noah Lewin-Epstein, Dean of the Gershon H. Gordon Faculty of Social Sciences. "It's a very competitive school, the home of strong, research-oriented scholars who are published regularly in the best international journals."
Its acclaimed researchers work in the areas of clinical, cognitive, social, physiological psychology and neuroscience. The School of Psychological Sciences ranks among the top psychology departments in the world. Until recently a Department, it now constitutes acomplete School — a reflection of increased interdisciplinary scope and remarkable breadth of research.
Breaking Extraordinary Ground
The School of Psychological Sciences' creative interdisciplinary approach to basic research and treatment development has garnered international recognition on the farthest frontiers of psychology.
Prof. Matti Mintz, for example, is a leading innovator. Collaborating with engineers from across Israel and the European Union, he has developed a nano-device — a small robot — to stimulate damaged brain tissue. He has successfully implanted this "robotic cerebellum" in a brain-damaged rodent, restoring communications between its brain and body while active. This research has the potential to eventually develop nano-devices that will restore mobility and speech to people who can no longer walk and talk.
Another case in point — Prof. Shamgar Ben-Eliyahu's pioneering research is advancing the new field of Neuroimmunology, defining the relationsthat unite the mind, the brain, and the immune system. This field-expanding research is already compelling doctors to rethink contemporary cancer treatments and examine innovative drug options.
Across the board, the School's programs equip students with the tools to merge psychology with medicine, biology, economics and other fields of study, and to conduct research of the highest international caliber. Its approach to treatment development is holistic as well as interdisciplinary, incorporating the exploration of causes and the translation of basic science into treatments for psychiatric disorders.
Translating Science into Treatment
The School of Psychological Sciences is a leading international innovator in the development of cutting-edge treatments for psychological and psychiatric disorders.
Because psychologists at TAU are leading world experts on coping with terror and disaster, the work they share with other international specialists provides tools and guidance to heal children, adults and the elderly around the globe. For example, the School has collaborated with the United States Army on studies involving the post-traumatic stress surrounding combat.
Children's anxiety and stress responses are also an important focus. Prof. Avi Sadeh has developed a "Huggie Puppy" intervention program to help youngsters diffuse their anxieties during periods of severe stress, a technique thatgrew out of research into the stressors of the Second Lebanon war.
And, working closely with the National Institutes of Health in Maryland, Prof. Yair Bar-Haim, Head of the School of Psychological Sciences, has developed a novel computer-based treatment for anxiety disorders in children and adults. In sessions of just 15minutes, patients interact with a software program that helps them to re-examine their harmful thinking patterns and re-shape the functionality of maladaptive neural networks.
How You Can Help Reach New Heights
Prof. Yair Bar-Haim, Head of the School of Psychological Sciences
To help the School of Psychological Sciences continue to grow in capability and international stature, and to enhance its pivotal interdisciplinary role on campus, your exceptionally generous gift of $10 million can create a dedicated building to house the School's state-of-the-art scientific research.
The new building will integrate TAU's extensive brain studies — ranging from animal models of human psychopathology to advanced neuroimaging in humans — as well as expand offerings to the community at sophisticated research-oriented outpatient clinics. Community-building is a core value of Tel Aviv University, and by expanding the School's clinical research and improving treatment options for marginalized populations in Israeli society, you will be making a meaningful gift to the State of Israel as well.
Dedicated laboratories are also needed. With a contribution of $250,000, you can equip and staff a sleep monitoring lab to enable research on sleep disturbances and disorders. Or, with a generous donation of $2 million you can make it possible to construct a modern laboratory facility, equipped with the latest-generation fMRImachines for advanced brain imaging. These new laboratories will enable the Schoolto extend ground-breakinginterdisciplinary work with TAU scientists in fields including medicine, chemistry, biology, and computer science.
Prof. Bar-Haim, Head of the School, says, "There is no doubt that our faculty members are trend-setters. With your support, our impact can be felt in Israel and around the world."
More about the School of Psychological Sciences.
B.A. Psychology '03
M.A. Clinical Psychology '05
Ph.D. Clinical Psychology '11
Currently: Clinical Psychology Intern; Lecturer, TAU School of Psychological Sciences
Now working in the field of Clinical Psychology, Dr. Sharon Eldar says that the foundations that she was able to build at TAU's School of Psychological Sciences are crucial to her development — both as a practitioner and an academic. "TAU knows how to recognize potential in its students, give them real opportunities in clinical practice, and encourage them to pursue further degrees at the same time,” she says. "The most important thing in psychology is to go out and gain experience."
Over the course of her studies, Eldar worked with Prof. Bar-Haim, the Head of the School, on a unique project aimed at reducing anxiety in children. Their research, which involves a computer program that helps to redirect and refocus the anxious mind, has been profiled in The Economist as ground-breaking work.
Eldar credits the support of the faculty for helping to guide her in the right direction. "Prof. Bar-Haim led me to this area of study – he opened my eyes to this project, and was there every step of the way," she says, noting that she was motivated to complete all three of her degrees at TAU because of the School of Psychological Sciences' interdisciplinary approach, which paved the way for her exploration of the neuroscience behind anxiety.
M.A. Clinical Psychology '05
Ph.D. Psychology '10
Currently: Clinical Psychologist; Instructor, School of Behavioural Sciences at the Peres Academic Center; Research Fellow, Bob Shapell School of Social Work at TAU
"The School of Psychological Sciences is a gateway into the field of trauma and stress treatment," says Danny Horesh. With a Ph.D. in delayed-onset Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, Horesh is shedding light on the mysterious condition that appears years after trauma.
"My research has a number of clinical implications meaningful to American combat soldiers, survivors of 9/11, and victims of other types of trauma," he says. That work wouldn't have been possible without the guidance of the School.
"It is an eclectic school," says Horesh. "The faculty encourages and embraces a wide variety of clinical perspectives, making it an incredibly heterogenic department to work in.
"The School trains clinicians, while at the same time it encourages us to conduct scientific research. This is important for advancing the field of psychology. Not only are young psychologists equipped to work as clinicians, but their empirical research creates milestones for psychology everywhere.”