Prof. Richard P. Ebstein

Director of Research Herzog Hospital
Academic appointment: Full Professor, Department of Psychology Hebrew University and Head, Scheinfeld Center for Human Genetic Studies in the Social Sciences

The Scheinfeld Center at the Hebrew University and the Human Genetics Research Laboratory at the Herzog Hospital are devoted to the research and teaching of human behavior genetics. The Center emphasizes applying the knowledge provided by the completion of the first phase of the Human Genome Project towards a molecular understanding of the role of genes in partially contributing to all facets of human behavior. The Center sponsors courses and seminars in human behavior genetics oriented toward students of psychology, sociology, anthropology, education and neurobiology.

Research done at the Center is interdisciplinary, and combines personality, social, cognitive and neuro-psychology with techniques of molecular genetics. Courses are given both in the Faculty of Social Sciences (Mt. Scopus) and in collaboration with the Hebrew University-Hadassah Medical School (Ein Kerem). The Human Genetics Laboratory attracts undergraduate and graduate students from the Social Sciences, Life Sciences and Medical Sciences.

Prof. Ebstein has one post-doctoral fellow (Dr. Rachel Bachner-Melman), 8 doctoral students (Florina Uzefovsky, Eyal Heled, Shlomo Israel, Elad Lerer, Efrat Laiba, Raz Levin, Idan Shalev and Shany Edelman) and several MS students. We are also the hosts this fall of a second (replacing David Brauer) German psychology student (Mathias Riebold) from Berlin who is learning molecular behavioral genetics in our laboratory. Rachel has received a hard to get post-doctoral fellowship, which she will carry out in my laboratory, from Phillip Morris entitled "A pharmacogenetic, prospective study of prenatal nicotine exposure on HPA-axis and behavioral vulnerability in early development."

Current research areas include: Neuroeconomics, Molecular Genetic Studies of Normal Personality, Psychological and Genetic Aspects of Eating Disorders, especially Anorexia Nervosa, Mapping Genes to Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, Molecular Genetic Investigations of Autism, Schizophrenia and Bipolar Disorder, Molecular Genetic and Personality Aspects of Substance Abuse including Smoking and Intergenerational Transmission of Terror.

Notably, new areas of research which we have now undertaken include (1) investigations of the molecular genetic underpinnings of musical memory (with Dr. Roni Granot, Musical Cognition Department, Hebrew University). Our first paper on this topic has now been accepted for publication; (2) molecular genetic investigations of human altruism (with Prof. Gary Bornstein, Dr. Anat Maril, Dr. Ariel Knafo and Prof. Ariel Daravasi in the HU Psychology Department). Our first publication in this area has now appeared in press. (3) Brain imaging studies of reward and substance abuse – genetic aspects (with Dr. Aviv Weinstein and Roland Chisin, MD, Hadassah Hebrew University Hospital) and (4) molecular genetic studies of human sexuality ( with Prof. Chisin at Hadassah Hospital and Prof. R. H. Belmaker at the Ben-Gurion University). (4) The contribution of genes to individual differences in response to social stress (with Dr. Marsha Kaitz and Idan Shalev). First publication, submitted.

Principal Collaborators
Prof. Uriel Heresco-Levy, Herzog Hospital and Hadassah Medical Center
Prof. Nurit Yirmiya, Hebrew University
Prof. Gary Bornstein, Hebrew University
Dr. Marsha Kaitz, Hebrew University
Dr. Ariel Knafo, Hebrew University
Prof. Ruth Feldman, Bar Ilan Univeristy
Prof. Chew Soo Hong, Hong Kong
Prof. Robert H. Belmaker, Ben-Gurion University
Prof. Galila Agam, Ben-Gurion University
Prof. Beni Lerer, Hadassah Medical Center, Hebrew University
Dr. Ilana Kremer, Technion Medical School and HaEmek Hospital (Afula)

An important function of the Research Laboratory is to serve as the platform for teaching human behavioral genetics to student of social science and the humanities. Commencing with the Fall semester 2005 the following courses will be offered by Prof. Ebstein in the framework of the Hebrew University and the Psychology Department.
1. Human Behavioral Genetics
2. Genetics of Abnormal Behavior
3. Sociobiology & Evolutionary Psychology
4. Graduate level seminar course "Clinical Aspects of Eating Disorders"
5. Undergraduate course on Eating Behavior.
6. In collaboration with the Hadassah HU medical school "Genetics of Complex Diseases" (Human Genetics Department).
7. Prof. Ebstein is also a member of the Neurobiology Forum.

Invited Symposium Speaker (past 3 years)
1. 9th World Congress of the World Federation of Biological Psychiatry Symposium entitled "Social cognition, social hormones and psychophathology" to be held in Paris, France from 28 June - 2 July 2009.
2. EPFL-LATSIS Symposium 2009 entitled “Understanding VIOLENCE: Recent advances on biology, sociology, and modeling” that will take place from 11th to 13th of February 2009 at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Lausanne (Ecole Polytechnique Federale de Lausanne,
3. New York Academy of Science - the Social Brain Chair of the UAB in the symposium "Genes for Social Behavior. Nov 20, 2008 Barcelona, Spain
4. Hebrew University Colliqium on the Brain, Paris France
5. European Congress of Sport Science, July 2008, Lisbon Portugal
6. 7th World Congress on Neurohypophysial Hormones, Regensburg Germany, September 2007
7. International Society for the Study of Women's Sexual Health - Feb 2008 San Diego, CA
8. International Conference on Mood Disorders, Istanbul, March 2006
9. Oxytocin, Vasopressin and Emotional Regulation: New Frontiers in Basic Neuroscience and Translational Opportunities, Emory University, Atlanta GA, October 2006
10. 8th World Congress of Biological Psychiatry, Vienna, June 2005
11. 11th International Summer School in Behavioral Genetics, Bordeaux France, July 2005