Prof. Amir Amedi

Associate Professor , Medical Neurobiology, IMRIC
Department of Medical Neurobiology, IMRIC and The Edmond and Lily Safra Center for Brain Sciences (ELSC), Hebrew University of Jerusalem
IMRIC Researcher

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Why I became a researcher: 

Brain research is the adventure of our generation.  I became a researcher because it is the most interesting job you can have, they actually pay you to do interesting things every day and work with wonderful people you choose to work with.

The brain and nervous system have always interested me, and IMRIC affords me the opportunity to study brain imaging techniques, and develop novel therapies for the blind through its interdisciplinary approach and by combining basic and clinical research.

My IMRIC research interests include sight restoration in blind and visually impaired individuals using artificial vision/sensory substitution, brain plasticity and mapping brain dynamics and anatomical and effective connectivity, multisensory interactions and object recognition using vision, audition and touch.

I'm hoping that my IMRIC research will not only help people, but also identify and promote new collaborations that cut across traditional borders and disciplines.

Education: 

2005-2007: Post-Doctoral training, Harvard Medical School (HMS), Boston, MA, USA

2003-2004: Internship/collaboration, National Institute of Health (NIH), Washington, DC

2005: PhD in computational Neuroscience, Hebrew University of Jerusalem

1998: BA in Biology, Hebrew University of Jerusalem

Selected Awards and Honors: 
2012: Prototype demo of our virtual-cane/sensory-substitution-device hybrid was selected to feature in Microsoft ThinkNext 2012 exhibition
2011: The Krill Prize for Excellence in Scientific Research, the Wolf Foundation (04/2011 selected to give the speech on behalf of the awardees, Wolf foundation ceremony)
2011: James S. McDonnell Foundation 2011 Scholar Award in Understanding Human Cognition
2011: Dean of The Hebrew University Faculty of Medicine Young Investigator Award in the memory of Prof. Yaacov Matzner
2010: The Avraham Shalmon Teva company founders award for “imaging of diseases”
2010: The Sieratzki-Korczyn Prize for advances in Neuroscience. ("In recognition of his excellent and promising achievements in the field of neuroscience, in particular his contribution towards better understanding of brain reorganizing after injury or damage")
2010: Prototype demo of our sensory substitution device was selected to feature in Microsoft ThinkNext 2010 exhibition
2009: Research was featured in the Presidential annual report of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem
2009: International Human Frontiers Science Program Career Development Award
2008: Alon fellow, Council for Higher Education, Israel [Awarded for top Israeli young tenure track lecturers in all fields and universities]
2008: Golda Meijer foundation tenure track lecturer fellow
2007: Award for outstanding Israeli projects proposals in the “EU 7th Framework Programme for Research & Technological Development"
2007: Research featured in the International Human Frontiers Science Program Organization annual report
2007: Invited plenary keynote speaker in the Georgetown Cognitive Sciences Spring Symposium
2007: Presidential absorptions grant, the President of the Hebrew University
2005: Summer Institute in Cognitive Neuroscience fellowship, Dartmouth College, USA
2005-2007: International Human Frontiers Science Program Long-Term Post-doctoral fellowship award
2004: Travel Fellowship Award to attend the Human Brain Mapping Meeting
2001-2004: The Horowitz Foundation Scholarship for outstanding Ph.D. students
1999-2004: Inter-disciplinary center for neuronal computation (ICNC) fellow
1998: B.Sc. graduated magna cum laude, cited on the Dean's list (1996, 1997) for academic achievements, the Hebrew University of Jerusalem
Contact: 
amir [dot] amedi [at] ekmd [dot] huji [dot] ac [dot] il
Projects

Visual Impairment Research

At IMRIC, we are training people to ‘see’ by transmitting sound along these axes and modulating the frequencies to create 2D and 3D sound images that the brain interprets in much the same way as it would with eyes.

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Researcher in the News

Yissum Presents a Virtual Cane for the Visually Impaired

Jerusalem, Israel, June 21, 2011 – Yissum Research Development Company Ltd., the technology transfer company of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, presented today at the Israeli Presidential Conference, a virtual cane that will significantly improve the orientation and mobility of sight-impaired people. This new device can assist blind people in estimating the distance and height of various obstacles. The invention was registered as a patent by Yissum, which is now seeking strategic partners for further development.

Jerusalem Post Article: "Hebrew U Device Uses Sonar To Help The Blind Navigate"

The "virtual cane" incorporates several sensors that estimate the distance between the user and the object it is pointed at.

The blind and visually impaired could be able to toss away their white canes or at least “see” better with them, thanks to a “virtual cane” developed by Hebrew University of Jerusalem researchers and patented by Yissum, the university’s research and development company.

CJN Article: "HU Turns Scientific Theory Into Practice"

Over the years, the Hebrew University of Jerusalem has developed a reputation for producing some of the world’s best researchers, scientists and technologies.

And Hebrew U’s research development company called Yissum, which is the university’s technology transfer arm, has been working for nearly five decades to turn scientific theory into practice, allowing the rest of the world to benefit from the science.

CJN Article: "Israeli Invention Gives ‘Sight’ To Blind Population"

Within days of exhibiting its “virtual cane” device for the blind, Hebrew University scientists grabbed headlines for a little gadget about to change the lives of millions of people across the globe.

Sound Rather Than Sight Can Activate ‘Seeing’ For The Blind, Say IMRIC Researchers

Scientists at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem have tapped onto the visual cortex of the congenitally blind by using sensory substitution devices (SSDs), enabling the blind in effect to “see” and even describe objects.

How The Blind Can ‘Read', According To Standard Testing, Shown In IMRIC Research

A method developed at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem for training blind persons to “see” through the use of a sensory substitution device (SSD) has enabled those using the system to actually “read” an eye chart with letter sizes smaller than those used in determining the international standard for blindness.

Jerusalem Post Article: "Science-Fiction Brain Technology To Become Reality"

Helping the blind to “see” with their acute sense of hearing, treating schizophrenia patients by electrically stimulating tissue deep in their head, and giving the sense of feeling to those without limbs are all part of the wave of the future in brain science, presented by Israeli and foreign researchers at the Presidential Conference in Jerusalem.

IOS Press Article: "Music to My Eyes: Device Converting Images into Music Helps Individuals without Vision Reach for Objects in Space"

In a new study, scientists trained blindfolded sighted participants to perform fast and accurate movements using a new sensory substitution device called EyeMusic.

Activating The ‘Mind’s Eye’ - Sounds, Instead Of Eyesight, Can Be Alternative Vision, Show Hebrew U. Researchers

Scientists at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and in France have now shown that blind people – using specialized photographic and sound equipment – can actually “see” and describe objects and even identify letters and words.

Congratulations To Our 6 researchers On Receiving The Prestigious European Research Council (ERC) 2012 Grant!

6 IMRIC Researchers Are Awarded 2012 Grants From The European Research Council: