A New Window Into Brain Dynamics

YA Lab develops next-gen MRI to unlock brain plasticity

Beyond the Gray and White

Exploring the Secrets of the Brain

YA Lab explores brain microstructure and brain networks in relation to neuroplasticity and behavioral characteristics guided by the hypothesis that brain structure, function, and behavior are linked.

Revolutionizing Brain Research

Having developed new tools, methods, and models in MRI; the lab has achieved significant observations about how the brain reshapes itself in response to cognitive experience; revealing new aspects of brain plasticity both in the time and spatial domains.

Under Our Scope -

Research theme, neuroplasticity, MRI, network analysis, connectome, skill learning

About the PI

Professor Yaniv Assaf is a computational neuroscientist and biophysicist that studies brain anatomy and connectivity. Yaniv is a Professor of Neurobiology at the School of neurobiology, biochemistry and biophysics of the faculty of life-sciences  at Tel Aviv University and the Sagol school of neuroscience. Yaniv also serves as the Head of the Strauss Center for Neuroimaging at Tel Aviv University as well as of the Strauss Neuroplasticity Brain Bank (SNBB).  In addition, Yaniv is also the co-founder of brainvivo, a startup company that aims to digitize human brains. 

After receiving his graduate degrees in chemistry from Tel Aviv University, Yaniv Assaf completed a postdoctoral fellowship at Tel Aviv Sourasky Medical Center and the National Institutes of Health (NIH). During his postdoc, Yaniv developed novel analysis tools that enhance the accuracy and sensitivity of MRI-based white matter mapping techniques, such as the Composite hindered and restricted model of diffusion (CHARMED) and AxCaliber.

Positions previously held by Yaniv include the head of the Sagol School of Neuroscience, and the head of the Department of Neurobiology at Tel Aviv University. He currently holds multiple grants, including grants from the Israel Science Foundation (ISF), the British Council, the NSF/BSF CRCNS program  and from the European Research Council (ERC). 

Yaniv research studies the brain focusing on four principal and intertwined subjects: brain connectivity and plasticity, structural connectomics, brain evolution and cortical fingerprinting. One such project involves the characterization of microstructural and connectivity changes that occur following real-life skill learning and brain plasticity and is the main focus of the lab today. 


Pick Our Brain​

A Method for In-Vivo Mapping of Axonal Diameter Distributions in the Human Brain Using Diffusion-Based Axonal Spectrum Imaging (AxSI)

A paper published in neuroinformatic describing our method to explore axon diameter properties and information transfer across the brain (Neuroinformatics, 2023)


New dimensions for brain mapping

A perspective paper published in Science magazine summarizing a decade of exploring structural brain plasticity with diffusion MRI (Science Magazine, vol 362, 2018)


Expanding connectomics to the laminar level: A perspective

A perspective paper published in network neuroscience discussing the integration of cortical laminar imaging with connectivity (Network neuroscience, vol 7, 2023)


Connectome cost conservation model of skill learning

Our ERC cosmos project summary funded for 10/2022 to 10/2027


Conservation of brain connectivity and wiring across the mammalian class

A brief communication published in nature neuroscience on conservation of brain connectivity and wiring cost across mammals (Nature Neuroscience, vol 23, 2020)





Current Lab Members

Our multidisciplinary team consists of passionate brainiacs.

Maya Faraggi - Lab Manager

Our lab manager.

Some of our Alumni

2010-6, PhD student

Dr. Shani Ben-Amitay

R&D manager, digital pathology and pathoradiomics lab, Sheba Medical Center

Thesis: Models of Diffusion for Micro-stuctural Characterization of Gray and White Matter

2012-17, PhD Student

Dr. Assi Horowitz

CEO and Co-Founder at Brainvivo

Thesis: The Sensitivity of Axon Diameter Measurements in Multiple Sclerosis and Healthy Brains

2009-2014, PhD Student

Dr. Shlomi Lifshits

Data Science Lead and Head of Fintech, Flipkart Israel

Project: Brain Tissue Classification and characterization Using MRI

2010-16, PhD Student

Dr. Ido Tavor

Senior lecturer of anatomy and anthropology at Tel Aviv University

Project: MRI of Structural Brain Plasticity

2008-2013, PhD student

Dr. Daniel Barazany

MRI unit manager at Tel Aviv University

Thesis: PhDExtracting Tissue Micro-structural Properties From Magnetic Resonance Imaging (link to PDF)

2010-16, PhD Student

Dr. Shir Hofstetter

Research engineer at NanoxAI

Thesis: MRI Study of the Temporal and Spatial Evolution of Neuroplasticity

2014-15, Post-Doctorate fellow

Dr. Silvia De-Santis

Group leader at University of Alicante, Spain.

Project: Combing T1 and diffusion MRI to separate fiber populations

2004-5, MSc Student

Prof. Yossi Yovel

Prof. of Zoology, Tel Aviv University.

Thesis: Computational methods for brain segmentation of MRI

Hey YA, join our team!

We’re looking for MSc, PhD and undergraduate project students.