Dr. Yonatan Kupchik
Neurobiologist, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem
Dr. Yonatan Kupchik is a neurobiologist at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem studying the neural mechanisms underlying drug addiction. At the core of Dr. Kupchik’s research lies the understanding that chronic use of drugs and withdrawal induce permanent changes in the brain that drive the individual to constantly desire the drug. But what are these changes? And how can someone override or reverse these changes to alleviate the symptoms of the disease?
The research at the laboratory of Dr. Kupchik focuses on the communication between neurons. Neurons pass information through synapses. Strengthening such synapses at the motivational centers of the brain, which is equivalent to forming “addictive memories”, may be the core of the psychiatric disease. In his research Dr. Kupchik discovered both chronic changes that take place in the brain during the course of developing the disease and rapid changes that take place upon relapsing to the drug after prolonged withdrawal. For these and other findings Dr. Kupchik had received various prizes, including the Sieratzki Prize for Advances in Neuroscience and the Prusiner-Abramsky Research Award in Basic Neuroscience.