Dr Tali Kimchi is an Associate Professor at the Department of Neurobiology, Weizmann Institute of Science, Israel. In her graduate studies she focused on the fascinating behavioural and sensory adaptations of the long-lived “blind mole rat” (Spalax), a solitary and anti-social subterranean rodent, under both field and semi-natural lab conditions. This study was performed in the lab of Prof. Joseph Terkel, an expert and one of world-leaders in animal behaviour and hormonal regulation. During her graduate studies she developed various unique methodologies and experimental platforms designated for the blind mole-rat. These tools allowed, for the first time, investigating the specialised sensory perception, behaviour and physiological adaptations that enable the blind mole-rat to communicate and navigate in its dark underground tunnel system. Dr Kimchi’s postdoc research was performed at the lab of Prof. Catherine Dulac at Harvard University. There, she harnessed her expertise in animal behaviour and developed novel semi-natural set-ups and methodology to study social behaviours under ethologically-relevant conditions. By combining such novel ethologically-relevant approach with state-of-the-art molecular and neuronal tools she was able to expose new neuronal circuits and mechanisms underlying sexually dimorphic mating preference in female mice. In 2009, Dr Kimchi started her independent lab at the Weizmann Institute. Her main research interest is to understand how the brain controls ecologically-relevant, fitness-driven, behavioural repertoires such as social interaction and communication, mate preference, parental care and aggression. Furthermore, she is interested in understanding the effects of age-related sex differences in brain structure and function, and the resultant impact on the social behavioural phenotype in health and in psychiatric and neurodegenerative diseases.
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