Prof. Amir Ayali

School of Zoology
ביה"ס לזואולוגיה סגל אקדמי בכיר
Prof. Amir Ayali
Phone: 03-6409820
Fax: 03-6409403
Office: Sherman - Life Sciences, 410


Amir Ayali (born 1963) received his PhD from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem in 1995. He went on to become a postdoctoral fellow at the Section of Neurobiology and Behavior, Cornell University. In 1999 he returned to Israel and started his own group at the Department of Zoology, Tel Aviv University where he served as department chair from 2010 to 2014. 





Ph.D.; Zoology, Laboratory of Insect Physiology, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem.

1986-1989 B.Sc.; Biology, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem (cum laude).
Academic Appointments:
1999-present  Dept. of Zoology, Faculty of Life Sciences,  Tel-Aviv University; Full Professor.
2005-2007  Visiting research associate professor, Institute for systems research, University of Maryland.
1995-1998  Postdoctoral training, c/o R.M. Harris-Warrick, Section of Neurobiology and Behavior, Cornell University.
1990-1995   Teaching assistant, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem.






Insect Science (Editorial board), Journal of Comparative Neurology, Journal of Insect Physiology, Journal of Experimental Biology, 

Journal of Neuroengineering, Biophysical Journal, Journal of Neuroscience Methods, BMC Biology, Turkish Journal of Zoology, 

Animal Behaviour, Journal of Molecular Histology, PloS One, PNAS, Journal of Neurophysiology, Journal of Insect Behavior


Research Interests

Amir Ayali is a neuroethologist; his major research focus is on behavior and neural mechanisms of behavior in invertebrates, and specifically insect models. Other interests of his lab include nervous system development and plasticity. Several recent projects engage with bio-mimetic and bio-inspired technology in relation to insect modes of locomotion.


Recent Publications

For publications before 2012, please visit website


Fuchs E., Holmes P. David T. and Ayali A.(2012) Proprioceptive feedback reinforces centrally-generated stepping patterns in the cockroach. J. Exp. Biol., 215:1884-1891(Abstract)


Ribak G., Rand D., Weihs D. and Ayali A. (2012) Evasive steering in flying locusts as evoked by looming objects. J. Comp Physiol A., 198:541-555 (Abstract)


Rand D. Knebel D. and Ayali A.  (2012) Octopamine neuromodulation in the locust stomatogastric nervous system.  Front. Invert. Physiol., 3:288 (Abstract)


Guershon M., Ayali A., Golenser E. and Pener M.P. (2012) A juvenile hormone analogue enhances homosexual behaviour in female-deprived males of the migratory locust. Physiol. Entomol., 37:291-294 (Abstract)


Ayali A. (2012) Models of Invertebrate Neurons in Culture. J. Mol. Histol., 43, 379-381(Abstract)


Saad Y., Anabusi M., Anava S., Nadav G., Yerushalmi Y. and Ayali A. (2012) Fly neurons in culture: a model for neural development and pathology.  J. Mol. Histol., 43, 421-430 (Abstract)


Orki O., Ayali A., Shai O. and Ben-Hanan U.  (2012) A Caterpillar locomotion model based on Assur Tensegrity Structures. Bioinspir. Biomim., 7(4): 046006 (Abstract)


Guershon M., Ayali A. (2012) Innate phase behavior in the desert locust, Schistocerca gregaria.  Insect Sci., 19: 649-656 (Abstract).


Berman T.S., Ayali A., and Gefen, E.  (2013) Neural Control of Gas Exchange Patterns in Insects: Locust Density-Dependent Phases as a Test Case.  PLoS One, 8(3):e59967(Abstract).


Ben-Nun A., Guershon M. and Ayali A.  (2013) Self-body-size perception in an insect.Naturwissenschaften 100: 479-484 (Abstract).


Anava S., Saad Y. and Ayali A. (2013) The role of gap junction proteins in the development of neural network functional topology. Insect Mol. Biol. 22:457-472(Abstract).


Gueijman A., Ayali A., Ram Y., and Hadany L. (2013) Dispersing away from bad genotypes: The evolution of Fitness-Associated Dispersal (FAD) in homogeneous environments. BMC Evol. Biol. 13:125 (Abstract).


de Santos-Sierra D., Sendiña-Nadal I., Leyva I., Almendral J.A., Anava S., Ayali A.,Papo D., Boccaletti S. (2014) Emergence of small-world anatomical networks in self-organizing clustered neuronal cultures. PLoS One 9(1): e85828


Ariel G., Ophir Y., Levi S., Ben-Jacob E. and Ayali A. (2014) Individuals’ intermittent motion is instrumental to the formation and maintenance of swarms of marching locust nymphs. PLoS One 9(7): e101636.


Saad Y., Segal D. and Ayali A. (2014) Enhanced neurite outgrowth and branching precede increased amyloid-beta-induced neuronal apoptosis in an in-vitro Alzheimer's model. J. Alzheimers. Dis. In press


Cattan A., Ayali A. and Barnea A. The cell birth marker BrdU does not affect recruitment of subsequent cell divisions in the adult avian brain. BioMed Research International, special issue on "Biomarkers of Brain Function and Injury: Biological and Clinical Significance. In press


de Santos-Sierra D., Sendiña-Nadal I., Leyva I., Almendral J.A., Ayali A., Anava S., Sánchez-Ávila C., Boccaletti S. Graph-based unsupervised segmentation algorithm for cultured neuronal networks' structure characterization and modeling. Cytometry. In press


Couzin-Fuchs E., Kiemel T., Gal O., Ayali A. and Holmes P.  Intersegmental coupling and recovery from perturbations in
freely-running cockroaches. J. Exp. Biol. In press 


Ayali A., Couzin-Fuchs E., David I., Gal O., Holmes P. and Knebel D.  Sensory feedback in cockroach locomotion: current knowledge and open questions. J. Comp. Physiol. A. In press (DOI 10.1007/s00359-014-0968-1) 


Gal O., Couzin-Fuchs E., Holmes P. and Ayali A. The role of chordotonal organs in the control of cockroach locomotion. Under review


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