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You are here: FRIAS Fellows Fellows 2019/20 Prof. Dr. Shelly Levy-Tzedek

Prof. Dr. Shelly Levy-Tzedek

Ben Gurion University
Human-Robot Interaction & Motor Control
External Senior Fellow
Marie S. Curie FCFP Fellow
September - October 2018, July - August 2019, July - August 2020


Dr. Shelly Levy-Tzedek is the head of the Cognition, Aging & Rehabilitation Laboratory at the Ben Gurion University. She is a faculty member at the Physical Therapy Department, a member of the Zlotowski Center for Neuroscience and of the ABC Robotics initiative at the university.

Dr. Levy-Tzedek completed her undergraduate studies, summa cum laude, at UC Berkeley, where she won the Bioengineering departmental citation medal. At the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), she completed her M.S. and her Ph.D. degrees as an MIT Presidential Fellow and a Howard Hughes Medical Institute fellow, in the Biomedical Engineering department.

She was recently chosen as one of Israel's most promising 40-under-40 by The Marker Magazine for 2016, and won the 2016 award from the Paedagogica Foundation's special program entitled "Initiative for Excellence in the Negev".

Her work is supported by several grants from various sources, including the ISF (Israeli Science Foundation), the Swedish Promobilia rehabilitation foundation, and the Leir, Bronfman and Borten foundations in the US.

Her lab studies the effects of age and disease (in particular, Parkinson's disease & stroke) on the control of body movement, and how to best employ robotics to facilitate a fast and efficient rehabilitation process. She takes a multi-disciplinary approach to her studies: the students on her team come from varied backgrounds, including physical therapy, engineering, psychology, and medicine, and she collaborates with faculty members from Israel, Canada, England, the United States and Germany who come from diverse fields such as Industrial Engineering, Psychology, Computer Science, Robotics, Education and Philosophy.

Selected Publications

  • Levy-Tzedek S., Arbelle D., Forman D., Zlotnik Y. (2018, in press) Improvement in upper-limb UPDRS motor scores following fast-paced arm exercise:  A pilot study. Restorative Neurology and Neuroscience in press
  • Eizicovits D., Edan Y., Tabak I., & Levy-Tzedek S. (2018) Robotic gaming prototype for upper limb exercise: effects of age and embodiment on user preferences and movement.  Restorative Neurology and Neuroscience 36(2); 261–274
  • Kashi S. & Levy-Tzedek S. (2018) Smooth leader or sharp follower? Playing the mirror game with a robot. Restorative Neurology and Neuroscience 36(2); 147-159
  • Levy-Tzedek S. (2017) Changes in Predictive Task Switching with Age and with Cognitive Load. Frontiers in Aging Neuroscience 9:375
  • Levy-Tzedek S. (2017) Motor errors lead to enhanced performance in older adults.  Scientific Reports 7(3270)

FRIAS Research Project

Robotics in Rehabilitation – Exploring Clinical and Ethical Implications

Human-robot interactions (HRI) recently emerged in the field of physical rehabilitation. Common considerations are whether they improve the ability of patients to perform movements and monetary considerations of their incorporation into the healthcare system. As a researcher in the field of robotics, I believe an ethical reflection on HRI in rehabilitation is of high importance. Therefore, I aim at establishing an interdisciplinary cooperation with philosophers and clinical ethicists in Freiburg and the region, to discuss the ethical implications of my research in rehabilitation robotics, in order to inform decisions in the healthcare system. As part of the collaboration, we will hold a 1-day workshop to bring together researchers who are interested in cross-disciplinary research on ethical considerations of using autonomous systems.