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You are here: FRIAS Fellows Fellows 2019/20 Shelly Levy-Tzedek, Ph.D. …

Shelly Levy-Tzedek, Ph.D. (Assistant Professor)

Ben Gurion University
Human-Robot Interaction & Motor Control
External Senior Fellow
Marie S. Curie FCFP Fellow
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, won the 2016 award from the Paedagogica Foundation's special program entitled "Initiative for Excellence in the Negev", and won the 2018 Toronto Prize for excellence in research. In the academic year 2018-19, she was a Marie S. Curie FRIAS COFUND Fellow at FRIAS, supported by the European Union through the Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme.

Her work is supported by several grants from various sources, including the ISF (Israeli Science Foundation), the Swedish Promobilia rehabilitation foundation, the British Rosetrees Foundation, and the Borten and the CAAF 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 has been collaborating 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

  • Feingold-Polak R. & Levy-Tzedek S. (2020) Social Robot for rehabilitation: Expert clinicians and post-stroke patients' evaluation following a long-term intervention. Human-Robot Interaction (forthcoming)

  • Langer, A., Feingold-Polak R., Müller O., Kellmeyer P. & Levy-Tzedek S. (2019) Trust in Socially Assistive Robots: Considerations for use in Rehabilitation. Neuroscience and Biobehavioral Reviews 104, 231-239
  • Kellmeyer P., Müller O., Feingold-Polak R. & Levy-Tzedek S. (2018) Social Robots in Rehabilitation: A Question of Trust. Science Robotics 3, 1587
  • Feingold-Polak R., Elishay A., Shahar Y., Stein M., Edan Y., Levy-Tzedek S. (2018) Differences between young and old users when interacting with a humanoid robot: a qualitative usability study. Paladyn, Journal of Behavioral Robotics 9(1): 183-192
  • 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

FRIAS Research Project

Robotics in Rehabilitation – Exploring Clinical and Ethical Implications

Social human-robot interactions (HRI) are anticipated to be a part of the physical rehabilitation process (e.g., after stroke) in the near future. 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 am collaborating with an interdisciplinary team of researchers at the University of Freiburg, with background in philosophy, clinical ethics and law, to consider the ethical implications of research and progress in rehabilitation robotics, in order to inform decisions in the healthcare system. The collaboration so far has generated two papers on the topic of trust in social HRI, with Prof. Oliver Müller and with Dr. Philipp Kellmeyer, in 2018 and in 2019, and I look forward to expanding this collaborative work with them, and with Prof. Silja Voeneky.