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Project Alpha

What determines who we are?

Even before the fertilized egg reaches the womb, our DNA is determined the moment we are created. The DNA code defines the code that makes up our physical shape and abilities to think, feel, and behave and is passed down from our parents. How can identical twins grow up so dissimilar yet share the same genetic code if that's the case?

Breakthrough insights

A scientific revolution has occurred in recent years, upending all we thought we knew about genetics. It turns out that the individual experiences we have and the different places we live in, influence how our genes work, resulting in a different genetic code that, among other things, creates variances between identical twins. The discipline of epigenetics is at the vanguard of scientific research. It is already leading to discoveries in aging mechanisms, human development, new cancer treatments, advanced disease treatments, etc.

Asked Questions 

The Present Situation of Knowledge

Today, we have a growing knowledge base about the human body and diseases that defy treatment. Still, we know very little about "who we are" - what determines the tendency to be happy, empathic, social, humble, or kind, and what determines opposite traits, such as anxiety or depression, in epigenetics.


The Research Team

Israeli researchers collaborate with overseas institutes on their research

A group of Israeli researchers from Reichman University in Herzliya and Ziv Hospital in Safed, in collaboration with top European research institutions, are leading the way on the first study of its kind to solve the mystery of epigenetics of the human consciousness and the self. These genetic processes shape all of the traits that define who we are and that we want to pass on to our children. For this study, we are looking for young couples to join us on our journey of discovery

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Anat Shoshani 

Professor at the Baruch Ivcher School of Psychology 

Reichman University

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A co-founder and academic director of the Maytiv Center for Research and Practice in Positive Psychology at Reichman University. Professor Anat Shoshani is a leading positive psychology researcher who focuses on children's optimal development and fostering happiness and mental well-being in children and adolescents.  Her study focuses on mental health, emphasizing various aspects of happiness in children and teenagers' positive development; she is particularly interested in character strengths and resilience in dealing with developmental milestones, environmental changes, trauma, and stress. Professor Anat Shoshani has extensive experience developing community-based educational intervention programs that promote happiness and emotional well-being.

In recent years, professor Shoshani has developed and led the Maytiv programs, which are positive-psychology educational interventions for teachers and students in preschools and schools, and has served over 10,000 educators and 300,000 children and adolescents in the Israeli educational system and worldwide. Professor Shoshani is a clinical psychologist specializing in working with children, adolescents, and adults, in mental health clinics and psychiatric hospitals.

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Tsachi Ein-Dor

Associate Professor, Reichman University

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An internationally recognized expert in developmental psychology's Attachment Theory, with a wide range of experience in complex statistical analysis of behavioral and biological data. In 'Project Alpha,' he is the lead researcher. Professor Tsachi Ein-Dor was the first to define and explore the social defense theory, which examines the adaptive aspects of various attachment types while considering both the individual and the group, especially during times of stress. He has over 80 articles published in scholarly journals, wrote the book "The Psychology of Terror: From Psychophysics to Politics," presented his work at numerous scientific conferences, and has been awarded research grants from several academic institutions.

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Dr. Anthony Luder (RIP)

Professor, Azrieli Faculty of Medicine

and Ziv Medical Center in Safed

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A pediatrician and researcher who has published numerous studies and articles in genetics, metabolic deficiencies in newborns, ethical research behavior, and medical education.

From 1992 to 2011, Dr. Luder was the director of clinical pediatrics at Ziv Medical Center in Safed. From 2011 to 2012, he was the Vice Dean of the Azrieli Faculty of Medicine at Bar-Ilan University.

Before his passing, Professor Luder was appointed as a consultant in the Ministry of Health, as a member of a special committee for rare diseases, and was actively lobbying the Knesset to recognize treatment for rare diseases.

We will miss him dearly and gratefully acknowledge his significant contribution to the Alpha Project.

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Willem Verbeke

Ph.d, Emeritus Professor Erasmus University

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Professor Verbeke's research focuses on organizational analysis and sales using an interdisciplinary approach incorporating organizational psychology, genetics, endocrinology, attachment theory, neuroscience, and epigenetics studies. He has over 100 peer-reviewed journal articles, numerous books and has presented his research at dozens of conferences and lectures worldwide. He founded Erasmus University's Institute for Sales and Accounting Management (ISAM) and has trained over 4000 sales professionals. Professor Verbeke is a co-founder of the genetics and epigenetics companies InsightYou and ExploreMe. Professor Verbeke also teaches business strategy at the ERIM (Erasmus research school of management).

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Dr. Pascal Vrticka

Lecturer/ Assistant Professor in Psychology

The University of Essex, Colchester (UK)

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Dr. Pascal Vrticka is an assistant professor at the University of Essex's Center for Brain Science.

A leading neuroscience researcher who focuses on human attachment and interpersonal synchrony in lonely people, romantic couples, and parents with their children using (fNIRS) hyper scanning. He was the first to develop innovative functional neuro-anatomical models of attachment types in humans and the first to combine information on attachment theory, attachment types, and neural synchrony in couples. He has over 30 articles in scholarly journals, has presented his research at numerous conferences and lectures, and has received research grants from prestigious universities such as Stanford. Dr. Vrticka is currently collaborating on neurological research with several premier institutions, including Stanford University, the University of Virginia, and the University of Vienna.

He is the founder and Coordinating Board President of the Special Interest Research Group (SIRG), which focuses on the social neuroscience of human attachment, and is part of the Society for Emotion and Attachment Studies (SEAS), where he also serves as an Associate Member of the Executive Board.

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