After a successful first course in the past academic year, “Selected Topics in Neurowellness” will be offered at the Hebrew University again this year, bringing leading figures in the field to advanced degree students. Interview with Dr. Mor Nahum.
“There’s so much exciting work being done in the arena of neurowellness and mood improvement, not only in academia but by entrepreneurs as well,” says senior lecturer Dr. Mor Nahum, who introduced one of the first courses in academia in this arena at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem this past academic year. The advanced degree course offered in the School of Occupational Therapy of the Faculty of Medicine was well received by graduate students, and a similar course will be offered this year as well.
Most of the course consisted of expert guest lecturers in the field, covering various topics related to neurowellness, from sleep enhancement, biofeedback and mindfulness stress resilience and more.
When I was looking for guest lecturers for the course, I turned to Joy Ventures,” explains Dr. Nahum. “Joy has built an impressive community of experts in Israel in the field of scientific research and applications for wellbeing, and through their assistance I was able to bring truly top-tier experts in the field to share their research and technologies with my students.”
Some of the most popular lectures in the course included “Circadian Profile, Sleep and Psychological Wellbeing” by Dr. Maria Korman, “Biofeedback and Mindfulness for Stress Management” by Dr. Yuval Oded, “Consciousness and Self: Mindfulness” by Dr. Nava Levit-Binun and “Adaptive and Maladaptive Dynamics of Reward Learning and Mood” by Dr. Eran Eldar.
For the students the course was an opportunity to not just hear from top researchers in the emerging field of neurowellness, but also to experience first-hand methods and products designed to improve neurowellness that are already making a positive impact on people’s lives. For example, during the course, the students were asked to identify and change factors in their environment that may disturb their sleep, or use a Mobile app which tracks their mood for a few days to identify patterns that may affect their well-being. The products that were introduced by the expert guest lecturers – such as a wearable device designed to improve sleep and reduce stress by NYX Technologies presented by Ophir Orenstein – helped to bring theory to life for the students.
The course concluded with the students divided into groups and presenting a poster each group developed in the arena of wellbeing. One of the most impressive poster presentations came from a group of students – themselves new mothers – who developed an idea for an app to address the crisis of loneliness amongst new moms, by connecting new moms that live in close proximity to one another.
“We are excited that this course was so well-received and is expanding and being offered again this year,” says Dr. Hagit Alon, VP Scientific Affairs at Joy Ventures. “Neurowellness is a relatively new field in basic and translational neuroscience that also has a strong applicative side to it. Gaining more awareness from academia is one of our goals at Joy Ventures. We believe that the seeds planted in these types of platforms in academia will blossom into new product initiatives and startup teams that we at Joy are looking to partner with. The vision is to encourage students to be exposed to in the scope of neurowellness, understand the relevance of the field to their daily lives, and ultimately turn exciting ideas into life-changing products.”