Ph.D Student

Avigail Gordon-Hacker

Avigail is studying for her PhD degree at BGU under the joint supervision of Dr. Noa Gueron-Sela and Dr. Florina Uzefovsky. She received her BA in psychology and multidisciplinary studies, and her MA in clinical psychology from BGU. In her MA thesis, Avigail examined the links between toddler sleep, maternal sleep and emotional availability in mother-child interaction under the supervision of Dr. Liat Tikotsky. In our lab, Avigail is part of the MAMA research team. In her research she examines mediating and moderating mechanisms of the relations between maternal depressive symptoms and the development of child empathy through infancy. She is specifically interested in the roles of maternal reflective functioning and responsiveness to infants’ distress. In addition, Avigail is clinical psychologist doing an internship in the therapeutic treatment center for foster children at the Summit Institute. 

Ph.D Student

Motty Franko

Motty is studying for his PhD degree in psychology at BGU under the joint supervision of Dr. Noa Gueron-Sela and Dr. Ravid Doron from the Open University. He obtained his BA in psychology and MA in developmental psychology from the Academic College of Tel Aviv-Yaffo (MTA). During his years at MTA, Motty was a research assistant at Dr. Doron’s psychobiology lab where he gained expertise in applying animal models to understand the etiology of depression and anxiety. His research focused on the efficacy of a new herbal antidepressant developed in the lab, and the examination of possible side effects in comparison to traditional SSRI treatments.

In his current PhD research, Motty is building upon Dr. Gueron-Sela’s work on cognitive and social implications of preterm birth, and the moderating role of maternal caregiving on these outcomes. He is specifically interested in better understanding the causal links in this process. To that aim, Motty developed a mouse model of premature birth. Using behavioral and biological methods, Motty’s work mainly tests the cognitive and social-emotional implications of prematurity in the offspring, and the moderating role of maternal behaviors in this process. 

Ph.D Student

Alisa Egotubov

Alisa is a PhD student in the developmental psychology program at BGU University. She received her BA in behavioral sciences and her MA in developmental psychology from BGU University. Her MA research thesis focused on the associations between neonatal risk (i.e., premature birth, low birthweight and medical complications) and infants’ joint attention, and the roles of maternal behaviors and contextual stress in these associations. Alisa is currently part of the MAMA research team. She is particularly interested in examining the links between maternal depressive symptoms and the development of attention skills through infancy, while considering the role of maternal attention directing strategies and mother-infant joint visual attention.