Roy Harpaz

Post-doctoral fellow, Group of Prof. Florian Engert

Department of molecular and cellular biology
Harvard University, Cambridge, MA

My research interests lie at the intersection between ethology and neuroscience. I study collective behavior and examine how social information shapes dynamic and complex individual behaviors. In my current research I study zebrafish as an animal model, since these vertebrates show a myriad of complex behaviors, from instantaneous movement decisions in a shoal of fish to complex foraging strategies and learning. The vast genetic and imaging capabilities available in this species allows for the study of the neurobiological underpinning of its complex behavioral algorithms. In essence, I believe that one must understand (natural) behavior well, in order to properly study the underlying neural mechanisms of these behaviors.


Additionally, I am highly interested in statistical modelling and in learning statistical methodology, and hold a strong passion for teaching statistics and its proper use in science. A few years ago, I have established (together with others) a new introductory course in statistics for the Life Sciences at the Weizmann Institute of Science. This learning opportunity was not available previously in our institute, and has received great support from the board of studies, turning it to a mandatory course in the MSc and PhD programs in the Life Sciences. This year was the fourth year we gave the course, and we hope that the students taking this course find it constructive and helpful in their own research.