BGU researcher wins 2017 Joy Academic Grant to develop stress management tools

A researcher at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev (BGU) has been awarded a 2017 Joy Academic Grant from Joy Ventures to research and develop an empathy-based emotion-regulation mechanism for stress relief. BGN Technologies, the technology-transfer company of BGU, and Joy Ventures will collaborate to market these neuro-wellness research findings.

According to"">Dr. Michael Gilead, head of the Social Cognitive Neuroscience Laboratory at BGU, "We found that the brain's response to negative affect-inducing stimuli may be modulated by neural mechanisms that subserve the ability to process the mental states of other individuals. In other words, triggering empathy can help overcome stress in the empathizing person. We will now harness this discovery in order to develop future relief for stress."

The team will attempt to identify the most effective techniques to trigger empathy, such as imagining the mindset of someone known personally or indirectly. A future next step may be to commercialize a mentalizing-based emotion-regulation mechanism for stress relief in laboratory and ecological settings, as well as consumer products such as an app to help people cope with stress and increase their mental resiliency.

"We look forward to partnering with Joy Ventures," said Dana Gavish-Friedman, BGN Technologies vice president for entrepreneurship. "Stress is one of the most common ailments afflicting the modern world and adversely impacts mental and physical health. It is therefore important that we discover ways to deal with stress that are applicable to the general population."

"Our mission is to support science-based consumer products in the neuro-wellness field that are accessible, easy-to-use and can improve personal well-being," says Idan Katz, Joy Ventures chief operating officer. Joy Ventures funds outstanding academic research in the field and does not claim intellectual property ownership, a successful model implemented in pharma and academic partnerships.



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