Prof. Nira Mashal was appointed Dean of Students at Bar-Ilan University in 2020. As the Dean, she is responsible for the wellbeing of students in areas related to their lives and rights on campus. These include improving physical accessibility and facilitating the involvement of students with various disabilities; running special programs such as affirmative action and equal opportunities for applicants from the periphery; and handling inquiries and complaints. Various sections in the Office of the Dean of Students deal with the welfare of new immigrants, the pre-academic program (Mechina) for Olim, career counselling for all students, student housing, and advancing populations from various sectors.
Prof. Mashal lectures at the School of Education and heads the Brain and Language Research Laboratory at the Gonda (Goldschmied) Multidisciplinary Brain Research Center. She was a postdoctoral fellow at two leading institutions in the United States, at Northwestern University and at the University of Chicago. She holds a PhD (cum laude) from BIU’s Gonda Brain Research Center, and received her BSc and MSc in Mathematics from the Technion, the Israel Institute of Technology.
Prof. Mashal’s research deals with the study of the neural bases of metaphoric-language processing and comprehension. She focuses specifically on understanding the brain mechanisms of pragmatic and creative thinking, both in the healthy brain and in special populations, such as people with autism, learning disabilities, schizophrenia, aphasia, and ADHD. The laboratory, headed by Prof. Mashal, is developing intervention programs to enhance the ability of language processing (e.g. aphasia following a stroke), language comprehension (e.g. among people with dyslexia) and to improve pragmatic abilities (figurative-language comprehension in ASD).
Prof. Mashal has published over 50 articles in leading journals. Her research methods include psycho-linguistic experiments, transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS), ERP and Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (fMRI). In addition, Prof. Mashal is certified as a therapist for cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT).