The lab


Liat Ayalon

Liat Ayalon, PhD, is a Professor in the School of Social Work, at Bar Ilan University, Israel. Prof. Ayalon is currently funded by the Israel Science Foundation to study intergenerational relations in the context of climate change. She is also funded by the Volkswagen Foundation in collaboration with colleagues in Germany (Dr. von Kutzleben and Prof. Schweda) to study moral dilemmas in migrant home care arrangements  She was the coordinator of an international EU funded Ph.D. program on the topic of ageism (; 2017-2022). Between 2014 and 2018, Prof. Ayalon has led an international research network on the topic of ageism, funded through COST (Cooperation in Science and Technology; COST IS1402, She consults both national and international organizations concerning the development and evaluation of programs and services for older adults. In recognition of her work, Prof. Ayalon was selected by the UN Decade of Healthy Ageing as one of 50 world leaders working to transform the world to be a better place in which to grow older.



Sigal Bridger

Sigal is an administrative coordinator in the EuroAgeism project, working with Prof. Liat Ayalon. She has a Bachelor degree in Social Work and an MBA  specializing in Organizational Behavior, from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.

Postdoctorate students

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Senjouti Roy, Ph.D.

Senjooti has been interested in aging studies for over a decade. She worked in an old age home as a student social worker in India and undertook research on self-perceptions of older adults in urban India for her master’s degree. Subsequently, she pursued a doctoral degree in social gerontology at Miami University, United States. For her dissertation she conducted an ethnographic study of health beliefs and behaviors of older adults in the Indian Himalayas. As part of her postdoctoral work with Prof. Ayalon, she has undertaken research on ageism, long-distance caregiving, and the intersection of culture and technology in the portrayal of age and gender stereotypes in media. She is currently exploring ageism in the context of climate change.

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Natalie Ulitsa, Ph.D.

Natalie Ulitsa is a postdoctoral research fellow in the School of Social Work, Faculty of Social Sciences at Bar-Ilan University. She received her Ph.D. from the Paul Baerwald School of Social Work and Social Welfare at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and completed postdoctoral studies in the Department of Community Mental Health,  University of Haifa. She is interested in the psycho-social and cultural aspects of dementia and dementia care, and a context-informed view of old age. She also teaches courses at the Department of Social Work, Hadassa Academic College in Jerusalem.


Shlomit Lir, Ph.D.

Dr Shlomit Lir is a fellow researcher at Bar Ilan University and a postdoc researcher at Azrieli Center for Israel Studies at Ben–Gurion University of the Negev, specializing in gender, knowledge and technology.

Dr Lir is an academic advisor at the Ministry of Science and Technology. She is an accomplished writer who writes on issues concerning social justice, inclusion, diversity and women rights. Among the books she edited are the anthologies “In Visible Ink”(Pardes, 2015) and “To My Sister, Mizrahi, Feminist Politics” (Babel, 2007).

As a social activist Dr Lir has managed the Woman for Presidency campaign (2009), which promoted the election of a woman for the Israeli presidency. She is the initiator and CEO of Women Activists Online, a hub initiative designed to promote women leadership by the use of social media. Throughout the last couple of years, she organized and led important academic, social and cultural events–among them the group exhibitions ” Corona Times” portraying photographs of women from Beer-Sheva during the corona’s quarantin , and “Women Raising the Status” representing the potential to overcome mechanisms that mute women’s voices, and to strengthen the place of women in the public discourse through writing online.

Dr Shlomit Aharoni Lir can be contacted at:

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Sarit Okun, Ph.D.

A postdoctoral fellow at Prof. Liat Ayalon,’s research group at Bar-Ilan University, Israel. Joined the ‘Impact Center for the Study of Ageism and Old Age’ in an attempt to examine the contribution of digital media in alleviating the phenomenon of ageism.


Sarit wrote her M.A. and Ph.D. dissertations under the supervision of Prof. Galit Nimrod at the department of communication studies at Ben-Gurion University (BGU) of the Negev, Israel. Her M.A. thesis examined the characteristics of the online Ultra-Orthodox communities while Her Ph.D. thesis examined whether and how online spirituality contributes to wellbeing in later life.


During her stay at BGU, Sarit participated in a program for outstanding students of the Kreitman’s school of Advanced Graduate Studies, during which she received the ACT student bursaries, annually awarded to students that intersect ageing, communication and technologies as part of their thesis projects.


Assaf Suberry, Ph.D.

A postdoctoral fellow researcher at the Impact Center for Study of Ageism and Old Age at Bar-Ilan University. Assaf is a musician and music educator. His projects explore how education and music foster better relationships between young and older adults and combat ageism.

In his postdoctoral work with Prof. Ayalon and Dr. Okun, he investigates the effectiveness of an educational intervention to reduce ageism and enhance social activism among teenagers. Currently, he is exploring age-perceptions in the light of the massive civil and military voluntary activity since the start of the Swords of Iron war on October 7.


Peter Sun, Ph.D.

Peter Sun is a Postdoctoral Fellow at Prof. Liat Ayalon’s lab. Currently, his research focuses on intergenerational activism, age-related stereotypes, and volunteerism. Prior to joining the lab, Peter has worked on topics around the productive engagement of older adults, rural aging, and intergenerational programs. Peter received his M.S.W. from the University of Washington and his Ph.D. in Social Work from the Brown School at Washington University in St. Louis. He can be reached by email at:


Rabab Awad, Ph.D.

A postdoctoral fellow at Prof. Liat Ayalon,’s research lab at Bar-Ilan University, Israel. Rabab is a pharmacist in several geriatric institutions. She completed her master’s degree (2014) and PhD studies (2021) in the Department of Gerontology, University of Haifa. Her doctoral dissertation examined the typology of loneliness among older people via a weekly based diary study, and examined the role of oxytocin in regulating loneliness in old age. She is interested in neuro-hormonal and neuro-cognitive processes of aging, psychology of aging, and aging alongside disabilities. Her postdoctoral work with Prof. Ayalon, is focused on the impacts of climate change on psychological and neuro-hormonal aspects of aging.

She can be reached by email:

Ph.D. students


Shirley Altman

Shirley Altman is a doctoral student with a Master’s degree in social work. She works at Maccabi HMO and studies predictors of suicide among older persons, using a large dataset of the entire HMO.


Ruth Frankenburg

Ruth Frankenburg is a social worker who studies role perceptions of activists in sexual abuse prevention teams. She is also responsible for the ongoing operation of such teams.

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Smadar Freiber

Smadar Freiber is a proud social worker who loves older people and believes that old age is a period of beauty and power in addition to losses and challenges. Her dissertation is focused on the experiences of childless older people.


Wanyu Xi (Betty)

Wanyu Xi (Betty) currently is a PhD student at the Bar-Ilan University, Israel. Her research topic is about “Reducing self-stigma to increase accessibility to technology”. She received her Master’s Degree, MA in Management and International MBA with a full scholarship. Her previous research was focused on consumer psychology and behavior in IT-mediated environments, eg human-computer interaction. She also had one-year industrial experience in an IT start-up as a global marketing researcher.


Rachel Marzbach

Rachel Merzabch is a Ph.D. student under the supervision of Prof. Liat Ayalon. Her research is focused on the experience of opening adoption documents in midlife and old age. The research examines the reasons for searching biological roots and information about the birth parents in midlife and older age. Rachel is a social worker, who earned her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in social work from Bar Ilan University (with high distinction). She has worked as a social worker in the welfare department of Bet Shemesh, in Alei Siach organization and as a supervisor in the Ministry of Social Affairs and Social Services, in Israel.

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Noa Levi

Noa Levy is a spoken word poetry artist and a PhD student in the Department of Gender Studies, at Bar Ilan University. She is focused on the experiences of middle-aged women who write and perform spoken word poetry, in relation to ageism and self-ageism