Photo of Noam Harel

Noam Harel

Print ProfilePrint Profile



  • Neurology, American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology

Clinical Focus


  • Internship, Internal Medicine
    Pennsylvania Hospital

  • Residency, Neurology
    Columbia University Medical Center


    I am a neurologist with experience in both basic and clinical research. My primary interests are in rehabilitation from spinal cord injury (SCI), traumatic brain injury, stroke, and other central nervous system diseases. The majority of my time is spent at the Center of Excellence for the Medical Consequences of Spinal Cord Injury, located at the James J Peters VA Medical Center.


Defining and strengthening spared nerves after spinal cord injury

Our goal is simple yet challenging - to improve conscious control over movement of neurologically weakened parts of the body.

The approach is to use targeted exercises and non-invasive brain stimulation to activate intact portions of the nervous system, leading them to form 'detour' pathways that bypass neurological injuries. This approach can help even in spinal cord injury, where most individuals actually retain some degree of intact circuitry traversing the lesion.

One of our strategies exploits the principle of Hebbian plasticity, known colloquially as ‘Fire Together, Wire Together’: When nearby neurons fire together repeatedly, connections between those neurons strengthen. In the example of SCI, the circuits most likely spared after injury consist of spinal and brainstem pathways that are under involuntary control - this is one reason why muscle spasms and other types of spasticity are such a problem after SCI. To improve conscious (cortical) control over these types of movements, we are studying interventions that stimulate brainstem and cortical circuits simultaneously. We hope that this will strengthen cortical connections to - and control over - muscles below spinal injuries.

Aside from measuring the effects of these interventions using standard clinical outcomes, we also measure electrophysiological outcomes using transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS), electromyography, and MRI. We are actively developing new methods of measuring activity in the damaged nervous system, both in real time and in response to different treatments.

Our center is a thriving mix of physicians, engineers, physiologists, research coordinators, volunteers, and enthusiastic research participants.

Please contact me to learn more about joining our team or collaborating.


Kelley BJ, Harel NY, Kim CY, Papademetris X, Coman D, Wang X, Hasan O, Kaufman A, Globinsky R, Staib LH, Cafferty WB, Hyder F, Strittmatter SM. Diffusion tensor imaging as a predictor of locomotor function after experimental spinal cord injury and recovery. Journal of neurotrauma 2014 Aug; 31(15).

Harel NY, Yigitkanli K, Fu Y, Cafferty WB, Strittmatter SM. Multimodal exercises simultaneously stimulating cortical and brainstem pathways after unilateral corticospinal lesion. Brain research 2013 Sep;.

Harel NY, Asselin PK, Fineberg DB, Pisano TJ, Bauman WA, Spungen AM. Adaptation of computerized posturography to assess seated balance in persons with spinal cord injury. The journal of spinal cord medicine 2013 Mar; 36(2).

Fineberg DB, Asselin P, Harel NY, Agranova-Breyter I, Kornfeld SD, Bauman WA, Spungen AM. Vertical ground reaction force-based analysis of powered exoskeleton-assisted walking in persons with motor-complete paraplegia. The journal of spinal cord medicine 2013 Jul; 36(4).

Harel NY. Funding: Some sense in overlapping grants [editorial]. Nature 2013 Mar; 495(7440).

Harel NY, Tseng BY. Cerebral perfusion in acute stroke prognostication: Go with the flow, or know with the quo?. Neurology 2012 Jun; 78(23).

Blondin NA, Vortmeyer AO, Harel NY. Paraneoplastic syndrome of inappropriate antidiuretic hormone mimicking limbic encephalitis. Archives of neurology 2011 Dec; 68(12).

Wang X, Duffy P, McGee AW, Hasan O, Gould G, Tu N, Harel NY, Huang Y, Carson RE, Weinzimmer D, Ropchan J, Benowitz LI, Cafferty WB, Strittmatter SM. Recovery from chronic spinal cord contusion after Nogo receptor intervention. Annals of neurology 2011 Nov; 70(5).

Harel NY, Song KH, Tang X, Strittmatter SM. Nogo receptor deletion and multimodal exercise improve distinct aspects of recovery in cervical spinal cord injury. Journal of neurotrauma 2010 Nov; 27(11).

Owuor K, Harel NY, Englot DJ, Hisama F, Blumenfeld H, Strittmatter SM. LGI1-associated epilepsy through altered ADAM23-dependent neuronal morphology. Molecular and cellular neurosciences 2009 Dec; 42(4).

Yang YS, Harel NY, Strittmatter SM. Reticulon-4A (Nogo-A) redistributes protein disulfide isomerase to protect mice from SOD1-dependent amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. The Journal of neuroscience : the official journal of the Society for Neuroscience 2009 Nov; 29(44).

Harel NY, Cudkowicz ME, Brown RH, Strittmatter SM. Serum Nogo-A levels are not elevated in amyotrophic lateral sclerosis patients. Biomarkers : biochemical indicators of exposure, response, and susceptibility to chemicals 2009 Sep; 14(6).

Harel NY, Strittmatter SM. Functional MRI and other non-invasive imaging technologies: providing visual biomarkers for spinal cord structure and function after injury [review]. Experimental neurology 2008 Jun; 211(2).

Harel NY. Re: What is next in ALS clinical trials? [editorial]. Neurology 2008 Apr; 70(16).

Harel NY. Call for a centralized grant proposal repository [editorial]. Nature 2008 Mar; 452(7186).

Harel NY, Strittmatter SM. Nogo-A marks motor neuron disease [editorial]. Annals of neurology 2007 Jul; 62(1).

Park JH, Widi GA, Gimbel DA, Harel NY, Lee DH, Strittmatter SM. Subcutaneous Nogo receptor removes brain amyloid-beta and improves spatial memory in Alzheimer's transgenic mice. The Journal of neuroscience : the official journal of the Society for Neuroscience 2006 Dec; 26(51).

Harel NY, Strittmatter SM. Can regenerating axons recapitulate developmental guidance during recovery from spinal cord injury? [review]. Nature reviews. Neuroscience 2006 Aug; 7(8).

Liberato B, Harel NY, Krakauer JW. Bilateral top of carotid occlusion presenting as basilar thrombosis. Cerebrovascular diseases (Basel, Switzerland) 2005; 19(5).

Barrasa MI, Harel NY, Alwine JC. The phosphorylation status of the serine-rich region of the human cytomegalovirus 86-kilodalton major immediate-early protein IE2/IEP86 affects temporal viral gene expression. Journal of virology 2005 Feb; 79(3).

Schumacher HC, Meyers PM, Yavagal DR, Harel NY, Elkind MS, Mohr JP, Pile-Spellman J. Endovascular mechanical thrombectomy of an occluded superior division branch of the left MCA for acute cardioembolic stroke. Cardiovascular Interventional Radiology 2003; 26(3).

Barrasa MI, Harel N, Yu Y, Alwine JC. Strain variations in single amino acids of the 86-kilodalton human cytomegalovirus major immediate-early protein (IE2) affect its functional and biochemical properties: implications of dynamic protein conformation.. Journal of virology 2003 Apr; 77(8).

Wolfe JH, Sands MS, Harel N, Weil MA, Parente MK, Polesky AC, Reilly JJ, Hasson C, Weimelt S, Haskins ME. Gene transfer of low levels of beta-glucuronidase corrects hepatic lysosomal storage in a large animal model of mucopolysaccharidosis VII. Molecular therapy : the journal of the American Society of Gene Therapy 2000 Dec; 2(6).

Harel NY, Alwine JC. Phosphorylation of the human cytomegalovirus 86-kilodalton immediate-early protein IE2. Journal of virology 1998 Jul; 72(7).

Lukac DM, Harel NY, Tanese N, Alwine JC. TAF-like functions of human cytomegalovirus immediate-early proteins. Journal of virology 1997 Oct; 71(10).

Industry Relationships

Physicians and scientists on the faculty of the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai often interact with pharmaceutical, device and biotechnology companies to improve patient care, develop new therapies and achieve scientific breakthroughs. In order to promote an ethical and transparent environment for conducting research, providing clinical care and teaching, Mount Sinai requires that salaried faculty inform the School of their relationships with such companies.

Below are financial relationships with industry reported by Dr. Harel during 2014 and/or 2015. Please note that this information may differ from information posted on corporate sites due to timing or classification differences.


  • Gerson Lehrman Group

Mount Sinai's faculty policies relating to faculty collaboration with industry are posted on our website. Patients may wish to ask their physician about the activities they perform for companies.

Insurance Information

Mount Sinai Health System (MSHS) physicians - including those employed by MSHS - do not always participate in the same health plans in which MSHS hospitals or facilities participate.

Information regarding insurance participation and billing by this physician may be found on this page or obtained by contacting this provider directly.

Insurance plans that the Mount Sinai Health System hospitals or facilities participate in can be found on the Mount Sinai Health System website.

Edit profile in Sinai Central


James J Peters Veteran Adminis Floor 7A Room 7A-13G
130 West Kingsbridge Road
Bronx, NY 10468