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The Organisation

The Fondazione Istituto Italiano di Tecnologia (IIT) is a government sponsored Foundation created in 2003. It promotes excellence in national and international research, technological development and training in high technology and inter-sectorial cooperation with both academic institutions and private organizations. IIT hosts a large international research community with over 800 researchers working on seven synergetic and interdisciplinary platforms among which are Neurosciences, D4 (Drug Discovery Development and Diagnostics), and Integrated Multi-scale Computational Technology. 

Within IIT, the Department of Neuroscience and Brain Technologies (NBT) focuses on applying new technologies to investigate the central nervous system, from individual synapses to neuronal networks, with a special focus on brain diseases and brain-chip interfaces. Accordingly an excellent state-of-the-art infrastructure is available.

The Team

The aim of the laboratory is to investigate the mechanisms of neural and synaptic communication using a variety of experimental models of human diseases, epilepsy in particular. In particular, the following main themes are pursued: 

(i) cellular mechanisms of plasticity at various levels of brain complexity from individual synapses to neural networks to the live animal; 

(ii) experimental models of brain diseases; 

(iii) neuron-to-chip systems allowing the study of the basic properties of simplified neuronal networks and the implementation of new neuron-based biosensors and neuroprosthetic interfaces. 

The studies are carried out with an integrated and multidisciplinary approach that includes patch-clamp, conventional and high resolution multi-electrode array electrophysiology, optogenetics, live imaging, electron microscopy, molecular neurobiology and behavior that are applied in in vitro, ex vivo and in vivo studies to genetic and drug-induced models of epilepsy.

Lab members:

Pietro Baldelli Associate professor (pietro.baldelli@iit.it)

Silvio Sacchetti Postdoctoral fellow (silvio.sacchetti@iit.it)

Daniela Moretti Postdoctoral fellow (daniela.moretti @iit.it)

Fernando Maya-Vetencourt Postdoctoral fellow (maya.vetencourt@iit.it)

Federico Pecoraro Bisogni PhD student (federico.pecoraro@iit.it)

Nicola Forte PhD student (nicola.forte@iit.it)

The aim of the laboratory is to understand the molecular determinants of synapse specificity and function. In particular, we are interested in how cell adhesion molecules coordinate pre- and postsynaptic activity at central synapses in health and disease. We focus on integrins and how they affect formation, maintenance and remodeling of synaptic connections in the brain. The ultimate goal is to identify the general principles governing synapse connectivity and to determine which processes go awry in neurological and psychiatric disorders, providing information for the development of effective treatments. 

To achieve these goals, we use an integrative experimental approach combining optogenetic, electrophysiological and time-lapse imaging techniques (GCaMPs and pHluorins) in in vitro and in vivo models of neurological disorders (epilepsy and autism).

Lab members:

Agnes Thalhammer External consultant (agnes.thalhammer@iit.it)

Elisa Reisoli Postdoctoral fellow (elisa.reisoli@iit.it)

Lisette Bassi Ph.D. Student (lisette.bassi@iit.it)

Sara Mazzilli Bachelor student

Contact Us

Fabio Benfenati
Email: fabio.benfenati@iit.it
Lorenzo Cingolani
Email: lorenzo.cingolani@iit.it


Page last modified on 05 may 15 13:24