In our laboratory, the main research interest is centred on the field of neuroplasticity, converging towards its
behavioral consequences, namely learning and memory. We study the neural mechanisms underlying the
capability of the brain to rewire itself in response to environmental pressures, as this plasticity of the nervous
system is crucial throughout the lifespan, refining sensory systems during development, mediating learning
and memory and being the key mechanism for neurorehabilitation in case of injury and for the prevention of
neurodegenerative disorders later in life. We focus on the hippocampus and neocortex, and our experimental
approach includes, among others, in vivo recording techniques (extracellular LFP recordings and single-
photon calcium imaging) and neuronal activity manipulation (optogenetics and pharmacogenetics) in
behaving animals, combined with anatomical tracing.
In collaboration with Prof Antonella Viola and Prof Matteo Caleo, we are currently developing a mouse
model for perinatal stroke to study how the microglia function within the neuronal milieu surrounding the
lesion may affect the neuroplasticity underlying the spontaneous functional recovery.
Manuela Allegra, junior PI
Alessandra Testa, PhD student
Stefano Varani, post-doc
Livia Vignozzi, PhD student