Center for Behavioral Neuroscience and Communication

Center for Behavioral Neuroscience and Communication


We know today that behavior of humans and all other mammals is driven by brain activity, namely electrical activation of neurons and synaptic communication.

Nevertheless, observing and understanding the huge variety of interactions that occur among billions of these neurons by means of their synaptic connections is still an open challenge in neuroscience. Furthermore, we own a still very limited knowledge about which mechanisms lose their physiological functioning during the development and maintenance of psychological or psychiatric disorders.

The aim of our group is to conduct scientific research addressing these still unresolved questions and, at the same time, to provide valuable instruments for disseminating this knowledge on both the academic and non-academic level.

The theoretical and methodological background of our research group lays its foundations on basic research in physiology and neuroscience on both animal models and human subjects. The experimental tools we dispose of include both classical and novel techniques for the molecular, biochemical and optical analysis of neural tissue, for the electrophysiological recording of neuronal activity, for the optogenetic stimulation of brain activity and for functional imaging performed both in vitro and in vivo. These tools provide an ideal experimental platform for the in vitro and in vivo testing on both the animal model and the human subject of new hypotheses about the physiological mechanisms that drive neuronal communication, processing of sensory information, behavior and cognition, as well as synaptic plasticity and memory.

The scientific objectives of the group are to unveil new basic mechanisms underlying human and animal neurophysiology and to drive, though the gathered experimental evidence, the development of novel therapeutic strategies for treating several psychiatric disorders and psychopathological conditions. These objectives are addressed through three main research lines:

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