POSTPONED - Feindel Brain and Mind Seminar Series: Mechanisms of fMRI (dys)connectivity
Senior Scientist, Istituto Italiano di Tecnologia, Italy
Bio: After receiving a master degree in Biotechnology at the University of Verona (Italy) in 1998, Alessandro joined the neuroscience centre of GlaxoSmithKline (GSK), a research-based pharmaceutical company based in Verona (Italy) and Harlow (UK). There he pioneered the use of functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) in rodents to describe the neural substrates modulated by pharmacological agents, a line of research that he also pursued to obtain a PhD degree in biomedical imaging with the University of Verona. During his years at GSK he took on roles of increasing responsibility, and developed a strong background in MRI, neurocomputation and neuropharmacology, as well as in the application of translational approaches to study neuropsychiatric brain disorders.
In 2010 Alessandro joined the Istituto Italiano di Tecnologia (first in Pisa, next in Rovereto), where he lead the Functional Neuroimaging Laboratory (https://www.iit.it/it/web/functional-neuroimaging). The lab is equipped with a 7 Tesla small-animal MRI scanner for in vivo imaging. During his research activity, he has described the circuital substrates modulated by centrally-active pharmacological agents in multiple areas of experimental neuroscience (e.g. schizophrenia, depression, drug addiction etc.) and identified functional and structural alterations in different rodent models of brain pathology. More recently, he established methods to map functional connectivity in the mouse brain and to perturb it with cell-type specificity (chemogenetic-fMRI), laying the foundations of a novel field of translational research that is now pursued by an increasing number of laboratories.
Our investigations of the mouse functional connectome have identified mouse homologues of the human default-mode (DMN) and salience networks, allowing to characterize signatures of disrupted connectivity associated to several autism-risk genes. His current research is primarily focused on the investigation of the functional architecture of the mammalian brain at the macroscale, using the mouse as a physiologically-accessible model organism. Leveraging funding from the European Research Council (ERC, #Disconn), we are currently using perturbational approaches (i.e. chemogenetics, optogenetics, genetic conditioning) to investigate the elusive neural basis of connectivity disruption in developmental disorders such as autism, or schizophrenia. A major goal of our research is to use functional network systems as a novel translational language that can be related to cognitive processes and neuropathological traits across-species.
The Feindel Brain and Mind Seminar Series will advance the vision of Dr. William Feindel (1918–2014), Former Director of the Neuro (1972–1984), to constantly bridge the clinical and research realms. The talks will highlight the latest advances and discoveries in neuropsychology, cognitive neuroscience, and neuroimaging.
Speakers will include scientists from across The Neuro, as well as colleagues and collaborators locally and from around the world. The series is intended to provide a virtual forum for scientists and trainees to continue to foster interdisciplinary exchanges on the mechanisms, diagnosis and treatment of brain and cognitive disorders.