Partner P2: University of Genova
The Department of Biophysical and Electronic Engineering (DIBE) has been established at the University of Genova and it spurred on the initiative of a group of researchers active in electronics, telecommunications, electromagnetism, mathematical physics and bioengineering. The research groups are autonomous, but also interactive in terms of interdisciplinary know-how and of scientific and professional co-operations aimed at specific projects and achievements. The research group involved in the present project is the Neuroengineering and Bio-nanoTechnology Group. Its research activities are mainly related to the field of neuroengineering, computational neuroscience, neuro-robotic, neuro-electronic interfaces, biosensors and bio-nanotechnology. This group has a good experimental know-how in electrophysiology of neuronal populations coupled to microelectrode arrays as well as theoretical expertise in computational neuroscience and neuro-electrode junction models. In the last few years participated to funded EU projects (e.g. IDEA, EXCELL).
Role of UNIGE in the project
UNIGE will be responsible of one scientific WP, namely WP4 devoted to the development of large-scale sw computational models (Dr P. Massobrio). In addition to this computational WP, thanks to its recently obtained preliminary results, UNIGE is also involved in setting up the system for performing experiments on 3D cultures, in tight collaboration with partners IIT and TAU (WP1). Two other contributions will be furnished for: (1) developing and implementing different stimulation protocols to test the goodness of the coding/decoding schemes foreseen in WP3 in collaboration with TAU; (2) designing the neuromorphic chip (WP5) on the basis of the simulation results. All these activities will allow to perform the closed-loop experiments involving a biological element and a sw/hw component (WP6).
Dr Paolo Massobrio (Principal Investigator) received the master degree in Biomedical Engineering (110/110 summa cum laude, worthiness of publication) in 2004, and the PhD degree in Bioengineering, Materials Engineering, Robotics at the University of Genova, on 18th March 2008. The results of his PhD thesis have been awarded with two national prizes. PM has a multi-disciplinary background, as attested by his publications records, and his research activities. His main research interests are: (i) Computational Neuroscience. (ii) Computer simulations of neuro-electronic junction. (iii) Synaptic plasticity studies on dissociated cultured neuronal networks. On these topics, he is coauthor of 16 papers in peer-reviewed international journals, 35 conf. proceedings, 2 invited talks. After 3 years from his PhD, he reached an H-index value of 7 and 129 citations. PM has been also involved in several European projects, and since July 2009, he is the Principal Investigator of a project "Molecular mechanisms and structural changes required for memory persistence: from invertebrates to mammals" (funded by Compagnia di San Paolo, neuroscience program).
Prof. Sergio Martinoia PhD, is associate professor of Bioengineering at the Department of Biophysical and Electronic Engineering (DIBE), University of Genova. His main research interests are: (i) functional coupling of neuronal populations to microelectrode array-based devices; (ii) modeling and computer simulations of the functional coupling between microtransducers and neuronal cells; (iii) data analysis of electrophysiological signals from in-vitro neuronal networks; (iv) design of new microelectronic chemical and bio-sensors. On these topics, he is coauthor of more than 50 papers in peer-reviewed international journals.
Dr. Mariateresa Tedesco received the master degree in Pharmacy from the University of Genova in 1981. The research topic during recent years has been mainly centered on the application of new techniques to interface cells to microelectronic devices capable of recording and evaluating the intrinsic physiological parameters of a cell population. She is coauthor of more than 20 papers in peer-reviewed international journals.