Born in Bologna, Italy, on 5 November 1954.
- 1979: University of Bologna, School of Medicine Degree: Doctor of Medicine - Field of Study: Neurochemistry
- 1983: University of Bologna, School of Medicine Postdoctoral School of Neurology Degree: Specialist in Neurology - Field of Study: Neurophysiology
- 1979: Medical Degree (summa cum laude and best thesis prize), University of Bologna School of Medicine (Italy). Field: neurobiology
- 1983: Specialist in Neurology (summa cum laude), Neurological Clinic, University of Bologna School of Medicine (Italy). Field: experimental neurophysiology and clinical neurology
- 1980-1983: "Accademia Nazionale dei Lincei" fellow at the "Mario Negri" Institute for Pharmacological Research (Milano)
- 1983-1991: Assistant Professor at the Institute of Physiology, University of Modena (Italy)
- 1983-1984: Post-doctoral fellow at the Department of Histology and Neurobiology at the Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm (Sweden) in Kjell Fuxe's and Thomas Hokfelt's laboratories
- 1986-1989 Fogarty Fellow & Research Associate, Laboratory of Molecular and Cellular Neuroscience, The Rockefeller University, New York (USA) directed by Professor Paul Greengard (Nobel Laureate in 2000)
- 1990-1995: Guest Investigator, The Rockefeller University, New York (USA)
- 1992-2000: Associate Professor of Physiology, University of Roma Tor Vergata, School of Medicine (Italy)
- 1996-present: Member of the Adjunct Faculty, The Rockefeller University, New York (USA)
- 2000-present: Full Professor of Neurophysiology, University of Genova, School of Medicine (Italy)
- 2006-present: Research Director, Department of Neuroscience and Brain Technologies, The Italian Institute of Technology, Genova (Italy)
Other Professional Experiences
- 1992-1996: Board Member of the Italian Society for Neuroscience
- 2003-2005: President, Italian Society for Neuroscience
- 2004-2006: Board Member of the Italian Federation for Life Sciences (FISV)
- 2005-2008: Vice-President, National Institute for Neuroscience
- 2008-2011: Chairman of the IBRO International Program Committee, 8th World Congress of the International Brain Research Organization, Florence (Italy) July 14-19, 2011.
- 2009-2011: President, The Italian Physiological Society
- 2012-present: President, National Collegium of Physiologists
- 2010-present: Member of the International Scientific Council of EBRI (European Brain Research Institute, Roma)
- 2005-present: Member of the Scientific Committee of the International Genoa Science Festival
- 2009-present: Member of the "CNRS Conseil Scientifique du Departement Sciences du Vivant" (France)
Awards and Honors
- 1979: "Thesis Prize" and thesis publication by the University of Bologna
- 1980: "Giuseppe Levi" Foundation, Accademia Nazionale dei Lincei, Prize for Neurobiology
- 1981-1982: "Anna Villa Rusconi" Foundation Fellowship
- 1986-1987: Fogarty International Center Fellowship from the US Public Health Service
- 1988: "Italian Society for Neuroscience" Prize for young neuroscientists
- 1997: Fullbright Advanced Research and University Lecturing Award
- 1999-2003: Research Award from the Foundation of the Fisher Center for Alzheimer's Disease Research, NY, USA
- 1992-1999: Courses of Human Physiology and Neurophysiology at the Medical School of the 2nd University of Rome, Rome.
- 2000-present: Courses of Human Physiology and Neurophysiology at the Medical School of the University of Genova
- 2004-2007: Experimental and Clinical Neurophysiopathology module in the Neurology Course at the Medical School of the University of Genova
- 2000- present: Courses of Physiology and Neurobiology & Neurophysiology, School of Biotechnologies of the University of Genova
- 2004-2008: Coordinator, PhD Course in Experimental Neuroscience, PhD School in Medical Sciences and Technologies, University of Genova
- 2008-present: Coordinator, PhD Course in Neuroscience and Brain Technologies, PhD School in Life and Humanoid Technologies, University of Genova and Italian Institute of Technology, Genova.
- During his career, FB has supervised > 80 students for Bachelor and Master thesis in the Courses of Medicine, Biological Sciences, Bioengineering and Biotechnologies. He has supervised and co-supervised over 25 PhD students and participated in several PhD thesis defense Committees in Universities in France, Belgium, Norway and Sweden.
- FB is author of > 190 research papers in peer-reviewed international journals, including: Science (1), Nature (2), Neuron (2), Nature Communications (1+), Nature Neuroscience (1), J. Cell Biology (5), EMBO J. (2), Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci USA (10), J. Neuroscience (11+) and of 3 patents.
- H-index=53; 58° position among the top Italian scientists in all fields (ref. Via Academy); over 11000 citations; total impact factor > 900. Papers since 2001: 47
- He has given over 100 invited and tutorial communications at international meetings, schools and institutions.
- He is Associate Editor, Frontiers in Neuroengineering, The Frontiers Journals, ISSN: 1662-6443 The Scientific World Journal and Archives Italiennes de Biologie, Rendiconti Lincei, Scienze Fisiche e Naturali,. He has been Guest Editor for a Special issue of Semin. Cell Dev. Biol.
- He has been reviewer for several international scientific journals and National and International Granting Agencies:
- International scientific journals: Nature, Nature Protocols, J. Cell Biol., Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA, J. Neurosci., J. Physiol., J. Neurochem., Neuroscience, J. Cell Sci., Cell Death and Differentiation, Eur. J. Neurosci., FEBS Lett., Brain Res., Exp. Brain Res., Naturwissenschaften, Eur. J. Biochem., Neurosci. Lett., Learning & Memory, Eur. J. Pharmacol., DNA Sequence, BMC Neuroscience Electrophoresis.
- National and international agencies: Human Frontier Science Program (HFSP), National Science Foundation (USA), Yale University Evaluation Program, Biotechnology & Biological Sciences Research Council (UK), Agricultural and Food Research Council (UK), Ireland Health Research Board, Norway Research Council, Singapore Biomedical Research Council, The Israel Science Foundation, Health Research Council of New Zealand (HRC), INSERM-ANR (France); CNRS-PIME Career Project (France); Telethon-France; Telethon Foundation – Italy; Italian Research Council (CNR), National Institute of Health (ISS), Italian Ministry of University and Research (MIUR),
- He is Member of the following scientific associations: The Italian Physiological Society (SIF), Italian Society for Neuroscience (SINS), Society for Neuroscience (SfN), International Brain Research Organization (IBRO), Federation of the European Neuroscience Societies (FENS), International Society for Neurochemistry (ISN), Italian Federation for Life Sciences (FISV).
Research focus and main contributions
The main subjects of investigation of FB in the last 25 years have been the molecular mechanisms of information transfer among neurons and the role of signal transduction pathways and protein phosphorylation in these processes. He has begun working in the field of synaptic transmission in Paul Greengard's laboratory in 1986, starting a collaboration with him that is still ongoing. By using a combination of experimental techniques ranging from cell biology, biochemistry, biophysics, live imaging, electrophysiology and molecular biology, FB has addressed the mechanisms of synaptic communication and the problem of how neurons can change the efficiency of the information transfer at synapses to adapt to diverse environmental situations, providing the following main contributions:
- Elucidation of the mechanisms of neurotransmitter release and synaptic plasticity and identification of the proteins involved. A long array of papers has, for the first time, put forward the functional role of synaptic vesicle proteins such as the synapsins, synaptophysin and VAMP/synaptobrevin in the regulation of the multi-step process of neurotransmitter release;
- Elucidation of molecular mechanisms regulating synaptic vesicle trafficking and neurotransmitter release and of the effects of neurotrophins on synaptic plasticity.
- Elucidation of the physiological role of the synapsins during synaptogenesis and in mature synapses as positive stimulators of formation, function and functional/structural plasticity of synaptic connections.
- Clarification of the composition of the molecular machine that promotes membrane fusion during exocytosis and identification of the mechanism of action and intracellular targets of tetanus and botulinum neurotoxins.
- Investigation of the pathogenic mechanisms of synaptopathies on genetically altered mice lacking synaptic vesicle proteins as models of human neurological disorders such as epilepsy and autism spectrum disorder using electrophysiology to study neuronal excitability and synaptic strength at the cellular (patch-clamp) and circuit (microelectrode arrays) levels.
- Generation of engineered circuits of primary neurons grown on patterned substrates and study of their physiological properties at the single cell and circuit level.