Laura Cancedda graduated in Medicinal Chemistry at the University of Genoa in 1999, with a thesis on the role of neurotrophic factors on neurotransmitter release. She received her Ph.D. in neurophysiology from Scuola Normale Superiore (Pisa, Italy) in 2003, under the supervision of Dr. Lamberto Maffei. In Pisa, she investigated the molecular and environmental basis of experience-dependent plasticity in the rat brain. In 2003, she moved to University of California at Berkeley in Dr. Poo’s laboratory where she focused her studies on molecular mechanisms of GABAergic-transmission modulation. Starting in 2006, she has also started a collaboration on a project aimed at studying early determinants of neuronal polarization.
Currently, she holds a team-leader position at the Italian Institute of Technology (IIT) in Genoa and a scientist position at the Telethon Dulbecco Institute. Laura is also a scholar of the FENS KAVLI network of excellence. Her research focuses on the role of extracellular factors such as GABA in neurogenesis, migration and morphological maturation of cortical neurons under physiological as well as pathological conditions.
Laura comes from a neurophysiological and neuropharmacological background. The techniques applied in her laboratory include, among others,in vitroelectrophysiology on brain slices and cell cultures,in vivotransfection of nucleic acids (in uteroelectroporation),in vitroandin vivopharmacology, immunohistochemistry, and confocal imaging. She also has experience in rodent behavioral testing.In addition to her technical expertise, Laura has substantial writing and editing experience.
2016- Dulbecco Telethon Institute, Italy, Scientist
2013- The Italian Institute of Technology, Genoa, Italy Senior Team leader
2008-2013 The Italian Institute of Technology, Genoa, Italy Team leader
2003-2007 University of California at Berkeley, USA Post doc. (Advisor: Poo MM)
2004 Chinese Academy of Sciences,Shanghai visiting Fellow (Host: Yuan X)
2000-2003 Scuola Normale Superiore, Pisa, Italy Graduate student (Advisor: Maffei L)
2000 Brain Institute RIKEN Wako-Shi, Japan Visiting Fellow (Host: Hensch TK)
2016 Scientific committee for the organization of the DTI-TIGEM-TIGET meeting, Roma, Italy
Member of Ph.D. dissertation committee, Institut du Fer à Moulin, Paris
2015-2009 Member of Ph.D. dissertation committee at Scuola Normale Superiore, Pisa, Italy (once/year)
2014 Guest editor for special issue of Frontiers in Neuroscience on “GABAergic system in CNS development and maldevelopment”
2012 Organizer of the symposium “Activity-dependent modifications of neuronal circuits: plasticity, adaptation and tenacity”, Italian Society of Neuroscience meeting, Italy
2011 Guest editor for special issue of Neural Plasticity on “GABAergic circuit development and its implication for CNS disorders”
2012 Member of dissertation Ph.D. committee Università degli Studi di Pisa, Italy
2004 Organizer of the “Neuro super group” meetings, U.C. Berkeley
Direct commissioned manuscript reviewer: Science, Nature Communications, Cell Reports, PNAS, Journal of Neuroscience, Journal of Physiology, Scientific Reports, European Journal of Neuroscience, Hippocampus, Journal of Neurochemistry, Frontiers in Neuronal Circuits, Frontiers in Cellular Neuroscience, Frontiers in Molecular Neuroscience, Frontiers in Pediatrics, Medical Research archives, Molecular Neurobiology, Brain Structure and Function, PLOS ONE, Journal of Neurochemistry, Developmental Neurobiology, Neuroscience, International Journal of Developmental Neuroscience, OMICS, Molecular Genetics and Metabolism, Neural plasticity, International Journal of Developmental Neuroscience, Neuroscience Letter, Neurochemistry international, World Journal of Surgical Oncology, Bio- and Medical Informatics and Cybernetics (BMIC).
National Science Foundation (NSF), U.S.; H2020- Future and Emerging Technologies (FET) OPEN, EU; FP7-ICT-2011-C (FET), EU; MRC, United Kingdom; French National Research Agency (ANR), France; Novel ideas for radically new technologies, Canada Foundation for Innovation Competition (CFI); Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research (NWO), Netherlands; Seed project, IIT, Italy.
Editorial Board member: Frontiers in Cellular Neuroscience, PeerJ.
Invited Speaker at National and International Meetings:
2016 Invited speaker at the “Epilepsy and Neuronal Synchronization” Gordon Research Conference, Spain.
Invited speaker at the mini-symposium “Neuronal differentiation, specification and outgrowth in the developing cerebral cortex?” Society for Neuroscience (SFN), San Diego, U.S.
Invited speaker at the symposium “Chloride regulation, inhibitory function and neurological disease” Federation of European Neurosciences Societies (FENS) meeting, Copenhagen, Denmark.
2015 Invited speaker at the “Inhibition in the CNS” Gordon Research Conference, United States.
2014 Invited speaker and invited chair of the “Molecular Neuroscience" session at Neuronus meeting, Krakow, Poland.
2013 Invited speaker at the Engineering in Medicine and Biology Society (IEEE-EMBS) annual conference, Osaka, Japan.
2012 Invited speaker and invited chair of the “Neurogenesis” session at Jacques Monod conference “Mechanisms of intellectual disabilities: from genes to treatment”, Roscoff, France.
Invited speaker and chair of the symposium “Activity-dependent modifications of neuronal circuits: plasticity, adaptation and tenacity”, Italian Society of Neuroscience (SINS) meeting, Italy.
Selected for oral presentation at the meeting “Cell biology of the neuron: polarity, plasticity and regeneration”, Crete, Greece.
2011 Selected for oral presentation at the meeting “Wiring the brain: making connections”, Powerscout, Co Wikcklow, Ireland.
2010 Invited speaker at the symposium “Neuronal Development, Neurotransmission and Neurodegeneration”, Italian Society of Biochemistry (SIB) meeting.
Invited speaker, “Plasticise” meeting, Pisa, Italy.
Invited speaker, “NeuroIITScience”, Genoa, Italy.
2009 Invited speaker Minisymposium “Depolarizing GABA in development, maldevelopment and seizures: friend or foe?” Society for Neuroscience (SFN), 2009.
The presentation was included in the “Hot Topic” database Neuroscience, 2009
Invited speaker at the Symposium “Neurodevelopmental alterations leading to epilepsy”, Italian Society for Neuroscience (SINS).
2008 Invited speaker, Scientific Seminary Session, Scuola Normale Superiore, Pisa, Italy.
Selected for oral presentation, Molecular Mechanisms in Neuroscience meeting, Italian Society for Neuroscience (SINS), Milan, Italy.
2016-2021 Telethon Foundation (Italy) Coordinator Targeting aberrant Cl- homeostasis and GABAA transmission to design innovative therapeutic approaches in Down syndrome. (Career grant.)
2014-2015 Lejeune Foundation (France) PI Experimental and clinical evaluation of a clinically-used Cl transporter inhibitor to rescue cognitive functions by reverting excitatory GABA in Down syndrome.
2014-2017 Telethon Foundation PI Unravelling the Rett syndrome: effects of MeCP2 mutations on synaptic function.
2014-2016 Lejeune Foundation (France) Co-PI Targeting neurotrophin signaling to rescue synaptic plasticity and cognitive functions in a mouse model of Down syndrome.
2014-2016 Cariplo Bank PI Phenotype characterization of PCDH19 mutations underlying “Epilepsy with Mental Retardation limited to Females” (EFMR) syndrome using in vitro and in vivo models.
2015 GOAP (Bayer, Germany) Co-PI Gene editing to treat genetic photoreceptor degeneration.
2013-2015 Lejeune Foundation (France) Co-PI Safe modulation of GABAergic transmission by clinically-tested drugs to rescue cognitive functions in Ts65Dn mice.
2013-2015 Interdisciplinary project IIT Coordinator Novel site-directed in utero electroporation by temporal modulation of a multi-electrode array.
2010-2014 Telethon Foundation PI Role of GABAA-receptor mutations in idiopatic generalized epilepsy and development.
2011-2013 Research Ministry Consultant In vivo and in vitro morpho functional analysis of neuronal populations in rodent models of Rett syndrome, the MeCP2 null mice and in animals transfected in utero with different forms of mutated MeCP2.
2009-2013 Compagnia di San Paolo Coordinator Early interference with GABA action by exposure to therapeutic drugs: circuit development, epilepsy and cognition.
The main goal of my laboratory is to understand the molecular determinants of cortical circuit development and wiring in physiology and pathology. In particular, I am interested in how extracellular factors and especially non-hyperpolarzing GABAergic signaling modulate neuronal migration, axon and dendrite formation, and neuronal connectivity. In order to achieve this goal, we use a combination of in vivoand in vitro approaches ranging from electrophysiology and neuroanatomy to biochemistry and molecular biology.
Current laboratory members:
Annalisa Savardi (graduate student)
Bruno Pinto (graduate student)
Micol Alberti (graduate student, under Andrea Contestabile supervision)
Martina Parrini (fellow, under Andrea Contestabile supervision)
Shovan Naskar (fellow)
Salvatore Magara (postdoc)
Roberto Narducci (postdoc)
Marina Nanni (junior technician)
Andrea Contestabile (senior technician)
Former laboratory members:
Guillaume Bony (graduate student), currently at Neurocentre Magendie, Bordeaux; Andreas Frick Laboratory
Ilaria Tamagno (junior post-doc), currently at Lerner Research Institute Cleveland Clinic.
Gabriele Deidda (graduate student), currently at Cardiff University (UK), Crunelli V lab
Laura Perlini (junior post doc), currently at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratories, CSHL (USA), Van Aelst L lab
Alessandro Alabastri Postdoctoral fellow, currently at Rice University (U.S.A)
Francesco Gentile Postdoctoral fellow currently assistant professor at Naples University (Italy)
Ignacio Fernandez (graduate student)
Last Author Research Publications:
Szczurkowska J, Cwetsch AW, Dal Maschio M, Ghezzi D, Ratto GM, Cancedda L (2016). Targeted in vivo genetic manipulation of the mouse or rat brain by in utero electroporation with a triple-electrode probe. Nature Protocols, Mar;11(3):399-412.
Deidda G, Parrini M, Naskar S, Fernandez I, Contestabile A, Cancedda L (2015). Reversing excitatory GABAAR signaling restores synaptic plasticity and memory in a mouse model of Down Syndrome. Nature Medicine, 21(4):318-26.
Deidda G, Allegra M, Cerri C, Naskar S, Bony G, Zunino G, Bozzi Y, Caleo M, Cancedda L (2015). Early depolarizing GABA controls critical-period plasticity in the rat visual cortex. Nature Neuroscience, Jan;18(1):87-96.
Perlini L E, Szczurkowska J, Ballif B A, Sacchetti S, Piccini A, Giovedì S, Benfenati F, Cancedda L (2015). Synapsin III Acts Downstream of Semaphorin 3A/CDK5 Signaling to Regulate Radial Migration and Orientation of Pyramidal Neurons in Vivo. Cell Reports, in press.
Bony G, Szczurkowska J, Tamagno I, Shelly M, Contestabile A, Cancedda L (2013). Non hyperpolarizing GABAB receptor activation regulates neuronal migration and neurite growth and specification by cAMP/LKB1. Nature Communications, 4:1800.
Dal Maschio M, Ghezzi D, Bony G, Alabastri A, Deidda G, Brondi M, Sulis Sato S, Proietti Zaccaria R, Di Fabrizio E, Ratto GM, Cancedda L (2012). High-performance and Site-directed in Utero Electroporation by a Triple-electrode Probe. Nature Communications, 3:960.
First Author Research Publications:
Cancedda* L, Fiumelli* H, Chen K, Poo M-M (2007). Excitatory GABA Action is Essential for Morphological Maturation of Cortical Neurons in Vivo. Journal of Neuroscience, 27: 5224-35.
Fiumelli* H, Cancedda* L, Poo M-M (2005). Modulation of GABAergic Transmission by Activity Via Postsynaptic Ca2+-dependent Regulation of KCC2 Function. Neuron, 48:773-86
Cancedda* L, Putignano* E, Sale* A, Viegi A, Berardi N, Maffei L (2004). Acceleration of Visual System Development by Environmental Enrichment. Journal of Neuroscience, 24: 4840-8.
Cancedda* L, Putignano* E, Impey S, Maffei L, Ratto GM, Pizzorusso T (2003). Patterned Vision Causes CRE-mediated Gene Expression in the Visual Cortex Trough PKA and ERK. J. Neuroscience, 23: 7012-20.
Bartoletti* A., Cancedda* L., Reid S.W., Tessarollo L., Porciatti V., Pizzorusso T., Maffei L. (2002). Heterozygous Knock-out Mice for BDNF Show a Pathway-specific Impairment of LTP, but Normal Critical Period for Monocular Deprivation. Journal of Neuroscience, 22: 10072-7.
* Equal contribution.
Other Research Publications:
Baroncelli L, Cenni MC, Melani R, Deidda G, Landi S, Narducci R, Cancedda L, Maffei L, Berardi N (2016). Early IGF-1 Primes Visual Cortex Maturation And Accelerates Developmental Switch Between NKCC1 and KCC2 Chloride Transporters in Enriched Animals. Neuropharmacology (in press).
Awad PN, Sanon NT, Chattopadhyaya B, Carriço JN, Ouardouz M, Gagné J, Duss S, Wolf D, Desgent S, Cancedda L, Carmant L, Di Cristo G (2016). Reducing premature KCC2 expression rescues seizure susceptibility and spine morphology in atypical febrile seizures. Neurobiology of Disease, Feb 10;91:10-20.
Piccini A, Perlini LE, Cancedda L, Benfenati F, Giovedì S (2015). Phosphorylation by PKA and Cdk5 Mediates the Early Effects of Synapsin III in Neuronal Morphological Maturation. Journal of Neuroscience, 35:13148-59.
Marinaro G, La Rocca R, Toma A, Barberio M, Cancedda L, Di Fabrizio E, Decuzzi P, Gentile F (2014). Networks of neuroblastoma cells on porous silicon substrates reveal a small world topology. Integrative Biology (Camb). Dec 17.
Pischedda F, Szczurkowska J, Cirnaru MD, Gisiert F, Vezzoli E, Ueffing M, Sala C, Francolini M, Hauck SM, Cancedda L, Piccoli G (2013). A cell surface biotinylation assay to reveal membrane associated neuronal cues: Negr1 regulates dendritic arborization. In press, Molecular and Cellular Proteomics, doi:10.1074/mcp.
This article was featured in the cover page of the journal.
Succol F, Fiumelli H, Benfenati F, Cancedda L, Barberis A (2012). Intracellular Chloride Concentration Influences the GABAA Receptor Subunit Composition. Nature Communications, 3:738.
Shelly M, Cancedda L, Lim BK, Cheng P, Gao H, Poo MM (2011). Semaphorin3A Regulates Neuronal Polarization by Suppressing Axon Formation and Promoting Dendrite Growth. Neuron, 71: 433-46.
Shelly M, Lim BK, Cancedda L, Heilshorn SC, Gao H, Poo MM (2010). Local and Long-Range Reciprocal Regulation of cAMP and cGMP in Axon/Dendrite Formation. Science, 327: 547-52.
Harauzov A, Spolidoro M, DiCristo G, De Pasquale R, Cancedda L, Pizzorusso T, Viegi A, Berardi N, Maffei L. (2010). Reducing intracortical inhibition in the adult visual cortex promotes ocular dominance plasticity. Journal of Neuroscience, 30: 361-71.
Shelly M, Cancedda L, Heilshorn S, Sumbre G, Poo MM (2007). LKB1/STRAD Promotes Axon Initiation During Neuronal Polarization. Cell, 129: 565-77.
Putignano E, Lonetti G, Cancedda L, Ratto GM, Costa M, Maffei L, Pizzorusso T (2007). Developmental Downregulation of Histone Posttranslational Modifications Regulates Visual Cortical Plasticity. Neuron, 53: 747-759.
Sale A, Putignano E, Cancedda L, Landi S, Cirulli F, Berardi N, Maffei L (2004). Enriched Environment and Acceleration of Visual System Development. Neuropharmacology, 47: 649-60.
Di Cristo G, Berardi N, Cancedda L, Pizzorusso T, Putignano E, Ratto GM, Maffei L (2001). Requirement of ERK Activation for Visual Cortical Plasticity. Science, 292: 2337-40.
Bonanno G, Sala R, Cancedda L, Cavazzani P, Cossu M, Raiteri M. (2000). Release of Dopamine from Human Neocortex Nerve Terminals Evoked by Different Stimuli Involving Extra-intraterminal Calcium. British Journal of Pharmacolology, 129:1760-6.
Perlini LE, Benfenati F, Cancedda L (2016). Synapsin III in brain development. Oncotarget (in press).
Deidda G, Bozarth IF, Cancedda L (2014). Modulation of GABAergic Transmission in Development and Neurodevelopmental Disorders: Investigating Physiology and Pathology to Gain Therapeutic Perspectives. Frontiers in Cellular Neuroscience, 22;8:119.
Deidda G, Bozarth IF, Cancedda L (2014). Modulation of GABAergic transmission in development and neurodevelopmental disorders: investigating physiology and pathology to gain therapeutic perspectives. Frontiers in Cellular Neuroscience, 22;8:119.
Assad J, Berdondini L, Cancedda L, Diaspro A, Dipalo M, DeAngelis F, Fellin T, Panzeri S, Maccione A, Sileo. Brain Function: Novel Technologies Driving Novel Understanding. Bioinspired Approaches for Human-Centric Technologies Springer International Publishing Switzerland, (2014) book chapter, 299-334.
Ben Ari Y, Woodin MA, Sernagor E, Cancedda L, Vinay L, Rivera C, Legendre P, HJ Luhmann, A Bordey, Wenner P, Fukuda A, van den Pol AN, , Cherubini E, Gaiarsa JL (2012). Refuting the challenges of the developmental shift of polarity of GABA actions: GABA more exciting than ever! Frontiers in Cellular Neuroscience, 6:35.
Di Cristo G, Pizzorusso T, Cancedda L, Sernagor E (2011). GABAergic circuit development and its implication for CNS disorders. Neural Plasticity, 2011:623705
28. Sernagor E, Chabrol F, Bony G, Cancedda L (2010). GABAergic control of neurite outgrowth and remodeling during development and adult neurogenesis: general rules and differences in diverse systems. Frontiers in Cellular Neuroscience, 4:11.
Cancedda L and Poo MM (2008). Synapse Formation and Elimination: Competition and the Role of Activity. New Encyclopedia of Neuroscience, book chapter.
Electroporation device (TO2011A000411; PCT/IB2012/052327, 2012). Inventors: Cancedda L, Ratto GM.
Modulators of Intracellular Chloride Concentration For Treating An Intellectual Disability. Provisional Application: US 61/919,195, 2013. Inventors: Cancedda L, Contestabile A, Ben-Ari Y.
2016 Appointed scholar of the FENS-KAVLI networkof excellence
Young researcher award, memorial Mario Mai
2015 Appointed assistant scientist at the Dulbecco Telethon Institute, Italy
2014 TRADECOM society adopted Telethon Project on Rett syndrome for communication to the lay public.
2013 Mention of honor, poster award, Convention Telethon, Italy.
Finalist at the scientific picture award “Beyond science”, Genova, Italy.
2011 Best poster award, Molecular Mechanisms in Neuroscience meeting, Rome, Italy.
2009 Young investigator award, Italian Society of Physiology (SIF), Italy.
2008 Best speaker award, Italian Society for Neuroscience (SINS), Milan, Italy.
2003 Ph.D. earned with Honors, Scuola Normale Superiore, Pisa, Italy.
2001 Travel award for participation to summer course “Structure, Function and Development of the Visual System”, Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory (CSHL), U.S.A.
1999 Graduation with Honors and Distinction in Major, University of Genoa, Italy.
1997 Scholarship for extracurricular departmental activities, University of Genoa, Italy.
Various members of the laboratory have received awards and honors, including:
2015 Selected for oral presentation EMBO meeting on Cortical Development (Szczurkowska J).
Selected for oral presentation EMBO meeting on Cortical Development (Naskar S).
Travel award to the Neuronus meeting Krakow, Poland (Naskar S).
Selected for oral presentation, Neuronus meeting Krakow, Poland (Cwetsch A).
Full scholarship for attending OIST DevNeuroCourse, Japan (Szczurkowska J).
2014 Best Poster Award, FENS-SFN Summer School, Bertinoro, Italy (Szczurkowska J).
Full travel and lodging bursary, ISDN meeting, Montreal, Canada (Szczurkowska J).
Selected for oral presentation & best presentation Neuronus meeting, Krakow, Poland (Szczurkowska J).
Best oral presentation International Young Scientists Conference, Poland (Kopanska M).
Scholarship, Neurobiology Summer School, SISSA, Trieste, Italy (Naskar S).
Full scholarship for attending OIST DevNeuroCourse, Japan (Cwetsch A).
Winner of the Art of Neuroscience competition, FENS meeting (Deidda G).
Honorable Mention, Photomicrography Competition, Nikon (Dal Maschio M).
Second classified at the Arte o Scienza contest, Trieste (Deidda G).
Mention of honor, picture award, Olympus Bioscapes competition (Szczurkowska J).
2013 Best poster award, Neurizons meeting, Germany (Szczurkowska J).
Selected for oral presentation, best speaker award; ENCODS, Bordeaux, France (Szczurkowska J).
Selected for oral presentation; ENCODS; Bordeaux, France (Deidda G).
Mention of honor poster award, Telethon Convention, Italy (Szczurkowska J).
Winner of European Project Practice in the Erasmus Program fellowship (Kopanska M).
Third classified at the picture award IIT Photo contest (Deidda G).
Finalist of the Photocontest Arte o Scienza; Trieste, Italy; 2013 (Szczurkowska J).
2011 Best poster award at the Molecular Mechanisms in Neuroscience meeting, Rome, Italy (Deidda G).
Winner of European Project FP7 fellowship, Leonardo da Vinci Program (Szczurkowska J).
Selected for oral presentation, Young Researchers in Physiology meeting, Italy (Bony G).