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Alessandro Gozzi Write a Message

Senior Researcher TT (TT2)
Group Leader

Research Line

Functional Neuroimaging


CNCS@UniTn Trento



After receiving a master degree in Biotechnology at the University of Verona (Italy) in 1998, I  joined the neuroscience centre of GlaxoSmithKline (GSK), a large research-based pharmaceutical company based in Verona (Italy) and Harlow (UK), where I pioneered the use of functional magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to describe the neural substrates modulated by pharmacological agents, a line of research that I  also pursued to obtain a PhD degree in biomedical imaging with the University of Verona.

During my years at GSK I took on roles of increasing responsibility, and developed a strong background in MRI, image processing and analysis, as well as in the application of translational approaches to study neuropsychiatric brain disorders.

In 2010 I joined the Istituto Italiano di Tecnologia, where I lead the Functional Neuroimaging Laboratory. The lab is equipped with a 4-channel 7 Tesla MRI scanner for in vivo imaging. 

During my research activity, I have described the circuital substrates modulated by centrally-active 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, I have demonstrated the feasibility of using fMRI in combination with pharmaco-genetic silencing to dissect the circuital basis of complex behaviors, and demonstrated for the first time that the mouse brain contains distributed resting-state functional connectivity networks, including plausible homologues of the human default-mode (DMN) and salience networks.

My current research is primarily focused on the application of advanced MRI methods to investigate the large-scale neurofunctional architecture of the mouse brain, and describe its modulation by neurodevelopmental and pathological effectors. A major goal of my research is to probe the activity of functional network systems as a novel cross-species translational language that can be related to specific behaviours, cognitive processes and neuropathological traits. 


My research focuses on the development and application of advanced MRI methods to describe large scale circuits in the mouse brain.

 Active research projects include

- description of the connectional architecture of the mouse brain using MRI

- large-scale mapping of optogenetic and pharmacogenetic mediated neuronal activity

- circuital description of neuro-pharmacological effects using pharmacological fMRI 

- application of advanced morphoanatomical and functional MRI methods to investigate deranged neurofunctional states (e.g. autism and schizophrenia)

Graduate student training opportunities include studies at multiple levels across the areas of research described above, with a particular focus on image analysis and processing, and the development and validation of concurrent MRI/ optical / metabolic and electro-physiological measurements.

Google Scholar Bibliometrics

Selected Publications

1.    Sforazzini F, Berterto A, Dodero L, David G, Galbusera A,  Scattoni ML, Pasqualetti M, Gozzi A*
Altered functional connectivity networks in acallosal and socially-impaired BTBR mice
(2014) Brain Structure & Function, In press

2.    M Squillace, L Dodero, M Federici, S Migliarini, F Errico, F Napolitano, P Krashia, A Di Maio, A Galbusera, A Bifone, ML Scattoni, M Pasqualetti, NB Mercuri, A Usiello, A Gozzi*
Dysfunctional dopaminerig neurotransmission in asocial BTBR mice
(2014) Translational Psychiatry, 4(8) e427

3.   Yang BZ, Paolicelli R, Sforazzini F, Weinhard L, Bolasco G, Pagani F, Vissosktsy A, Bifone A, Gozzi A, Ragozzino D, Gross C
Deficient neuron-microglia signaling results in impaired functional brain connectivity and social behavior.
(2014) Nature Neuroscience, 17, 400-406

3.    Sannino T, Gozzi A, Cerasa A, Schegga D, Manago F, Damiano M, Galbusera A, Dodero L, Tonelli D, Bifone A, Tsaftaris AS, Weinberger DR, Spalletta G, Papaleo F
Sexual dimorphisms in COMT modulation of cortical anatomy and behavior in mice and humans.
(2014) Cerebral Cortex, In press

4.    Tucci V., Kleefstra T, Hardy A, Heise I, Maggi S, McGuffin L, Vizor L, Dodero L, Tsaftaris S, Romero R, Nillesen n, Peart-Vissers L, Kempers M, Silfhout A, Iqbal Z, Orlando M, Maccione A, Lassi g, Farisello P, Constestabile A, Tinarelli F, Nieus T, Raimondi A, Greco B, Cantatore B, Gasparini L, Berdondini L, Bifone A, Gozzi A, Wells S, Nolan P
Dominant β-catenin mutations cause intellectual disability with recognizable syndromic feature
(2014) Journal of Clinical investigation

5.    Sforazzini, F., Schwarz, A.J., Galbusera,A., Bifone,A., Gozzi, A*
Distributed BOLD and CBV-weighted resting-state networks in the mouse brain
(2013) Neuroimage, 87, 403-415

6.    Dodero, L., Damiano, M., Galbusera, A. Bifone, A., Tsaftsaris, S.A., Scattoni, M.L., Gozzi, A*
Neuroimaging Evidence of Major Morpho-Anatomical and Functional Abnormalities in the BTBR T+TF/J Mouse Model of Autism.
(2013) PLoS ONE, 8 (10), art. no. e76655

7.    Gozzi, A*., Lepore S, Vicentini E, Merlo-Pich E, Bifone A
Differential effect of Orexin-1 and CRF-1 antagonism on stress circuits: a fMRI study in the rat with the pharmacological stressor yohimbine
(2013) Neuropsychopharmacology, 38 (11), pp. 2120-2130

8.    Gozzi, A*., Agosta, F., Massi, M., Cioccocioppo, R., Bifone, A.
Reduced limbic metabolism and fronto-cortical volume in rats vulnerable to alcohol addiction
(2012) Neuroimage, 69, pp. 112-119

9.    Wellman, P.J., Clifford, P.S., Rodriguez, J.A., Hughes, S., Di Francesco, C., Melotto, S., Tessari, M., Corsi, M., Bifone, A., Gozzi, A.
Brain reinforcement system function is ghrelin dependent: Studies in the rat using pharmacological fMRI and intracranial self-stimulatioAddiction Biology, 17 (5), pp. 908-919

10.  Ferrari, L.,Turrini, G., Crestan, V., Bertani, S., Cristofori, P., Bifone, A., Gozzi, A*.
A robust experimental protocol for pharmacological fMRI in rats and mice
(2012) Journal of Neuroscience Methods, 204 (1), pp. 9-18.

11.  Gozzi, A*., Colavito, V., Seke Etet, P.F., Montanari, D., Fiorini, S., Tambalo, S., Bifone, A., Zucconi, G.G., Bentivoglio, M.
Modulation of fronto-cortical activity by modafinil: A functional imaging and Fos study in the rat
(2012) Neuropsychopharmacology, 37 (3), pp. 822-837.

12.  Gozzi, A.*, Tessari, M., Dacome, L., Agosta, F., Lepore, S., Lanzoni, A., Cristofori, P., Pich, E.M., Corsi, M., Bifone, A.
Neuroimaging evidence of altered fronto-cortical and striatal function after prolonged cocaine self-administration in the rat
(2011) Neuropsychopharmacology, 36 (12), pp. 2431-2440.

13.  Gozzi, A.*, Turrini, G., Piccoli, L., Massagrande, M., Amantini, D., Antolini, M., Martinelli, P., Cesari, N., Montanari, D., Tessari, M., Corsi, M., Bifone, A.
Functional magnetic resonance imaging reveals different neural substrates for the effects of orexin-1 and orexin-2 receptor antagonists
(2011) PLoS ONE, 6 (1), art. no. e16406,

14.  Bifone, A., Gozzi, A., Schwarz, A.J.
Functional connectivity in the rat brain: A complex network approach
(2010) Magnetic Resonance Imaging, 28 (8), pp. 1200-1209.

15.  Gozzi, A., Jain, A., Giovanelli, A., Bertollini, C., Crestan, V., Schwarz, A.J., Tsetsenis, T., Ragozzino, D., Gross, C.T., Bifone, A.
A neural switch for active and passive fear
(2010) Neuron, 67 (4), pp. 656-666.

16.  Schwarz, A.J., Gozzi, A., Bifone, A.
Community structure in networks of functional connectivity: Resolving functional organization in the rat brain with pharmacological MRI
(2009) NeuroImage, 47 (1), pp. 302-311.

17.  Gozzi, A.*, Herdon, H., Schwarz, A., Bertani, S., Crestan, V., Turrini, G., Bifone, A.
Pharmacological stimulation of NMDA receptors via co-agonist site suppresses fMRI response to phencyclidine in the rat
(2008) Psychopharmacology, 201 (2), pp. 273-284.

18.  Schwarz, A.J., Gozzi, A., Bifone, A.
Community structure and modularity in networks of correlated brain activity
(2008) Magnetic Resonance Imaging, 26 (7), pp. 914-920.

19.  Gozzi, A.*, Large, C.H., Schwarz, A., Bertani, S., Crestan, V., Bifone, A.
Differential effects of antipsychotic and glutamatergic agents on the phMRI response to phencyclidine
(2008) Neuropsychopharmacology, 33 (7), pp. 1690-1703.

20.  Gozzi, A.*, Ceolin, L., Schwarz, A., Reese, T., Bertani, S., Crestan, V., Bifone, A.
A multimodality investigation of cerebral hemodynamics and autoregulation in pharmacological MRI
(2007) Magnetic Resonance Imaging, 25 (6), pp. 826-833.

21.  Gozzi, A. * Schwarz, A., Reese, T., Bertani, S., Crestan, V., Bifone, A.
Region-specific effects of nicotine on brain activity: A pharmacological MRI study in the drug-näve rat
(2006) Neuropsychopharmacology, 31 (8), pp. 1690-1703


NARSAD Indpendent Investigator Grant 2017

Simmons Foundation for Autism Research (SFARI) explorer award (2016)

Simmons Foundation for Autism Research (SFARI) explorer award (2014)

GlaxoSmithKline Exceptional Science Award (2006)

GlaxoSmithKline Scinovation Award (2007 and 2009)


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I numeri di IIT

L’Istituto Italiano di Tecnologia (IIT) è una fondazione di diritto privato - cfr. determinazione Corte dei Conti 23/2015 “IIT è una fondazione da inquadrare fra gli organismi di diritto pubblico con la scelta di un modello di organizzazione di diritto privato per rispondere all’esigenza di assicurare procedure più snelle nella selezione non solo nell’ambito nazionale dei collaboratori, scienziati e ricercatori ”.

IIT è sotto la vigilanza del Ministero dell'Istruzione, dell'Università e della Ricerca e del Ministero dell'Economia e delle Finanze ed è stato istituito con la Legge 326/2003. La Fondazione ha l'obiettivo di promuovere l'eccellenza nella ricerca di base e in quella applicata e di favorire lo sviluppo del sistema economico nazionale. La costruzione dei laboratori iniziata nel 2006 si è conclusa nel 2009.

Lo staff complessivo di IIT conta circa 1440 persone. L’area scientifica è rappresentata da circa l’85% del personale. Il 45% dei ricercatori proviene dall’estero: di questi, il 29% è costituito da stranieri provenienti da oltre 50 Paesi e il 16% da italiani rientrati. Oggi il personale scientifico è composto da circa 60 principal investigators, circa 110 ricercatori e tecnologi di staff, circa 350 post doc, circa 500 studenti di dottorato e borsisti, circa 130 tecnici. Oltre 330 posti su 1400 creati su fondi esterni. Età media 34 anni. 41% donne / 59 % uomini.

Nel 2015 IIT ha ricevuto finanziamenti pubblici per circa 96 milioni di euro (80% del budget), conseguendo fondi esterni per 22 milioni di euro (20% budget) provenienti da 18 progetti europei17 finanziamenti da istituzioni nazionali e internazionali, circa 60 progetti industriali

La produzione di IIT ad oggi vanta circa 6990 pubblicazioni, oltre 130 finanziamenti Europei e 11 ERC, più di 350 domande di brevetto attive, oltre 12 start up costituite e altrettante in fase di lancio. Dal 2009 l’attività scientifica è stata ulteriormente rafforzata con la creazione di dieci centri di ricerca nel territorio nazionale (a Torino, Milano, Trento, Parma, Roma, Pisa, Napoli, Lecce, Ferrara) e internazionale (MIT ed Harvard negli USA) che, unitamente al Laboratorio Centrale di Genova, sviluppano i programmi di ricerca del piano scientifico 2015-2017.

IIT: the numbers

Istituto Italiano di Tecnologia (IIT) is a public research institute that adopts the organizational model of a private law foundation. IIT is overseen by Ministero dell'Istruzione, dell'Università e della Ricerca and Ministero dell'Economia e delle Finanze (the Italian Ministries of Education, Economy and Finance).  The Institute was set up according to Italian law 326/2003 with the objective of promoting excellence in basic and applied research andfostering Italy’s economic development. Construction of the Laboratories started in 2006 and finished in 2009.

IIT has an overall staff of about 1,440 people. The scientific staff covers about 85% of the total. Out of 45% of researchers coming from abroad 29% are foreigners coming from more than 50 countries and 16% are returned Italians. The scientific staff currently consists of approximately 60 Principal Investigators110 researchers and technologists350 post-docs and 500 PhD students and grant holders and 130 technicians. External funding has allowed the creation of more than 330 positions . The average age is 34 and the gender balance proportion  is 41% female against 59% male.

In 2015 IIT received 96 million euros in public funding (accounting for 80% of its budget) and obtained 22 million euros in external funding (accounting for 20% of its budget). External funding comes from 18 European Projects, other 17 national and international competitive projects and approximately 60 industrial projects.

So far IIT accounts for: about 6990 publications, more than 130 European grants and 11 ERC grants, more than 350 patents or patent applications12 up start-ups and as many  which are about to be launched. The Institute’s scientific activity has been further strengthened since 2009 with the establishment of 11 research nodes throughout Italy (Torino, Milano, Trento, Parma, Roma, Pisa, Napoli, Lecce, Ferrara) and abroad (MIT and Harvard University, USA), which, along with the Genoa-based Central Lab, implement the research programs included in the 2015-2017 Strategic Plan.