Andrea Barberis graduated in Biology at the University of Genoa in 1996, studying the permeation of heavy metal ions in L-type calcium channels in cerebellar granule cells. From 1998 to 2002 he accomplished his PhD studies at the Department of Biophisics–SISSA International School for Advanced Studies- under the supervision of Enrico Cherubini studying the gating of recombinant and synaptic GABAA receptors. From 2002 to 2003 he collaborated with Enrico Cherubini (SISSA) and Jerzy Mozrzymas (University of Medicine, Poland) studying the variability of the synaptic quantal size in relation to the kinetics of the agonist release in the synaptic cleft in hippocampal cultured neurons. During his post-doc in the Stefano Vicini’s lab at Gergetown University (Washington DC, USA, 2003-2005) he studied the gating properties of different GABAA subtypes by analyzing their single channel behavior in equilibrium and non-equilibrium conditions and he investigated the developmental changes of the GABA transient in the synaptic cleft in cerebellar granule cells. He also partecipated to several projects including the study of the role of pre-synaptic glutamate receptors at GABAergic synapses in cerebellar granule cells and the tonic inhibition in GABA-alpha1 subunit deficient mice. From 2005 to 2007 he had a CNRS post-doc in the Christophe Mulle’s lab (Bordeaux, France) studying the gating properties of kainate receptors.
Currently, he has a team leader position at Italian Institute of Technology (IIT). Barberis' lab focuses on the study of the GABAergic synapse at high spatial and temporal resolution. His research projects aim to understand how GABAergic inhibitory synaptic plasticity impacts in shaping the neuronal circuit functining. In Barberis’ group, standard electrophysiology is implemented by the use of diffraction limited UV laser uncaging and advanced imaging and optogenetic techniques.
Andrea Barberis has solid background in neurophysiology and has keen interest in studying the synaptic basis of network activity. He contributed demonstrating that GABAergic synapses show several post-synaptic forms of short- long-term plasticity.
1) Postsynaptic mechanisms of inhibitory GABAergic synaptic plasticity
2) Short-range interplay between plasticity of glutamatergic and GABAergic dendritic synapses
3) Role of synaptic GABAergic inhibition in epilepsy