I am a Postdoctoral Fellow within the Functional Neuroimaging Laboratory coordinated by Alessandro Gozzi at Istituto Italiano di Tecnologia (IIT). My main research interest is the investigation of neuro-functional alterations of brain circuits in autism spectrum disorder. Multiple genes have been associated to increased autism risk and the main goal of my current research is to assess the contribution of single genes and copy number variants in the generation of large-scale connectivity disruptions observed in the autistic brain.
To address this problem, as part of a SFARI-funded project, I have applied advanced functional and structural MRI methods to map the effect of specific mutations on the mouse brain architecture. This approach has allowed me to identify disrupted long-range prefrontal connectivity in Shank3B and 16p11.2 mouse mutants, and increased auditory-hippocampal synchronization in Chd8 deletion mice.
This recent research represents an extension of a line of investigation I started during my PhD training, during which I successfully back-translated an extensive set of morpho-anatomical MRI methods widely used in humans (including voxel and tensor based morphometry, cortical thickness and shape measurements) to mouse brain imaging. Through the application of these techniques, my research provided the first demonstration of the use of structural connectivity MRI in small rodents, leading to the identification of specific gray matter networks recapitulating the functional organization of the human brain.
2016-ongoing: Postdoctoral research fellow at the Functional Neuroimaging Laboratory of the Istituto Italiano di Tecnologia, Rovereto (TN) within a project aimed at mapping putative large scale brain network dysfunctions associated to autism-causing genetic mutations.
2013-2016: Doctoral researcher at the Functional Neuroimaging Laboratory of the Istituto Italiano di Tecnologia, Rovereto (TN). My research project focussed on the development and application of image processing tools to structural MRI data to map large scale gray-matter volumes and covariance networks in the mouse brain.
2010-2013: Junior researcher at the Coma Research Centre coordinated by the Neurology, Public Health and Disability Unit of the Neurological Institute Carlo Besta IRCCS Foundation, Milan (MI). My research focused on studying the disability of patients in vegetative and minimally conscious state and the quality of life of their caregivers.
2010: Research assistant at the Biosignal Analysis Centre of Experimental Neurology, Vita-Salute San Raffaele Hospital, Milan (MI). My research focused on bridging neuropsychological assessment and diffusion weighted imaging data in patients with multiple sclerosis.
2015-2016: Collaborator of the start-up R.A.W Ltd in a project aimed to provide neurosurgeons with 3d reconstruction of segmented MRI brain images for tumour surgery.
2013-2017: Collaborator as exam committee member in Cognitive Neuroscience and Neuropsychology at eCampus University in Novedrate (CO).
2013-2016: PhD in Cognitive and Brain Sciences, Center for Mind and Brain Sciences, University of Trento (TN) with a scholarship awarded by Istituto Italiano di Tecnologia.
2012-2013: MSc in Cognitive Neuroscience at Vita-Salute San Raffaele University in Milan (MI), awarded with full marks.
2008-2009: MSc in Cognitive and Clinical Neuroscience at Goldsmiths College - University of London (UK), achieved with distinction.
2004-2007: Bachelor’s degree in Psychology at Vita-Salute San Raffaele University in Milan (MI), awarded with full marks.
2016-ongoing: Collaborator within the project "Neurobiological basis of connectivity alterations in autism" supported by SFARI Foundation.
2013-2016: Phd scholarship “Investigating the mouse brain connectome with MRI” awarded by Istituto Italiano di Tecnologia.
2010-2013: Collaborator within the project "Start-up Coma Research Center" supported by Regione Lombardia.
Pagani M, Bertero A, Liska A, Galbusera A, Sabbioni M, Barsotti N, Colenbier N, Marinazzo D, Scattoni ML, Pasqualetti M, Gozzi A (2019). Deletion of autism risk gene Shank3 disrupts prefrontal connectivity, Journal of Neuroscience. 39:5299-5310
Bertero A*, Liska A*, Pagani M*, Parolisi R, Masferrer ME, Gritti M, Pedrazzoli M, Galbusera A, Sarica A, Cerasa A, Buffelli M, Tonini R, Buffo A, Gross C, Pasqualetti M, Gozzi A (2018). Autism-associated 16p11.2 microdeletion impairs prefrontal functional connectivity in mouse and human. Brain, 141:2055-2065..
Pagani M, Bifone A, Gozzi A (2016). Networks of anatomical covariance in the mouse brain. NeuroImage, 129:55-63.
Pagani M, Damiano M, Galbusera A, Tsaftaris SA, Gozzi A (2016). Semi-automated registration-based volumetric labelling, voxel based morphometry and cortical thickness mapping of the mouse brain. J Neurosci Meth, 267:62-73.
2016: Magna cum laude for the poster “Pagani M, Bifone A, Gozzi A. Gray matter networks of the mouse brain.” at ISMRM in Singapore.
2016: Magna cum laude for the poster “Pagani M, Damiano M, Galbusera A, Tsaftaris SA, Gozzi A. An automated pipeline for mouse brain morphometric MRI.” at ISMRM in Singapore.