Tommaso Fellin graduated in Physics at the University of Padova in 1998 studying enzyme kinetics with time-resolved spectroscopy. From 1998 to 2003, as a PhD student in the Dept. of Biomedical Sciences at University of Padova, he investigated the biophysical properties of voltage-gated calcium channels and the functional consequences of mutations in calcium channels linked to human neurological disorders. During his first postdoctoral training period (2003-2004), he integrated electrophysiological and imaging techniques to study neuron-glia communication in brain slices. In 2005 he moved to the Dept. of Neuroscience at University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine as a senior post doctoral researcher and continued his research on neuron-glia interaction. In 2008, he joined the department of Neuroscience and Brain Technologies at the Italian Institute of Technology (IIT) as a junior team leader. He is currently senior team leader with tenure at the IIT, head of the Optical Approaches to Brain Function Laboratory, and co-head (together with Dr. S. Panzeri) of the Neural Coding Laboratory. He is also recipient of the European Research Council (ERC) consolidator grant NEURO-PATTERNS and co-funder of the start-up SmartMicroOptics.
The research activity of my laboratory focuses on the study of cortical microcircuits and on the development of innovative methods to probe their function. Using mainly the mouse neocortex as a model system, we are interested in understanding the mechanisms through which information is processed at the level of the individual elements of brain circuits including neurons, interneurons and glial cells. We investigate how the activity of individual cellular elements contribute to network dynamics, in which way population activity is regulated by specific cellular subpopulations and how the dysregulation of these processes may lead to pathological states of the brain as, for example, epilepsy.
To achieve these goals, we use state-of-the-art approaches including cell type-specific optogenetic manipulations, patch-clamp recordings and two-photon microscopy in vivo and in brain slice preparation. Given that what we know about brain networks is limited by current methodologies, we are also developing new and more accurate tools for the investigation of cortical microcircuits. We are using patterned illumination by means of liquid crystals spatial light modulators and digital micromirror technology to illuminate cellular networks with high spatial and temporal resolutions. We aim to combine these novel approaches with genetically-encoded molecules to probe and manipulate neuronal circuits with high spatial specificity.
1) Zucca S., D'Urso G., Pasquale V., Vecchia D., Pica G., Bovetti S., Moretti C., Varani S., Molano-Mazon M., Chiappalone M., Panzeri S., Fellin T. "An inhibitory gate for state transition in cortex" eLife (2017) 6: e26177.
2) Panzeri S., Harvey C.D., Piasini E., Latham P.E., Fellin T. "Cracking the neural code for sensory perception by combining statistics, intervention and behavior" Neuron (2017) 93: 491-507.
3) Bovetti S., Moretti C., Zucca S., Dal Maschio M., Bonifazi P., Fellin T. "Simultaneous high-speed imaging and optogenetic inhibition in the intact mouse brain" Scientific Reports (2017) 7: 40041.
4) Moretti C., Antonini A., Bovetti S., Liberale C., Fellin T. "Scanless functional imaging of hippocampal networks using patterned two-photon illumination through GRIN lenses" Biomedical Optics Express (2016) 7: 3958-3967.
5) De Stasi A.M., Farisello P., Marcon I., Cavallari S., Forli A., Vecchia D., Losi G., Mantegazza M., Panzeri S., Carmignoto G., Bacci A., Fellin T. "Unaltered network activity and interneuronal firing during spontaneous cortical dynamics in vivo in a mouse model of Severe Myoclonic Epilepsy of Infancy" Cerebral Cortex (2016) 26:1778-94.
6) Sessolo M., Marcon I., Bovetti S., Losi G., Cammarota M., Ratto G.M., Fellin T.*, Carmignoto G.* "Parvalbumin-positive inhibitory interneurons oppose propagation but favor generation of focal epileptiform activity" Journal of Neuroscience (2015) 35:9544-9557.
7) Bovetti S., Fellin T. ”Optical dissection of brain circuits with patterned illumination through the phase modulation of light” Journal of Neuroscience Methods (2015) 241: 66-77.
8) Antonini A., Liberale C., Fellin T. ”Fluorescent layers for characterization of sectioning microscopy with coverslip-uncorrected and water immersion objectives” Optics Express (2014) 22: 14293–14304.
9) Bovetti S., Moretti C., Fellin T. “Mapping brain circuit function in vivo using two-photon fluorescence microscopy” Microscopy Research and Techniques (2014) 77: 492-501.
10) Beltramo R., D’Urso G., Dal Maschio M., Farisello P., Bovetti S., Clovis Y., Lassi G., Tucci V., De Pietri Tonelli D., Fellin T. ”Layer-specific excitatory circuits differentially control recurrent network dynamics in the neocortex” Nature Neuroscience (2013) 16(2):227-34.
11) FellinT., Ellenbogen J.M., De Pittà M., Ben-Jacob E., Halassa M.M. “Astrocyte regulation of sleep circuits: experimental and modeling perspectives” Front. Compt. Neurosci. (2012) 6: 65. doi: 10.3389/fncom.2012.00065.
12) Dal Maschio M., Difato F., De Stasi A.M., Beltramo R., Blau A., Fellin T. ”Optical investigation of brain networks using structured illumination” in Cellular Imaging Techniques for Neuroscience and Beyond (2012), Elsevier.
13) Dal Maschio M., Beltramo R., A. De Stasi., Fellin T. ”Two-photon calcium imaging in the intact brain” Adv. Exp. Med. Biol. (2012) 740:83-102.
14) Difato F., Dal Maschio M., Beltramo R., Blau A., Benfenati F., Fellin T. ”Spatial light modulators for complex spatio-temporal illumination of neuronal networks” in Neuronal Network Analysis: concepts and experimental approaches (2012), Neuromethods book series, Springer.
15) Dal Maschio M., De Stasi A.M., Benfenati F., Fellin T. ”Three dimensional in vivo scanning microscopy with inertia-free focus control” Optics Letters (2011) 36:3503-05.
16) Difato F., Dal Maschio M., Marconi E., Ronzitti G., Maccione A., Fellin T., Berdondini L., Chieregatti E., Benfenati F., Blau A. "Combined optical tweezers and laser dissector for controlled ablation of functional connections in neural networks" J. Biom. Optics (2011) 16: 051306.
17) Deng Q, Terunuma M, Fellin T, Moss SJ, Haydon PG ”Astrocytic activation of A1 receptors regulates the surface expression of NMDA receptors through a Src kinase dependent pathway” Glia (2011) 59:1084-93.
18) Dal Maschio M., Difato F., Beltramo R., Blau A., Benfenati F., Fellin T. ”Simultaneous two-photon imaging and photo-stimulation with structured light illumination” Optics Express (2010) 18:18720-18731.
19) Halassa M.M., Dal Maschio M., Beltramo R., Haydon P.G., Benfenati F., Fellin T. ”Integrated Brain Circuits: neuron-astrocyte interaction in sleep-related rhythmogenesis” ScientificWorldJournal (2010) 10:1634-1645.
20) Fellin T., Halassa M., Terunuma M., Succol F., Takano H., Frank M.G., Moss S.J., Haydon P.G. “Endogenous non neuronal modulators of synaptic transmission control cortical slow oscillations in vivo” PNAS (2009) 106:15037-42.
21) Halassa M., Fellin T., Haydon P.G. “Tripartite synapse: roles of astrocytic purines in the control of synaptic physiology and behavior” Neuropharmacology (2009), 57:343-6.
22) D’Ascenzo M., Podda M.V., Fellin T., Azzena G.B., Haydon P.G., Grassi C. “Activation of mGluR5 induces spike afterdepolarization and enhanced excitability in medium spiny neurons of the nucleus accumbens by modulating persistent Na+ currents” Journal of Physiology (2009), 587:3233-3250.
23) Dityatev A., Fellin T. “Extracellular matrix in plasticity and epileptogenesis” Neuron Glia Biology (2009), June 5:1-13.
24) Fellin T. “Communication between neurons and astrocytes: relevance to the modulation of synaptic and network activity” Journal of Neurochemistry (2009) 108:533-544.
- Fellin T., Halassa M.M. (2012) “Neuronal network analysis: concepts and experimental approaches”, Neuromethods Book Series, Springer.
25) Halassa M., Florian C., Fellin T., Munoz J.R., Lee S.Y., Abel T., Haydon P.G., Frank M. “Astrocytic adenosine controls sleep homeostasis and cognitive consequences of sleep loss” Neuron (2009) 61:213-219.
26) FellinT., D’AscenzoM., HaydonP.G. “Astrocytes control neuronal excitability in the nucleus accumbens” ScientificWorldJournal (2007) 7:89-97.
27) Ding S.*, Fellin T.*, Zhu Y.*, Lee S.Y., Auberson Y.P., Meany D., Coulter D.A., Carmignoto G., Haydon P.G. ” Enhanced astrocytic Ca2+ signals contribute to neuronal excitotoxicity after status epilepticus” Journal of Neuroscience (2007) 27(40):10674-84.
28) Halassa M.*, Fellin T.*, Takano H., Dong J.H., Haydon P.G. “Synaptic islands defined by the territory of a single astrocyte” Journal of Neuroscience (2007) 27(24):6473-6477.
29) Halassa M., Fellin T., Haydon P.G. “The Tripartite Synapse: Roles for Gliotransmission in Health and Disease” Trends in Molecular Medicine (2007) 13(2):54-63.
30) D’Ascenzo M.*, Fellin T.*, Terunuma M., Revilla-Sanchez R., Meany D., Auberson Y.P., Moss S.J., Haydon P.G. “mGluR5 stimulates gliotransmission in the nucleus accumbens” Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. (2007) 104(6):1995-2000.
31) Fellin T., Gomez-Gonzalo M., Gobbo S., Carmignoto G., Haydon P.G. “Astrocytic glutamate is not necessary for the generation of epileptiform neuronal activity in hippocampal slices” Journal of Neuroscience (2006) 26:9312-9322.
32) Fellin T., Sul JY, D’Ascenzo M, Takano H, Pascual O, Haydon PG. “Bidirectional astrocyte-to-neuron communication: the many roles of glutamate and ATP.” Novartis Found Symp (2006) 276:208-217.
33) Fellin T., Pascual O, Haydon PG. “Astrocytes coordinate synaptic networks: balanced excitation and inhibition” Physiology (2006) 21:208-215.
34) Carmignoto G., Fellin T. “Glutamate release from astrocytes as a non-synaptic mechanism for neuronal synchronization in the hippocampus.” J. Physiol. Paris (2006) 99(2-3):98-102.
35) Fellin T., Pozzan T., Carmignoto G. “Purinergic receptors mediate two distinct glutamate release pathways in hippocampal astrocytes.” J Biol Chem. (2006) 281(7):4274-84.
36) Fellin T., Haydon PG. “Do astrocytes provide excitation underlying seizures?” Trends in Molecular Medicine (2005) 11(12):530-3.
37) A. Tottene, F. Pivotto, T.Fellin, T. Cesetti, A.M. van den Maagdenberg, D. Pietrobon. “Specific Kinetic Alterations of Human CaV2.1 Calcium Channels Produced by Mutation S218L Causing Familial Hemiplegic Migraine and Delayed Cerebral Edema and Coma after Minor Head Trauma.” J. Biol. Chem. (2005) 280(18):17678-86.
38) Fellin T., Luvisetto S., Spagnolo M., Pietrobon D. “Modal Gating of Human CaV2.1 (P/Q-type) Calcium Channels: II. The b Mode and Reversible Uncoupling of Inactivation”.J. Gen. Physiol. (2004), 124: 463-474.
39) Luvisetto S., Fellin T., Spagnolo M., Hivert B., Brust P.F., Harpold M.M, Stauderman K.A., Williams M.E., Pietrobon D. “Modal Gating of Human CaV2.1 (P/Q-type) Calcium Channels: I. The Slow and the Fast Gating Modes and their Modulation by Beta Subunits“. J. Gen. Physiol. (2004), 124: 445-461.
40) Fellin T., Pascual O., Gobbo S., Pozzan T., Haydon P.G., Carmignoto G. “Neuronal synchrony mediated by astrocytic glutamate through activation of extrasynaptic NMDA receptors”. Neuron (2004), 43: 729-743.
41) Fellin T, Carmignoto G. “Neuron-to-astrocyte signaling in the brain represents a distinct multifunctional unit”. J Physiol. (2004), 559: 3-15.
42) Zonta M, Sebelin A, Gobbo S, Fellin T, Pozzan T, Carmignoto G. “Glutamate-mediated cytosolic calcium oscillations regulate a pulsatile prostaglandin release from cultured rat astrocytes”. J Physiol. (2003), 553.2: 407-414.
43) A. Tottene*, T.Fellin*, S. Pagnutti, S. Luvisetto, J. Striessnig, C. Fletcher, D. Pietrobon; “Familial Hemiplegic Migraine Mutations increase Ca2+ influx through single human CaV2.1 channels and decrease maximal current density in neurons”. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. (2002), 99(20):13284-13289.
44) S. Guida, F. Trettel, S. Pagnutti, E. Mantuano, A. Tottene, L. Veneziano, T. Fellin, M. Spadaro, K.A. Stauderman, M.E. Williams, S. Volsen, R. Ophoff, R.R. Frants, C. Jodice, M. Frontali, D. Pietrobon; ”Complete Loss of P/Q Calcium Channel Activity Caused by a CACNA1A Missense Mutation Carried by Episodic Ataxia Type 2 Patients”. American Journal of Human Genetics (2001), 68: 759-764.