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The focus of the NBT research is the elucidation of the molecular mechanisms of neurotransmission and synaptic plasticity by taking advantage of a multiscale approach.


Neuronal gene expression is studied in the context of individual synapses, synaptic circuits and behavior. Optogenetic tools and neuronal interfaces are applied in vitro and in vivo to cellular and animal models of brain function and neurodegenerative diseases. Main interests are: neurogenomics, cellular neurophysiology, behavioral neuroscience and the development of new technologies for brain research.

Our research is branched in three main divisions:

The lab is focused on the development of innovative neural interfaces for neurorehablitation. The main activities are related to: 1) dynamics of neuronal assemblies; 2) neurostimulation to promote plasticity after injury; 3) bi-directional bio-artificial communication; 4) signal processing tools.


  • Emergence of bursting activity in connected neuronal sub-populations. Bisio M, Bosca A, Pasquale V, Berdondini L, and Chiappalone M. PLoS ONE. 2014; 9 (9): e107400.
  • A transparent organic transistor structure for bidirectional stimulation and recording of primary neuronsBenfenati V, Toffanin S, Bonetti S, Turatti G, Pistone A, Chiappalone M, Sagnella A, Stefani A, Generali G, Ruani G, Saguatti D, Zamboni R, and Muccini M. Nature Material.  2013; 12; 672-680.
  • Modular neuronal assemblies embodied in a closed-loop environment: towards future integration of brains and machines. Tessadori J, Bisio M, Martinoia S, and Chiappalone MFrontiers in Neural Circuits 2012; 6; 99.

Neuroscience research has recently taken advantage of optical approaches to record, modulate and manipulate the physiological activity of neurons. Our work focus on the development of optical systems for the precise and controlled spatio-temporal manipulation of biological samples, and on the integration of optical setups with electrophysiological recording devices to study the central nervous system at various levels of complexity.


Research activities focus on the development and validation of enabling technologies for the sampling, elicitation, and manipulation of neural activity in in vitro and in vivo model systems. They target at the revelation, interpretation and hardware-embedded simulation of neural coding schemes.



2000 sqm of laboratories including shared facilities: imaging, two inverted confocal microscopes, an upright microscope, one inverted microscope coupled with swept field confocal for fast 3D imaging in live cells and two wide-field upright microscopes. FACS and Cell sorting, for analysis of immunophenotypes, cellular viability, cell cycle stage, cellular proliferation, fluorescent protein titration and cell sorting applications. Genetic analyzer, for DNA sequencing. Cell Culture, hosting four different cell culture rooms for primary neuronal cells, stable cell lines, iPS cells, viral preparation and infection of neurons.  Small electronic and hardware, to design, develop and modify electronic devices for neuroscience research.