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Fabio Benfenati

Senior Researcher - Principal Investigator - Center Coordinator
Senior Researcher - Principal Investigator - Center Coordinator
Neuroscience and Smart Materials
Research center
Date and place of Birth: November 5, 1954 – Bologna, Italy EDUCATION 1979: Medical Degree (summa cum laude and best thesis prize), Alma Mater University of Bologna, School of Medicine (Italy). 1983: Specialist in Neurology (summa cum laude), Neurological Clinic, University of Bologna School of Medicine (Italy). CURRENT POSITION 2015-present: Research Director, Center of Synaptic Neuroscience and Technology, The Italian Institute of Technology, Genova (Italy). 2000-present: Full Professor of Neurophysiology, University of Genova, School of Medicine (Italy). PREVIOUS EXPERIENCE 1983-1984: Post-doctoral fellow at the Dept of Histology and Neurobiology at the Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm (Sweden) in Fuxe’s and Hokfelt’s laboratories. 1986-1989: Fogarty Fellow & Research Associate, Laboratory of Molecular and Cellular Neuroscience, The Rockefeller University, New York (USA) directed by Prof Paul Greengard (Nobel Laureate in 2000). 1990-present: Member of the Adjunct Faculty, The Rockefeller University, New York (USA). 1992-1999: Associate Professor of Physiology, University of Roma, School of Medicine (Italy). 2006-2015: Founder and Research Director, Department of Neuroscience and Brain Technologies, The Italian Institute of Technology, Genova (Italy). HONOURS 2003-2005: President, Italian Society for Neuroscience. 2009-2011: President, The Italian Physiological Society. 2005-present: Member, Scientific Committee of the International Genoa Science Festival. 2012-present: President, Advisory Board of the Clinical Research Institute (IRCCS) of Neurological Sciences, Bologna (Italy). 2020-present: Member, Academia Europaea. AWARDS. 1986-1987: Fogarty International Center Fellowship from the US Public Health Service. 1988: “Italian Society for Neuroscience” Prize for young neuroscientists. 1997: Fullbright Advanced Research and University Lecturing Award. 2012: Foreign Scientist Award, The Michael Stern Foundation for Parkinson's Disease, New York, USA. 2012: Smart Cup and National Innovation Prize (PNI) for Life Sciences RESEARCH FIELDS The main subjects of investigation of Dr. Benfenati in the last 30 years have been the molecular mechanisms of information transfer among neurons and the application of new technologies to modulate neural activity in health and disease: (i) Elucidation of the mechanisms of neurotransmitter release, synaptic vesicle trafficking and synaptic plasticity and identification of the proteins involved. A long array of papers has, for the first time, put forward the functional role of synaptic vesicle proteins in the regulation of the multi-step process of neurotransmitter release and synaptic plasticity; (ii) Composition of the molecular machine that promotes membrane fusion during exocytosis and identification of the intracellular targets of tetanus/botulinum neurotoxins; (iii) Pathogenic mechanisms of synaptopathies in genetically altered mice lacking synaptic vesicle proteins as models of human neurological disorders such as epilepsy, autism and intellectual disability; (iv) Investigation of disease gene function mouse and human reprogrammed neurons; (v) Generation of engineered neuronal networks, neuro-electronic and opto-neural interfaces by exploiting optogenetics and photovoltaic interfaces. The double background of neurologist and cellular neurophysiologist allowed him to get in depth into the cellular mechanisms that underlie normal brain function and whose dysfunction leads to the pathogenesis of neurological diseases. BIBLIOMETRIC INDEXES Author of over 400 research papers in peer-reviewed articles on International indexed Journals, including: Science (1), Nature (2), Neuron (2), Nature Materials (1), Nature Photonics (1), Nature Nanotechnology (2), Nature Communications (5), Nature Neuroscience (1), Nature Reviews Materials (1), J Cell Biology (5), J Clin Invest (2), EMBO J (3), Proc Natl Acad Sci USA (12), Cell Journals (1 Cell Stem Cell, 3 Cell Reports), Brain (3), J Neuroscience (12), Cerebral Cortex (9), Prog Neurobiol (2), Trends Neurosci (1) and co-inventor of 8 patents. - h-Index: 71 (Scopus) - total citations: over 17,900 (Scopus)