I earned my degree in Psychology (2003) and the Ph.D. in Neuroscience (2008) at the University of Parma, where I became Associate Professor of Psychobiology and Physiological Psychology in 2016 and then Full Professor in 2021, at the Department of Medicine and Surgery. I am member of the Society for Neuroscience, of the Italian Society of Physiology (SIF) and of the Italian Society of Neuroscience (SINS – in which I am part of the governing board since 2022). I obtained research funds for more than 4 mln euros in the last few years from competitive calls of various national and international funding bodies. I authored several scientific publications focused on the neuronal mechanisms underlying motor, perceptual and cognitive functions of various brain regions, using the monkey as an experimental model.
In the last years, within previously funded EU projects, I contributed to reveal new functions and properties of parietal and frontal neurons, thanks to national and international collaborations that are making possible to develop new solutions and technological devices for recording of the activity of several individual neurons simultaneously, with chronic implants in freely-moving animals. These latter innovations will contribute to refine neurophysiological research and constitute the necessary premises for the neuroethological study of the neural underpinnings of natural behaviors in as much as possible close-to-natural situations.
My interest is addressed at investigating the involvement of some cortical and sub-cortical structures in high-order socio-cognitive functions, such as action recognition, by recording extracellular activity from the macaque brain. During both my PhD and my post-doc periods, I’ve studied mirror neuron activity in areas of the premotor (F5 and F6) and parietal (AIP) cortex while manipulating different factors that could modulate it. One of the main findings was the space-dependence of mirror neurons’ discharge, which prompted the ongoing study of brain activity during tasks involving pairs of monkeys focused on objects located in a shared operational space: this will make possible to shed new light on the neural mechanisms underlying social interactions.
I earned my degree in Biology and the Ph.D in Neuroscience at the University of Modena and Reggio Emilia, spending one year at the Dept of Psychology of the Princeton University (U.S.A), for a collaborative project with Prof. Asif Ghazanfar. Next, I worked for five years as a post-doc at the University of Parma, investigating the neural basis of action planning and observation (mirror neurons) in the context of different EU funded projects; more recently, I also studied the neural mechanisms of visual awareness (PI Prof. Marco Tamietto, Univ of Turin). I have been awarded a Young Investigator Grant by the Brain & Behavior Research Foundation (BBRF), which will allow me to lead a project on the neural mechanisms of “facial mimicry”.
Matteo Di Volo
I am interested in the collective phenomena emerging in the brain, one of the most fascinating complex system in nature. In order to understand these phenomena I develop methods from statistical physics and computer science, whose goal is to enlighten the circuit mechanisms behind brain functions. My main contributions focus on the development of computational models of cortical circuits, that link the scale of the neuron to the collective activity of neuronal networks measured experimentally with large scale recordings. I develop also methods for the analyses of experimental data, in order to characterise the spatio-temporal patterns of activity in the brain and to infer brain’s structure directly from large-scale signals.
I received my degree in Biology at the University of Ferrara (2015) with a thesis in numerical abilities in lizards (Podarcis sicula). Then, I continued my education with a Master in Ecology and Nature Conservation at the University of Parma (2018). For my Master thesis, I worked at the Unit of Cognitive Primatology at the National Research Council in Rome, where I studied economic behavior in tufted capuchin monkeys (Sapajus spp) under the supervision of Elsa Addessi. After my Master degree, I did an internship at the University of Vienna, where I studied parental care and cultural transmission in ravens (Corvus corax). I am currently in my first year of Ph.D. program in Neuroscience at the University of Parma working in the ERC project WIRELESS coordinated by Prof. Luca Bonini.
I received my degree in Physics at the University of Parma (2017). For my Master thesis, I spent two months at the Rutherford Appleton Laboratory (UK) for collecting neutron spectroscopy data. My degree allowed me to achieve wide experience in data analysis and mathematical modeling. Following my interest in Neuroscience, I first earned a one-year scholarship and I then began the first year of Ph.D. program in Neuroscience at the University of Parma, focusing my research in the study of neural population dynamics and the application of machine and deep learning tools to analyze and model neural data.
I earned my degree in Neuroscience (2020) at the University of Parma with a thesis investigating the effects of (neuro)rehabilitative approaches based on action observation. During my studies, I did an internship at the Neurophysiology Laboratory of Prof. Luca Bonini, where I learnt the basic behavioral techniques necessary to work with macaques. After my degree, I earned a one-year scholarship and now I am currently working with Dr. Maranesi and Dr. Ferroni on the study of the neuronal activity of the Macaque during tasks involving two monkeys acting on the same object located in a shared operational space.
Born in Rome, where I obtained my bachelor’s degree in Psychological Sciences and Techniques at LUMSA University (2017), I later moved to the University of Parma to complete my studies in Psychobiology and Cognitive Neuroscience, where in 2019 I graduated with a master thesis concerning the parietal contribution (AIP area), at the single neuron level, in the sensorimotor processing of withheld actions. Then, I spent an internship at the neurophysiology laboratory of Prof. Bonini, where I learned Data Science techniques for data analysis, training and intracortical recording techniques in non-human primates. My interests have expanded to the study of unconscious subcortical processing of visual stimuli, specifically the processes of brain plasticity that can be promoted to enhance visual awareness following injury to the primary visual cortices. At the end of my internship qualifying for the profession of Psychologist, I began my co-supervised PhD in Neuroscience at the University of Parma and in Biomedical Sciences at KU Leuven, where I currently work.
I earned my Master’s degree in Psycobiology and Cognitive Neuroscience at the University of Parma in 2021. During my internship, I attended the Neurophysiology laboratory of Prof. Luca Bonini and under his supervision I worked on my thesis concerning a new social interaction-based approach, related to the neuronal properties of the macaque putamen nucleus. These experiences allowed me to learn training techniques of non-human primates and to achieve eye movement acquisition and analysis skills. My Ph.D. project aims to investigate the mechanisms of social fear learning, as part of a main study of the neural substrates of visual awareness directly supervised by Dr. Marco Lanzillotto.
I graduated in Biology (2019) at the University of Parma with a dissertation about stress, microRNAs and cardiac alterations in rats. I continued my studies at the same university graduating in Biology and Biomedical Applications (curriculum: Neurobiology) (2021). During this period I became very interested in neuroscience and for my master’s degree thesis I worked at Professor Bonini’s Laboratory, where I learnt the basic techniques for working with macaques, and studied the neuronal activity of the ventral premotor cortex during the movement of stimuli near the animal’s hand. I am currently attending the first year of PhD in Neuroscience at the same laboratory and I’m working in the ERC WIRELESS project, coordinated by Professor Bonini.
I received my Bachelor degree in Psychological Sciences and Techniques in 2016 at the University of Campania “L. Vanvitelli” with a thesis on the effects of music therapy in Alzheimer’s disease and aphasic disorder, under the supervision of prof. Luigi Trojano. I continued my studies at the same university, with the Master’s degree in Psychology of Cognitive Processes, where I graduated in 2019 with a thesis on the rubber hand illusion in subjects with Autism Spectrum Disorder, under the supervision of prof. Masimiliano Conson. After graduation, I did an internship at the Neuroscience Institute Cavalieri Ottolenghi in Orbassano, within the research group of prof. Luca Bonfanti, who focuses on research in adult neurogenesis, specifically in the identification of a population of immature neurons, generated during embryogenesis, which continue to express molecular markers of immaturity in adulthood. In November 2021 I started my PhD in Neuroscience at the University of Parma, within the ERC WIRELESS project, coordinated by prof. Luca Bonini.
Felicia de Capua
I graduated in Biotechnology at the University of Campania “Luigi Vanvitelli” (2019) with a thesis regarding the role of autophagy in the maintenance of synaptic function and the association between synaptic autophagy and neurodegenerative diseases. Subsequently I completed my studies with a degree in Neurobiology at the University of Pavia (2021) with a thesis concerning the role of cholinergic modulation on neurons in the mouse perirhinal cortex. In the same year, given my strong interest in neuroscience, I started the PhD at the neurophysiology laboratory of Prof. Luca Bonini.
I earned my Master’s degree in Psychobiology and Cognitive Neuroscience at the University of Parma in 2021 with a thesis on “the neural activity of the ventral premotor cortex during spatial navigation in freely-moving monkeys”, under the supervision of Prof. Luca Bonini. During my studies, I did an internship at the laboratory of Neurophysiology of prof Luca Bonini, and part of it focused on a translational project for the study of “blind vision” and the neural correlates of visual awareness, alongside with Dr. Marco Lanzilotto (University of Turin). The several months I spent in the laboratory allowed me to study traning techniques for non-human primates and data acquisition and analysis. I am currently a first year PhD student at the University of Turin, and I work under the supervision of Dr. Marco Lanzilotto on a project that aims to investigate the mechanisms of the macaque’s facial mimicry in collaboration with the University of Parma.
After earning my bachelor’s degree in Psychological Sciences and Techniques at the Vita-Salute San Raffaele University (2019), I continued my education with a master’s degree in Psychobiology and Cognitive Neurosciences at the University of Parma (2022). During my studies, I did an internship at the Institute of Neuroscience of the National Research Council, where I worked on a project researching the impact of an Action Observation Training on the learning of new complex motor sequences. For my master’s thesis, consisting in an investigation of the possible involvement of the monkey basal ganglia in advanced perceptual and socio-cognitive functions, I attended the Neurophysiology laboratory of Prof. Bonini, where learned the basic techniques for working with non-human primates, and for the acquisition and analysis of neuronal activity. After my graduation, I won a six-months scholarship in the same laboratory to continue the research work on the neuronal properties in the macaque putamen.
I earned my bachelor’s degree in Psychological Sciences and Techniques at the University of Milano-Bicocca (2019) with a dissertation on the psychobiological basis and neural correlates of pain empathy, under the supervision of prof. Angelo Maravita. I continued my studies gaining my master’s degree in Psychobiology and Cognitive Neuroscience at the University of Parma (2022) with an experimental thesis about the functional properties of monkey ventral premotor neurons during constrained and freely moving conditions. During my last year of university, I did a 6-month internship on the ERC WIRELESS project at the Neurophysiology Laboratory of prof. Luca Bonini and, currently, I won a 6-month scholarship in order to continue the analysis regarding the comparison of macaque premotor activity in conditions with different degrees of ethological validity.
I graduated in Psychological Sciences and Techniques at the University of Modena and Reggio Emilia (2019). The strong interest and curiosity for neuroscience developed during my studies led me to attend the Psychobiology and Cognitive Neuroscience course at the University of Parma. During my pre-lauream internship, I attended the Neurophysiology laboratory of Prof. Luca Bonini earning knowledge to manage and train non-human primates and on behavioural and neural analysis. I received my Master’s Degree in 2022 with a thesis aimed at investigating the macaques’ ventral premotor cortex involvement in controlling behaviour, comparing neural activity during traditional constrained and freely behaving conditions. I am currently working at Prof. Bonini laboratory with a research scholarship.
In 2019 I graduated in Psychology in the university of study of Florence. I obtained my master degree in Psychobiology and Cognitive Neuroscience in the university of study of Parma in 2022. I executed an internship in the laboratory of neurophysiology directed by the professor Luca Bonini, the supervisor of my experimental thesis on the blindsight. Through this experience I had the possibility to increase my knowledge on the behavioural techniques for the training of non human primates and on the data analysis. After the master degree, I won a research grant and I actually work under the supervision of the Doctor Marco Lanzilotto within an experimental project which investigates the substrates of the visual awareness in the macaque.
I have 20 years of experience in the managing and manipulation of laboratory animals, nonhuman primates (Macaques) in particular. I am the technical manager of the nonhuman primate facilities of the University of Parma, with responsibility for the surgical room and equipment, for the utility rooms, the provisions and the environmental enrichment programs, animal welfare monitoring, and the coordination of the cleaning staff. From 2006 to today, I attended about 20 courses about the managing of laboratory animals, ethics and legislation in the field of animal research, including the FELASA A/B training certificate specific for the work with nonhuman primates following the theoretical-practical session at the German Primate Center (DPZ) in Gottinen (Germany).
Students: Rossella Sini, Alice Camisa, Antonella Mancuso, Riccardo Spanu, Cristina Pagliara.
Former students: Giulia Rigamonti, Chiara Campanello, Matilde Reni, Elena Ferretti, Mattia Delgrosso, Anna Bertucci, Anna Mitola, Jenny Arcuri, Melissa Arconte, Eleonora Bano, Alessia Sepe, Michele Grignaffini, Cristina Rotunno, Carolina Giulia Ferroni, Benedetta Zattera. Alessandro Livi.