2023 Topic-Specific Grants and Descriptions
Topic-specific grants for 3 positions in 2022's Selection Announcement
1. The neural circuit mechanisms for building spatial and temporal structures (IIT/CIMeC - 1 position)
Recent findings have revealed how spatial and temporal structures are represented inside the brain. However, the mechanisms for building such representations remain poorly understood. Because the formation of spatial and temporal representations occur during exploration, an important question is how body actions, eye movements and other aspects of sensory-motor experience contribute to the building of spatial and temporal structures. The selected student will answer this question by means of state-of-the-art techniques for measuring natural behavior and record and perturbing the activity of cell-type specific neural circuits in the mouse brain with the possibility to extend such findings to humans.
Supervisors: Giuliano Iurilli - Roberto Bottini
Corresponding research area in the online application: Conceptual Representations
2. Optogenetic modulation of functional connectivity in the mouse brain (IIT/CIMeC - 1 position)
The selected student will use optogenetic approaches to enhance long-range neural coupling in the mouse brain as assessed with fMRI. The ultimate goal of this project is to enable the rational design of methods enabling to restore disrupted connectivity in an autism mouse model.
Supervisors: Alessandro Gozzi - Yuri Bozzi
Corresponding research area in the online application: Neurostimulation
3. Clustering functional connectivity in autism (IIT - 1 position)
We recently showed, using fMRI in the mouse, that atypical functional connectivity in autism is the likely manifestation of distinct network “dysconnectivity” signatures. The selected student will apply state-of-the-art computational methods to parse etiologically-relevant dysconnectivity subtypes in rodent datasets and human fMRI scans of people with autism.
Supervisor: Alessandro Gozzi
Corresponding research area in the online application: Neuroimaging Methods and Analysis
4. Neurobiology of number cognition in zebrafish (CIMeC - 1 position)
Evidence suggests that a small portion of the zebrafish pallium is involved in numeracy, as revealed by early gene expression of some populations of neurons. The aim of the project is to investigate the role of the left and right side of this portion of the brain (and of its afferent from thalamus and tectum) in the encoding of discrete and continuous quantities using behaviour linked to qPCR measurements of IEG and neuroanatomical techniques.
Supervisor: Giorgio Vallortigara
Corresponding research area in the online application: Numerical cognition