Research Lines

Research Lines for prospective PhD Students (Cohort 40: 2024-2027)

While applying for new PhD positions, PhD student candidates should choose 1 or 2 research lines and write their project proposal (required for the next PhD entrance exam) generally based on those lines. Note that there are various types of PhD positions, some of them are on a PI’s grant (e.g., Priority Research-Bonded Fellowships – borse a tema vincolato), others do not have any PhD fellowship (Position without Fellowship – Senza Borsa).

Interdisciplinary Research Lines (Cofunded by Padova Neuroscience Center)

Research Line # Title Supervisor Potential Co-Supervisor/s (typically 1-2) Other potential Collaborators Short Abstract, if available (especially for priority research grants/borse a tema vincolato)
1 Criticality as a framework for understanding the brain Judit Gervain (DPSS), Samir Suweis (DFA), Marco Dal Maschio (DSB), Marco Zorzi (DPG) Alberto Testolin (DPG) Project to be carried out within the PNC Working Group “Criticality Working Group”; see full description here
2 Organization and dynamics of healthy and pathological brains Michele Allegra (DFA), Ettore Ambrosini (DNS), Alessandra Bertoldo (DEI), Maurizio Corbetta (DNS), Fabio Sambataro (DNS), Samir Suweis (DFA), Antonino Vallesi (DNS), Marco Zorzi (DPG) Project to be carried out within the PNC Working Group “Intrinsic Brain Activity and Behavior”; see full description here
3 Neurophysiological markers of human-robot integration Alessandra Del Felice (DNS) Emanuele Menegatti (DEI) Margherita Bertuccelli (DEI), Stefano Tortora (DEI), Patrizia Bisiacchi (DPG), Manfredo Atzori (DNS) Project to be carried out within the PNC Working Group “Neurorobotics”, see full description at here

Free Research Lines (Borse di Ateneo a tema libero)

Research Line # Title Supervisor Potential Co-Supervisor/s (typically 1-2) Other potential Collaborators Short Abstract, if available (especially for priority research grants/borse a tema vincolato)
4 Time and space representations: From healthy participants to neuropsychological cases Mario Bonato (DPG) Marco Zorzi (DPG) Angelo Antonini (DNS), Roberta Biundo (DPG) The efficient processing of time and space is fundamental for most if not all our activities. The project aims at investigating the commonalities and differences in way we process these aspects, along with those contexts whereby time is spatially represented. Behavioural experiments using immersive reality as well as neuropsychological studies will be implemented. The final aim of the project is to provide a better understanding of the individual differences in way we access, process and represents these two quantities.
5 Forensic neuroscience: Exploring the role of neuroscientific methods to investigate how to improve the inter rater reliability of insanity evaluation and reducing the impact of cognitive bias Cristina Scarpazza (DPG) Andrea Zangrossi (DPG) Giorgio Arcara (IRCCS San Camillo), Rachele Pezzetta (IRCCS San Camillo)
6 Effects of endogenous and exogenous risk factord in Parkinson’s disease to assess the cognitive outcome Cristina Scarpazza (DPG) Roberta Biundo (DPG)
7 Effects of bodily posture on resting state and cognitive processing in fMRI and hdEEG Chiara Spironelli (DPG) Dante Mantini (KU Leuven) Marco Marino, Zaira Romeo Imaging methods are of utmost importance for neuroscience. Within the domain of cognitive neuroscience, a prominent role is played by functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), which allows capturing the activity of the human brain in vivo with a good spatial resolution. Due to the key role of fMRI research, very recent and specialized literature started to address the important yet neglected role played by body position during imaging. Indeed, almost any fMRI acquisition requires participants to lie supine: this simple, and apparently irrelevant, technical prerequisite assumes that the execution of whichever task or cognitive processing is not affected by our body posture. Recent literature showed how during supine posture many physiological processes are significantly altered, including cortical activity, pain processing, emotional responses and brain plasticity. In general, in most of these cognitive domains supine participants showed significant reduced or delayed activation, compared with the more ecological sitting position.
8 Comparing auditory hallucinations throughout the continuum: hearing voices from individuals with psychosis to healthy adults. The contribute of language lateralization, anxiety and personality traits Chiara Spironelli (DPG) Fabio Sambataro (DNS) Marco Marino Auditory verbal hallucinations (AVH), the experience of hearing voices in the absence of external auditory stimuli are phenomena distributed along a continuum from individuals with functional psychosis to general population; notably, 25% of all the AVH hearers suffer from a psychotic disorder, while the 75% are persons definable as otherwise healthy, and correspond to the 10-15% of the adult general population. However, the pathophysiology underlying AVH is still largely unknown. In line with Crow’s hypothesis (1997), various studies showed structural and functional alterations in language-related regions of schizophrenia patients, as well as in mood disorders and high-risk populations for psychosis, providing evidence for a continuum of shared neural alterations in the psychotic spectrum disorders from healthy experiences through pathology. Therefore, changes in the cortical architecture of language could represent a transdiagnostic mechanism shared by different pathology and vulnerability conditions, as language lateralization is a crystallized characteristic of brain networking.
9 Enhancing gait and balance in the elderly Stefano Masiero (DNS) Maria Rubega (DNS) Paola Contessa (Padova University Hospital), Michela Agostini (DNS) Due to higher life expectancy the age and population structure in Europe will change. Therefore, research furthering lifelong health, active ageing and well-being for all will be a cornerstone of the successful adaptation of societies to demographic change. This project goal is to identify the most effective strategy to enhance gait and balance in the elderly (people aged > 65 y). Gait and balance will be assessed through wearable sensors (i.e., wireless electromyography, inertial measurement units and electroencephalography) during static and dynamic tasks. This project involves a multidisciplinary team of physiatrists, physiotherapists, neuropsychologists and bioengineers (specialized in advanced biological signal processing and in biomechanics).
10 Investigation of cortical, muscular and body representation alterations in adolescents with idiopathic scoliosis Emanuela Formaggio (DNS) Maria Rubega (DNS) Paola Contessa (Padova University Hospital) The pathophysiology of Adolescent Idiopathic Scoliosis (AIS) is not yet completely understood, but multi-factorial hypotheses have been proposed including defective central nervous system control of posture, biomechanics alterations and alterations of body schema. AIS could be the expression of a sub-clinical nervous system disorder. The aim of our study was to compare the electroencephalography (EEG) activity in adolescents with AIS and controls, to examine the brain oscillatory changes related to balance control and inquire possibly related body schema representational alterations. Results may represent a valuable biomarker of AIS disease progression and offers novel therapeutic targets according to the identified pathophysiological patterns.
11 Identification and classification of neonatal comfort using image and signal processing Emanuela Formaggio (DNS) Maria Rubega (DNS) Maria Elena Cavicchiolo (SDB) Comfort is a sense of physical and psychological ease. Newborns are not developmentally capable of expressing their “state of comfort” to adults or aware enough to problem solve.
Facial expressions and sounds could be important indicators of infant comfort/discomfort, but face recognition and sound classification in infants is still a complex challenge due to the miniaturized facial structure, different proportions, presence of wrinkles and limited furrows, and subtle variations in sounds produced during infant crying.
This project aims to objectively quantify the state of a child’s comfort non-invasively by: 1) developing algorithms capable of classifying the state of infants by overcoming specific challenges related to their facial structure and the complex interpretation of their cries, and 2) measuring and analyzing physiological and motion parameters.
12 Visuomotor responses in simple (not so simple) nervous systems Aram Megighian (DSB) Marco Dal Maschio (DSB) Maria Elena Miletto Petrazzini (DPG) Adaptive behavior is the set of coordinated actions generated by the nervous system in response to an environmental or internal stimulus. It is based on the choice of the most rewarding response based on organism actual and previous experience.
Visuomotor-responses are a subtype of adaptive behavior extremely important for the life of an organism in the environment
In our lab we study visuomotor-responses in the fruitfly (Drosophila melanogaster) using different techniques that can be used in this organism: quantitative behavior analyses, neurphysiological techniques and calcium imaging techniques, also exploiting the extremely flexible genetic techniques that can be used in this animal.
Given the importance of visuomotor responses in regulating the adaptive behavior of an organism, and given the importance of the latter in regulating the life of the animal in its environment, it is not surprising that these responses are present in animals evolutionarily distant from humans: in vertebrates as well as in invertebrates. The aim of our studies is therefore to understand whether it is the environment that has independently shaped the circuits responsible for the visuomotor responses in such different nervous systems, or whether they are the consequence of the activity of fundamental circuits that may have become redundant in more complex and different nervous systems, such as the nervous system of vertebrates, mammals and humans
13 Investigating the efficacy of novel EEG-neurofeedback trainings for improving emotion regulation and executive functions in healthy individuals and in clinical populations Simone Messerotti Benvenuti (DPG) Antonino Vallesi (DNS) Carola Dell’Acqua (DPG)
14 Affective processing in at-risk populations: towards novel psychophysiological measures of vulnerability to depression Simone Messerotti Benvenuti (DPG) Fabio Sambataro (DNS) Carola Dell’Acqua (DPG)
15 Neural correlates of bipolar disorders and their clinical effects Fabio Sambataro (DNS) Enrico Collantoni (DNS)
16 Linking Cx32 hemichannel dysfunction to CMT1X neuropathy pathogenesis Mario Bortolozzi (DFA) Chiara Briani (DNS), Angelo Antonini (DNS) Vladimir Khorkov (ETH, Zurich)Elena Pegoraro (DNS), Oriano Marin (DSB) Since mutations in the GJB1 gene that encodes connexin 32 (Cx32) were first reported in 1993, more than 450 different mutations associated with the X-linked form of Charcot–Marie–Tooth peripheral neuropathy (CMT1X) have been discovered. A path from genetic diagnosis to personalized treatment is still unavailable, as the molecular pathogenesis remains unclear. A new paradigm for the molecular pathogenesis of CMT1X has recently been suggested to be no longer related to gap junctions  formed by paired Cx32 channels, but rather to hemichannels, which could mediate an ATP-induced ATP release signaling regulating Schwann cell myelination. The objectives of this PhD project are providing evidence that Cx32 hemichannel dysfunction underlies CMT1X pathogenesis and to develop in vitro assays that can be utilized to test candidate therapeutic compounds. The group of Prof. Bortolozzi at the VIMM (Padova) has consolidated experience in the study of connexins by fluorescence optical microscopy and patch-clamp.
17 Neurodevelopment functional alterations caused by polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) investigated in vitro by human iPSC-derived models Mario Bortolozzi (DFA) Marco Dal Maschio (DSB), Angelo Antonini (DNS) Jens Schwamborn (Univ. Luxembourg), Carlo Foresta (UNIPD), Sara Bogialli (DiSC) The increasing environmental spreading of perfluoroalkyl substances (PFASs) raises concerns for their impact on human health. In a previous publication, we highlighted for the first time that the accumulation of PFASs can alter the development of human dopaminergic neurons. This finding, together with the discovery of massive PFAS accumulation in the substantia nigra of the human brain, suggests a possible link with the onset of neurodevelopment defects and Parkinson’s disease in highly PFAS contaminated areas. Human induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) will be utilized in this PhD project to derive 2-D and 3-D dopaminergic model systems (already in use in our lab). The investigation aims to identify significant dysfunction of PFAS-treated neurons by advanced electrophysiological and imaging experiments. The findings will be corroborated by morphological and protein expression marker analysis. The selected candidate will work at the VIMM Institute in Padova, where state-of-the-art biological and biophysical facilities are available.
18 Investigating the neuronal circuits of visuomotor adaptation Marco Dal Maschio (DSB) Aram Megighian (DSB), Maria Elena Miletto Petrazzini (DPG) Nicola Facchinello Coping with a continously changing environment calls for learning or updating the organism action-percpetion schemes. These type of primitives are considered the basis for the optimal processing of the sensoty inputs and at the same time the support for informing the motor program selection and execution. We will use visuo-motor processessing in Zebrafish larvae to investigate these mechanisms combining functional imaging, behavior tracking and targeted neuronal modulation. The ojective is to characterize the neuronal circuits involved and their role with the visuomotor adaptation mechanism as well as their alterations in genetic models of neurodevelopmental disorders.
19 Investigatin the link between the behavioral and neuronal manifolds In zebrafish larva Marco Dal Maschio (DSB) Michele Allegra (DFA) Fabrizio Lombardi (DSB) A crucial goal of neuroscience is to understand how the brain controls behavioral variability during the learning and execution of a task. In recent years, there has been a surge in interest for geometric approaches to this question. The idea underlying these approaches is trying to relate a “behavioral manifold” (a geometric representation of the ensemble of behavioral trajectories) with a “neural manifold” (a geometric representation of neural population trajectories). Typically, both the behavioral and the neural manifold are relatively low-dimensional. As a result, one may identify, in a data-driven manner, key variables underlying behavioral variability and how they are encoded and controlled by neural population activity.  Such an approach is optimally suited to simple animal models and simple cognitive tasks, where one can accurately track both behavioral and neural trajectories with state-of-the-art techniques. A paradigmatic example is the zebrafish (D. Rerio) larva, where neural activity can be recorded with extremely fine spatial resolution (down to the cellular level) with purely optimal means such as calcium imaging, and motor behavior is sufficiently simple to be captured from video recordings. In this project, we will perform experiments where the zebrafish larva is learning a simple behavior, tracking behavior as well as neural activity during multiple trials and ad different stages of learning. Leveraging recent proposals in the computational neuroscience literature, we will model neural trajectories and behavioral trajectories simultaneously using recurrent neural networks. This project has the potential to significantly advance our understanding of the neural determinants of behavioral variability.
20 Early auditory perception and language development in typical development Judit Gervain (DPSS) Christian Lorenzi (ENS Paris, France) This line of research seeks to investigate how early auditory and speech perception abilities contribute to laying the foundations of later language development. Newborns and young infants’ perceptual abilities are investigated using behavioral and brain imaging techniques (NIRS, EEG), with special attention to the role of prenatal and early postnatal experience.
21 Early auditory perception and language development in atypical development Judit Gervain (DPSS) Patrizia Trevisi (DNS) One in every 300-500 children are born with some form of hearing impairment. Today the available prosthetic support systems (hearing aid, cochlear implant) are technologically more advanced than any time before, yet outcomes in the improvement of hearing, language development and quality of life differ considerably among individuals. This line of research aims to explore the differences in perceptual abilities and brain plasticity that may contribute to this heterogeneity.
22 Exploring Emotional and Cognitive Performance in Transgender Individuals Paolo Meneguzzo (DNS) Elena Tenconi (DNS) Angela Favaro (DNS) The study seeks to understand how gender identity and hormonal fluctuations may influence emotional regulation, cognitive functioning, and overall psychological well-being. By employing a mixed-methods approach, including self-report measures, neuropsychological assessments, and hormonal profiling, we aim to explore the intricate interplay between gender identity, hormone levels, and psychological outcomes. The findings of this study may inform the development of targeted interventions and support services tailored to the specific needs of transgender and gender-diverse individuals.
23 Investigating Biological Effects of Social and Emotional State Modifications in Individuals with Eating Disorders Paolo Meneguzzo (DNS) Elena Tenconi (DNS) Angela Favaro (DNS) The study seeks to elucidate the physiological responses accompanying alterations in social and emotional states among individuals with eating disorders. By utilizing skin conductance as a non-invasive measure of autonomic arousal, we aim to discern patterns of physiological reactivity associated with diverse emotional and social stimuli. Through a combination of experimental paradigms, self-report assessments, and skin conductance measurements, this research intends to uncover the nuanced interplay between emotional regulation, social interactions, and autonomic nervous system activity in individuals with eating disorders. The findings of this study hold the potential to inform therapeutic interventions and enhance our understanding of the complex psychophysiological mechanisms underlying eating disorders
24 Bio-inspired Spatially Embedded Recurrent Neural Networks: Unveiling the dynamical regime of the brain and its relevance for reservoir computing. Samir Suweis (DFA) Michele Allegra (DFA), Luca Mazzucato Marco Dal Maschio (DSB), Stefano Vassanelli (DSB), Manlio De Domenico (DFA), Alessandra Bertoldo (DEI), Maurizio Corbetta (DNS) Both biological and artificial neural networks are tuned to solve complex information processing tasks. However, while the structure of artificial neural networks is mainly shaped by learning, biological neural networks must respect additional constraints, such as robustness to noise, low wiring cost, robustness to subsystem failure. Investigating the dynamics of recurrent neural network evolving on empirically determined spatially embedded connectivity networks can provide invaluable insights into how information is encoded, transmitted, and integrated within the brain’s complex circuitry, reflecting biologically relevant constraints. In this Ph.D. project we aim to pursue this research direction, studying the structural-functional relationship in spatially embedded recurrent neural networks, trained with statistical learning but with realistic constraints on the wire diagram and network architecture, given by the study of brain connectomes. Analytical results based on Dynamical Mean Field Theory will be also investigated. The ultimate goal is the ability to design artificial neural networks and tune their internal dynamical states and architecture for optimal performance of different tasks in biologically plausible conditions, e.g., in noisy environments. Our results will not only open new perspectives for understanding the ultimate principles underlying brain function, but also guide towards the development of brain-inspired, neuromorphic computation.
25 Characterization of Hemodynamic Activity at Rest During non-Pathological Ageing by Fractal Analysis [CHeAP Age] Camillo Porcaro (DNS) Antonino Vallesi (DNS) The global population is ageing rapidly. However, the quality of life is not the same as the quantity of life. Often, we focus on treating symptoms of the disease such as dementia or Parkinson’s. Instead, we believe a focus on sustaining health will improve outcomes for people who develop brain conditions. The project will combines brain imaging and maths. We will study data from people who have aged well and from people with poor brain health. We will develop models that reveal features of ageing well and will study how these features change in those with poor brain health. We will use our models to propose experiments that can be performed by others to understand whether brain health can be sustained for longer periods of time than is possible right now. Our work may benefit society by revealing techniques to slow down changes in the brain that occur as a result
of ageing. Sustaining healthy functions for longer will improve the quality of life and enable more people to be more productive. This is needed in societies where fewer children are born and people live longer.
26 Identify new and robust markers able to characterize the unbalancing of the pathological intrinsic brain activity. Camillo Porcaro (DNS) Maurizio Corbetta (DNS) Brain functions have traditionally been studied in terms of physiological responses evoked by external stimuli. This approach, however, does not consider that most of the brain’s energy is used for maintaining its intrinsic functioning i.e those brain activities that are not directly associated with the response to external stimuli. Here, we hypothesize that intrinsic brain activity (IBA) is used to maintain balance among the intrinsic brain networks. This balanced activity, measurable by nonlinear chaos theory such as fractal analysis, can be optimally tuned to react efficiently to specific tasks involving information processing for interpreting, responding to and predicting environmental demands. The ground-breaking nature of this proposal is to elucidate the contribution of the IBA to the brain’s balance, in healthy subjects with the aim to define a clear, physiological baseline for all transient changes due to alterations in perception or cognition, including those seen in pathology.
27 Relationship between brain connectivity and cognitive performance in healthy and pathological conditions Antonino Vallesi (DNS) Arianna Menardi (DNS), Annachiara Cagnin (DNS) Samir Suweis (DFA)
28 Neurofeedback as a means to boost cognitive functioning Antonino Vallesi (DNS) Simone Messerotti Benvenuti (DPG), Ettore Ambrosini (DNS) Antonino Visalli (DPG)
29 Using genetically encoded probes to analyze the modifications in the microglial proteome and secretome in health and disease. Marco Mainardi (DSB) Marco Dal Maschio (DSB) The PhD candidate will work on the design and validation of adeno associated viral (AAV) vectors for the in vivo expression of proximity labeling probes in both wild type mouse and in models of neurodegenerative and neurodevlopmental disease. Mass spectrometry will be employed to characterize the microglial secretome and proteome, followed by wet biology analysis of selected candidate proteins. This project will contribute to clarify the molecular mechanisms of synaptic plasticity modulation by microglia.
30 Evaluation of the type and density of innervation of the superficial and deep fasciae in patients with different neurodegenerative diseases Carla Stecco (DNS) Carmelo Pirri
31 Evaluation of the morphological changes of intramuscular connective tissue and muscle spindles in spasticity: human and animal model Carla Stecco (DNS) Alessandra Del Felice (DNS)
32 An ontology-based approach for harmonization and cross-cohort query of neurological diseases data resources to develop a web-based cogntive and clnical tool. Roberta Biundo (DPG) Antonino Vallesi (DNS)
33 Spontaneous brain activity: unraveling the role of macroscale resting-state signaling through rsfMRI and task fMRI similarity analyses. Maurizio Corbetta (DNS) TBD TBD Resting-state brain signaling could represent a replay mechanism of task-induced neural activity coding for natural stimuli and actions. The project will investigate the multi-voxel/vertex similarity between fMRI signals registered both during rest and tasks in healthy individuals. In particular, the aim is to assess whether spontaneous brain signals represent an “internal model” (or “priors”) related to behaviorally relevant states (e.g., movements, vision, cognition).
34 Advancing rehabilitation of movement after stroke: An AI based approach to assess and rehabilitate post-stroke motor impairments Alessandra Del Felice Stefano Tortora (DEI) Margherita Bertuccelli (DEI), Matteo Terreran (DEI), Alfonc Baba Motor recovery after stroke is still unsatisfactory. In fact, it relies mainly on qualitative measures (i.e., clinical scales), which provide only a partial prospective of the complex reorganization trajectories of motor performance during recovery. Quantitative assessment is mandatory and may inform rehabilitative pathways. The project aims to develop an innovative method to classify motor impairments by decomposing complex movements into functional modules (motor primitives). This will be possible by combining machine learning techniques with advanced Inertial Measurement Units (IMUs) and electromyographic (EMG) analysis. Eventually, this approach will be employed to phenotype post-stroke impairment, with critical clinical perspectives.
35 Metabolic & functional, structural, effective connectivity: Understanding the spatio-temporal network dynamic communication underlying brain activity through MRI and PET imaging in healthy individuals and in pathology Alessandra Bertoldo (DEI) TBD Valentin Ridle (TUM Germany), Rupert Lanzenberger (Medical University of Vienna, Austria), Maurizio Corbetta (DNS), Manu S. Goyal (University of St. Louis, USA), Sharna Jamadar (Monash University, Australia), Vesna Sossi (University of British Columbia, Canada), Mattia Veronese (DEI) In the past two decades connectomics has emerged as comprehensively approach to characterizing brain network in both healthy and pathological individuals. My research activities require to deal with an increasing complexity in the description of the brain network organization at macroscale: molecular connectivity (i.e. based on neurotransmission) and metabolic connectivity enrich and complete the functional and structural connectomes allowing a deeper characterization and understanding of the brain behaviour and cognition. Consequently, functional, structural, molecular, and metabolic descriptions form an individual-level “constellation” of networks interconnected through non-linear relationships. In particular, metabolic connectivity, an emerging concept in brain connectivity research, is proving to be as valuable as functional connectivity. While its significance is currently most evident in neurodegenerative disorders, research in other brain conditions and in healthy individuals is gaining momentum. The integration of various connectomes therefore plays a fundamental role to understand the behavior of the brain system overall.
36 Cancer Neuroscience Alessandra Bertoldo (DEI) Maurizio Corbetta (DNS), Alessandro Salvalaggio (DNS) The emerging field of “cancer neuroscience” reveals intricate functional interplays between glioblastoma and the brain’s normal cellular architecture encompassing neurons, glia, and vessels. Recent investigations underscore the role of structural and functional brain connections within (the connectome). These connections contribute significantly to glioblastoma’s location, spread, recurrence, and overall survival, revealing a complex interplay at the whole-brain level between the cancer and the nervous system. This new paradigm holds profound implications, unveiling new prognostic factors, refining surgical strategies, and optimizing radiation field. The proposed research aims to identify new potential treatments for glioblastoma based on its interaction with brain connectivity.
37 Modeling cognition and brain functions with energy-based deep neural networks Marco Zorzi (DPG) Samir Suweis Alberto Testolin, Giovanni Pezzulo Energy-based generative models implemented as deep neural networks are a promising evenue to investigate the emergence of behavior and cognition within a biologically plausible framework. State-of-the-art multi-modal generative models will be used to explore whether learning higher-level cognitive skills (such as number processing and math) requires grounding into sensorimotor experience. Model data will be systematically compared with human neuroimaging and animal neurophysiological data.
38 Deep learning models for prediction of behavior and cognition from neuroimaging data in healthy and neurological populations Marco Zorzi (DPG) Alessandra Bertoldo Alberto Testolin, Maurizio Corbetta, Alessandro Chiuso Our previous work (e.g., Salvalaggio et al., 2021, Brain) has shown that machine learning can reliably predict behavioral and cognitive performance from neuroimaging data in stroke patients. The project aims to i) scale these methods to exploit the potential of deep learning, ii) leverage on large-scale open datasets (e.g., human connectome project) for transfer learning, and iii) compare the predictivity of different types of neuroimaging data, including structural, functional and effective connectivity.
39 Dementia risk and protective factors: investigating the role of depression, anxiety and stress in the development of neurocognitive decline Elisa Di Rosa Annachiara Cagnin
40 Reward processing and health behaviour: investigating the neural basis and cognitive mechanisms underlying delay of gratification capacity in healthy and pathological conditions Elisa DI Rosa Antonino Vallesi

Research lines for Priority Research-Bonded Fellowships (borse a tema vincolato)

Research Line # Title Supervisor Potential Co-Supervisor/s (typically 1-2) Other potential Collaborators Short Abstract, if available (especially for priority research grants/borse a tema vincolato)
41 The contribution of biological and neurophysiological markers to Parkinson disease staging Angelo Antonini (DNS) Miryam Carecchio (DNS) Marta Campagnolo (DNS), Andrea Guerra (DNS) The project will focus on identification of disease progression trajectories in patients from the PADUA- CESNE datasets and on the discovery of novel biological and physiological markers of pathology.
42 Shaping of brain network connectivity in frontotemporal dementia and Parkinson disease by genetic profile and peripheral pathology Alessandra Bertoldo (DEI) Angelo Antonini (DNS) Simone Cauzzo (DIMED), Camillo Porcaro (DNS), Eleonora Fiorenzato (DNS) The project aims at the discovery and implementation of novel algorithms for the analysis of multimodal MRI images and on the definition of predictors of neurodegeneration. Data are part of the PADUA- CESNE dataset
43 Brain-Body crosstalk in Anorexia Nervosa: Exploring an integrative framework between interoception and spatial representation Enrico Collantoni Fabio Sambataro (DNS), Antonino Vallesi (DNS) Andra Serino (MySpace Lab, Dept. of Clinical Neurosciences, University of Lausanne, Switzerland) Processes contributing to body representation are based on the integration of various sensory and interoceptive inputs. However, these processes remain largely uncharacterized in the context of anorexia nervosa. The objective of this project is to combine clinical and neuroscientific approaches to investigate potential changes in specific multisensory integration processes in the aforementioned clinical condition. These encompass the perception of personal, interpersonal and peripersonal space, the mechanisms related to body ownership, and interoception. The analysis methods involve the integration of virtual reality based tasks, imaging, and molecular data.
44 Dynamics of eye movements during visual exploration under physiological and pathological conditions Maurizio Corbetta (DNS) Andrea Zangrossi (DPG) Recent research has suggested significant role of intrinsic dynamics in predicting the spatiotemporal and topographical aspects of oculomotor behavior. This project aims to delve into the intricate relationship between the dynamics of eye movements and the intrinsic functioning of the brain. Specifically, it seeks to achieve two key objectives: (1) examine the correlation between eye movements and distinct cognitive processes, and (2) pinpoint potential early indicators of pathological conditions such as dementia, thereby contributing to the identification of valuable biomarkers.
45 Behavioral and network effects of focal lesions Marco Dal Maschio (DSB) Maurizio Corbetta (DNS) This project aims to assess the relationship between stroke lesions, brain network connectivity, and behavior. Specifically, this analysis will examine how stroke lesions affect both the functional and structural connectome, and subsequently, how these alterations correlate with cognitive impairment and recovery processes. Animal model od stroke will be assessed longitudinally. Imaging and behavioral data will be analyzed through advanced techniques to assess the latent relationships between changes in brain connectivity patterns and the observed behavioral recovery or disability. By extending our understanding of how stroke lesions impact brain networks and behavior over time, this investigation could pave the way for new effective interventions in stroke using stimulation, which will be applied as a pilot study in a few selected samples.

Research Lines for Position without Fellowship (Senza Borsa)

Research Line # Title Supervisor Potential Co-Supervisor/s (typically 1-2) Other potential Collaborators Short Abstract, if available (especially for priority research grants/borse a tema vincolato)
46 Effect of cognitive load over executive abilities and motor functioning in Parkinson ok? Angelo Antonini (DNS) Giorgio Arcara (IRCCS San Camillo) Antonino Vallesi (DNS)
47 Advancing glioblastoma diagnosis through the use of advanced MRI techniques and radiomics Renzo Manara (DNS) Alessandra Bertoldo (DEI) Glioblastoma, a highly aggressive primary brain tumor, poses significant challenges in prognosis despite advances in diagnostics and therapies. Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is pivotal in glioblastoma characterization, utilizing basic MR sequences like T1, T1-CE, T2, and FLAIR. Advanced MRI techniques, including rsfMRI, DSC, DCE, DTI, and QSM, provide deeper insights into tumor biology. Integrating these techniques into clinical practice facilitates personalized therapy and minimizes post-surgical neuro-deficits. The proposed research aims to utilize advanced MRI techniques and radiomics to create a precise diagnostic signature for glioblastoma, with the goal of enhancing accuracy and tailoring treatment strategies for this complex disease.
48 Advanced neurobiological, statistical and clinical tools to enhance prevention-oriented suicide prediction Fabio Sambataro (DNS) Paolo Meneguzzo (DNS) Diego De Leo

Additional Free Research Lines (Borse di Ateneo a tema libero)

49 Psychophysiological correlates of chemiosignals comunication Claudio Gentili (DPG) Simone Messerotti Benvenuti (DPG) In the framework of an Europenan Project we are studying how human odors influence perception and mood in healthy subjects and in individuals with subthreshold mood and anxiety disorders
50 VR experience, mood and psychophysiology Claudio Gentili (DPG) Valentina Cardi (DPG),
Giovanna Mioni (DPG)
In the framework of an Europenan Project we are studying how hre-experiencing and manipulating eventrs in VR modify mood and level of anxiety
51 Advanced molecular neuroimaging in the diagnosis of neurodegenerative diseases (Amy-PET, FDG-PET, DaTscan) Diego Cecchin Annachiara Cagnin Mariagiulia Anglani Application of innovative neuroimaging techniques and nuclear medicine tracers for the study of neurodegenerative diseases (differential diagnosis, biological diagnosis, drug therapies monitoring)