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Claudia Gandini Wheeler Kingshot (PI)

She was born in Milan (Italy) in 1969, moved to a little village on the Italian Riviera at 10, called Bonassola, studied Solid State Physics (with the intention to do MR Physics for translational applications to the medical field) at the University of Pavia and then came to the UK with a COMETT grant for post-graduate students.

Claudia Gandini did her PhD at the University of Surrey (Guildford, UK) in MR sequence development under the supervision of Simon Doran and David Gilfoyle on developing fast imaging sequences (BURST) collaborating with the University of Lyon (France), the Nathan Kline Institute (USA) and the Institute of Child Health (ICH).

She joined the NMR Research Unit at the UCL Institute of Neurology in January 1999 as a postdoctoral research fellow sponsored by the Multiple Sclerosis (MS) Society of the UK. At now she is Professor of MR Physics at UCL Institute of Neurology and professor of FISICA DELL’MRI PER LE NEUROSCIENZE and MRI QUANTITATIVA: SEGNALE, IMMAGINI, MODELLI at the department of Brain and Behavioral Science. As such she continue leading quantitative MRI development on the 3T scanner for MS research.



Francesca Prestori

Francesca Prestori  is a Researcher of Physiology at the Department of Brain and behavioral Sciences, University of. Pavia, integrating electrophysiological skills (patch-clamp recordings) with different types of imaging (including Ca2+ imaging), primarily studying the cerebellum. The main scientific interest is in neuron biophysics and cellular and systems neurophysiology concerning neurotransmission and long-term synaptic plasticity, neuronal excitability and signal coding, with regard to cell neuropathology. Specifically, we are investigating , in mice engineered disruption of IB2  locus, the potential role of this postsynaptic protein in cerebellar mossy fiber-granule cell synapse in autism spectrum disorder, with particular regard to the functional role of NMDA receptors. Moreover, we are investigating inhibitory GABAergic connections and Golgi cell intrinsic electroresponsiveness and long-term synaptic plasticity. Other research lines concern voltage − dependent channels (calcium, sodium potassium) and their impact on the excitable response. Calcium dynamics are investigated with imaging techniques, and in vivo recordings from the granular layer are used to better understand the cellular implications of neuronal functions at the system level. To this aim, granular layer functions are also investigated by using mathematical models, with particular concern for information transfer and signal coding. Recently we have developed a multi−electrode array (MEA) and fast imaging system with voltage−sensitive dyes for investigating spatio−temporal dynamics of excitation and plasticity in cerebellar slices. In addition to this we are using an integrated miniaturized fluorescence microscope paired with an implanted prism probe to simultaneously visualize and record the calcium dynamics of hundreds of cerebellar in freely behaving mice.


Lisa Mapelli

Lisa Mapelli obtained her Ph.D. in Physiological Sciences and Neuroscience at the University of Pavia in 2008 as a neurobiologist. After four years of postdocs at the University of Lausanne, the University of Milan, and the CNR Neuroscience Institute in Milan, she re-joined Egidio D’Angelo’s lab in 2012, where she started working on neuronal networks in the cerebellar cortex, mainly focusing on excitatory/inhibitory balance, short-term and long-term plasticity, in acute slices and in vivo. Though starting as a pure electrophysiologist at the single cell level, her research then focused on how single neurons contribute to network functions. Extracellular recordings using multielectrode arrays (in vivo and in acute slices), imaging using voltage-sensitive dyes (VSDi) and calcium indicators (in slices and in vivo), and optogenetics are the main techniques used to investigate and dissect network activity in physiological conditions and models of diseases (as the IB2 knock-out mouse model of autism). In the last years, a line of research has been devoted to unraveling the dynamic properties of neurovascular coupling in the cerebellum.

Currently, Lisa Mapelli is an Associate Professor at the Dept of Brain and Behavioral Sciences. The main research topics are:

  • Cerebellar network processing of inputs, with a specific focus on network complexity and pathological alterations.
  • Cerebellar contribution to other brain areas activity, with a particular interest in long-range connectivity, in physiological and pathological conditions.
  • Cerebellar involvement in the emotional network (as a part of the CEN project).

The main techniques used are:

  • high-density multielectrode array (HD-MEA) in acute brain and cerebellar slices
  • multielectrode array in vivo (anesthetized mice)
  • optogenetics
  • microendoscopic calcium imaging in freely behaving mice. 

    Claudia Casellato

    Claudia Casellato obtained the PhD degree in Bioengineering in 2011 at the Politecnico di Milano. She spent several periods abroad for education (International program ERASMUS/SOCRATES at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology) and for research collaborations (Université de Bourgogne, Dijon, France; CITIC-University of Granada, Spain). She worked as post-doc fellow at NeuroEngineering and medicAl RoboticsLab, of the Dept. of Electronics, Information and Bioengineering, at the Politecnico di Milano. She joined, as co-investigator, EU grants MUNDUS (ICT GA 248326) and REALNET (FET Proactive GA 270434), international research projects on Space Human Physiology funded by the Space Agencies (Italian, European and NASA), clinical and research trials funded by NIH (1R01HD081346-01A1).

    She is currently Assistant Professor at the Dept. of Brain and Behavioural Sciences of the University of Pavia, working in the EU flagship of Human Brain Project. Her research interests and activities have been and are oriented to deal with the fascinating topic of “human motor learning”, by tackling the issue both through a macroscopic approach, i.e. experimental set-up and protocols able to detect and interfere with the learning process in physio and pathological conditions, and through a microscopic approach, i.e. computational neural models embedded in behavioural loops, able to implicitly generate high-level motor functions from elementary neural features and circuit mechanisms, in physio and pathological conditions as well.

    Fulvia Palesi

    Fulvia holds a degree in Physics (University of Pavia), a specialization in Biomedical Physics (University of Pavia) and a PhD in Applied Physics (University of Pavia in collaboration with the C. Mondino National Neurological Institute. External referee: Prof. Claudia Gandini Wheeler-Kingshott, UCL London).

    • Techniques: Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI), Diffusion MRI (DTI, HARDI) and tractography, Constrained Spherical Deconvolution (CSD), Track Density Imaging (TDI), structural connectomics, MR spectroscopy (MRs).
    • Research field:development of MR sequences (Siemens IDEA software), microstructural and functional characterization of the cerebello-cerebro loop, characterization of large-scale brain networks  both in healthy subjects and in pathological conditions.