How is specificity of neuronal connections and information processing achieved?
How are these features affected by experience and aging?

Specificity of connections among neurons is essential for normal brain function. We are interested in understanding 1. how an ensemble of neurons wires together to form specific neuronal circuits and 2. how these circuits process neuronal information. These events are highly dynamic and susceptible to modifications in the face of a continuously changing flow of sensory information, in physiological and pathological situations. We study circuit formation and function, mostly in the olfactory system and connected areas, using several experimental approaches, including imaging, electrophysiology, quantitative anatomy and behaviour.

The olfactory system is a unique interesting system to study circuit formation and function, due to its high degree of plasticity, with different types of cells that constantly regenerate and re-form specific synaptic contacts. It offers the possibility to study not only sensory but also cognitive functions, due to its connections with brain areas involved in processing memory and emotional responses. Olfaction is involved in several genetic and neurodegenerative diseases. It is worth noticing that olfactory dysfunctions are among the earliest features in Parkinson and Alzheimer disease.

The Lodovichi lab provided a new vision of the mechanism underpinning specificity of synaptic contacts and neuronal wiring in the olfactory system. We study neuronal circuits to understand how their structure affects information processing and behavior. We are also interested in understanding how these processes are affected in pathological conditions

CLAUDIA LODOVICHI

  • MD: University of Pisa Medical School and S. Anna School of Advanced Study, Pisa, Italy (1995).
  • PhD: Neuroscience, S. Anna School of Advanced Study, Pisa, Italy (1999).
  • Post doc: HHMI Research Assistant, Department of Neurobiology, Duke University, Durham, USA (1999-2003)
  • Post doc: Columbia University, Department of Physiology and Cellular Biophysics, Center for Neurobiology and Behaviour, New York, NY, USA (2003-2005)
  • Group Leader-: Venetian Institute of Molecular Medicine (VIMM), Armenise-Harvard Career Development Awardee (since 2006)
  • Tenured scientist: Neuroscience Institute CNR, Padua (since 2009)

Selected Awards

  • 2006 – Armenise-Harvard Career Developmental Award