Research activities in Neurosciences


The PhD Course on Neurosciences has the objective to train young scientists to perform competitive research in neurosciences in an integrated and cross-disciplinary way, from the molecular and cellular levels up to the level of higher cognitive functions.


The PhD course on the neural basis of brain functions is based on the research in Neurosciences carried out at the Bio@SNS Laboratory of Scuola Normale Superiore, that integrates molecular and cellular approaches with the study of higher brain functions, in close collaboration with other research Institutions with whom strong collaboration agreements are established.

Current research activities lead naturally to therapeutic and diagnostic applications relevant for the neurological, neurodegenerative and psychiatric pathologies that  hit the human brain.

Our understanding of the brain will depend in an essential way on the development of new technologies. Great attention, therefore, is being placed on the study and development of new experimental strategies, at the molecular and cellular levels, as the interface between Biology, Chemistry and Physics.

Research activities on which the Neurosciences PhD course is grounded are focussed on these general areas:
– The development of new technologies to visualize, image and functionally interfere with RNA and proteins of interest in living nerve cells, with high molecular selectivity and with a high spatial and temporal precision.
– Application of “omic” technologies to the study of the Nervous System
– Structural and biophysical studies of proteins of neurobiological interest and their engineering as recombinant proteins, also exploiting expanded genetic code technologies.
– Biological functions of non coding RNAs in the fine control of gene expression in neurons.
– Stem cells and embryonic and adult neurogenesis
– The biological mechanisms underlying ageing, longevity and the onset of age-related pathologies
– Mechanisms of synaptic plasticity during development, in the adult nervous system and in response to brain injuries. The control of critical periods for synaptic plasticity.
– The development of new cell and animal models for preclinical studies aimed at characterizing mechanisms and molecular targets for the development of new therapeutic approaches for neurological, psychiatric and neurological pathologies.

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