I am a computational neuroscientist investigating the neurobiology of decision-making in the human brain, and how the dysfunction of decision-making mechanisms can lead to psychiatric disorders. I received my PhD in Cognitive Neuroscience in 2007 at the Sapienza University of Rome, with a doctoral thesis on computational neuroscience of space representation. After a one-year postdoctoral period at the Neuroimaging Lab of Santa Lucia Foundation (Rome), from 2009 to 2018 I worked at Ghent University (Belgium), at first as a postdoc and then as researcher. During this period, I started dealing with computational neuroscience and neuroimaging of decision-making. In 2017, I spent one year as visiting researcher at the ISTC-CNR in Rome, completing a training in humanoid robotics. During the period 2018-2020, I won the Marie Sklodowska-Curie European grant, to continue working on computational neuroscience and cognitive robotics in the same institute. Since May 2020, I have been working at the ISTC-CNR as a tenured researcher and I co-founded the Computational and Translational Neuroscience Lab (CTNLab). Currently, my research focuses on how motivation and decision-making are represented and interact in the mammalian brain. This domain of investigation implies studying also how the brain regulates the release of neuromodulators as a function of environmental challenges, and how these neuromodulators influence back the brain functions, and thence behaviour, cognition and emotions. Any malfunction of these mechanisms can lead to the typical symptoms related to major psychiatric disorders, like depression, ADHD and anxiety. For these reasons, the results emerging from this field of research are of great importance for psychiatry and clinical neuroscience, contributing to understand how brain-environment interactions can lead to mental illness.
- Computational and cognitive neuroscience of decision-making.
- Computational psychiatry.
- Cognitive robotics and embodied computational neuroscience.
- Computational and cognitive neuroscience of space representation.
Updated metrics and publications list at Google Scholar
Pop-science articles describing my main research line:
- How the Brain Learns to Control Itself
- How the Brain Learns to Try Harder
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