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Stefano Panzeri Write a Message

Senior Researcher Tenured - Center Coordinator
Director of the Neural Computation Laboratory; Center Coordinator

Research Line

Neural Computation


CNCS@UniTn Trento


Italian Institute of TechnologyCenter for Neuroscience and Cognitive Systems @ UniTn, Corso Bettini 31, Rovereto (Tn)


Stefano Panzeri received a Laurea in Physics from the University of Torino, and a PhD in Computational Neuroscience from SISSA, Trieste, Italy.

He has held personal Research Fellowship awards in both theoretical physics and computational neuroscience, including an INFN junior Fellowship in Theoretical Physics at Turin University, an EU Marie Curie postdoctoral Fellowship at the University of Oxford, and an MRC Research Fellowship in Neuroinformatics at the University of Newcastle. He has held tenured Faculty positions as assistant, associate and full professor at the Universities of Manchester and Glasgow. He has been visiting scientist at the Max Planck Institute for Biological Cybernetics and at Harvard Medical School. He served as Deputy Chair of the UK Medical Research Council panel for fellowships in Bioinformatics and Neuroinformatics; as a member of the UK EPSRC Review College, and as an editor of the journal Frontiers in Systems Neuroscience and of Journal of Neuroscience methods. 

His research lies at the interface between theory and experiment and aims at understanding the principles of cortical information processing by developing new quantitative data analysis techniques based on the principles of Information Theory and by developing computational models of neural network function. At IIT, he works as Senior Scientist (with Tenure) and directs the Laboratory of Neural Computation. He also currently serves as Coordinator of the Center for Neuroscience and Cognitive Systems of the IIT in Rovereto.

Selected Publications

Runyan C. A., Piasini E., Panzeri S*., Harvey C. D*. (2017) Distinct timescales of population coding across cortex, Nature: 548: 92-96 * = co-corresponding author

Liu J. K., Schreyer, Onken A., Rozenblit F., Hossein Khani M., Krishnamoorthy V, Panzeri S., Gollisch T. (2017) Inference of neuronal functional circuitry with spike-triggered non-negative matrix factorization, Nature Communications 8: 149 

Giordano B. L., Ince R. A. A., Gross J., Schyns P. G., Panzeri S., Kayser C. (2017) Contributions of local speech encoding and functional connectivity to audio-visual speech perception, eLIFE, vol. 6, pp. e24763

Zucca S., D'Urso G., Pasquale V., Vecchia D., Pica G., Bovetti S., Moretti C., Varani S., Molano Mazon M., Chiappalone M., Panzeri S., Fellin T. (2017) An inhibitory gate for state transition in cortex, eLIFE 6:. e26177 

S. Tafazoli, H. Safaai, G. De Franceschi, FB Rosselli, W Vanzella, M Riggi, F Buffolo, S Panzeri and D Zoccolan (2017) Emergence of transformation-tolerant representations of visual objects in rat lateral extrastriate cortex. eLIFE 6: e22794

S. Panzeri, C.D. Harvey, E. Piasini, P.E. Latham, T. Fellin, (2017) Cracking the neural code for sensory perception by combining statistics, intervention and behaviour. Neuron 93: 491-507

Onken A., Panzeri S. (2016) Mixed vine copulas as joint models of spike counts and local field potentials. Advances in Neural Information Processing Systems 29 (NIPS 2016) 1325–1333

Onken A, Liu JK, Karunasekara PPCR, Delis I, Gollisch T, Panzeri S (2016) Using Matrix and Tensor Factorizations for the Single-Trial Analysis of Population Spike Trains. PLoS Comput Biol 12(11): e1005189.

D Fasoli, A. Cattani, S. Panzeri (2016) The complexity of dynamics in small neural circuits. PLoS Computational Biology, 12(8): e1004992.

H. Safaai, R Neves, O Eschenko, NK Logothetis, S Panzeri (2015) Modelling the effect of Locus Coeruleous firing on single trial cortical state dynamics and sensory processing. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA 112(41): 12834–12839

Besserve M, Lowe S, Logothetis NK, Scholkopf B, Panzeri S (2015) Shifts of gamma phase across primary visual cortical sites reflect dynamic stimulus- modulated information transfer. PLoS Biology  13(9): e1002257

Kayser C., Wilson C., Safaai H., Sakata S., Panzeri S. (2015) Rhythmic Auditory Cortex Activity at Multiple Timescales Shapes Stimulus–Response Gain and Background Firing. Journal of Neuroscience 35(20): 7750 –7762

S. Panzeri, J.H. Macke, J. Gross, C. Kayser (2015) Neural population coding: combining insights from microscopic and mass signals, Trends in Cognitive Sciences 19: 162-172

Y. Zuo, H. Safaai, G. Notaro, A. Mazzoni, S. Panzeri*, M.E. Diamond* (2015) Complementary Contributions of Spike Timing and Spike Rate to Perceptual Decisions in Rat S1 and S2 Cortex. Current Biology 25: 357-363            *equal senior author contribution

Einevoll, Kayser C., Logothetis N. K., Panzeri S. (2013) Modelling and analysis of local field potentials for studying the function of cortical circuits, Nature Reviews Neuroscience, vol. 14, pp. 770-785

Gross J., Hoogenboom N, Thut G., Schyns P. S., Panzeri S., Belin P., Garrod S. (2013) Speech Rhythms and Multiplexed Oscillatory Sensory Coding in the Human Brain, PLoS Biology, pp. e1001752

Kayser C, Ince RAA, Panzeri S (2012). Analysis of slow (theta) oscillations as a potential temporal reference frame for information coding in sensory cortices. PLoS Computational Biology 8 (10), e1002717

Kayser C, Logothetis NK, Panzeri S (2010) The millisecond encoding precision of auditory cortex neurons. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA 107: 16976–16981

Mazzoni A, Whittingstall K, Brunel N, Logothetis NK, Panzeri S (2010) Understanding the relationships between spike rate and delta/gamma frequency bands of LFPs and EEGs using a local cortical network model. Neuroimage 52: 956–972

Kayser C, Logothetis NK, Panzeri S (2010) Visual enhancement of the information representation in auditory cortex. Current Biology 20: 19-24 

Quian Quiroga R, Panzeri S (2009) Extracting information from neuronal populations: information theory and decoding approaches. Nature Reviews Neuroscience 10: 173-185

Kayser C, Montemurro MA, Logothetis NK, Panzeri S (2009) Auditory information coding is boosted by nested spike-phase and spike-pattern codes. Neuron 61: 597-608

Belitski A, Gretton A, Magri C, Murayama Y, Montemurro MA, Logothetis NK, Panzeri S (2008) Low-frequency local field potentials and spikes in primary visual cortex convey independent visual information. J Neurosci 28: 5696-5709

Montemurro MA, Rasch MJ, Murayama Y, Logothetis NK, Panzeri S (2008) Phase-of-firing coding of natural visual stimuli in primary visual cortex. Current Biology 18: 375-380

Panzeri S, Petersen R, Schultz SR, Lebedev M, Diamond ME (2001) The role of spike timing in the coding of stimulus location in rat somatosensory cortex. Neuron 29: 769-777 



1991, Graduated Summa Cum Laude and Special Distinction, University of Torino, Italy, 1991

1992: Italian National Institute for Nuclear Physics (INFN) Prize Studentship in Theoretical Physics (Personal Research Training Award), with second place in the national competition

1997: EU Marie Curie Postdoctoral Fellowship (Personal Research Training Award)

2001: UK Medical Research Council (MRC) Research Fellowship in Neuroinformatics (Personal Research Career Award)

2005-2009 Deputy Chair of the UK’s Medical Research Council (MRC) Panel for Biomedical Informatics (major funding agency’s grant-award panel)

2005-2009 Member of the UK’s Engineering and Physics Research Council (EPSRC) Grant Review Panel (major funding agency’s grant-award panel)

2010-2015: Max Planck society Honorary Visiting Scholar – Max Planck Institute for Biological Cybernetics, Tuebingen

2015 and 2016: Bertarelli Foundation Visiting Scholar, Harvard Medical School, Neurobiology Department


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I numeri di IIT

L’Istituto Italiano di Tecnologia (IIT) è una fondazione di diritto privato - cfr. determinazione Corte dei Conti 23/2015 “IIT è una fondazione da inquadrare fra gli organismi di diritto pubblico con la scelta di un modello di organizzazione di diritto privato per rispondere all’esigenza di assicurare procedure più snelle nella selezione non solo nell’ambito nazionale dei collaboratori, scienziati e ricercatori ”.

IIT è sotto la vigilanza del Ministero dell'Istruzione, dell'Università e della Ricerca e del Ministero dell'Economia e delle Finanze ed è stato istituito con la Legge 326/2003. La Fondazione ha l'obiettivo di promuovere l'eccellenza nella ricerca di base e in quella applicata e di favorire lo sviluppo del sistema economico nazionale. La costruzione dei laboratori iniziata nel 2006 si è conclusa nel 2009.

Lo staff complessivo di IIT conta circa 1440 persone. L’area scientifica è rappresentata da circa l’85% del personale. Il 45% dei ricercatori proviene dall’estero: di questi, il 29% è costituito da stranieri provenienti da oltre 50 Paesi e il 16% da italiani rientrati. Oggi il personale scientifico è composto da circa 60 principal investigators, circa 110 ricercatori e tecnologi di staff, circa 350 post doc, circa 500 studenti di dottorato e borsisti, circa 130 tecnici. Oltre 330 posti su 1400 creati su fondi esterni. Età media 34 anni. 41% donne / 59 % uomini.

Nel 2015 IIT ha ricevuto finanziamenti pubblici per circa 96 milioni di euro (80% del budget), conseguendo fondi esterni per 22 milioni di euro (20% budget) provenienti da 18 progetti europei17 finanziamenti da istituzioni nazionali e internazionali, circa 60 progetti industriali

La produzione di IIT ad oggi vanta circa 6990 pubblicazioni, oltre 130 finanziamenti Europei e 11 ERC, più di 350 domande di brevetto attive, oltre 12 start up costituite e altrettante in fase di lancio. Dal 2009 l’attività scientifica è stata ulteriormente rafforzata con la creazione di dieci centri di ricerca nel territorio nazionale (a Torino, Milano, Trento, Parma, Roma, Pisa, Napoli, Lecce, Ferrara) e internazionale (MIT ed Harvard negli USA) che, unitamente al Laboratorio Centrale di Genova, sviluppano i programmi di ricerca del piano scientifico 2015-2017.

IIT: the numbers

Istituto Italiano di Tecnologia (IIT) is a public research institute that adopts the organizational model of a private law foundation. IIT is overseen by Ministero dell'Istruzione, dell'Università e della Ricerca and Ministero dell'Economia e delle Finanze (the Italian Ministries of Education, Economy and Finance).  The Institute was set up according to Italian law 326/2003 with the objective of promoting excellence in basic and applied research andfostering Italy’s economic development. Construction of the Laboratories started in 2006 and finished in 2009.

IIT has an overall staff of about 1,440 people. The scientific staff covers about 85% of the total. Out of 45% of researchers coming from abroad 29% are foreigners coming from more than 50 countries and 16% are returned Italians. The scientific staff currently consists of approximately 60 Principal Investigators110 researchers and technologists350 post-docs and 500 PhD students and grant holders and 130 technicians. External funding has allowed the creation of more than 330 positions . The average age is 34 and the gender balance proportion  is 41% female against 59% male.

In 2015 IIT received 96 million euros in public funding (accounting for 80% of its budget) and obtained 22 million euros in external funding (accounting for 20% of its budget). External funding comes from 18 European Projects, other 17 national and international competitive projects and approximately 60 industrial projects.

So far IIT accounts for: about 6990 publications, more than 130 European grants and 11 ERC grants, more than 350 patents or patent applications12 up start-ups and as many  which are about to be launched. The Institute’s scientific activity has been further strengthened since 2009 with the establishment of 11 research nodes throughout Italy (Torino, Milano, Trento, Parma, Roma, Pisa, Napoli, Lecce, Ferrara) and abroad (MIT and Harvard University, USA), which, along with the Genoa-based Central Lab, implement the research programs included in the 2015-2017 Strategic Plan.