The IIT@Harvard center is a formal collaborative arrangement between IIT and Harvard University, focusing on technology development for experimental neuroscience, advanced neural computation, and translational neuroscience. IIT@Harvard organizes bi-directional movement of scientists between the two institutions, including IIT scientists working at Harvard for long-or short-term collaborations, as well as Harvard scientists working at IIT facilities. The center is nominally coordinated by John Assad, to facilitate flexible collaborations between independent principal investigators at both institutions. 



NIH 1U01NS094190 , U.S. National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke

co-PIs: Harvard: B. Sabatini, J. Assad // IIT: M. De Vittorio and L. Berdondini

This project was awarded under the auspices of the NIH BRAIN program. The goal is to develop optrodes based on novel tapered multipoint emitting fiber optics and ultra-dense active CMOS-based multi-electrodes for simultaneous massively parallel neuronal recording during manipulation of genetically identified neuronal populations. The award includes funding to Harvard and sub-contracts to IIT. 


Development of novel optical devices for neuroscience. A main focus of IIT@Harvard is the development of novel tools for optogenetics and optical imaging, to perturb and monitor specific neuronal populations in vivo. Recent developments include multi-point, addressable delivery of light to deep brain structures using tapered fiber optics. Collaborators include Bernardo Sabatini, John Assad and Robert Datta at Harvard with Ferruccio Pisanello and Massimo De Vittorio of IIT’s Center for Bio-Molecular Nanotechnologies, Lecce. 

Development and testing of novel multielectrode arrays for in vivo recording. The labs of Harvard neuroscientists Bernardo Sabatini and John Assad are involved in testing novel super-dense active multi electrode arrays (MEAs) developed by Luce Berdondini’s lab at the Department of Neuroscience and Brain Technologies, IIT Genova, for in vivo recording from hundreds to thousands of neurons simultaneously. The optical devices and MEAs are supported by a collaborative BRAIN grant from the United States National Institutes of Health, with funding distributed both to Harvard labs and IIT labs.

Advanced computational methods in neuroscience. Through IIT@Harvard, the computational neuroscience lab headed by Stefano Panzeri at CNCS, IIT@UniTn, is heavily involved in collaborations with Harvard neuroscience labs, including the labs of Christopher Harvey and Robert Datta, for the development of advanced computational methods for extracting information from neuronal data sets, including optical recordings and electrophysiological recordings. 

Brain stimulation for translational neurology. Lorella Battelli has co-appointments at CNCS, IIT@UniTn and at Harvard Medical School. Her lab is devoted to understanding neural network organization in normal function and after stroke, in particular, in applying brain imaging and transcranial magnetic stimulation for probing brain function and ameliorating functional deficits in stroke patients. 

Behavioral and Neuronal correlates of perception and action. Antonino Casile has co-appointments both at Harvard and IIT. His research group investigates the interplay between motor and visual processes in both high- and low-level perception by means of psychophysical, theoretical, brain imaging and neurophysiological techniques.