• Joanna Szczurkowska   Brain Forest 2013 4946 749X388 © 2016 IIT 5130
  • Andrzej Cwetsch New Andy In Scientific Art  2014 4943 749x388 © 2016 IIT 5127
  • Joanna Szczurkowska   Pyramidal Neuron In Hippocampus   2014 4947 749X388 © 2016 IIT 5131

Brain development is a remarkable process that entails a number of successive yet overlapping events such as neurogenesis, neuronal migration, morphological maturation and cell integration in a functional network of other developing cells. In particular, the extracellular milieu of a specific developing brain cell is characterized by the presence of other cells that are developing themselves (cellular environment) and possibly influence each others through the action of different extracellular factors. This implies that what may be relevant for a specific developmental process at a given time in a particular brain area may not be significant at another time or place due to different cellular environments. Finally, this has tremendous conceptual consequences for the treatment of neurodevelopmental disorders, as the study of the different cellular environments during brain development may eventually lead to individuating specific therapeutic windows to address aberrant neuronal development with much reduced side effects. To address the above issues, we have developed two main lines of research in the laboratory: a first line focuses on basic and translational animal research in brain development, and a second one focuses on promoting new technological approaches in developmental neuroscience.


One electrophysiology laboratory with two setups for ex vivo electrophysiological recordings and one laboratory for behavioral tests of young rodents in their home cages. This allows a combination of in vivo and in vitro approaches ranging from electrophysiology and neuroanatomy to biochemistry, molecular biology and behavior.


  • 2017-2022 European Research Council (ERC) advanced. Rescuing Cognitive Deficits in Neurodevelopmental Disorders by Gene Editing in Brain Development: the Case of Down Syndrome (GenEdiDS).
  • 2017-2022 Telethon Foundation (Italy) targeting aberrant Cl- homeostasis and GABAA transmission to design innovative therapeutic approaches in Down syndrome.



  • Valter Tucci, Genetics and Epigenetics of Behavior, IIT Genoa
  • Marco De Vivo, Molecular Modeling and Drug Discovery, IIT, Genoa
  • Remo Proietti, Plasmon Nanotechnologies, IIT, Genoa
  • Francesca Cella, Nanoscopy & NIC@IIT, Genoa

National and International

  • Ming Zhou (Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, Texas, United States)
  • Maya Shelly (Stony Brook, University).
  • Michael Schaefer (University of Maintz, Germany).
  • G. Feichtinger (Leeds University, U.K.)
  • Giovanni Piccoli (CIBIO, Trento).
  • Gian Michele Ratto (NEST, Pisa).
  • Antonino Cattaneo (Scuola Normale Superiore, Genova).
  • Maria Passafaro (CNR, Milano).
  • Diego Di Bernardo (TIGEM, Napoli)