Our Vision

Our Vision

Our aim is to uncover the mechanisms underlying cognitive and social alterations relevant to psychiatric and neurodevelopmental disorders with the final goal of developing biologically-based and personalized therapeutic strategies. We employ cross-disciplinary approaches including detailed in vivo studies in genetically modified mice strictly combined with clinical investigations.

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Overreaching Research Goals

Overreaching Research Goals
  • To implement more efficient and biologically-supported personalized medicine for cognitive and social alterations relevant to psychiatric and neurodevelopmental disorders.
  • To develop a bidirectional mouse-human approach to accelerate the development of precision medicine strategies, with a deeper understanding of the biological mechanisms involved.
  • To investigate genetics, circuits, and cell-type specific mechanisms underlying higher-order cognitive and social processes.
  • To understand the brain-immune system interplay in modulating cognitive and social functions, their developmental trajectories, and the impact of early treatments.



  • February 2020-February 2023: Principal Investigator. Fondazione Telethon – project GGP19103, title: “Improving developmental trajectories in 22q11.2 deletion syndrome by oxytocin: focus on anti-inflammatory effects”. 
  • September 2019-September 2022: Co-PI, work package leader. AIFA (Agenzia Italiana del Farmaco). Title: “Cannabidiol as an add-on treatment to substance abuse in juvenile patients with psychosis: a double-blind randomized placebo-controlled study (CAT-PSY)”. 
  • November 2018-November 2021: Principal Investigator. Ricerca Finalizzata Giovani Ricercatori 2016 - Ministero Salute – project GR-2016-02362413, title: “Dysbindin-antipsychotics psychophamarcogenetics: a mouse-human translational study towards personalized healthcare in bipolar disorders”. 
  • September 2018-September 2020: Supervisor and hosting lab. Marie Sklodowska-Curie individual Fellowships European to Celine Devroye. SOCIALBRAINCIRCUITS. 
  • July 2018- August 2020: Principal Investigator. Boehringer Ingelheim Pharma. Title: “Role of the frontocortical-parvalbumin system in higher-order cognitive functions and in the onset of cognitive deficits induced by schizophrenia-relevant mutations”.
  • October 2018: Principal Investigator. The MINDDS Action of the European COST Association (eCOST). Training school/hands-on workshop in “Convergence Neuroscience: bridging the gap between human patients and animal models of neurodevelopmental disorders”. 
  • March 2016- December 2018: Principal Investigator. Compagnia di San Paolo grant n. 2015-0321. Title: “Utilizzo di variazioni genetiche in dysbindin-1 (dtnbp1) per lo sviluppo di trattamenti più efficaci e personalizzati per la schizofrenia”.
  • September 2015-March 2018: Principal Investigator. Brain & Behavior Research Foundation, 2015 NARSAD Independent Investigator grant n. 23234; Title: “Use of genetic-driven dysbindin-1 (DTNBP1) variations for more effective and personalized treatments in First Episode of Psychosis”.
  • January 2013-January 2017: Principal Investigator. Roche Postdoc Fellowship Program; title: “D2L/S-dysbindin genetic interaction: towards early detection and personalized interventions for cognitive deficits and schizophrenia”. 

More grants have been won by our PI, before the official line kick off 

  • January 2014-December 2015: in charge of a work package. 2013 NARSAD Young Investigator grant. Title: “Indicated prevention with long-chain polyunsaturated omega-3 fatty acids in patients with 22q11 microdeletion syndrome genetically at high risk for psychosis: A randomised, double blind, placebo-controlled treatment trial”.
  • January 2013-May 2016: Principal Investigator. Ricerca Finalizzata Giovani Ricercatori 2010 - Ministero Salute – project GR-2010-2315883, title: “Schizophrenia pathogenetic mechanisms associated to dysbindin dysfunctions in fly and mouse models”.
  • September 2010-September 2014: Principal Investigator. Marie Curie FP7-Reintegration-Grants Call identifier: FP7-PEOPLE-2010-RG Grant N° 268247 – "SCHIZOGENES".
  • August 2008-August 2010: Principal Investigator. NIMH Julius Axelrod Memorial Fellowship Training Award. Behavioral characterization of genetically modified mice for schizophrenia-associated susceptibility genes.



Within IIT

  • Alessandro Gozzi: structural and functional MRI in mouse models
  • Ferruccio Pisanello: optogenetics and fiberphotometry probes for in vivo manipulations
  • Laura Cancedda: electrophysiology and neurodevelopmental disorders
  • Paolo Decuzzi: new drug delivery systems targeting the brain
  • Pier Paolo Pompa: colorimetric kit for genetic tests in humans
  • Roberto Marotta: electron microscopy analyses
  • Stefano Gustincich: SINEUPs for the OXTergic system and for the 22q11.2DS
  • Vittorio Murino & Diego Sona: software development and pattern analyses of complex behaviors



  • Stefano Vicari (Bambino Gesu’ Hospital): clinical data and samples
  • Gianfranco Spalletta (Santa Lucia Hospital): human MRI, clinical data and samples
  • Paolo Brambilla (Policlinico Milano): human MRI, clinical data and samples
  • Andrea de Bartolomeis, Felice Iasevoli (Policlinico Napoli): clinical data and samples
  • Maria Nobile (IRCCS Medea): clinical data and samples
  • Stephan Eliez (Switzerland): human MRI, clinical data and samples
  • Cyndi Weickert (Australia): post mortem human brains
  • Daniel Weinberger (USA): post mortem human brains and human genetic data
  • Oliver Howes (UK): human PET, clinical data
  • Ofer Yizhar (Israel): optogenetics
  • Cecilia Flores (Canada): dopamine neurodevelopment
  • Giovanni Marsicano (France): cannabinoid system
  • Valery Grinevich (Germany): oxytocin system
  • Davide Ragozzino (Roma): microglia
  • Bice Chini (Milano): oxytocin system
  • Fabio Fumagalli (Milano): cellular mechanisms
  • Kuan Wang (USA): genetically modified mouse models
  • Amanda Law (USA): genetically modified mouse models
  • Angelo Contarino (France): CRF system
  • Giorgio Carmignoto (Padova): astrocytes
  • Roberto Arban, Moritz von Heimendahl (Germany): attentional set shifting task
  • Filippo Drago, Gian Marco Leggio, Gabriella Trigilio (Catania): genetically modified mouse models
  • Sara De Martin (Padova): immune system
  • Mary De Luca (Cagliari): dopamine microdialysis