The Animal Cognition and Comparative Neuroscience Lab (ACN) moved to the new facilities at the Manifattura Tabacchi. The main goal of the laboratory is the study of cognitive processes and their neurobiological bases in a comparative perspective. Research is mainly focused on the mechanisms of cerebral representation of physical and social objects, numbers, time and space. To carry this out, different species of vertebrates are used, in particular fish and birds along with small rodents, as well as invertebrates (honeybees, bumblebees) all housed in the CIMeC’s animal house.
The lab focus special attention on animal models characterized by simpler (or otherwise different) cerebral architectures than those of mammals, in order to provide support for comparative research and investigations into basic neurological mechanisms. Part of the lab staff is currently involved in a research project, funded by an ERC grant, on behavioral and neural characterization of unlearned social-predispositions present in early developmental stages of distant species (newly-hatched chicks and human newborns). The techniques used combine traditional methods of ethological and behavioral investigation with neurobiological procedures, such as immunohystochemical analyses of gene expression in the brain.
ACN Lab research activitities are also associated with research carried out in three other labs jointly run by CIMeC and, respectively, Mach Foundation (Insect Neurobiology and Neuroecology Lab - INN Lab), the Fondazione Museo Civico di Rovereto (Ethology, Ecology and Evolution - EEE Lab), and the Department of Physics (Laboratory for Neurophysics - NPhys Lab).