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CIMeC - Center for Mind/Brain Sciences

Overview | Research directions | Members | Publications | Grants | Ongoing collaborations | Web

Overview

The main goal of the group leaded by Giorgio Vallortigara is the investigation 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, birds along with small rodents, housed in our Animal House as well as invertebrates, as honeybees, bumblebees and fruitfly.
The group 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 ERC grants on behavioral and neural characterization of unlearned social-predispositions present in early developmental stages of distant species (newly-hatched chicks and human newborns) and part in a research project on the origins of numerosity cognition funded by Human Frontiers Science Program. The techniques used combine traditional methods of ethological and behavioral investigation with neurobiological procedures, such as single cell recordings and immunohistochemistry analyses of gene expression in the brain.

Research directions

  • neural Bases of Animacy;
  • behavioral and neural characterization of unlearned social-predispositions present in early developmental stages of distant species (newly-hatched chicks and human newborns;
  • neural and genetic bases of numeracy;
  • investigation of the neural and molecular bases of numerosity cognition in zebrafish.

Members

Publication

For a complete list see Giorgio Vallortigara personal page

Grants

  • ERC PoC 2018-2019 MoVis, PI Vallortigara
  • ERC PoC 2019-2010 NeuroSoNew, PI Vallortigara
  • Human Frontiers Science Program 2018-2010, PI Vallortigara

Ongoing collaborations

  • Dr Elisabetta Versace, Queen Mary Universty London, UK
  • Dr Caroline Brennan, Queen Mary Universty London, UK
  • Dr Elisa Frasnelli, Lincoln Univ. , UK
  • Prof. Onur Gunturkun, Ruhr University, Germany
  • Prof. Scott Fraser, Univ. Southern California, USA
  • Prof. Toshiya Matsushima, Sapporo Univ., Japan
  • Prof. L.J. Rogers, Univ. New England, Australia

Web

Research group webpage