PhD Curricula

PhD Curricula

 

Cognitive and Behavioral Neuroscience

Its  major objective is  to provide  theoretical and methodological training in major  cognitive research fields such as perception, language, memory, attention, action, decision making and intelligence. The curriculum extends to the study of cognitive function, its  deficits and the interactions between  cognitive functions and non-cognitive constructs such as emotions, personality and motivation are addressed. This curriculum is characterized by a strongly interdisciplinary approach using  models and methods mainly derived from experimental psychology, medicine, linguistics and  from STEM. This curriculum is aimed at offering a theoretical  and practical training to PhD students that will be mainly involved in  human  laboratory studies using various non-invasive techniques. The equipment most commonly used in cognitive neuroscience research are EEG, TMS, tDCS, eye tracker and magnetic resonance imaging. This approach allows students who choose this curriculum to be exposed to a broad spectrum of topics and methodologies, many of which can be used in other research  fields as well. The education program includes three types of courses:
1) theoretical, on the various fields of cognitive neuroscience (perception, language, etc. and their deficits),
2) methodological (statistics, coding, theory); 
3) practical.

Practical activities are foreseen, participation in seminars, journal clubs, presentation of reports and research results, scientific writing, research ethics and open data science will be shared across all curricula.

KEY WORDS: Memory; Learning; Emotions; Language; Neuropsychology; Neuroeconomics; Decision Making

Neuroscience and Humanities 

The massive technological and conceptual progress that has characterized the systems neuroscience in the last three decades has added to its scientific multidisciplinarity deriving from close contacts with informatics, physics, engineering, chemistry, unprecedented attention to topics classical linked to humanities led to the emergence of new research and teaching domains. Among extant examples of this important cultural cross-fertilization is the field of neuroaesthetics that aims at understanding the link between brain functioning and theexperience of art fruition and production. Moreover, neuroscientific discoveries concerning neuroplasticity, learning and memory inspired neuro-pedagogy, a research area concerning the development of brain-based teaching programmes with the potential to change the classical approaches to knowledge acquisition and transmission. The comprehension of the cerebral mechanisms underlying decision-making at individual and group levels is at the roots of disciplines neuroeconomics and neurolaw that promise to be highly transformational in different societal contexts. Think for example of neuropolitics and neuroleadership, two research areas aiming at exploring the neural processes that characterize who is in charge of eading an organization, a political party or a religious group. The tendency to understand the link between cerebral activity and non- primarily scientific knowledge lead to the birth of new domains in the area of humanities like neurophilosophy, neuroethics and even neuro- literature and neuro-poetry. Even though the use of the neuro-prefix has been criticized as a potentially dangerous oversimplification, the above new areas of investigation promise to massively extend the brain-based understanding of human nature not only in relation to individuals but also to the inherently collective features of human beings that orchestrate life in groups and societies.

Practical activities are foreseen, participation in seminars, journal clubs, presentation of reports and research results, scientific writing, research ethics and open data science will be shared across all curricula.

KEY WORDS: Neurophylosophy; History of Neuroscience; Arts and Neuroscience; Neuropolitics; Social Neuroscience

Preclinical Clinical and Translational Neuroscience

The program of this curriculum is centered on the need to facilitate the translation of neuroscientific knowledge from laboratory to clinic. PhD students will acquire the  experience  to bridge the gap between the design, execution and interpretation of experiments in vitro, in laboratory animal or in  human models  and  experimental medicine in clinical settings, with focus on  preventive therapies, neurorehabilitation and drug development. Activities include the use of innovative data analysis methodologies, from electrophysiology to neuroimaging, from neuropsychology to experimental techniques for the study of the cellular and molecular mechanisms underlying various functions and disorders of the central nervous system. Strategic themes are: 
1) preclinical neuroscience (genetic and molecular mechanisms of neuro-psychiatric pathologies);
2) clinical neuroscience (neurology, psychiatry, neurorehabilitation, both of the adult organism and for neurodevelopmental disorders);
3) tools and methods for the analysis of normal and pathological brain connectivity;
4) design and development of hardware and software for the recording and non-invasive modulation of brain activity;
5) identification of biomarkers for neuro-psychiatric diseases;
7) study of the gut-brain-axis identification of new pharmacological targets for neuro-psychiatric diseases;
8) computational modeling;
9) machine learning;
10) optogenetics and chemogenetics;
11) clinical trial design;
12) digital neuroscience, with a focus on telemedicine, telerehabilitation and development of serious games applications for diagnosis and cognitive training. Basic disciplines such as physiology, pharmacology, neurology, epidemiology, statistics, genetics, neuroinformatics will be part of the teaching in the curriculum.

Practical activities are foreseen, participation in seminars, journal clubs, presentation of reports and research results, scientific writing, research ethics and open data science will be shared across all curricula

KEY WORDS: Psychiatry; Neurology; Neurorehabilitation and Treatment; Clinical Trials;  Neuropharmacoloy  Neurophysiology;   Brain Function; Affective Disorders; Neuroloical Disorders; Drug Development; Neurochemistry; Neurobiology; Genetics; Neurorehabilitation; Brain Stimulation; Wearable Robotics

Computational and System Neuroscience

Computational neuroscience aims to design and use quantitative methods in neurophysiology and neurobiology. The development of these methods has significantly increased our understanding of the functioning of the nervous system and is clearly becoming vital to the neuroscience community. Expanding training in the application of computational methods to neuroscience problems is a widely recognized need. Students recruited into this curriculum will learn to develop mathematical models and computer simulations for different neuroscientific goals. The models will be used (1) for basic science: to better understand the development and functions of the nervous system in different animal models and (2) for translational science: to develop wearable and implantable medical devices ("neurotechnology") for restoring and repairing compromised nervous systems functions due to neurological disorders or traumatic injuries. In particular, models will be based on biophysics, machine learning, advanced signal processing and will address the neuroscientific problem at different levels. Students will also be exposed to empirical techniques in neuroscience and neurophysiology to strengthen their skills and enable them to experimentally validate their models.

Practical activities are foreseen, participation in seminars, journal clubs, presentation of reports and research results, scientific writing, research ethics and open data science will be shared across all curricula.

KEY WORDS: Mathematical Models; Connectomics; Brain Dynamics; Brain Imaging; Neuronal Networks; Machine Learning; Large-Scale; Data Analysis; Neurologically Inspired AI Systems; Artificial Neural Network