The Neuroscience and Smart Materials group has a well-established experience in the fields of neurophysiology, cellular and molecular neurobiology, optogenetics, bioengineering and computational modeling. Research focuses on two main areas:
- Brain function and diseases
- Neurotechnologies for health
According to the vision of the 2018-2022 IIT Strategic Plan, the ‘Neuroscience and Smart Materials’ research directions are within the LifeTech Research Domain and are evolving from fundamental neuroscience to patient-centered technologies in collaboration with clinical research institutes such as the IRCCS Policlinico San Martino, where the activities are located, and the IRRCS Giannina Gaslini Institute. Line activities are also carried on within the Nanomaterials Research Domain by exploiting smart interfaces between nanomaterials (organic electronics, photovoltaic devices, nanosensors and graphene-based compounds) and the nervous tissue, generating innovative hybrid devices and targeting new solutions for therapy of neurological diseases with high translational potential.
Technology Transfer. An important part of the research is devoted to translating technologies to healthcare, particularly in the field of retinal degeneration (Retinitis pigmentosa and age-related macular degeneration), with preclinical activities regarding the prototypes of artificial retina that are rapidly approaching the first-in-human tests. This very promising line of research generated one US patent, several other patent applications and the imminent start-up On-Iris with the direct participation of IIT and the Istituto Chiossone for the Blind.
High-Level Education. According to the IIT Strategic Plan, the ‘Neuroscience and Smart Materials’ research line devotes particular attention to high-level education by coordinating for the whole IIT-Genova the Curriculum of Neuroscience and Neurotechnologies, within the PhD Course in Neuroscience of the Genova University, by adopting international selection procedures and recruiting Marie Skłodowska-Curie PhD fellows within EU ITN projects.