2000-2006 Undergraduate studies in Medical Biotechnology, University of Trieste and SISSA with Enrico Cherubini.
2006-2010 PhD, University of Cambridge (UK) MRC Lboratory of Molecular Biology, Leon Lagnado
2011 - PostDoc in Steve Wilson and Emre Yaksi's lab Sir Henry Wellcome Trust Fellow
I completed my PhD in the laboratory of Leon Lagnado at the LMB MRC (Cambridge, UK) where I was involved in understanding how different aspects of the visual inputs can be processed by our eyes before being sent to higher brain areas. In particular I focus my studies in dissecting how different types of bipolar retinal cells can segregate different visual features in parallel channels by making synaptic contacts in different layers of the inner plexiform layer of the retina.
For this purpose I developed an optogenetic sensor, called SyGCaMP2 (Dreosti et al. 2009), that allows to monitor calcium signals with an increased temporal resolution in many synapses simultaneously and in living animals. The method allowed to characterise key properties of bipolar cells of zebrafish such as their all-or none spiking nature (Dreosti E. 2011), as well as how they encode luminance and contrast (Odermatt et al 2012). New improved GCaMPs versions of the indicator have been generated by other labs and are now successfully used to monitor synaptic activity of other brain areas (Zhao et al 2011, Nikolaou et al. 2012).
I am currently interested in applying similar optogenetic methods combined with two-photon imaging and zebrafish genetics to study brain asymmetries. My main focus is to understand what are the functional asymmetries of the anatomically lateralized habenular nuclei that are asymmetric, how these functionally asymmetries arise and are related to the formation of anatomical asymmetries, and how they can be modulated by genetic and epigenetic factors.
In order to do that I am currently applying different sensory stimulations in wild types and mutant young zebrafish larvae and monitoring calcium responses in the habenula.