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Neuroscience in Siena

This article was published by “First Class Megazine” (www.firstclassmag.it) and talks about our team in Siena, take a look to find out more at page 46!

Si-BIN Lab is the acronym for the Siena Brain Investigation and Neuromodulation Lab, which studies brain functionality and cerebral neuromodulation. We study the mechanisms the brain uses to put into motion actions or develop thoughts, and how it is possible to vary these functions by applying weak currents on the external surface of the head. The aim of our study goes beyond expanding knowledge; we hope to find alternatives to pharmacological approaches for treating certain neurological and psychiatric illnesses and to delay cognitive decline.

The Si-BIN lab was created from the merger of the laboratory for cerebral stimulation and evoked potentials founded by Prof. Simone Rossi in 1996, and the laboratory for neurophysiology headed by Prof. Alessandro Rossi, who is currently director of the Neurology and Clinical Neurophysiology Unit at the Policlinico Le Scotte in Siena. In recent years, Emiliano Santarnecchi – currently co-director of the laboratory and Instructor in Neurology at the University di Harvard- has been instrumental in widening the lab’s field of study to include modern procedures of functional neuroimaging and so called “neuroenhancement”.

The laboratory utilizes avantgarde methodologies for the multimodal study of the nervous system’s functions and of cerebral connectivity: electroencephalography (EEG), transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS), TMS in combination with EEG, electrical methods of cerebral stimulation (TDCS and tACS), functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) and tractography (DTI). Indeed, the lab is a training centre, attracting undergraduates and postgraduates from Italy and abroad, as well as an international reference point for neuroscientific research.

Next October (2018) Siena will host a three day “Consensus Conference” commissioned and sypported by the International Federation of Clinical Neurophysiology, on the new guidelines for TMS in clinical practice and research. Students who began their careers in the lab now work all over the world in various universities in London, Moscow, Boston, New York, Lausanne and Washington.

For many years the lab has collaborated with Siena University’s Robotics Laboratory, SiRSLAB, headed by Prof. Domenico Prattichizzo. In 2004, Prof. Rossi and Prof. Prattichizzo, organised the first Italian conference on “Robotics & Neuroscience” in Siena. Since then, an important field of research has opened up – largely funded by the European Union – into wearable robotics aids for patients with difficulties in hand movements or with Parkinson’s disease.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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