• 1106

Research activity per year

Personal profile

Research interests

My long-term research goal is guided by a molecular-to-in-vivo perspective and driven by two major areas of investigation: first, to obtain a mechanistic understanding of how synaptic transmission and plasticity work and contribute to information processing by neural circuits, and ultimately how synaptic transmission and plasticity occurring within specified neural circuits give rise to complex behaviors; second, to obtain a molecular-based understanding of how circuit, cellular and channel/synapto-pathies might be the subject for therapeutic intervention, with a focus on motivational behaviors and animal models of neuropsychiatric disorders. Towards this goal, I use synergistic state-of-the-art methodologies such as in vitro and in vivo electrophysiology, intersectional genetic approaches together with cell biology and molecular pharmacology.


I am committed to improve equity, diversity and inclusion in science and academia. It is important that faculty demographics be an equitable representation of the diverse population of our contemporary society. Although much progress has been made in modern society to enhance equality across race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, socio-economic status, physical abilities and religious beliefs, progress toward more balanced representation in science has been slow. As a community, we need to think thoroughly about why the underrepresentation of some groups is so persistent, and what strategies, programs and initiatives we can develop to institutionalize faculty diversity.

As a research fellow at the NIH, I have directly observed how diverse teams are more successful and I have actively been engaged in helping others from diverse backgrounds develop in science. Indeed, I have mentored and work alongside many creative, talented and brilliant trainees from groups underrepresented in science and research. Importantly, in working with them, I have been continuously inspired by their integrity to maintain deep commitments to social fairness and their communities, and by their tenacity to overcome many barriers for pursuing their graduate and postdoctoral education.

Among those arduous obstacles, the determination in breaking down language barriers has reminded of my own experience moving from Italy to USA. It has been a big challenge, and the key to succeeding was the support that I have received from my mentor, lab mates and the community. Thus, just as I have been fortunate to have such extraordinary encouragement, I am devoted to continuing this tradition to help those that may not realize they are capable of succeeding due to their minority status in academia and science.

As head of my own laboratory and a faculty member, I will strive to create a safe, positive and nurturing environment in the laboratory and in the department. My goal as a mentor is to allow people from different backgrounds to develop into a team and a community. Thus, I will continue to actively recruit students from underrepresented groups. Moreover, once minority students are identified and recruited, it is important to obtain funding for them to ensure their scientific and academic success.

To this end, I will be dedicated to guide my minority trainees in their pursuit of diversity funding, such as the Ford Foundation Fellowship or the Society for Neuroscience-Neuroscience Scholars Program fellowship. Apart from encouraging my trainees to apply for diversity fellowships and travel awards, I will also seek funding for under-represented trainees by applying for “diversity in research supplementary funding” that can be included on NIH grants.

The advancement of science relies on the talent of all our people, not just some of them. The importance of diversity within our education institutions cannot be understated. Working for reducing discrepancies between diverse and non-diverse groups in resources that aid in advancement of academic and scientific careers, such as access to quality higher-education and social networks that encourage academic excellence, should be our priority.

Available to Mentor:

  • PhD/MSTP Students


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