24.05.18 (THURSDAY)15.30-16.00: Cellular substrates for network information processing in hippocampal CA1 (abstract here)

Allesio Attardo is a neurobiologist fascinated by how single neurons store and compute information and by how networks of neurons in the brain can form and recall memories.

He was born and raised in Palermo (Italy) right in the middle of the Mediterranean Sea.

After completing his studies in biology he moved to the Max Planck Institute of Cell Biology and Genetics in Dresden (Germany) were in 2006 he was awarded his PhD. During his graduate training he has carried out fundamental cell biological research during mouse cortical development (Attardo et al., 2008, Cappello et al., 2006 and Kosodo et al., 2008) and adult neurogenesis (Attardo et al., 2010). He was among the first ones to image and describe the lineage of progenitors that constitute the major source of neurons in the mammalian neocortex (Attardo et al., 2008, Haubensak et al., 2004 and Kowalczyk et al., 2009).

He then moved to California (U.S.A.) for his postdoctoral training at Stanford University, to the laboratory of Mark Schnitzer. As a postdoc he has developed a novel chronic deep-brain optical imaging technique (Barretto et al., 2011) to study long-term plasticity in hundreds of pyramidal neurons in the hippocampus of live behaving mice for the first time. He has focused on the fundamental differences in structural plasticity and synaptic stability between neocortical and hippocampal neurons and on how such differences might be the cellular foundation of the specific functions of neocortex and hippocampus in episodic memory. He has also investigated how representations of experience in hippocampal CA1 evolve during weeks and how the ability of such representations to discriminate different experiences declines with aging.

Now, at the Max Planck Institute of Psychiatry, his laboratory uses deep-brain optical imaging together with molecular, genetic and computational tools to investigate the cellular mechanisms enabling the hippocampus to encode and recall memories under normal and stressful conditions.