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Ferdinando Fiumara

Università di Torino
Co-sponsored by the Physiology & Cellular Biophysics Department, Columbia University

Perpetuation of memory storage: a novel mechanism in the long-term maintenance of synaptic plasticity and behavior

2008-2009

Ferdinando Fiumara received his M.D. (2000) and a Ph.D. in Neuroscience (2005) from the University of Torino. He has continued his postdoctoral studies as an associate scientist of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute at Columbia University and he is currently Assistant Professor of Physiology at the University of Torino. His doctoral and postdoctoral research has been focused on the cellular and molecular mechanisms that regulate the formation and plasticity of synaptic connections between neurons. In particular, he has studied the role of synapsins, a family of synaptic vesicle-associated proteins, and their phosphorylation by protein kinases in the regulation of neurotransmitter release and in the short-term plasticity of synapses. He has also studied the formation and the short-term plasticity of behaviorally relevant neuronal circuits reconstructed in vitro. Currently, he is developing the neuroelectronic interfacing of complex circuits with controlled morphology and predictable connectivity of individually identifiable invertebrate neurons in culture for long-term analyses of synaptic activity in neuronal networks. As a fellow of the Italian Academy he will conduct his research in the laboratory of Eric Kandel at Columbia University focusing on novel molecular mechanisms involved in the perpetuation of long-term plasticity and memory storage at the synaptic level through the action of prion-like proteins and persistently activated protein kinases.