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Paolo Massobrio

UNIGE Principal Investigator



  • Università degli Studi di Genova
    Via all'Opera Pia 11A
  • Genova
  • GE
  • 16145
  • Italy


  • This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
  • +39 010 353 2761

Other information

Paolo Massobrio (Genova, 1979) received the master degree in Biomedical Engineering (110/110 summa cum laude, worthiness of publication) and the Ph.D. degree in Bioengineering, Materials Engineering, Robotics (curriculum Bioengineering and Bioelectronics) at the Univ. of Genova, in 2004 and 2008, respectively.

Research Experience

-In 2005, PM spent a period of training at the Dep. of Physics, Univ. of Kaiserslautern (Germany) under the supervision of Prof. Axel Blau to develop a novel perfusion lid to perform long-term experiments in a neuro-robotics framework.

-In 2007, PM obtained a fellowship to attended the international school Advanced Course in Computational Neuroscience which gave him the opportunity to increase my knowledge in neuronal modeling methods.

-Since Feb. 2008, PM has been working as post-doc fellow within the Neuroengineering and Bio-NanoTechnology Group (Univ. of Genova) under the supervision of Prof. S. Martinoia.

Research Highlights

-PM is coauthor of 18 papers in peer-reviewed international journals (2 other papers are under review), 40 proceedings of conferences, 1 book chapter. Since getting the PhD, PM reached a H-index value of 9 (total citations = 160, source: ISI web of science, updated: 8th March 2012).

-At the FENS meeting (Federation of European Neuroscience Societies) (Amsterdam, 2010), PM gave an oral presentation as invited speaker during the IBRO (International Brain Research Organization) Alumni Symposium.

Research Interests

- Computational Neuroscience

PM investigated the dynamics of small and large-scale neuronal networks by emphasizing the role of different connectivity rules in the exhibited dynamics.

- Development of circuit models of the neuro-electronic junction

PM developed circuit models to study the coupling of neuronal networks to extracellular microtransducers: metallic microelectrodes, Field Effect Transistor (FET)-based devices, and Carbon-Nanotubes-FET.

- Synaptic plasticity studies on dissociated cultured neuronal networks

PM performed experiments to test the ability of dissociated neuronal networks to learn, showing that long term network changes (i.e., network plasticity) can be induced by specific electrical stimulation protocols.

- Neuronal network patterning

To drive the connectivity and to evaluate how it influences the network dynamics, experiments using patterned adhesion molecules on the microelectrode plating surface were carried out.

- Invertebrate neurons coupled to MEAs

By means of cross-correlation analysis, the dynamics and functional connectivity of MEA-coupled microcircuits of Helix neurons were investigated.


-During the IDEA project (FP6-516432, 2005-2008), PM worked as co-investigator on experimental and modeling studies to design new high-density micro-electrode arrays.

-Since Dec. 2009, PM has been working as Principal Investigator within the San Paolo Project (2009-2012, Italian grant) "Molecular mechanisms and structural changes required for memory persistence: from invertebrates to mammals".

- Since Feb. 2012, PM has been working as PI within the EU Project BRAIN-BOW (FP7-284772, 2012-2015).

Awards and Honors

-Massimo Grattarola prize for the best Italian Master Thesis in Neuroengineering (2004)

-Elsag prize for the best PhD thesis in Information Technology (Univ. of Genova, 2008)

-Massimo Grattarola prize for the best Italian PhD Thesis in Neuroengineering (2008)

-Admission at the Futuro in Ricerca 2010 audition in Roma (2011)

Teaching Activity

-From 2004 to 2007, PM taught lessons for the course of Fundamentals of Neuroengineering (Biomedical Engineering, Univ. Pavia)

-From 2004 to 2009, PM taught lessons for the course of Methods and Techniques for Neuroengineering (Bioengineering, Univ. Genova)

-Since 2005, PM has been teaching practical exercises and lessons of neuronal models for the course of Bioelectronics (Biomedical Engineering, Univ. Genova)

-Since 2010, PM has been teaching lessons of advanced neuronal models for the course of Neuroengineering and Computational Neuroscience (Bioengineering, Univ. Genova)

Most relevant publications

  1. T. Kanagasabapathi*, P. Massobrio*, R. A. Barone, M. Tedesco, S. Martinoia, W. J. Wadman, M. M. J. Decre. Functional connectivity and dynamics of cortical-thalamic networks co-cultured in a dual compartment device, Journal of Neural Engineering, in press. (* equal contribution).
  2. P. Massobrio, M. Tedesco, C. Giachello, M. Ghirardi, F. Fiumara, S. Martinoia. Helix neuronal ensembles with controlled cell type composition and placement develop functional polysynaptic circuits on Micro-Electrode Arrays, Neuroscience Letters, Vol. 467, No. 2, pp. 121-126, 2009.
  3. M. Garofalo, T. Nieus, P. Massobrio, S. Martinoia. Evaluation of the performances of information theory-based methods and cross-correlation to estimate the functional connectivity in cultured cortical networks, PLoS ONE, Vol. 4, No. 8, pp. e6482, 2009.
  4. G. Massobrio, P. Massobrio, S. Martinoia. Modeling the neuron-carbon Nanotube-ISFET junction to investigate the electrophysiological neuronal activity. Nano Letters, Vol. 8, No. 12, pp. 4433-4440, 2008.
  5. P. Massobrio, S. Martinoia. Modeling small-patterned neuronal networks coupled to Micro-Electrode Arrays. Journal of Neural Engineering, Vol. 5, No. 3, pp. 350-359, 2008.
  6. M. Chiappalone, P. Massobrio, S. Martinoia. Network plasticity in cultured cortical assemblies. European Journal of Neuroscience, Vol. 28, No. 1, pp. 221-237, 2008.
  7. V. Pasquale, P. Massobrio, L. L. Bologna, M. Chiappalone, S. Martinoia. Self-organization and neuronal avalanches in networks of dissociated cortical neurons. Neuroscience, Vol. 153, pp. 1354-1369, 2008.
  8. P. Massobrio, G. Massobrio, S. Martinoia. Multi-program approach for simulating recorded extracellular signals generated by neurons coupled to microelectrode arrays. Neurocomputing, Vol. 70, pp. 2467-2476, 2007.
  9. S. Martinoia, P. Massobrio. ISFET-neuron junction: circuit models and extracellular signal simulations. Biosensors & Bioelectronics, Vol. 19, No. 11, pp. 1487-1496, 2004.
  10. S. Martinoia, P. Massobrio, M. Bove, G. Massobrio. Cultured neurons coupled to microelectrode arrays: circuit models, simulations and experimental data. IEEE Transactions on Biomedical Engineering, Vol. 51, No. 5, pp. 859-864, 2004.

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The BrainBow project acknowledges the financial support of the Future and Emerging Technologies (FET) programme within the Seventh Framework Programme for Research of the European Commission, under FET-Open grant number: FP7-284772.