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Stefano Taverna

Former IIT Principal Investigator

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Miscellaneous Information


M.S. at University of Milan, Department of Physiology and Biochemistry.

Ph.D. at the Netherlands Institute for Brain Research - Vrjie Universiteit, Amsterdam, the Netherlands.

Working Experience

Jan. 2009-present: Team Leader, Department of Neuroscience and Brain Technology, Italian Institute of Technology, Genoa, Italy.

2004-2008: Postdoctoral fellowship at Feinberg School of Medicine, Department of Physiology, Northwestern University, Chicago, IL, USA.

1999-2003: PhD thesis, "Functional organization of limbic corticostriatal circuitry: from microcircuits to behavioral correlates. - Intrastriatal communication: electrophysiology", Netherlands Institute for Brain Research, Amsterdam, the Netherlands.

1996-99: Research fellowship, Department of Neurophysiology, C. Besta Neurological Institute, Milan, Italy.

1996: Research fellowship at Laboratory of antitumoral pharmacology, M. Negri Institute of Pharmacological Research, Milan, Italy.

1995: Post-graduate training internship at the Institute of Human Physiology, University of Milan, Italy.

1992-93: Pre-graduate training internship at Department of Physiology and Biochemistry, University of Milan, Italy.

Research Interests

Our studies focus on the functions of neuronal microcircuits in the basal ganglia and in cortical areas of the temporal lobe. We use electrophysiological and imaging techniques in brain slices to investigate the synaptic organization of the striatum, an area which plays a major role in cognitive and motor functions and is primarily involved in highly debilitating pathologies such as Parkinson's disease and schizophrenia. In addition, using the guinea pig in vitro whole-brain preparation we study the rhinal cortical circuits involved in the pathophysiology of drug-resistant, temporal lobe epilepsies.


  1. Caiazzo M, Dell'Anno MT, Dvoretskova E, Lazarevic D, Taverna S, Leo D, Sotnikova T, Menegon A, Roncaglia P, Colciago P, Russo G, Carninci P, Pezzoli G, Gainetdinov R, Gustincich S, Dityatev A, and Broccoli V (2011). Direct Generation of Functional Dopaminergic Neurons from Mouse and Human Fibroblasts. Nature, 476:224-227.
  2. Taverna S, Ilijic E, and Surmeier DJ (2008). Recurrent collateral connections of striatal medium spiny neurons are disrupted in models of Parkinson's disease. J. Neurosci. 28:5504-5512.
  3. Taverna S, Canciani B, and Pennartz CM (2007). Membrane properties and synaptic connectivity of fast-spiking interneurons in rat ventral striatum. Brain Res. 1152: 49-56.
  4. Taverna S, Tkatch T, Metz AE, and Martina M (2005). Differential expression of TASK channels between horizontal interneurons and pyramidal cells of rat hippocampus. J. Neurosci. 25: 9162-9170.
  5. Taverna S, Canciani B, and Pennartz CM (2005). Dopamine D1-receptors modulate lateral inhibition between principal cells of the nucleus accumbens. J. Neurophysiol. 93: 1816-1819.
  6. Taverna S, van Dongen YC, Groenewegen HJ, and Pennartz CM (2004). Direct physiological evidence for synaptic connectivity between medium-sized spiny neurons in rat nucleus accumbens in situ. J. Neurophysiol. 91: 1111-1121.
  7. Taverna S and Pennartz CM (2003). Postsynaptic modulation of AMPA- and NMDA-receptor currents by Group III metabotropic glutamate receptors in rat nucleus accumbens. Brain Res. 976: 60-68.
  8. Frassoni C, Spreafico R, Franceschetti S, Aurisano N, Bernasconi P, Garbelli R, Antozzi C., Taverna S, Granata T, and Mantegazza R (2001) Labeling of rat neurons by anti-GluR3 IgG from patients with Rasmussen encephalitis. Neurology 57: 324-327.
  9. Franceschetti S, Taverna S, Sancini G, Panzica F, Lombardi R, and Avanzini G (2000). Protein kinase C–dependent modulation of Na+ currents increases the excitability of rat neocortical pyramidal neurons. J. Physiol. 528: 291-304.
  10. Taverna S, Sancini G, Mantegazza M, Franceschetti S, and Avanzini G (1999). Inhibition of transient and persistent Na+ currents by the new anticonvulsant Topiramate. J. Pharm. Exp. Ther. 288: 960-968.
  11. Taverna S, Mantegazza M, Franceschetti S, and Avanzini G (1998). Valproate selectively reduces the persistent fraction of Na+ current in neocortical neurons. Epilepsy Res. 32: 304-308.
  12. Bonfanti M, Taverna S, Salmona M, D'Incalci M, and Broggini M (1997). p21WAF1-Derived Peptides Linked to an Internalization Peptides Inhibit Human Cancer Cell Gowth. Cancer Res. 57: 1442-1446.
  13. Songia S, Mortellaro A, Taverna S, Fornasiero C, Scheiber E A, Erba E, Colotta F, Mantovani A, Isetta AM, and Golay J (1997). Characterization of the immunosuppressive drug undecylprodigiosin in human lymphocytes: retinoblastoma protein, Cdk2 and Cdk4 as molecular targets. J. Immunol. 158: 3987-3995.
  14. Formenti A, Arrigoni E, Martina M, Taverna S, Avanzini G, and Mancia M. (1995) Calcium influx in rat thalamic relay neurons through voltage-dependent calcium channels is inhibited by enkephalin. Neurosci. Lett. 201: 21-24.
  15. Taverna S and Pennartz CM (2008). Intrinsic synaptic connectivity of the nucleus accumbens: lateral inhibition, functions of fast-spiking interneurons, and neuromodulation. In: The Nucleus Accumbens: Neurotransmitters and Related Behaviours, (H.N. David, ed.), Elsevier, Amsterdam, in press.

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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.