I am a Lecturer in Cognitive Neuroscience at the Division of Neuroscience and Experimental Psychology at The University of Manchester (UK). I am also president of the Italian Society of Neuroaesthetics “Semir Zeki”, member of the Institute of Neuroesthetics (University College London and Berkeley, California), fellow of The Royal Society for the Encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce (AKA The Royal Society of Arts or RSA) and fellow of The Royal Society of Medicine.
I received my “laurea magistrale” (MSc) in Biological Sciences from the University of Trieste (Italy) and earned my PhD in Neural and Behavioral Sciences (Dr.rer.nat.) at the International Max Planck Research School, University of Tuebingen, Germany. I have worked in Germany (Hertie Institute for Clinical Brain Research in Tuebingen & Max Planck Institute for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences in Leipzig), in France (Ecole Normale Superieure & Hospital Salpetriere in Paris), and at the University College London (UK) with Prof. Semir Zeki.
I am a prolific scientist and communicator: I have published scientific papers, book chapters and numerous articles in newspapers and journals. By merging art and human brain sciences I also contributed to develop the field of neuroaesthetics and co-organized several international initiatives in this research field.
In 2004, my work has received recognition by the President of the Italian Republic and I have been elected a member of the group Italian leaders abroad – Aspen Institute Italia for the year 2011. Since then, I have been an Expert evaluator for the European Commission, reviewer for the Economic & Social Research Council (UK) and for The Research Foundation (FWO– Flanders, Belgium), and Associate Editor for Frontiers of Psychology, Emotion Science.
Over the past 10 years, I have been consulting a range of international scientific and artistic institutions. My media career comprises public talks (such as Brain Awareness Week, Neuroscience café, Festival of Science), media coverage (e.g., EXPO2015, BBC, Corriere della Sera, La Stampa, La Repubblica, Radio Vaticana, RAI), as well as articles and essays for internationally recognized artists and designers (e.g. Missoni) and leading art journals and editors (e.g., Skira).
I have diversity of experience beyond neuroscience and an understanding of a number of different functions: (i) curator of numerous scientific exhibitions on neuroscience, prehistoric anthropology and paleontology, (ii) voluntary work at the Natural History Museum of Trieste (including scientific expeditions, and an award for my scientific activity), (iii) licensed taxidermist and holder of a specialization in the management of museum collections (1998 Natural History Museum, Pisa), (iv) attendance of the course Management, marketing and communication at Bocconi University (1999). I also paint, mainly oil on canvas.
I contributed to the think tank “Italia Futura” developing the concept that a policy of preventive and effective welfare interventions shall seriously consider the influence of cultural participation on psychological well-being (see for instance here). I am also Academic Advisor of the Wellcome project “Cultural Engagement for Wellbeing”.
I was born in Trieste (Italy), and live in Manchester (UK).
-Scientific director of Neuroaesthetic zone – Manara Medical Center Milano (Italy)
-Founder and vice-president of the Committee for the Promotion of Neurosciences Trieste (Italy)