Exploring Insular Connectivity in vivo
Speaker: Dr Leonardo Cerliani, Netherlands Institute, Amsterdam
7TH APRIL 2011
Dr Leonardo Cerliani uses computers, MRI and concepts to understand how the brain is made. He studied Philosophy in Torino, where he developed his first interest in brain anatomy prompted by the lectures of Maurizio Ferraris, and by the writings of Aristotle, Leibniz, Kant, James. After his MA in Theoretical Philosophy, he started a PhD program in Cognitive Science in the Psychology department of the University of Torino, under the supervision of Maurizio Tirassa. Two years later he began to work with brain images from magnetic resonance, under the supervision of Giuliano Geminiani and Katiuscia Sacco. This led him to an internship with Ana Solodkin and Steven Small at the Human Neuroscience Laboratory of the University of Chicago. The year after (2006) he got a PhD with a final dissertation on the effects of training locomotor attention on brain activity during motor imagery. Subsequently he worked for some months with Alberto Bizzi at the IRCCS Foundation Istituto Neurologico Carlo Besta in Milan, and eventually started his postdoc in the Social Brain Lab of Christian Keysers, first in the NeuroImaging Center of the UMCG Groningen, and recently also at the Netherlands Institute for Neuroscience in Amsterdam.
Dr Cerliani is exploring different methods to analyze and describe the structure underlying the variation of anatomical connectivity in a given brain region, at the level allowed by diffusion-weighted images. These methods have been first applied to the study of human insular connectivity. In the first years of postdoc he also tremendously enjoyed training several MA and PhD students in these neuroimaging techniques. He is currently the recipient of an NWO (Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research) grant awarded to Christian Keysers to study anatomical and functional brain connectivity in the Autism Spectrum Disorder. His publications are available here.