Education

2003: PhD Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience, University College London, London, UK.
Thesis title: “The quantifying brain: a functional imaging approach to subitizing, counting, and numerosity estimation”.
Supervisors: Prof. Brian Butterworth and Dr. Cathy Price.

2002: European Diploma in Cognitive and Brain Sciences (EDCBS) obtained. The Max Planck-Institute for Psychological Research, München, Germany.

1997: Laurea (BSc) in Experimental Psychology obtained (grade: 110/110 Summa cum Laude). University of Padova, Italy.
Dissertation title: "3+4=? Verifica sperimentale di un modello di calcolo mentale".
Supervisor: Prof. Carlo Umiltà.

Academic career and teaching activities

ACADEMIC CAREER

CURRENT POSITION:

2019-present: Coordinator of the Master's program in Cognitive Science of the Center for Mind/Brain Sciences, University of Trento, Italy.

2015-present: Associate Professor (SSD M-PSI02) at Center for Mind/Brain Sciences, University of Trento, Italy.

         2017: Obtained National Scientific Abilitation for a Full Professor position.

PREVIOUS POSITIONS:

2007 - 2014: Researcher at Center for Mind/Brain Sciences (CIMeC), University of Trento, Italy.

2005 - 2014: Research affiliate at the research unit UNICOG of INSERM (Institut national de la santé et de la recherche médicale), NeuroSpin, CEA Saclay, Gif-Sur-Yvette, France.

2003 - 2005: Post-Doctoral Researcher (European Marie Curie Individual Fellow) at INSERM U562. Orsay, France.

TEACHING ACTIVITIES:

LAUREA TRIENNALE/ BACHELOR LEVEL

Full Course (1): “The cognitive and neural basis of reading and calculation”. Faculty of Cognitive Science, University of Trento, IT.

Full Course (2): “Current debates in cognitive neurosciences” (In English). Faculty of Cognitive Science, University of Trento, IT.

Parts of the Course (3): “Research methods in psychology”. Faculty of Cognitive Science, University of Trento, IT.

MASTER LEVEL

Parts of the Course (1): “Foundations in cognitive psychology and neuroscience”. Cognitive and Brain Sciences (CIMeC) Master in Cognitive Science, University of Trento, IT.

Parts of the Course (2): “Advanced cognitive psychology and neuroscience”. Cognitive and Brain Sciences (CIMeC) Master in Cognitive Science, University of Trento, IT.

Occasional Lectures at the Master in Cognitive Science (Cogmaster), Ecole Normale Superieure, Paris, FR.

Research interests

The neurocognitive bases of numerical cognition and of semantic processing. Symbol learning and the neural changes associated to it. The brain networks underlying semantic representations of words and numbers.

Research work

In my research group we study the relation between perception and symbolic cognition: on one side, we investigate which aspects of perception act as fundamental building blocks for the development of language-based symbolic cognition; on the other side we study if and how symbolic acquisitions in turn shape perception. 

We like combining different methodological approaches and studying different populations: according to the core research question at hand, we use either psychophysics and/or neuroimaging (fMRI, M-EEG) in adults, children and infants from different cultures (e.g. westerns compared to amazon indigenous indians) and with different cognitive/perceptual skills (typically developing compared to dyscalculics and/or dyslexics).

Our research spans over two main areas: number processing and word processing.

Memberships in societies and scientific committees

2019-present: Panel Chair of the ERC Starting Grants (ERC-2019-StG) for the SH4 (“The Human Mind and Its Complexity”). European Research Council. Bruxelles (Be).

2019-present: Elected Member of the International Neuropsychological Symposium.

2016-2019: Panel Member of the ERC Starting Grants (ERC-2016-StG; ERC-2017-StG; ERC-2018-StG) for the SH4 (“The Human Mind and Its Complexity”). European Research Council. Bruxelles (Be).

2010-present: Examiner in several PhD thesis committee (University of Szeged, Hungary; University of Padova, Italy; University of Louvain-La-Neuve, Belgium; University of Louven, Belgium; University of Florence, Italy; University Paris Descartes, France).

Regular Ad-hoc reviewer for scientific journals:

Science, Nature Neuroscience, PLoS Biology, Current Biology, Journal of Neuroscience, Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience, Cerebral Cortex, NeuroImage, Cognition, Cognitive Neuropsychology, Journal of Experimental Psychology:HPP, Animal Cognition, Cortex, Laterality, Neuropsychology, Neuropsychologia, Perception & Psychophysics, Vision research, Journal of Vision, PLoS One.

Conferences and lectures

PLENARY TALKS

- SPADE workshop (Sensory plasticity, Adaptation, and Development). Pisa Vision Lab, Pisa, Italy, 2018.

- International Neuropsychological Symposium. Crete, Greece, 2017.

- Collège de France. Colloquium on “Interactions between Space, Time and Number: 20 Years of Research”. Talk: “How do young children expand their number sense?”. Paris, FR. 2013.

- International Association for Child and Adolescent Psychiatrists World Congress. Talk: “How culture shapes the brain”. Paris, FR. 2012.

- Collège de France. Colloquium on “Cognitive Science and Education”. Talk: “Le gout du nombre et comment l’acquerir”. Paris, FR. 2012.

- Attention and Performance Symposium "Space, Time and Number in the Brain". Talk: “Neurocognitive Start-up-tool for symbolic number knowledge”. Cernay, FR. 2010.

- Education, Cognition and Neuroscience: International workshop. Department of Cognitive and Education Sciences. Talk: “Neurocognitive Start-up-tool in Numerical Cognition”. University of Trento, IT. 2009.

- Concepts, Actions, and Objects: International workshop. Center for Mind/Brain Sciences. Talk: “Number concepts: Quantity meets symbols in parietal cortex”. Universtiy of Trento, IT. 2007.

- Cognitive Neuroscience Society Meeting. Talk: “Number sense: Quantity meets symbols in parietal cortex”. New York, USA. 2007.

- British Experimental Psychology Society Meeting. Talk: “The quantifying brain: cerebral correlates of numerosity estimation and counting”. London, UK. 2001.

INVITED LECTURES (a short selection)

- Dartmouth College, Hanover, New Hampshire, USA. 2019.

- Central European University, Budapest, HU. 2017.

- Montessori International, Amsterdam, NL. 2016.

- International School on Mind, Brain, and Education. Erice, IT. 2015.

- Humboldt University of Berlin, DE. 2014.

- University of Louvain la Neuve, BE. 2014.

- University of Cambridge, UK. 2013.

- Pisa Vision Lab, CNR Pisa, IT. 2012.

- National Dyscalculia and Maths Learning Difficulties Conference. London, UK. 2010.

- French Developmental Neuroscience Group. Neurospin, Saclay, FR. 2010.

- Associazione Italiana Psicologia. Sciacca, IT. 2004.

- University of Gent, BE. 2002.

Other work

University responsabilities:

- Membro della Commissione Paritetica Docenti Studenti per la laurea triennale Scienze e Tecniche di Psicologia Cognitiva 

- Responsabile CIMeC per la Valutazione VQR 2011-2014

- Membro del Comitato Esecutivo della Scuola di Dottorato del CIMeC.

- Membro del Gruppo di Lavoro AVA2/SUA RD

- Referente CIMeC per la Biblioteca

- Membro della Commissione per la selezione al Collegio di Merito B. Clesio

Clinical-related activity:

  • 2010-2015: Teaching at “Continuing education courses” for pediatricians and speech therapists on dyscalculia in Italy, France, Belgium, England.
  • 2012: Co-responsible in the conception and implementation of a computer-based Education and Rehabilitation Game for number processing and calculation (“The number catcher”). http://www.thenumbercatcher.com/. Paris, FR.
  • 2000: Consulting in the conception of a test for diagnosis of developmental dyscalculia (“Dyscalculia Screener”, by B. Butterworth, nferNelson Publisher). London, UK.

Popularization of scientific results:

  • Articles/interviews in newspapers and scientific magazins (« National Geographic », « La Stampa », « Vita d'Infanzia », « Il Trentino », « L'Adige », « Telerama», « Pour La Science », « Science et Vie »).
  • TV and radio programs (« Le magazine de la santé » of France3, « Icarus », France; « radio3scienza », Italy).
  • Talks at various conferences, mainly related to Neuroscience and Education (e.g., Association Montessori International, Amsterdam; Ministero dell'Istruzione, Università e Ricerca, Roma).
  • Installation of experiments for visitors at the Science Museum in Bristol (UK) (“science@bristol science museum”) on basic number abilities.
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