Neural Coding

Research activities

The Neural Coding Laboratory is a shared interdisciplinary initiative between Stefano Panzeri and Tommaso Fellin. The laboratory aims to crack the neural code by understanding the cellular mechanisms underlying the encoding, processing and transfer of information in neuronal circuits.

To achieve these goals, we combine state-of-the-art recording of neural activity (single and multiple unit activity, local field potentials, patch-clamp recordings, two-photon imaging) and causal manipulation of neural activity (single- and two-photon patterned optogenetics) with advanced analytical approaches (information theory, causal analysis) and realistic modeling of neural network dynamics.


Cellular mechanisms underlying brain state transitions

Cellular determinants of sensory information processing

Novel technologies to crack the brain code underlying perception

Advanced algorithms for the analysis of imaging and electrophysiological data


The interdisciplinary activity of the Neural Coding Laboratory is spread across two highly interacting units. Experimental activities are carried out in the Department of Neuroscience and Brain Technologies at IIT Genova. Theoretical research is mostly carried out in the Center for Neuroscience and Cognitive Systems at IIT Rovereto. The laboratory is equipped with state of the art experimental and computational facilities.

Selected Publications


Principal investigators

Tommaso Fellin

Tommaso Fellin graduated in Physics at the University of Padova in 1998 studying enzyme kinetics with time-resolved spectroscopy. From 1998 to 2003, as a PhD student in the Dept. of Biomedical Sciences at University of Padova, he investigated the biophysical properties of voltage-gated calcium channels and the functional consequences of mutations in calcium channels linked to human neurological disorders. During his first postdoctoral training period (2003-2004), he integrated electrophysiological and imaging techniques to study neuron-glia communication in brain slices. In 2005 he moved to the Dept. of Neuroscience at University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine as a senior post doctoral researcher and continued his research on neuron-glia interaction. In 2008, he joined the department of Neuroscience and Brain Technologies at the Italian Institute of Technology (IIT) as a junior team leader. He is currently senior team leader at the IIT and recipient of the European Research Council (ERC) consolidator grant NEURO-PATTERNS.

Stefano Panzeri

Stefano Panzeri received a Laurea in Physics from the University of Torino, and a PhD in Computational Neuroscience from SISSA, Trieste, Italy. He has held personal Research Fellowship awards in both theoretical physics and computational neuroscience, including an INFN junior Fellowship in Theoretical Physics at Turin University, an EU Marie Curie postdoctoral Fellowship at the University of Oxford, and an MRC Research Fellowship in Neuroinformatics at the University of Newcastle. He has held tenured Faculty positions as assistant, associate and full professor at the Universities of Manchester and Glasgow. He has been visiting scientist at the Max Planck Institute for Biological Cybernetics and at Harvard Medical School. He served as Deputy Chair of the UK Medical Research Council panel for fellowships in Bioinformatics and Neuroinformatics; as a member of the UK EPSRC Review College, and as an editor of the journal Frontiers in Systems Neuroscience and of Journal of Neuroscience methods. His research lies at the interface between theory and experiment and aims at understanding the principles of cortical information processing by developing new quantitative data analysis techniques based on the principles of Information Theory and by developing computational models of neural network function. At IIT, he works as Senior Scientist (with Tenure) and directs the Laboratory of Neural Computation. He also currently serves as Coordinator of the Center for Neuroscience and Cognitive Systems of the IIT in Rovereto.