Angelo Bifone

Senior Researcher Tenured
Director MRI Research Line

Contacts

Corso Bettini, 31

About

e-mail: angelo.bifone@iit.it


Current position

2016 to date: Director MRI Research Line and Tenured Senior Scientist of the Istituto Italiano di Tecnologia.


Synopsis

After completing my undergraduate studies in Physics at the University of Rome, I earned a PhD in Physics from the Scuola Normale Superiore in Pisa and a Master in Business Administration from Alma Graduate School, University of Bologna.

My career includes stints in academia and in industry R&D. I worked as a PostDoc at the University of Berkeley (California) and at the University of Leiden (The Netherlands). From 1996 to 2001 I was  a Lecturer at the Institute of Cancer Research (UK), where I obtained the status of Teacher of the University of London. For 9 years I headed the Neuroimaging Department of the Medicines Research Center of Glaxo Smith-Kline, a large research-based pharmaceutical company, in Verona, Italy. In 2010 I joined the Istituto Italiano di Tecnologia, where I took roles of increasing responsibility.


Previous positions


2013-2016: Director of the Center for Neuroscience and Cognitive Systems, IIT@UniTn, Rovereto, Italy

2010-2013: Director of the Center for Nanotechnology Innovation, IIT@NEST, Pisa, Italy

2001-2010: Director of the Department of Neuroimaging, Glaxo Smith-Kline Research Center, Verona, Italy

1996-2001: Lecturer in Magnetic Resonance, Instiute of Cancer Research, University of London, UK.

1994-1996: Postdoctoral Fellow, Chemistry Department, University of Leiden, The Netherlands.


Education:

1990: Master Degree ("Laurea") in Physics, University of Rome "La Sapienza", Italy.

1991-1994: PhD in Physics, Scuola Normale Superiore, Pisa, Italy (supervisor Prof. Franco Bassani).
My doctoral work was performed at the University of California at Berkeley, USA, under the supervision of Prof. Alex Pines.

2004-2005: Master in Business Administration (MBA), Alma Graduate School, University of Bologna, Italy.


Bibliometrics:

I have authored and co-authored over 110 papers in international journals (including PNAS, Neuron, Nature Neuroscience, Physical Review Letters and top-tier specialist journals in the area of biomedical imaging), collecting ca. 4000 citations (Scholar).
h-index: 38 (Scholar Google), 33 (Scopus).
I have also authored 6 patents, several book chapters and over 200 asbtracts in the proceedings of international conferences.


Honors:

In 2004 I was awarded the Sapio Prize for Italian Research.

2002-2005: Honorary Lectureship, University of London, The Institute of Cancer Research

2012: Abilitazione Scientifica Nazionale, Full Professor (I Fascia) of Applied Physics

 

Projects


Research interests:
 

My research activity has been focused primarily on the development of biomedical imaging techniques, with an emphasis on Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) and its application to the neurosciences. A physicist by training, I have strived throughout my scientific career to improve sensitivity, resolution and specificity of MRI, and to push the boundaries of this technique as a diagnostic and research tool to study brain structure and function.

My first research efforts as an independent scientist were aimed at the development of high-sensitivity MR tracers (dubbed hyperpolarized agents) to map perfusion in healthy tissues and tumors. While my initial interest lay in the chemico-physical properties of MR imaging probes, I became increasingly involved in their application to functional MRI (fMRI), a method to map hemodynamic responses in the brain as a surrogate for changes in the underlying neuronal activity. Normally, functional MRI relies on an endogenous contrast mechanism, the BOLD effect, which results in very small MR signal changes (only a few percent, at best). The use of exogenous agents can dramatically increase the sensitivity of fMRI, thus improving spatial resolution and making it possible to resolve the brain functional architecture at a finer level. Over the last 12 years, my group has substantially advanced fMRI in models of human neurological and psychiatric disease, with the goal to identify imaging endophenotypes (i.e., biological markers of disease traits) and functional markers of response to pharmacological treatment. A particularly distinctive aspect of my research has been the study of brain functional connectivity and its pharmacological modulation, an area that my group has pioneered. In an industry R&D environment, we have extensively applied these methods to the drug discovery process for psychiatric and neurological indications, providing a powerful translational tool to accelerate progression of novel therapeutic agents towards the clinic.

My current pursuit is the combination of MR Imaging, theoretical modeling and transgenic technology to elucidate the neurophysiological basis of functional conenctivity and its derangements in neurological and psychiatric disease. My goal is to develop a translational platform to map and characterize the architecture of functional connectivity, to identify its neurochemical determinants, and to establish causal relations between the activation/inhibition of specific connectivity pathways and behavior.

In parallel, I cultivate my long-term interest in novel agents for imaging. Specifically, I am leading a Project focusing on Nitrogen-Vacancy centers in nanostructured diamond as a means to hyperpolarize nuclear spins for the production of hyperpolarized agents for imaging of cells and tissues in living organisms. 

 

 

Selected Publications


Selected publications:

 

“Graph analysis and modularity of brain functional connectivity networks: searching for the optimal threshold”

Bordier, C. Nicolini, and A. Bifone

Frontiers in Neuroscience 11, 441 (2017)

 

“Hub-driven remote synchronization in brain networks”

Vlasov and A. Bifone 

Scientific Reports 7:10403 (2017) 

“Differential effects of brain disorders on structural and functional connectivity”
S. Vega-Pons, E. Olivetti, P. Avesani, L. Dodero, A. Gozzi, and A. Bifone 
Frontiers in Neuroscience 10, 605 (2017) 
 
“Community detection in weighted brain connectivity networks beyond the resolution limit”
C. Nicolini, C. Bordier and A. Bifone 
NeuroImage 146:28-39 (2017)
 
“Neural Correlates of Cognitive Control in Gambling Disorder: a Systematic Review of fMRI Studies”
L. Moccia, M. Pettorruso, F. De Crescenzo, L. De Risio, L. Di Nuzzo, G. Martinotti, A. Bifone, L. Janiri, M. Di Nicola
Neuroscience & Biobehavioral Reviews 27(4):104-116 (2017)
 
“Molecularly-imprinted biodegradable nanoparticles”
M. Gagliardi, A. Bertero and A. Bifone 
Scientific Reports 7, 40046 (2017)
 
“Self-similarity and quasi-idempotence in neural networks and related dynamical systems”
L. Minati, J. Winkel , A. Bifone , P. Oświęcimka , J. Jovicich 
Chaos 27(4):043115 (2017)
 
“On the thermodynamic path enabling a room-temperature, laser-assisted graphite to nanodiamond transformation"
F. Gorrini, M. Cazzanelli, N. Bazzanelli, R. Edla, C. Dorigoni, A. Bifone, A. Miotello
Scientific Reports 6, 35244 (2016)
 

“Modular structure of brain networks: breaking the resolution limit by Surprise”

C. Nicolini and A. Bifone  

Scientific Reports (2016) 14;6:19250

 
"A poly(ether-ester) copolymer for the preparation of nanocarriers with improved degradation and drug delivery kinetics"
Gagliardi M, Bertero A, Bardi G, Bifone A.
Mater Sci Eng C Mater Biol Appl. (2016) Feb 1;59:488-99.
 
“Hierarchical organization of functional connectivity in the mouse brain: a complex network approach”
G. Bardella, A. Bifone, A. Gabrielli, A. Gozzi, T. Squartini
Scientific Reports 6, 32060 (2016)
 
"Structural covariance networks in the mouse brain"
Pagani M, Bifone A, Gozzi A.
Neuroimage. (2016) Apr 1;129:55-63.
 
“Water-dispersible three-dimensional LC-nanoresonators”
V. Clericò, L. Masini, A. Boni, S. Meucci, M. Cecchini, F.A. Recchia, A. Tredicucci, A. Bifone
PlosONE  2014 Aug 25;9(8):e105474. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0105474.


“Deficient neuron-microglia signaling results in impaired functional brain connectivity and social behavior”
Y. Zhan, R.C. Paolicelli, F. Sforazzini, L. Weinhard, G. Bolasco, F. Pagani, A. L. Vyssotski, A. Bifone, A. Gozzi, D. Ragozzino, C.T. Gross
Nature Neuroscience 17(3), 400-4006 (2014)

“USPIO-loaded Red Blood Cells as a biomimetic MR contrast agent: a relaxometric study”
A. Boni, D. Ceratti, A. Antonelli, C. Sfara, M. Magnani, E. Manuali, S. Salamida, A. Gozzi, and A. Bifone
Contrast Media and Molecular Imaging 9, 229-236 (2014)

“Distributed BOLD and CBV-weighted resting-state networks in the mouse brain”
F. Sforazzini, A.J. Schwarz, A. Galbusera, A. Bifone, and A. Gozzi
NeuroImage 87, 403-415 (2014) 

“Antimicrobial peptides design by evolutionary multiobject optimization”
G. Maccari, M. Di Luca, R. Nifosì, F. Caldarelli, G. Signore, C. Boccardi, and A. Bifone
PloS Computational Biology 9(9):e1003212 (2013)

“Differential effect of orexin-1 and crf-1 antagonism on stress circuits: a fMRI study in the rat with the pharmacological stressor yohimbine”
A. Gozzi, S: Lepore, E: Merlo Pich, and A. Bifone
Neuropsychopharmacology 38(11):2120-2130 (2013)

“Water dispersal and functionalization of hydrophobic iron oxide nanoparticles with lipid-modified poly(amidoamine) dendrimers”
A. Boni, L. Albertazzi, C. Innocenti, M. Gemmi, and A. Bifone.  
Langmuir 29(35), 10973-10979 (2013)

“Reduced limbic metabolism and fronto-cortical volume in rats vulnerable to alcohol addiction”
A. Gozzi, F. Agosta, M. Massi, R. Ciccocioppo, and A. Bifone
NeuroImage 69, 112-119 (2013)

“Polymeric nanocarriers for controlled and enhanced delivery of therapeutic agents to the CNS”
M. Gagliardi, G. Bardi and A. Bifone
Theraputic Delivery, 3(7), 875–887 (2012), doi: 10.4155/TDE.12.55

“Neuromapping techniques in drug discovery: pharmacological MRI for the assessment of novel antipsychotics”
A. Bifone and A. Gozzi
Expert Opinions in Drug Discovery, 7(11):1071-82 (2012)

“Neuroimaging evidence of altered fronto-cortical and striatal function after prolonged self-administration in the rat”

A. Gozzi, M. Tessari, L. Diacome, F. Agosta, S. Lepore, A. Lanzoni, P. Cristofori, E. Merlo-Pich, M. Corsi, and A. Bifone

Neuropsychopharmacology (20 July 2011) doi:10.1038/npp.2011.129

“Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging reveals different substrates for the effects of OX1 and OX2 receptor antagonists”

A. Gozzi, G. Turrini, L. Piccoli, M. Massagrande, D. Amantini, M. Antolini, P. Martinelli, N. Cesari, D. Montanari, M. Tessari, M. Corsi, and A. Bifone.  PLoS ONE 6(1) art. No. e16406 (2011)

“A neural switch for active and passive fear”

A. Gozzi A, A. Jain, A. Giovannelli,  C. Bertollini, V. Crestan, A. Schwarz, T. Tsetsenis, D. Ragozzino, C. Gross, and A. Bifone

Neuron, 67(4), 655-666 (2010)

“Community structure of functional connectivity networks: resolving brain functional organisation with pharmacological MRI”

A. Schwarz, A. Gozzi, and A. Bifone

NeuroImage 47(1), 302-311 (2009)

 

“Differential effects of antipsychotic and glutamatergic agents on the phMRI response to phencyclidine”

A. Gozzi, C.Large, A. Schwarz, S. Bertani, V. Crestan, and A. Bifone

Neuropsychopharmacology 33, 1690-1703 (2008)

 

“Community structure and modularity in networks of correlated brain activity”

A. Schwarz, A. Gozzi, and A. Bifone

Magnetic Resonance Imaging 26(7), 914-920 (2008)

 

“In vivo mapping of functional connectivity in neurotransmitter systems using pharmacological MRI”

A. Schwarz, A. Gozzi, T. Reese, and A. Bifone

NeuroImage 34(4), 1627-1636 (2007)

 

“A stereotaxic MRI template set for the rat brain with tissue class distribution maps and co-registered anatomical atlas: application to pharmacological MRI”

A. Schwarz, A. Danckaert, T. Reese, A. Gozzi, G. Paxinos, C. Watson, E. Merlo-Pich, and A. Bifone

NeuroImage 32, 538-550 (2006) (article featured on the cover)

 

“Region-specific effects of nicotine on brain activity: a pharmacological MRI study in the drug-naïve rat”

A. Gozzi, A. Schwarz, T. Reese, S. Bertani, V. Crestan,  and A. Bifone

Neuropsychopharmacology, 31, 1690-1703 (2006)

 

“Concurrent in situ micro-dialysis and pharmacological MRI of cocaine reveal a complex relationship between the central haemodynamic response and local dopamine concentration”

A. Schwarz, A. Zocchi, T. Reese, A. Gozzi, M. Garzotti, G. Varnier, O. Curcuruto, I. Sartori, E. Girlanda, B. Biscaro, V. Crestan, S. Bertani, C. Heidbreder, and A. Bifone

NeuroImage 23, 296-304 (2004)

 

“The selective dopamine D3 receptor antagonist SB-277011-A potentiates phMRI response to acute amphetamine challenge in the rat brain”

A.J. Schwarz, A. Gozzi, T. Reese, S. Bertani, V. Crestan, C. Heidbreder, J. Hagan, and A. Bifone

Synapse 54(1), 1-10 (2004)

 

“Hyperpolarised 129Xe in Biology”

A. Cherubini and  A.Bifone

Progress in NMR Spectroscopy 42, (1-2), 1-30 (2003)

 

“Hyperpolarising 13C for NMR studies using laser polarised 129Xe: SPINOE vs thermal-mixing”

A. Cherubini, G.S. Payne, M.O. Leach and A. Bifone

Chemical Physics Letters 371, 640-644 (2003)

 

“Characterisation of trabecular bone by dipolar demagnetising field MRI”

S.Capuani, F. Curzi, F.M. Alessandri,  B. Maraviglia and A. Bifone

Magnetic Resonance in Medicine 46, 683-689 (2001)

 

“In vivo hyperpolarized  129Xe NMR spectroscopy in tumours”

J. Wolber, D.J.O. McIntyre, L.M. Rodrigues, P. Carnochan, J.R. Griffiths, M.O. Leach and A. Bifone

Magnetic Resonance in Medicine 46, 586-591 (2001)

 

“Hyperpolarized 129Xe as a probe for blood oxygenation”

J.Wolber, A. Cherubini, M.O. Leach and A.Bifone

Magnetic Resonance in Medicine 43, 4, 491-496 (2000)

Erratum: Magnetic Resonance in Medicine 47, 213 (2002)

 

“Spin-relaxation of laser polarized xenon in human blood”

J.Wolber, A. Cherubini, A.K.S. Dzik-Jurasz, M.O. Leach and A.Bifone.

Proceedings of the National Academy of Science USA, 96, 3664-3669 (1999)

 

“Perfluorocarbon emulsions as intravenous delivery media for hyperpolarised xenon”

J.Wolber, I.Rowland, M.O. Leach and A.Bifone

Magnetic Resonance in Medicine, 41, 442-449 (1999)

 

“Measuring Diffusion of Xenon in Solution with Hyperpolarized 129Xe NMR”

J.Wolber, S.Doran, M.O.Leach and A.Bifone

Chemical Physics Letters 296, 3-4, 391-396 (1998)

 

“Energy storage mechanism in the primary event in vision”

A.Bifone,  H.J.M. de Groot and F.Buda

Journal of Physical Chemistry B, 101, 15, 2954-2958 (1997)

 

“NMR of optically polarized xenon in human blood”

A.Bifone, Y.-Q. Song, R.Seydoux, R.Taylor, B.M.Goodson, T.Pietrab, T.Budinger, G.Navon and A.Pines

Proceedings of the National Academy of Science USA 93, 12932-12936 (1996)

 

“Charge localization and dynamics in rhodopsin”

F.Buda, H.J.M. de Groot  and A.Bifone

Physical Review Letters 77, 22, 4474 (1996)

 

“Surface study of supported metal particles by Xenon-129 NMR”

A.Bifone, T.Pietrass, J.Kritzenberger, A.Pines and B.F.Chmelka

Physical Review Letters 74, 3277 (1995)

 

“Monitoring xenon clathrate hydrate formation on ice surfaces with optically enhanced Xe-129 NMR”

T.Pietrass, H.C.Gaede, A.Bifone, A.Pines and J.A.Ripmeester

Journal of the American Chemical Society 117, 7520 (1995)

 

 

iit Publications

2018 All-optical single-step process for production of nanometric-sized fluorescent diamonds
2018 Complexity in Neural and Financial Systems: From Time-Series to Networks
2017 Community detection in resting state functional connectivity networks beyond the resolution limit
2017 Community detection in weighted brain connectivity networks beyond the resolution limit
2017 Coupled charge and spin dynamics in high-density ensembles of nitrogen-vacancy centers in diamond
2017 Differential effects of brain disorders on structural and functional connectivity
2017 Disrupted modular organization of primary sensory brain areas in schizophrenics
2017 Effect of SB-277011-A, a D3 selective antagonist, on resting state functional connectivity in Wistar rats
2017 Effects of ketamine on the modular organization of brain functional connectivity in healthy volunteers: a model of psychosis
2017 Efficient Parametric Imaging with GPU Computing
2017 Graph analysis and modularity of brain functional connectivity networks: Searching for the optimal threshold
2017 Graph theoretical analysis of the modular organization of resting state functional connectivity in the rat
2017 Gray matter covariance networks in the mouse brain
2017 Hub-driven remote synchronization in brain networks
2017 Modular organization in alcohol dependent patients: a comparison across different cohorts
2017 Modular organization of functional connectivity in schizophrenia patients beyond the resolution limit
2017 Modular organization of resting state functional connectivity networks: breaking the resolution limit by Surprise
2017 Molecularly Imprinted Biodegradable Nanoparticles
2017 Neural correlates of cognitive control in gambling disorder: a systematic review of fMRI studies
2017 Self-similarity and quasi-idempotence in neural networks and related dynamical systems
2017 The modeling and synthesis of nanodiamonds by laser ablation of graphite and diamond-like carbon in liquid-confined ambient
2017 The modelling and synthesis of nanodiamonds with laser ablation of graphite and diamond-like carbon in liquid-confined ambient
2017 The modular structure of brain functional connectivity networks: a graph theoretical approach
2017 Use of fNIRS to study functional connectivity in the newborn brain: a source-space data analysis approach
2016 A poly(ether-ester) copolymer for the preparation of nanocarriers with improved degradation and drug delivery kinetics
2016 Erratum to Altered functional connectivity networks in acallosal and socially impaired BTBR mice (Brain Struct Funct, (2016), 10.1007/s00429-014-0948-9)
2016 Gray matter networks in the mouse brain
2016 Grey matter networks in the mouse brain
2016 Hierarchical organization of functional connectivity in the mouse brain: A complex network approach
2016 Hub induced remote synchronization in complex networks of Kuramoto oscillators
2016 Modular structure of brain functional networks: Breaking the resolution limit by Surprise
2016 On the thermodynamic path enabling a room-temperature, laser-assisted graphite to nanodiamond transformation
2016 Probe design for fNIRS studies of the newborn brain
2016 Structural covariance networks in the mouse brain
2016 Wiring transmission in the serotonergic system
2015 A rabies virus based approach to map serotonergic neurons innervating different brain structures
2015 Automated multi-subject fiber clustering of mouse brain using dominant sets
2015 Chemical synthesis of a biodegradable PEGylated copolymer from ε-caprolactone and γ-valerolactone: evaluation of reaction and functional properties
2015 COMT genetic reduction produces sexually divergent effects on cortical anatomy and working memory in mice and humans
2015 Large-scale analysis of neuroimaging data on commercial clouds with content-aware resource allocation strategies
2015 Networks of anatomical covariance of the mouse brain
2014 Deficient neuron-microglia signaling results in impaired functional brain connectivity and social behavior
2014 Distributed BOLD and CBV-weighted resting-state networks in the mouse brain
2014 Dominant β-catenin mutations cause intellectual disability with recognizable syndromic features
2014 Dysfunctional dopaminergic neurotransmission in asocial BTBR mice
2014 Intransal administration of neuroactive peptides elicits robust fMRI responses in the mouse brain
2014 Lipid-modified dendrimers as a tool for the design of nanoparticle-based multimodal MRI contrast agents
2014 Manganese-enhanced magnetic resonance imaging investigation of the interferon-α model of depression in rats
2014 Modular organization of mouse brain functional connectivity
2014 Surface functionalisation regulates polyamidoamine dendrimer toxicity on blood-brain barrier cells and the modulation of key inflammatory receptors on microglia
2014 USPIO-loaded red blood cells as a biomimetic MR contrast agent: A relaxometric study
2014 Water-dispersible three-dimensional LC-nanoresonators
2013 Antimicrobial Peptides Design by Evolutionary Multiobjective Optimization
2013 Differential effect of orexin-1 and CRF-1 antagonism on stress circuits: A fMRI study in the rat with the pharmacological stressor yohimbine
2013 Inhibition of glycine transporter-1 reduces cue-induced nicotine-seeking, but does not promote extinction of conditioned nicotine cue responding in the rat
2013 In vivo distribution and toxicity of PAMAM dendrimers in the central nervous system depend on their surface chemistry
2013 Neuroimaging Evidence of Major Morpho-Anatomical and Functional Abnormalities in the BTBR T+TF/J Mouse Model of Autism
2013 Reduced limbic metabolism and fronto-cortical volume in rats vulnerable to alcohol addiction
2013 The Morphology and Adhesion Mechanism of Octopus vulgaris Suckers
2013 The role of cytoskeleton networks on lipid-mediated delivery of DNA
2013 Translational approach to develop novel medications on alcohol addiction: Focus on neuropeptides
2013 Water dispersal and functionalization of hydrophobic iron oxide nanoparticles with lipid-modified poly(amidoamine) dendrimers
2012 A robust experimental protocol for pharmacological fMRI in rats and mice
2012 Automatic tractography analysis through sparse networks in case-control studies
2012 Brain reinforcement system function is ghrelin dependent: Studies in the rat using pharmacological fMRI and intracranial self-stimulation
2012 Cancer cell targeting of lipid gene vectors by protein corona
2012 Cancer cell targeting of lipid gene vectors by protein corona
2012 Cholesterol-dependent macropinocytosis and endosomal escape control the transfection efficiency of lipoplexes in CHN living cells
2012 Modulation of fronto-cortical activity by modafinil: A functional imaging and Fos study in the rat
2012 Mouse neuroimaging phenotyping in the cloud
2012 Neuromapping techniques in drug discovery: Pharmacological MRI for the assessment of novel antipsychotics
2012 Polymeric nanocarriers for controlled and enhanced delivery of therapeutic agents to the CNS
2012 Rotating-polarization CARS microscopy: Combining chemical and molecular orientation sensitivity
2012 Surface functionalized multicomponent envelope type nanosystems for improved gene delivery
2012 Transfection efficiency boost of cholesterol-containing lipoplexes
2012 Voxel scale complex networks of functional connectivity in the rat brain: Neurochemical state dependence of global and local topological properties
2011 Functional and pharmacological MRI in understanding brain function at a systems level
2011 Functional magnetic resonance imaging reveals different neural substrates for the effects of orexin-1 and orexin-2 receptor antagonists
2011 Neuroimaging evidence of altered fronto-cortical and striatal function after prolonged cocaine self-administration in the rat
2010 A neural switch for active and passive fear
2010 Functional connectivity in the rat brain: A complex network approach
2010 Modulation of the glutamatergic system: from rat to human

Awards

In 2004 I was awarded the Sapio Prize for Italian Research.

2002-2005: Honorary Lectureship, University of London, The Institute of Cancer Research

2012: Abilitazione Scientifica Nazionale, Full Professor (I Fascia) of Applied Physics