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BSR Lab Members - May 2021

Michele Bellesi, MD, PhD

Principal Investigator

I am a neurologist who obtained his M.D. degree at the University of Ancona in Italy. After completing my residency in Neurology, I pursued a Ph.D. in Neuroscience, which prompted me to join the Center for Sleep and Consciousness at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. There, I developed a cohesive research program to study the complex reciprocal interaction between the sleep/wake cycle and glial cells. After a period spent at the University of Bristol as independent PI, I joined the University of Camerino (Italy) as associate professor in 2020. Here, I am currently investigating the cellular consequences of sleep disruption and enhancement in health and disease.

Luisa de Vivo, PhD

Principal Investigator

I am a biologist fascinated by sleep. I obtained my PhD in Neuroscience at University of Ancona (Italy) in 2010. I then moved  to Pisa (Italy) to work with Dr Gian Michele Ratto at NEST - CNR Nanoscience, where I received training in in vivo electrophysiology and two-photon microscopy that I applied to study synaptic plasticity in the visual cortex. In 2012, I joined Profs. Giulio Tononi and Chiara Cirelli's laboratory at University of Wisconsin-Madison (USA), where I investigated the effects of sleep and sleep loss at the cellular level, defining morphological and molecular changes in neurons across different physiological states. Since 2019, I have established my independent research laboratory, at University of Bristol first, and then at University of Camerino, where I study the link between sleep loss and mental health.

Eleonora Ficiarà, PhD

Post-doctoral researcher

I am a post-doc researcher at Brain Sleep Research Laboratory at the University of Camerino. I earned my Ph.D. in Complex Systems for Life Sciences in 2022 after a Master’s Degree in Physics in 2017 at the University of Torino and Bachelor’s Degree in Physics in 2014 at the University of Camerino. After Ph.D., I hold one year of Postdoctoral Fellow in the project “Application of Artificial Intelligence in Neuroscience” at the University of Torino. I am passionate about neuroscience and my scientific interests are strongly multidisciplinary, involving the interplay of physics, data science, biology and medicine.

I am involved in projects aiming to investigate the neurophysiological mechanisms of sleep joining computational and experimental approaches for electrophysiological and imaging data. My research works are mainly related to the analysis of biomedical data, focusing on the application of computational models.

Alessandra Ottaviani, PhD

Post-doctoral researcher

I am a curious and highly motivated neurobiologist who got a master's degree in Neurobiology (2017/2018) at the University of Pavia. During the research internship, I carried out the reconstruction of the biophysical detail model of the cerebellar Basket cell. In 2019, I joined the Ph.D. course in Biomedical Sciences (curriculum Neurophysiology) at the University of Pavia with Prof. Egidio D'Angelo and Prof. Lisa Mapelli, where I investigated information processing in the cerebellar cortex gaining experience in exciting and cutting-edge techniques such as ex vivo multielectrode array, machine learning algorithms, statistical analysis and in silico modeling. Currently, I'm a Post Doc at the BrainSleep Research Laboratory where I have the opportunity to explore the physiological mechanism of sleep, which is fascinating research that I am passionate about.

Oluwatomisin Faniyan

PhD Candidate

I am a Neuroscientist with a background in Human Anatomy. I obtained my M.Sc at the University of Lagos, Nigeria, where I investigated the mechanism underlying sleep disturbance induced by Efavirenz (an antiretroviral drug commonly used in Africa). I also worked with Professor Oremosu and Dr Dosumu’s Laboratory at the University of Lagos, Nigeria, using different research models such as mice and Drosophila melanogaster. Currently, I am a PhD student at the University of Camerino where I investigate the role of sleep loss on the development of substance abuse disorder. 

Reyila Simayi

PhD Candidate

I got my master degree in Molecular diagnostics and Biotechnology, from the University of Camerino, Italy. During a year research internship at Mark Denham's Laboratory, Aarhus University (Denmark), I have been experienced in molecular biology and stem cell culturing, which involved using human induced pluripotent stem cells to investigating the link between patients with heterozygous GBA mutations and Parkinson’s disease. As a passionate young biologist, I am fascinated about the field of neuroscience. Presently, I am a PhD student at the Brain Sleep Research Laboratory where I am investigating the behavioral consequences of sleep loss during adolescence.

Luyan Zhang

PhD Candidate

I got my master degree from Zhengzhou University of Light Industry in Food science and Engineering, China. Thereafter, I joined Zhengzhou University of Light Industry as an experimental assistant teacher at the School of Food and Bioengineering. I focused my research on development and utilization of natural antioxidants, and I mainly studied the antioxidant active substances in the Maillard reaction products (MRPs). Currently, I am a Ph.D. student at the Brain Sleep Research Laboratory where I investigate the effects of sleep enhancement in Alzheimer's disease.

Matteo Andreozzi

PhD Candidate

I am Matteo, a passionate and dedicated researcher who is currently pursuing a PhD in Theoretical and Apllied Neuroscience with a focus on sleep and neural plasticity. I have always had a strong interest in science, which led me to study Biotechnology as an undergraduate and later pursue a Master's degree in Molecular Diagnostics. During my time in graduate school, I conducted research on Alzheimer's Disease Astrocytes, where I characterized their proteolytic systems. This experience sparked my passion for neurobiology and neuroscience and led me to pursue a career in the field. My current research focuses on the relationship between sleep, alcohol addiction and neural plasticity, utilizing advanced techniques such as calcium imaging. Through my research, I hope to contribute to our understanding of how sleep modulates addictive behavior, how it affects mental health and neurodisorders

Letizia Santoni

PhD Candidate

I’m an enthusiastic PhD student in Theoretical and Applied Neuroscience, who decided to focus her work on sleep and how this affects neurodegeneration. During my Master’s degree in Neuroscience at the University of Trieste, I joined the laboratory of Professor Tongiorgi, where I deepened my passion for neuropathologies and the study of their mechanisms. There, I learnt how to work with different types of cell cultures and how to perform many different assays and analyses. In general, I’m a person that aspires to learn as much as possible from the people around her. 

Currently, I am working in the BSR laboratory undertaking a project on Alzheimer’s disease and sleep enhancement.

Anusa Ganguly

PhD Candidate

I am a PhD scholar in Theoretical and Applied Neuroscience who is motivated to delve deeper into the multifaceted nature of sleep. I obtained my Master’s degree in Microbiology from University of Calcutta. I have always been fascinated by the complexities of brain function and the intricacy of neuronal networks that underlie the diverse aspects of human cognition and behaviour. My aspiration of becoming a Neuroscientist was fuelled by my research experience in the laboratory of Prof. James P. Clement Chelliah at JNCASR, India, where my main project focused on identifying a potential therapeutic target for Alzheimer’s disease, with a specific focus on novel EAAT-2 activators. I am deeply passionate to work on neurological disorders, given their significant global impact affecting millions of individuals worldwide. Currently, I am pursuing my doctoral studies in the BSR laboratory and I aim to explore the complex interplay between sleep enhancement and epilepsy.

Former members:

Monika Chaulagain

Daniela Franchini, PhD

Sabrina Galizia

Amina Aboufares El Alaoui

Federico Del Gallo (→ senior scientist at Evotec, Italy)

Nam Ahn Ngo (→ PhD candidate at Friedrich-Alexander-Universität)

Marco Rendine (→ PhD candidate at the University of Milan)

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