RATTO GIAN MICHELE
GIAN MICHELE RATTO
Professore a Contratto
Tel. +39 050 3153168
fax +39 050 3153220
SEDE DI LAVORO

Palazzo della Carovana

Scuola Normale Superiore
Piazza dei Cavalieri, 7
56126, PISA

Education:
1984 Degree in Phsysics at the University of Genoa
1984-1988 University of California at Berkeley. Post doctoral fellow in the Department of Physiology and Biophysics with Roger Tsien and Geoff Owen.
1988-1990 Institute of Neurophysiology CNR (Pisa, Italy). Fellowship of the National Academy of Lincei
1990-1991 The Physiological Laboratory, Cambridge (UK). Research Associate with Peter McNaughton
1992-1994 Post doc at the Institute of Neurophysiology (Pisa)
1995 Department of Psychology, University of California at Davis. Lecturer
1997 - 2006 Tenured scientist at the Institute of Neuroscience (Pisa)
2007 - Senior scientist at the NEST centre of the Scuola Normale Superiore

Research Activity:
My interest is focused on the cellular mechanisms at the bases of neuronal and cellular function. I like to find out how and why cells do what they do. Altough these questions are often better asked in simplified experimental models, the ultimate goal is to test mechanicistic hypothesis in vivo.
In the past few years, we have been studying the role of the Extracellular signal-Regulated Kinase ERK1/2 in the mechanisms at the basis of synaptic plasticity in the visual cortex. In order to gain insight on these mechanisms we have developed imaging tools to study the dynamics of ERK activation and action in living cells. In parallel we have been developing a two photon confocal microscope and the associate technology required to perform imaging in the intact brain. At present we are employing this technology to explore the intricate relationship betwen neuronal and glial activity in the brain in physiological and pathological conditions.
We are recipient of a multicentric Telethon grant to study the mechanisms at the bases of epilepsy and in the framework of this project we are understanding that neurons and astrocytes form an auto-excitatory loop that can move the cortex in and out from states of hyperexcitation.

CORSI