The Neurophysics Group has the objective to study physical mechanisms underlying signal perception and transduction in the nervous system and to apply experimental physics methods to problems in neuroscience. The lab is hosted in the new CIMeC building at the Manifattura in Rovereto and the experimental equipment is provided by the Department of Physics of the University of Trento.
The core facility is a two-photon in vivo imaging platform developed at the Nonlinear bioimaging laboratory, a technique that allows for non-invasive structural and functional measurements in small animal models at different scales: from macroscopic imaging of the brain morphology to highly resolved microscopy of neuron populations, single neurons, and even subcellular structures. In vivo mapping of brain activity is implemented via calcium imaging techniques at high temporal resolution. Single action potential resolution will be feasible after a future extension of the system, as well as combination of optical imaging with different measurement techniques like electrophysiology.
Research activity of the laboratory is concentrated on the olfactory system, starting from primary odour perception, via information coding in the first processing centers to learning-associated changes in structure and function of the neural networks. A promising model studied in this context is the honeybee, which with a brain of just one million neurons is able to perform even complicated cognition and learning tasks.