Connecting European Neuroscience

Laura Cancedda

Programme Committee Member FENS Forum 2020

Curriculum Vitae

Professional and Academic Career

Academic carrier:

  • 2016: The Italian Institute of Technology, Genoa, Italy Senior group leader (tenured)
  • 2016: Dulbecco Telethon Institute Assistant scientist
  • 2013-2016: The Italian Institute of Technology, Genoa, Italy Senior group leader
  • 2008-2013: The Italian Institute of Technology, Genoa, Italy Junior group leader
  • 2003-2007: University of California at Berkeley, USA Post-doctoral fellow; Advisor: Poo M
  • 2004: Chinese Academy of Sciences, Shanghai Visiting fellow; Host: Yuan X
  • 2000-2003: Scuola Normale Superiore, Pisa, Italy Graduate student; Advisor: Maffei L
  • 2000: Brain Institute RIKEN Wako-Shi, Japan Visiting fellow; Host: Hensch TK

Professional activities:

  • 2016- : Advisory board member for the Neuroscience of Fondazione Pisana per la Scienza, Pisa, Italy
  • 2016: Member of the FENS-KAVLI network of excellence
  • 2015: License agreement with BEX (Japan) for commercialization of a new electrode for in utero electroporation (cat. # LF653)
  • 2014: Special issue guest editor for Frontiers in Neuroscience: “GABAergic system in CNS development and maldevelopment”.
  • 2011: Special issue guest editor for Neural Plasticity: “GABAergic circuit development and its implication for CNS disorders”

Honours and Awards 

  • 2017: Selected among the best 100 young Italian scientists operating in Italy or abroad (Cartaditalia magazine).
  • 2016: Awarded the European Research Council (ERC) consolidator grant. The project was featured in the press release (7 projects featured out of 314 funded) for announcing the results by the ERC communication unit
  • Appointed scholar of the FENS-KAVLI network of excellence (FKNE). Young researcher award, memorial Mario Mai
  • 2015: Awarded the grant and appointed assistant scientist at Dulbecco Telethon Institute (DTI), Italy.
  • 2009: Young investigator award, Italian Society of Physiology (SIF), Italy
  • Lab members received awards including: Excellent Paper in Neuroscience Award (EPNA, 2016); Art of Neuroscience award (FENS, 2015) ; Best presentation award (Neuronus meeting, Poland, 2014), Best Poster Award (FENS-SFN Summer School, Italy, 2014 & Molecular Mechanisms in Neuroscience, Italy, 2011), Best European Project award (Erasmus Program, 2013).

General Administrative and Organisational Experience

  • 2018: Organizer of the Fens-Kavli workshop for postdocs, FENS Meeting, Berlin, Germany.
  • Recruitment committee member for 2 researcher positions at the National Research Council (CNR), Italy
  • 2018-2012: PhD dissertation committee member at national/international Universities (1.5/year)
  • 2017: Advisory board member of Fondazione Pisana per la Scienza, Italy
  • 2017: Recruitment committee member for a researcher position at Scuola Normale Superiore, Pisa, a researcher & a technologist position at IIT, Genova and PhD positions at University of Genoa, Italy
  • 2016: Scientific committee member for organizing the DTI-TIGEM-TIGET meeting, Roma, Italy.
  • Evaluation committee member for carrier advancement, IIT
  • 2012: Organizer of the symposium “Activity-dependent modifications of neuronal circuits: plasticity, adaptation and tenacity”, Italian Society of Neuroscience meeting, Italy
  • Editorial Board member: Frontiers Cellular Neuroscience, PeerJ.

Research Interests

  • Basic research on extracellular factors such as neurotrophins, cell adhesion molecules, and the neurotransmitter GABA in regulating physiological brain development (cortex and hippocampus) and synaptic plasticity in rodents
  • Translational preclinical studies for the treatment of diagnostic symptoms in neurodevelopmental disorders. A large part of the laboratory is investigating drug repurposing, new drug discovery and gene therapy for the treatment of cognitive impairment in diverse mouse models of Down syndrome and in clinical studies. Recently, the lab has also extended its interest to autism spectrum disorders
  • Development and commercialization of new technological tools including in utero electro/sonoporation to perform genetic manipulations in rodents in vivo
    The lab utilizes a multidisciplinary approach with molecular biology, biochemistry, electrophysiology and behavioural tests.

Selected Publications

  1. Naskar S, Narducci R, Balzani B, Cwetsch AV, Tucci V, and Cancedda L (2019). The development of synaptic transmission is time-locked to early social behaviors in rats. Nature Communications, accepted in principle.
  2. Szczurkowska J, Pischedda F, Pinto B, Managò F, Haas CA, Summa M, Bertorelli R, Papaleo F, Schäfer MK, Piccoli G, Cancedda L (2018). NEGR1 and FGFR2 cooperatively regulate cortical development and core behaviours related to autism disorders in mice. Brain, Sep 1; 141(9) :2772-2794.
  3. Cwetsch AW, Pinto B, Savardi A, Cancedda L (2018). In vivo methods for acute modulation of gene expression in the central nervous system. Progress in Neurobiology. Apr 22.
  4. Szczurkowska J, Cwetsch AW, Dal Maschio M, Ghezzi D, Ratto GM, Cancedda L (2016). Targeted in vivo genetic manipulation of the mouse or rat brain by in utero electroporation with a triple-electrode probe. Nature Protocols, Mar; 11(3) :399-412.
  5. Deidda G, Parrini M, Naskar S, Fernandez I, Contestabile A, Cancedda L (2015) Reversing excitatory GABAAR signaling restores synaptic plasticity and memory in a mouse model of Down Syndrome. Nature Medicine, 21(4) :318-26.
  6. Deidda G, Allegra M, Cerri C, Naskar S, Bony G, Zunino G, Bozzi Y, Caleo M, Cancedda L (2015). Early depolarizing GABA controls critical-period plasticity in the rat visual cortex. Nature Neuroscience, 18(1): 87-96.
  7. Perlini LE, Szczurkowska J, Ballif BA, Sacchetti S, Piccini A, Giovedì S, Benfenati F, Cancedda L (2015). Synapsin III Acts Downstream of Semaphorin 3A/CDK5 Signaling to Regulate Radial Migration and Orientation of Pyramidal Neurons in Vivo. Cell Reports, 11(2) :234-48.
  8. Zuccaro E, Bergami M, Vignoli B, Bony G, Pierchala B A, Santi S, Cancedda* L, Canossa* M (2014). Polarized Expression of p75NTR Specifies Axons During Development and Adult Neurogenesis. Cell Reports, 10; 7(1): 138-52. * co-corresponding author.
  9. Bony G, Szczurkowska J, Tamagno I, Shelly M, Contestabile A, Cancedda L (2013) Non hyperpolarizing GABAB receptor activation regulates neuronal migration and neurite growth and specification by cAMP/LKB1. Nature Communications, 4:1800.
  10. Dal Maschio M, Ghezzi D, Bony G, Alabastri A, Deidda G, Brondi M, Sulis Sato S, Proietti Zaccaria R, Di Fabrizio E, Ratto GM, Cancedda L (2012). High-performance and Site-directed in Utero Electroporation by a Triple-electrode Probe. Nature Communications, 3:960.

Laura Cancedda

Senior Group Leader (tenured) of the Neurodevelopmental Physiology Laboratory, Italian Institute of Technology
(Genoa, Italy), Via Morego 30, Genova Italy
Assistant Scientist, Dulbecco Telethon Institute, Italy.