chirurgia generale

Research topics and methodology

The Research Unit investigates the neurophysiological processes underlying complex interaction between the human nervous system and technological artifacts.

Today, more and more often, the man is part of artificial/organic mixed complex, interacting with devices, robots, or with tools for functional replacement (e.g. prostheses) or for augmenting the abilities of normal subjects. From a neuroscience perspective, this may strongly impact on well-known concepts, such sensory feedback, motor control, cognition, biomechanics, learning, functional recovery.

The Unit object of study is no longer humans as such, but modern humans in the era of the confluence with the technology, both in their physiological and pathological manifestations. Furthermore, the Research Unit aims at investigating classical themes of neurophysiology of systems (motor control, body representation) using typical neuroengineering tools (eg modeling, objectification, automation). Its multidisciplinary flavor favors direct applications on the healthy subjects and patients.

Main lines of research

  • Neurophysiology of man/robotic limb system

- Neuroplasticity in amputees due to the lesion and following the use of prostheses. Embodiment of the prosthesis, establishment of body ownership and representation of the body by means of sensorimotor integration processes. Investigations of the same processes happening when able-bodied subjects contro supernumerary limbs.
- Electrophysiology of the prosthesis control and sensory feedback. Study of the neurophysiological correlates of phantom pain and of possible therapies based on the modulation of aberant brain plasticity. Study of foreign-body response to implantable intraneural electrodes and of its inhibition.

  • Modeling of Motor Control

- Study and modeling of the motor control strategies in children, in healthy adults and in patients with diseases of the nervous system. Modeling of brain plasticity and of interhemispheric interaction processes. Computational modeling of the post stroke recovery. Modeling of motor symptoms of Parkinson's disease patients.

Development of automated platforms
-Robot-assisted TMS: identification and automated maintenance of the site to be stimulated.
-PD Meter: automatic evaluation of tremor, rigidity and bradykinesia.
-Platforms for evaluation and induction of prosthesis embodiment, performance and of their neurophysiological correlates.

  • Neurophysiological Signal Processing

-Classical Neurophysiological Signal Processing of EKG, EEG, EMG, MR, DTI, fMRI data.
-Innovative algorithms for the signal processing of biomedical data (sparse signal processing, connectivity, graph theory, …).
-BCI and signal processing for human augmentation.

  • Computer Vision Systems and applications

- Computer Vision platforms for human performance evaluation in structured and unstructured environments.
- Computer Vision systems for the design and development of Human Machine Interfaces (HMI).

  • Immersive AR/VR Systems

-Virtual and Augmented Reality applications design and development with special focus on innovative Human and Brain Machine Interfaces (HMI and BMI).
- Graphic engines and dynamic VR scenes generation.
- Design and implementation of systems for interacting with VR worlds.

Projects in progress

ERC-STG-2015 RESHAPE REstoring the Self with embodiable HAnd ProsthesEs
2016 - 2021

MIUR-FARE-2017 ENABLE Empowering Novel Augmentation Body Limb Embodiment
2016 - 2021

GR-2011-02352674 Daily at-home follow-up of Parkinson's Disease patients motor performance through robotic and portable devices

PPR AS 1/3 Evoluzione sistema impiantabile per il controllo della protesi di arto superiore con interfacce neurali invasive, con interfacce wireless
2017 -2020

PCR 1/2 Nuove metodiche nel trattamento delle amputazioni di arto, finalizzate all'applicazione di protesi bioniche
2017 -2020

Projects concluded

  • PPR2 - Controllo della protesi di arto superiore con interfacce neurali invasive

Collaborations with other research centers

• Scuola Superiore Sant'Anna, Pisa, Italy
• Università degli Studi di Milano-Bicocca, Milano Italy
• Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne, Switzerland
• University College of London, UK
• University of Oxford, U.K.
• University of Tübingen, Germany
• Harvard Medical School, Boston, USA
• University College of London, UK
• Imperial College of London, UK
• University College of London, UK
• Nanyang Technological University, Singapore
• Massachusetts Institute of Technology, USA
• McGill University, Montreal, Canada.
• Centro Protesi Italian Workers’ Compensation Authority (INAIL) Vigorso di Budrio, Italy


Next Lab
University Hospital, 1st floor, via Alvaro del Portillo 200, 00128 Roma (Tel. 06.22541.8885)

Main tools and techniques: EEG, TMS, tDCS, tACS,EMG, wireless EMG, magnetoinertial sensors, robots/haptic interfaces, Virtual/Augmented Reality systems, Computer Vision systems.