The Section of Physiology of the Dept. of Neuroscience of the University of Parma has an international reputation for research in neuroscience, including neuroanatomy, cognitive neurophysiology, brain imaging and developmental psychology. The main recent contributions of the Parma group have been the description of the functional organization of the premotor cortex and the discovery of the “mirror neurons”, i.e. the role of the cortical motor system in fundamental cognitive processes (action recognition, imitation). In the field of neuro-anatomy, its main contributions have been the parcellation of the premotor cortex, the description of thalamic/cortical connections of premotor areas and the discovery of the pre-SMA area. The Parma node is involved in extensive international collaborations involving, among others, the Universities of Tuebingen, Leuven, Berkeley, Austin, and Columbia.
The Parma node has a long training experience, by offering since 25 years a PhD Program in Neuroscience, which attracts students from Italy and from abroad, with at present fifteen PhD students and nine Post-Doc Fellows involved in several international scientific projects.
The key competences of the Parma node consist in the investigation of the neural basis of social cognition. To this purpose the Parma node is equipped with a brain imaging facility (fMRI GE 3.0 Tesla), a high-density EEG lab (Geodesic 128 channels), a TMS lab (Magstim 200 stimulator) and a lab for behavioral studies equipped with a motion analysis system (3D Optoelectronic SMART System).
Furthermore the Parma node is closely working together with the Chieti node, with a lot of projects being conducted cooperatively using the facilities of both places.
Node Leader: Vittorio Gallese
Associated researchers: Francesca Ferri and Corrado Sinigaglia.