Circuit formation and function in the brain

My research interest is focused in understanding how an ensemble of neurons wire together to form specific neuronal circuits and how these circuits process neuronal information. These events are highly dynamic and susceptible to modifications in the face of a continuously changing flow of sensory information, in physiological and pathological situations. We investigate neuronal connectivity and network dynamics mostly in the olfactory system and connected areas. Most animals rely on olfactory cues for vital functions such as identifying food, preys and predators. In humans, odors has the incredible power to bring vivid memory from the past and to elicit strong emotional feelings. The olfactory system and the numerous brain areas connected to it, in particular the hippocampus, offer indeed a unique useful model to investigate sensory and cognitive processes. Furthermore, the olfactory system is highly conserved among species.

To understand the neuronal basis of olfactory percept, we provided several contributions on the mechanism underlying the topographic organization of the olfactory bulb, dissecting the role of odorant receptor and spontaneous afferent activity in sculpting neuronal connectivity and functions.

Our research is now focused in understanding how the specific architecture of neuronal wiring in the olfactory bulb serves specific sensory and cognitive processes. These events can be deeply altered in pathological conditions. The olfactory system is indeed involved in several neurological diseases, such as neurodevelopmental (autism) and neurodegenerative (such as Parkinson’s) disorders. By understanding the mechanisms underlying network activity in the olfactory bulb and in the connected brain areas, we aim to design tailored strategies to modulate and/or rescue proper neuronal activity and function of the involved neuronal circuits.

To address these topics, we combine a wide range of approaches, including electrophysiological recordings, optogenetics, multiphoton imaging, behaviour and anatomy.



  • Claudia LUDOVICHIC.N.R. Senior Scientist

Lab Members

  • Marco Brondi - post doc
  • Andrea Maset - post doc
  • Marco Albanesi - PhD student
  • Antonio di Soccio - PhD student
  • Martina Canova - Undergrad
  • Siddhartha Pandit - Undergrad

  Five recent publications

  1. Belluscio L, Lodovichi C, Feinstein P, Mombaerts P, Katz LC (2002) Odorant receptors instruct functional circuitry in the mouse olfactory bulb. Nature 419 (6904):296-300.
  2. Lodovichi C, Belluscio L, Katz LC (2003) Functional topography of connections linking mirror symmetric maps in the mouse olfactory bulb. Neuron 38: 265-276.
  3. Maritan M, Monaco G, Zamparo I, Zaccolo M, Pozzan T, Lodovichi C (2009) ) Odorant receptor at the growth cone are coupled to localized cAMP and Ca2+ increases. Proc Natl Acad Sci, USA. USA. March 3, 106 (9): 3537-3542.
  4. Pietrobon M. Zamparo I Maritan M, Franchi SA, Pozzan T, Lodovichi C (2011) Interplay among cGMP, cAMP and Ca2+ in living olfactory sensory neurons in vitro and in vivo. J Neurosci. 31:8395-8405.
  5. Bau’ L, Arduini M, Zamparo I, Lodovichi C*, Mancin F* (2012) A cell-penetrating ratiometric nanoprobe for intracellular chloride. Org. Lett., 14, 2984-2987. * corresponding authors.
  6. Lorenzon P, Redolfi N, Podolsky MJ, Zamparo I, Franchi SA, Pietra, G.Boccaccio A, Menini, A, Murthy VN, Lodovichi C (2015) Circuit formation and function in the olfactory bulb of mice with reduced spontaneous afferent activity. J Neurosci 35(1): 146).
  7. Redolfi N, Galla L, Maset, A, Murru L, Savoia, E, Zamparo I, Gritti A, Billuart P, Passafaro M, Lodovichi C (2016) Oligophrenin-1 regulates number, morphology and synaptic properties of adult-born inhibitory interneurons in the olfactory bulb (Hum Mol Genet. 2016 Dec 1;25(23):5198-5211. doi: 10.1093/hmg/ddw340. PMID: 27742778
  8. Zamparo I, Francia S, Franchi SA, Redolfi N, Costanzi E, Kersten A, Fukutani Y, Battistutta R, Polverino De Laureto, Munck S De Strooper B, Matsunami H Lodovichi C (2019) “ Axonal odorant receptors mediate axon targeting”. (In press in Cell Report).