Cellerino.JPG (14983 bytes)

Name: Alessandro Cellerino

 Born: Salerno (Italy), 28.03.1969


Pre-graduate studies:

1987-1991 Scuola Normale Superiore, Pisa, Italy, Biology

Post-graduate studies:

1992-1994 Scuola Normale Superiore, Pisa, Italy, Neurobiology

1994 Max-Planck Institut für Psychiatrie, Martinsried, Germany, (Prof. Y.-A. Barde), visiting student

PhD thesis:

The physiological roles of the neurotrophins NGF and BDNF in the development of the visual system’ Supervisor: Prof. L. Maffei External referee: Prof. H. Thoenen.

Postdoctoral activity:

01.1995-06.1995: Max-Planck Institut für Psychiatrie, Martinsried, Germany, (Prof. Y.-A. Barde)

08/1995-12/1997:University of Tübingen, Forschungstelle für experimentelle Ophtalmologie, (Dr. K. Kohler) and Max-Planck Istitut für Entwicklungsbiologe (Prof. M. Bähr).

01/1998-01/2000: CNR., Institute of Neurophysiology, Pisa, (Dr. L. Galli-Resta and Dr. L. Colombaioni).

Current position

2000 : Tenure-track researcher, Scuola Normale Superiore

Grants awarded:

1995:Human Capital Mobility grant from the EEC

1996: Research grant from the ForTueNe Programme, University of Tuebingen

1996: Travel grant from the German Society for the Scientific Research (DFG)

1997: Travel grant from the German Society for the Scientific Research (DFG)

1999: Bilateral grant of the Vigoni programme CRUI (Italy)/DAAD (Germany)

2000: MURST research grant for junior scientists  "Investigations on the role played by brain-derived neurotrophic factor in the formation of topographically-organised projections in the visual system".

 2001: MURST research grant for junior scientists  "Effects of brain-derived neurotrophic factor on the light-transduction in the retina"

CNR-Agenzia 2000 "Effects of light-stimulation and BDNF on intracellualr transduction pathways in the retina"

Official roles in international meetings:

1997: Montpellier (France), September 3-6, First Mediterranean Neuroscience Conference: invited speaker

1997: New Orleans (LA, USA), October, 25-30, 23rd Meeting of the Society for Neuroscience: chairman of a slide session

1998: Bochum (Germany), October 12-14, KOGNET Autumn course: invited speaker


Scientific prizes awarded:

1998: Bruno Ceccarelli award for joung neuroscientists


Scientific interests:

My scientific interest is divided along three lines of research:
Neurotrophic factors and visual system development
The core of my activity was focussed on the role played by neutrophins in plasticity and cell death. In particular, I am currently interested in the activity-dependent mechanisms underlying the refinement of the retino-tectal map and the control of cell death and development of neuronal morphology in the retina.
Biological models of aging
Recently, I have characterised a fish species (Nothobranchius furzeri) with a lifespan of only 12 weeks. This short lifespan notwithstanding, these fishes undergo senescence and we are characterising brain aging in this species.

A male of the extremely short-lived Nothobranchius furzeri. These fishes have a maximum life expectancy in captivity of only 12 weeks and undergo an extremely rapid senescence. Their embryos can survive one year encased in the dry mud in a dormant state and hatch during the rain season. See Valdesalici & Cellerino (2003) Proc Roy Soc Lond B Biology Letters July 9

Evolutionary Neurophysiology
My experimental activity has been complemented by a strong intellectual interest for Evolutionary Biology and Evolutionary Psychology. I have been reviewing the neurobiological and evolutionary-informed psichological literature concerning the control of human and animal mating. The results of this synthesis are presented in my book Eros e cervello (Eros and the Brain). We are currently studying perception of attractiveness and face gender using EEG and morphing techniques.

Average male and female faces created using GTKmorph by Andrea Mennucci, Scuola Normale Superiore, Pisa


Book (in italian)

Eros e cervello. Le radici biologiche di sessualità, estetica, amore. (Eros and the Brain. The Biological roots of Sexuality, Aesthetics, Love). Traccedizioni. Piombino (LI). 2000.

Recensione su "Le Scienze" Luglio 2001



List of full-length pubblications in peer-reviewed journals.

Cellerino A, Arango-Gonzalez B, Pinzon-Duarte G, Kohler K. (2003) Brain-derived neurotrophic factor regulates expression of vasoactive intestinal polypeptide in retinal amacrine cells. J Comp Neurol. 467(1):97-104

- A Mazzatenta, P Pelosi, A Cellerino (2003) Cloning of an olfactory sensory-neuron specific protein in the land snail (Eobania vermiculata). Proc Roy Soc Lond B Biology Letters in press

- S. Valdesalici, Cellerino A (2003) Extremely short life-span in the annual fish Nothobranchius furzeri. Proc. Royal Soc. Lond. B: Biology Letters,  in press

-A. Cellerino (2003) Psychobiology of facial attractiveness. J Endocrinol Invest. 2003;26:45-8

- S. Isenmann, Kretz A, Cellerino A. (2003) Molecular determinants of retinal ganglion cell development, survival, and regeneration. Prog Retin Eye Res. Jul;22(4):483-543

- A. Cellerino (2003) Una bellezza innata. Mente e Cervello 2, 60-61

- A. Cellerino (2002) Facial attractiveness and species recognition: an elementary deduction? Ecology, Ethology, Evolution 14: 227-237

- A. Cellerino (2002) Le basi innate della percezione estetica. Le Scienze 404, 79-84

- Cellerino, A. Galli-Resta, L. and Colombaioni. L. (2000) The dynamics of neuronal death: a time-lapse study in the retina. J. Neurosci 20:RC92 1-5. 

- Cellerino A, Novelli E & Galli-Resta L (2000) Retinal ganglion cells with
NADPH-diaphorase activity in the chick form a regular mosaic with a strong
dorso-ventra asymmetry that can be modeled by a minimal spacing rule. Eur.  J. Neurosci 12:613-621.

- Cellerino A, Isenmann S & Baher M (2000) Apoptosis in the developing visual
system. Cell Tissue Res 301,53-69.

Isenmann S., A. Cellerino, C. Gravel and M. Baehr (1999). Adenovirally-mediated overexpression of brain-derived neurotrophic factor in the target of retinal ganglion cells stabilizes transient retinal projections. Mol. Cell. Neurosci. 14,52-65

- Cellerino A., B.-A. Arango-Gonzàlez and K. Kohler (1999). Effects of brain-derived neurotrophic factor on the development of NADPH-diaphorase (nitric oxide sinthase)-positive amacrine cells in the rodent retina. Eur. J. Neurosci. 11, 2824-2835

- Cellerino A., T. Michaelidis, J.J. Barski, M. Baehr, H. Thoenen and M. Meyer (1999) Bcl-2 deficient mice undergo a rapid wave of retinal ganglion cell degeneration following the period of naturally occurring cell death. Neuroreport,10, 1-5.

- Cellerino A., G. Pinzón-Duarte, P. Carroll and K. Kohler (1998) Brain-derived neurotrophic factors modulates the development of the dopaminergic network in the rodent retina. J. Neurosci.,18, 3351-3362

- Klöcker N, A. Cellerino and M. Bähr (1998) Free radical scavenging and inhibition of nitric oxide synthase potentiates the effects of BDNF on axotomized retinal ganglion cells in vivo. J. Neurosci., 18, 1038-1046

- Cellerino A., P. Carroll, H. Thoenen and Y.-A. Barde. (1997) Reduced size of retinal ganglion cell axons and hypomyelination in mice lacking brain-derived neurotrophic factor. Mol. and Cell. Neurosci. 9, 397-409

- Cellerino A. and Kohler K. (1997) The BDNF/NT-4 receptor is localized on ganglion cells and dopaminergic amacrine cells in the vertebrate retina. J. Comp. Neurol. 386, 149-160

- Cellerino A., Maffei L. and Domenici L. (1996) The distribution of Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor and its receptor trkB in parvalbumin-containing neurons of the rat visual cortex. Eur. J. Neurosci. 8, 1190-1197

- Cellerino A. and Maffei L. (1996) The action of neurotrophins in the development and plasticity of the visual cortex. Progress in Neurobiol. 49, 53-71

- Marty S., P. Carrol, A. Cellerino, E. Castrén, V. Staiger, H. Thoenen and D. Lindholm (1996) Brain-derived neurotrophic factor promotes the differentiation of various hippocampal non-pyramidal neurons, including Cajal-Retzius cells, in organotypic slice cultures. J. Neurosci. 16, 675-687 (12)

- Cellerino A. (1996) Expression of messenger RNA coding for the Nerve Growth Factor receptor trkA in the hippocampus of the adult rat. Neuroscience 70, 613-616

- Cellerino A., C. Strohmaier and Y.-A. Barde (1995) Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor and the developing chick retina. In ‘ Life and death in the nervous system’ ed. C.F. Ibánez.. p. 131-139 Oxford, England: Elsevier Science Ltd.

- Domenici L., A. Cellerino, N. Berardi and L. Maffei (1994) Antibodies to nerve growth factor (NGF) prolong the sensitive period for monocular deprivation in the rat. Neuroreport 5, 2041-2044

- Berardi N., A. Cellerino, L. Domenici, M. Fagiolini, T. Pizzorusso, A. Cattaneo and L. Maffei (1994) Monoclonal antibodies to Nerve Growth Factor affect the postnatal development of the visual system. Proc. Natnl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A. 91, 684-688

- Domenici L., A. Cellerino and L. Maffei (1993) Monocular deprivation effects in the rat visual cortex and lateral geniculate nucleus are prevented by nerve growth factor (NGF). II. Lateral geniculate nucleus. Proc. R. Soc. Lond. B 251, 25-31

- Berardi N., L. Domenici, V. Parisi, T. Pizzorusso, A. Cellerino and L. Maffei (1993) Monocular deprivation effects in the rat visual cortex and lateral geniculate nucleus are prevented by nerve growth factor (NGF) I. Visual cortex. Proc. R. Soc. Lond. B 251, 17-23

- Cellerino A., R. Siciliano, L. Domenici and L. Maffei (1992) Parvalbumin immunoreactivity: a reliable marker for the effects of monocular deprivation in the rat visual cortex. Neuroscience 51, 749-753