Additional Titles & Roles
- Assistant Professor
Education & Training
- MD: “Sapienza” University of Rome, Italy, 2008
- Residency: “Sapienza” University of Rome, Italy, 2014
- Postdoctoral Training: NIH, 2019
- NARSAD Young Investigator Award, 2019
- Timothy Bliss, Scholar Award in Synaptic plasticity and memory, Italian Society of Pharmacology, 2012
Areas of Clinical Interest
My long-term research goal is guided by a molecular-to-in-vivo perspective and driven by two major areas of investigation: first, to obtain a mechanistic understanding of how synaptic transmission and plasticity work and contribute to information processing by neural circuits, and ultimately how synaptic transmission and plasticity occurring within specified neural circuits give rise to complex behaviors; second, to obtain a molecular-based understanding of how circuit, cellular and channel/synapto-pathies might be the subject for therapeutic intervention, with a focus on motivational behaviors and animal models of neuropsychiatric disorders.
Towards this goal, I use synergistic state-of-the-art methodologies such as in vitro and in vivo electrophysiology, intersectional genetic approaches together with cell biology and molecular pharmacology.
- Pignatelli M, Tejeda HA, Barker DJ, Bontempi L, Wu J, Lopez A, Palma Ribeiro S, Lucantonio F, Parise EM, Torres-Berrio A, Alvarez-Bagnarol Y, Marino RAM, Cai ZL, Xue M, Morales M, Tamminga CA, Nestler EJ, Bonci A, (2020 Mar). Cooperative synaptic and intrinsic plasticity in a disynaptic limbic circuit drive stress-induced anhedonia and passive coping in mice. Mol. Psychiatry.
Read publication »Cooperative synaptic and intrinsic plasticity in a disynaptic limbic circuit drive stress-induced anhedonia and passive coping in mice.
- Pignatelli M, Bonci A, (2018 01). Spiraling Connectivity of NAc-VTA Circuitry. Neuron. 97(2): 261-262.
Read publication »Spiraling Connectivity of NAc-VTA Circuitry.
- Pignatelli M, Umanah GKE, Ribeiro SP, Chen R, Karuppagounder SS, Yau HJ, Eacker S, Dawson VL, Dawson TM, Bonci A, (2017 Jan). Synaptic Plasticity onto Dopamine Neurons Shapes Fear Learning. Neuron. 93(2): 425-440.
Read publication »Synaptic Plasticity onto Dopamine Neurons Shapes Fear Learning.
- Umanah GKE, Pignatelli M, Yin X, Chen R, Crawford J, Neifert S, Scarffe L, Behensky AA, Guiberson N, Chang M, Ma E, Kim JW, Castro CC, Mao X, Chen L, Andrabi SA, Pletnikov MV, Pulver AE, Avramopoulos D, Bonci A, Valle D, Dawson TM, Dawson VL, (2017 Dec). Thorase variants are associated with defects in glutamatergic neurotransmission that can be rescued by Perampanel. Sci Transl Med. 9(420):
Read publication »Thorase variants are associated with defects in glutamatergic neurotransmission that can be rescued by Perampanel.
- Edwards NJ, Tejeda HA, Pignatelli M, Zhang S, McDevitt RA, Wu J, Bass CE, Bettler B, Morales M, Bonci A, (2017 Mar). Circuit specificity in the inhibitory architecture of the VTA regulates cocaine-induced behavior. Nat. Neurosci.. 20(3): 438-448.
Read publication »Circuit specificity in the inhibitory architecture of the VTA regulates cocaine-induced behavior.
- Pignatelli M, Bonci A, (2015 Jun). Role of Dopamine Neurons in Reward and Aversion: A Synaptic Plasticity Perspective. Neuron. 86(5): 1145-57.
Read publication »Role of Dopamine Neurons in Reward and Aversion: A Synaptic Plasticity Perspective.
Funded Research Projects
Circuit and Synaptic Deconstruction of (R,S)-ketamine and (2R,6R)-HNKs Rapid-acting Antidepressant Effects