Sleep, Plasticity and Conscious Experience
What We Do
Traditionally, sleep and wakefulness have been considered as two global, mutually exclusive states. However, this view has been challenged by the discovery that sleep and wakefulness are locally regulated and that islands of these two states may often coexist in the same individual. Importantly, the local regulation of sleep seems to be key for many of the known functions of this physiological state, including the maintenance of brain functional efficiency, the consolidation or stabilization of new memories and the modulation of mood and emotional reactivity. Local changes in brain activity during sleep may also explain the emergence of particular conscious experiences in the form of dreams, and may modulate the level of sensory disconnection that is essential for a restorative sleep. On the other hand, during wakefulness, the reiterated activation of specific brain areas may lead to a state of functional fatigue, characterized by the appearance of local, sleep-like episodes. These events seem to have important consequences for behavior and cognition and may contribute to explain the known effects of sleep loss. Given these premises, alterations in the local regulation of sleep and wakefulness may represent the pathophysiological basis for symptoms observed in many sleep disorders, but also in some psychiatric or neurological disorders.
The relationship between slow waves and conscious experience during sleep (ERC-funded project)
The behavioral and neural correlates of local sleep-like episodes during wakefulness (collaboration with University of Wisconsin)
The cortical and subcortical correlates of sleep slow waves and arousals (collaboration with UniMoRe and NIH)
The application of natural language processing to dream content analysis (BIAL-funded project)
The anatomo-functional bases of sensory disconnection during sleep
Who We Are
Interns and Guest Students
University of Pisa, Medicine
University of Bonn, Neuroscience
University of Bordeaux, Neuroscience
University of Rome, Psychology
Laura Sophie Imperatori
PhD Student (2017-2020)
Research: connectivity in wakefulness and sleep
Medicine Student (2018-2020)
Research: dream engineering
Psychology Student (2019-2020)
Research: local sleep during wakefulness
Psychology Student (2021-2022)
Research: linguistic analysis of dreams
Kim Mi Lande
Neuroscience Student (2022-2022)
Research: dream engineering
PhD Position - Call now OPEN!
Title: PhD Program in Cognitive and Cultural Systems
Track: Cognitive, Computational, and Social Neurosciences
Deadline: July 27th, 2022
Full description of the call: Click HERE
More positions will open soon!
What We Publish
Center for Sleep and Consciousness - Giulio Tononi and Brady Riedner - University of Wisconsin. Madison, WI-USA
Dipartimento di Scienze Biomediche - Francesca Benuzzi and Stefano Meletti - Università di Modena e Reggio-Emilia. Modena, Italy
Brain and Sleep Research Laboratory - Michele Bellesi and Luisa De Vivo - University of Bristol. Bristol, UK
Centre d’investigation et de recherche sur le sommeil - Francesca Siclari and Jacinthe Cataldi - Lausanne University Hospital. Lausanne, Switzerland
Centre d’investigation et de recherche sur le sommeil - Raphael Heinzer and Camila Hirotsu - Lausanne University Hospital. Lausanne, Switzerland
EOC Neurocentro - Mauro Manconi and Anna Castelnovo - Istituto di Neuroscienze cliniche della Svizzera Italiana. Lugano, Switzerland
CNR-Pisa - Michele Emdin and Nicola Vanello - Istituto di Fisiologia Clinica CNR. Pisa, Italy
What We Develop
Bernardi - Brain networks underlying dream activity. Annual conference of the Italian Society of Psychophysiology (SIPF), Palermo, Italy, 2021.
Bernardi - Cortical and subcortical hemodynamic changes during human sleep slow waves. Annual conference of the Swiss Sleep Society (SSSSC), Solothurn, Switzerland, 2021.
Betta - Evoluzione spazio-temporale dell’attività emodinamica corticale e sottocorticale associata alle onde lente del sonno NREM . Congresso Nazionale di Neurofisiologia Clinica, Roma, Italy, 2021.
Avvenuti - The corpus callosum is essential for the cross-hemispheric propagation of sleep slow waves: a high-density EEG study in totally callosotomized patients. Congress of the Word Sleep Society, Vancouver, Canada, 2019.
Imperatori - Cross-participant prediction of vigilance stages through the combined use of wpli and wsmi eeg functional connectivity metrics. Congress of the Word Sleep Society, Vancouver, Canada, 2019.
Avvenuti - Il ruolo del corpo calloso nella propagazione crossemisferica delle onde lente del sonno: uno studio in pazienti con callosotomia totale. Congress of the Italian Society of Sleep Medicine (AIMS), Genova, Italy, 2019.
Betta - Slow waves of sleep are associated with increased thalamic activity and with a delayed decreased activity in primary sensory cortices. Congress of the Italian Society of Sleep Medicine (AIMS), Genova, Italy, 2019.
Bernardi - Experience-dependent regulation of sleep-need: effects on brain functioning and behavioral performance. Congress of the International Organization of Psychophysiology, Lucca, Italy, 2018.
Bernardi - The effects of acute, short-term visual deprivation on low-frequency EEG activity during wakefulness and sleep. Congress of the Word Sleep Society, Prague, Czech Republic, 2017.