Enlightening Brain Mechanisms

Enlightening Brain Mechanisms

Is it possible to link brain activity to functional architectures supporting behavior of a living being? And, if so, using this knowledge to envisage circuit modulation strategies aiming to alleviate or delay the impact of a pathological condition?

A growing toolbox of experimental and analysis methods allows to start addressing these questions in awake or even freely behaving animal models. We can take advantage of genetic, optical and electrical approaches to simultaneously record and modulate the activity in large portions of the brain or in a target circuit/population down to single cell resolution during a sensory experience or a behavior task. From the analysis of these datasets and the knowledge of the circuit wiring diagrams, we can distill mathematical models of the circuit mechanisms, testable directly on a living preparation, to reconstruct the role of specific brain nuclei, neuronal ensembles or even single units on the activity and on the behavior recorded.



  • Marco DAL MASCHIO - Associate Professor

Lab Members

  • Anna ARCHETTI - Post-doctoral fellow
  • Matteo BRUZZONEPhD Student
  • Marta CANATOResearch assistant

  Five recent publications

  1. Whole brain functional recordings at cellular resolution in zebrafish larvae with 3D scanning multiphoton microscopy Matteo Bruzzone, Enrico Chiarello, Marco Albanesi, Maria Elena Miletto Petrazzini, Aram Megighian, Claudia Lodovichi, Marco Dal Maschio Scientific Reports 2021 May 26;11(1):11048. doi: 10.1038/s41598-021-90335-y
  2. Neural circuitry for stimulus selection in the zebrafish visual system. Fernandes AM, Mearns DS, Donovan JC, Larsch J, Helmbrecht TO, Kölsch Y, Laurell E, Kawakami K, Dal Maschio M, Baier H. Neuron. 2021 Mar 3;109(5):805-822.e6. doi: 10.1016/j.neuron.2020.12.002. Epub 2020 Dec 22.
  3. An Optical Illusion Pinpoints an Essential Circuit Node for Global Motion Processing. Wu Y, Dal Maschio M, Kubo F, Baier H. Neuron. 2020 Nov 25;108(4):722-734.e5. doi: 10.1016/j.neuron.2020.08.027. Epub 2020 Sep 22.
  4. A Cellular-Resolution Atlas of the Larval Zebrafish Brain. Kunst M, Laurell E, Mokayes N, Kramer A, Kubo F, Fernandes AM, Förster D, Dal Maschio M, Baier H. Neuron. 2019 Jul 3;103(1):21-38.e5. doi: 10.1016/j.neuron.2019.04.034. Epub 2019 May 27.
  5. Topography of a Visuomotor Transformation. Helmbrecht TO, Dal Maschio M, Donovan JC, Koutsouli S, Baier H. Neuron. 2018 Dec 19;100(6):1429-1445.e4. doi: 10.1016/j.neuron.2018.10.021. Epub 2018 Nov 1
  6. Linking Neurons to Network Function and Behavior by Two-Photon Holographic Optogenetics and Volumetric Imaging. Dal Maschio M, Donovan JC, Helmbrecht TO, Baier H. Neuron. 2017 May 17;94(4):774-789.e5. doi: 10.1016/j.neuron.2017.04.034.


  • European Union (H2020)
  • Department of Biomedical Sciences
  • Padua Neuroscience Center