PaolaBinda MG 7489

ERC Starting Grant (ERC-2018-STG): PUPILTRAITS - Biomarkers of individual difference in human cortical visual processing

Paola Binda, researcher of Physiology at the Department of Translational Research and New Technologies in Medicine and Surgery, has been awarded a prestigious ERC Starting Grant worth €1.5m to investigate the relationships between the brain (in particular the areas associated with sight), personality and metabolism over the next 5 years. Paola Binda is among the 42 excellent Italian scientists to receive awards via this call, which funded a total of 403 young European researchers, from the 3170 project proposals submitted. Of the 42 Italian researchers, only 15 will conduct their research in Italy, including Paola Binda.

The project, entitled "PUPILTRAITS", will draw on the University of Pisa and its territory's network of excellence for the study of human physiology, and will use innovative tools to address one of the most classic and unsolved questions of all time: why don’t we all see the same way? “We believe," says Paola Binda, "that these variations reflect deeper differences: in the state of our health, in particular of our metabolism, in how and what we eat, and in our personality traits." For example, it is known that autism spectrum disorders are accompanied by a specific and characteristic perceptive style; it is also known that in many developmental pathologies there is a link between brain alterations and metabolic and gastrointestinal alterations. The research project plans to follow up on this connection, both in pathology and in physiology.

The research will make use of neuroimaging (including ultra-high-field magnetic resonance imaging from the IMAGO7 centre in Calambrone) and perceptual tests that include the measurement of pupil diameter ("a window onto the cortical processing of visual stimuli" according to recent studies by Paola Binda), combined with simple metabolic interventions. Paola Binda proposes a new "vision" of the visual system, significant not only for the role that visual sensation plays in our perception, but also as a litmus test for the interaction between brain and body. Understanding how we see, therefore, could open new horizons in the diagnosing of pathological conditions, and help to develop new therapeutic approaches that aim to change the way we act and feel by intervening in our general physiology and metabolism.

Further information:

PUPILTRAITS project sheet on Cordis

Ultima modifica: Lun 30 Nov -1 - 00:00

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