Margherita Tassan Mazzocco

Margherita Tassan Mazzocco

Curriculum vitae

I was born in Milan on January 9th 1995. I obtained my Bachelor’s degree in Medical Biotechnology in 2017 and my Master’s degree in Medical Biotechnology in 2019, both at Vita-Salute San Raffaele University, Milan. From September 2018 to October 2019 I did my Master’s thesis internship in the Neuropsychopharmacology unit of San Raffaele Scientific Institute where I studied the effects of melatonin receptors modulation on bipolar disorder by using in vivo electrophysiology techniques. After graduation, I continued working in this lab until October 2020 to continue the project I started with my thesis and to pursue my research interests in the field of Neuroscience. 

Since November 2020, I am enrolled in the PhD program in Neuroscience at the School of Medicine & Surgery of University of Milano-Bicocca. In particular, I am carrying out my PhD project in professor Moresco’s team at the preclinical PET imaging laboratory of San Raffaele Scientific Institute. My current research activity is based on the identification and evaluation of prodromal biomarkers for neurodegenerative disorders by using in vivo imaging techniques in selected animal models. 

Research project

Identification of imaging biomarkers for neurodegenerative disorders: a comparative pre-clinical study in selected animal models

  • Curriculum: Experimental Neuroscience 
  • Tutor: prof. Rosa Maria Moresco 

Parkinson’s disease (PD) is a common neurodegenerative disorder characterized by the progressive loss of dopaminergic neurons in the substantia nigra pars compacta (SNpc), accompanied by the formation of α-synuclein aggregates, called Lewy bodies, which are known to cause neuroinflammation by activating microglia, leading to oxidative stress and mitochondrial dysfunctions in DA cells. Interestingly, neuroinflammation could be observed also before neurodegeneration takes place, at early pre-symptomatic stages. However, due to the lack of specific early diagnostic markers and to the late onset of motor symptoms, when the neurodegeneration is already too advanced, a palliative intervention remains the only option for PD patients. Thus, the general aim of the project is to address the current lack of prodromal markers of PD by identifying early synaptic alterations in different PD-like mouse models with a neuroimaging-based approach, and then correlate these data with neuronal and synaptic modifications assessed with other methods, including in vivo electrophysiology and behavioral tests.

Recent publications

Tassan Mazzocco, M., Guarnieri, F. C., Monzani, E., Benfenati, F., Valtorta, F., & Comai, S. (2021). Dysfunction of the serotonergic system in the brain of synapsin triple knockout mice is associated with behavioral abnormalities resembling synapsin-related human pathologies. Progress in neuro-psychopharmacology & biological psychiatry105, 110135.


  • M. Tassan Mazzocco, F. C. Guarnieri, E. Monzani, F. Valtorta, S. Comai, “Dysfunction of the serotoninergic system in the brain of synapsin triple knockout mice may underlie behavioral abnormalities resembling synapsin-related human pathologies” – OSR Scientific eRetreat (15-19 June 2020) and Virtual RIN congress (8-9 July 2020)
  • S. Poletti, E. Melloni, M. Tassan Mazzocco, I. Bollettini, B. Vai, F. Valtorta, F. Benedetti, S. Comai, “The impact of the kynurenine pathway on white matter microstructure in mood disorders” – OSR Scientific eRetreat (15-19 June 2020)
  • M. Cambiaghi, M. Tassan Mazzocco, M. Buffelli, L. Masin, F. Valtorta, S. Comai, “Transcranial direct current stimulation of the prefrontal cortex modulates serotonergic neural activity of the dorsal raphe nucleus in mice” – Virtual RIN congress (8-9 July 2020)
  • S. Comai, M. Singh, N. Nunez, M. Gabrash, A. Aguilar Valles, M. Tassan Mazzocco, N. Sonenberg, C.J. Hillard, G. Gobbi, “Endocannabinoid System Regulation, Lipids and Tryptophan to Kynurenine Pathways in Mood Disorders” – CINP Virtual World Congress (26-28 February 2021)

Further information