Serena Giurgola

Born in San Cesario di Lecce (LE, Italy), I took my Bachelor’s degree in Psychological Sciences and techniques (University of Turin, Italy) in 2012 and my Master’s degree in Neuroscience and Neuropsychological Rehabilitation (Alma Mater Studiorum – University of Bologna, Italy) in 2014, taking part in a research project aimed at investigating the cognitive mechanisms and the neural correlates of Bodily-Self consciousness, Self-Other recognition and body ownership, either in healthy subjects and acquired-brain injury patients. In 2015 I took up a research experience in the ImpAct Team (INSERM, Lyon Neuroscience Research Centre, Lyon, France) directed by Professor A. Farné, working on a research project aimed at exploring the multisensory processes underlying audiovisual integration in speech perception, either in healthy subjects and in neglect patients. Since 2016, I am a PhD student in Clinical Neuroscience in the Laboratory for Multisensory and Neuromodulation Research (University of Milano – Bicocca), under the supervision of Professor N. Bolognini, where I investigate mechanisms of multisensory-based plasticity and body schema either in healthy individuals and in neurological patients (i.e. acquired-brain injury and multiple sclerosis) by using non-invasive transcranial brain stimulation techniques (TMS, tDCS).


Multisensory integration and crossmodal plasticity: a neurophysiological approach

  • Track: Neuroscienze Cliniche
  • Tutor: Nadia Bolognini

In the wide research field of multisensory integration, one of the most intriguing question is how multisensory interactions shape and drive brain plasticity. Integrating different multimodal signals streaming both from an object/an environmental event and from our body is essential for having a coherent and meaningful perceptual experience.

The present project faces this issue by investigating mechanisms of multisensory-based plasticity either in healthy individuals and in neurological patients (i.e. acquired-brain injury and multiple sclerosis). More specifically, multisensory perception and body representation will be assessed through different research techniques and approaches, including behavioral experimental paradigms, anatomo-clinical analyses and, from a neurophysiological perspective, by using non-invasive transcranial brain stimulation techniques, such as transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) and transcranial Direct Current Stimulation (tDCS). These neuromodulation techniques will be used as tools to uncover the neural correlates of multisensory capabilities, as well as for driving (or inhibiting) local plastic processes in selected neuronal populations in order to interact and modulate multisensory-based cerebral plasticity; on the other hand, such techniques will be applied in brain-damaged patients, in conjunction with multisensory-based therapies, with the aim to reinforce the innate ability of the brain to perceive multisensory events. The project has indeed the final goal to uncover  mechanisms of multisensory integration in the human brain, whether and how they are affected by acquired-brain injuries and degenerative brain diseases, and their potential to support everyday adaptation to environmental changes.