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Training young researchers to form the new generation of scientists is a must for our society. In this project we will use a multidisciplinary approach to investigate neuronal and circuit functions in the cerebellar network, which plays a critical role in sensori-motor control and is probably also involved in higher cognitive functions. The project will focus on timing and plasticity in the network. Recent results, largely achieved in our own groups, have shown indeed that timing and plasticity play a critical role in determining the computational properties of the circuit. Different groups will be involved in investigating these processes in the granular layer, the molecular layer, the deep cerebellar nuclei and the inferior olive and particular emphasis will be given to attempts at reconstructing hypotheses on the link between these circuit components. We will therefore employ and develop new technologies including various applications of patch-clamping, imaging and mathematical modeling, as well as molecular biology and behavioral analysis in mutant mice. The project is based on a previous extensive scientific interchange between the participating groups, which have already developed collaborative activities in the past. We envisage to employ young scientists in PhD and postdoctoral programs (16 ESR and 3 ER) and to promote their interchange among our laboratories, both by developing collaborative investigations and by organizing workshops and training courses on scientific issues, techniques, and general skills. The participation of industries will ensure research and training on productive aspects and on management of science, strongly improving the effectiveness of the network in preparing new scientific operators and leaders in the emerging field of Cellular/System Neuroscience and Neurocomputation fostering application in the bio-medical, bio-engineering and IST sectors.

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