• About SNS

    The Scuola Normale Superiore is a public institute for higher education that in its two centuries of life has earned itself a special place, both in Italy and abroad, a place characterised by merit, talent and scientific rigour.  Two types of course are available: the undergraduate course and the PhD course.The teaching activity is distributed among three academic structures: the Faculty of Humanities, the Faculty of Mathematical and Natural Sciences, placed in Pisa, and the Institute of Humanities and Social Sciences, located in Palazzo Strozzi in Florence. 

  • Admission

    The evaluation for entrance to the first year of the undergraduate course does not include the high school leaving certificate, and the bachelor's degree is not taken into consideration in the entrance examination for the fourth year course. For each PhD course, candidates’ level of competence, talent, motivations and aptitudes to scientific research will be assessed on the basis of their qualifications and research project and an interview.

  • Academics

    The Scuola Normale Superiore offers two types of course: the undergraduate course, leading to first and second level university degrees, and the PhD course, the international equivalent of the Italian Dottorato di ricerca.The teaching and research activity is distributed among three academic structures: the Faculty of Humanities, the Faculty of Mathematical and Natural Sciences, and the Institute of Humanities and Social Sciences.The first two academic structures, housed at the Pisa site, organize courses for both the  undergraduate course and the PhD course. The Institute of Humanities and Social Sciences, situated in Palazzo Strozzi in Florence, deals only with the PhD course.

  • Research

    A highly qualifying feature of the Normale way is the strong link between teaching and research that is a characteristic of both the undergraduate and the graduate programmes of the Scuola. The research structures of the two Faculties welcome students with a relevant study interest, enabling them to collaborate in a mature way with the activities of the researchers.

  • International

    The Scuola Normale is an institute of a decidedly international nature. Examinations for admission to the undergraduate degree course and for the PhD course are open to all citizens worldwide. A certain number of places on the PhD course are reserved for students from other countries. During the pre laurea and  post lauream teaching courses, study and research programmes are made available at overseas universities and research centres with which the Scuola forms an intense network of collaboration.  The doctorate course in particular is taught in a veritable graduate school in line with the highest international standards. 

CELLERINO Alessandro
Alessandro CELLERINO
Adjoint Professor
Tel. +39 050 3153103

Palazzo della Carovana

Classe di Scienze Matematiche e Naturali
Piazza dei Cavalieri, 7
56126, PISA

Pre-graduate studies:
1987-1991 Scuola Normale Superiore, Pisa, Italy, Biology

Post-graduate studies:
1992-1994 Scuola Normale Superiore, Pisa, Italy, Neurobiology
1994 Max-Planck Institut für Psychiatrie, Martinsried, Germany, (Prof. Y.-A. Barde), visiting student

PhD thesis:
The physiological roles of the neurotrophins NGF and BDNF in the development of the visual system’ Supervisor: Prof. L. Maffei External referee: Prof. H. Thoenen.

Postdoctoral activity:
01.1995-06.1995: Max-Planck Institut für Psychiatrie, Martinsried, Germany, (Prof. Y.-A. Barde)
08/1995-12/1997:University of Tübingen, Forschungstelle für experimentelle Ophtalmologie, (Dr. K. Kohler) and Max-Planck Istitut für Entwicklungsbiologe (Prof. M. Bähr).
01/1998-01/2000: CNR., Institute of Neurophysiology, Pisa, (Dr. L. Galli-Resta and Dr. L. Colombaioni).

Current position
2000 : Tenure-track researcher, Scuola Normale Superiore

Grants awarded:
1995:Human Capital Mobility grant from the EEC
1996: Research grant from the ForTueNe Programme, University of Tuebingen
1996: Travel grant from the German Society for the Scientific Research (DFG)
1997: Travel grant from the German Society for the Scientific Research (DFG)
1999: Bilateral grant of the Vigoni programme CRUI (Italy)/DAAD (Germany)
2000: MURST research grant for junior scientists "Investigations on the role played by brain-derived neurotrophic factor in the formation of topographically-organised projections in the visual system".
2001: MURST research grant for junior scientists "Effects of brain-derived neurotrophic factor on the light-transduction in the retina"
CNR-Agenzia 2000 "Effects of light-stimulation and BDNF on intracellualr transduction pathways in the retina"

Official roles in international meetings:
1997: Montpellier (France), September 3-6, First Mediterranean Neuroscience Conference: invited speaker
1997: New Orleans (LA, USA), October, 25-30, 23rd Meeting of the Society for Neuroscience: chairman of a slide session
1998: Bochum (Germany), October 12-14, KOGNET Autumn course: invited speaker

Scientific prizes awarded:
1998: Bruno Ceccarelli award for young neuroscientists

Scientific interests:
My scientific interest is divided along three lines of research:

Neurotrophic factors and visual system development
The core of my activity was focussed on the role played by neutrophins in plasticity and cell death. In particular, I am currently interested in the activity-dependent mechanisms underlying the refinement of the retino-tectal map and the control of cell death and development of neuronal morphology in the retina.

Biological models of aging
Recently, I have characterised a fish species (Nothobranchius furzeri) with a lifespan of only 12 weeks. This short lifespan notwithstanding, these fishes undergo senescence and we are characterising brain aging in this species.

Evolutionary Neurophysiology
My experimental activity has been complemented by a strong intellectual interest for Evolutionary Biology and Evolutionary Psychology. I have been reviewing the neurobiological and evolutionary-informed psichological literature concerning the control of human and animal mating. The results of this synthesis are presented in my book Eros e cervello (Eros and the Brain). We are currently studying perception of attractiveness and face gender using EEG and morphing techniques.

Book (in italian)
Eros e cervello. Le radici biologiche di sessualità, estetica, amore. (Eros and the Brain. The Biological roots of Sexuality, Aesthetics, Love). Traccedizioni. Piombino (LI). 2000.
Recensione su "Le Scienze" Luglio 2001