In 2013, Silvia Guerra obtained her bachelor’s degree in Psychology of Personality and Interpersonal Relationships at the University of Padova. Then, in 2015 she graduated in Clinical Psychology at the University of Padova with a thesis entitled: ‘The role of spatial attention on motor resonance and reciprocity’. During her pre- and post-lauream experiences, Silvia Guerra investigated the neural underpinnings of action observation using a multidisciplinary approach as single-pulse transcranial magnetic stimulation (spTMS) combined with motor evoked potential (MEP) recording, eye-tracker and the kinematical analysis of movement. In 2017, Silvia Guerra received a research fellowship to study motor behavior in plants adopting a comparative approach. Then, in 2018, Silvia Guerra started a three-year of PhD program in Psychological science at the University of Padova under the supervision of Professor Umberto Castiello. The overarching aim of her research project is to delineate the kinematical landmarks of motor behavior in plants on the basis of different stimulus properties and/or environmental conditions by means the three-dimensional (3D) kinematical analysis.
Luisa Sartori graduated in Experimental Psychology at the University of Padova in 2004, after a research training period at the Koestler Unit, Psychology Department, University of Edinburgh (UK) investigating the physiology of intuition and unconscious perception. She then joined NEMO in 2005. In 2007 she spent a 1-year training period at the Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience, University College of London (UK), exploring cross-modal links between vision and touch and top-down modulation of tactile perception by sensory sharing of body representation.
In 2009 she received her PhD in Perception and Psychophysics from the University of Padova, with a thesis on the psychological components of social actions investigated by means of a 3-D motion analysis system for kinematic recording. She is now Assistant Professor at the Department of General Psychology, University of Padova, with a research project on the neural underpinnings of imitative and complementary actions in humans. In order to shed light on this topic, she is using a multidisciplinary approach (TMS, EMG, fMRI and 3-D motion tracking) in combination with action observation and real-life social interaction paradigms.
In particular, she is interested in exploring the ways in which social interaction and interpersonal coordination can be achieved and managed. Deeper understanding of these mechanisms holds promise to allow new insights into the neurobiological correlates of real-time human social dynamics, which will have specific translational implications in developing novel neurorehabilitative protocols for patients with localized lesions to cortical motor areas (e.g., ischemic stroke) and brain-based social skills programs.
Prof. Umberto Castiello begun his research activity in April 1983 at the Institute of Human Physiology (headed by Prof. C.A. Umiltà) of the University of Parma, where he remained until the end of 1987. During this period of time he studied the spatial distribution of visual attention in humans by carrying out research on both normal and brain-damaged subjects. In 1988-90 he worked as a post-doctoral research fellow at the Institute of Medical Research in Lyon (headed by prof. M. Jeannerod). During this two-year period of time he conducted research on kinematics of upper limb movements. In 1990-1992, he was a postdoctoral research fellow within the Department of Movement Science at the University of Arizona under the supervision by Prof. George Stelmach. Here he carried out research on visuo-motor control in Parkinson’s disease patients. In 1993-1995 he taught at the University of Bologna and from 1995 to 2000 at the University of Melbourne. In 2000 he obtained a Chair position at the University of London. From 2004 Prof. Umberto Castiello (raggruppamento scientifico-disciplinare M-PSI/02), is affiliated to the Department of General Psychology, University of Padova. Full professor (chiamata per Chiara Fama) since 2004 at the School of Psychology his main research interests revolve around: a) Neural correlates and psychological principles underlying action observation, action execution and social interactions; b) multisensory processes underlying the control of movement in healthy and brain damaged subjects; c) kinematical investigation of prehensile actions in non-human primates. These studies are performed by means of transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS), functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), diffusion tensor imaging (DTI); 3-D motion analysis. Prof. Castiello’s research has been funded by: Italian Ministry of University and Research, National Health and Medical Research Council (Australia), Australian Research Council, Wellcome Trust, Leverhulme Trust, BBSRC; European Community. Prof. Castiello has been the coordinator of the Phd in Experimental Psychology at the University of Padova and he is the Director of the Centre for Cognitive Neuroscience at the University of Padova. He teaches several courses including Cognitive Neuroscience of Action at the School of Psychology and Neuropsychology of Movement at the School of Medicine. He has published more than 200 papers in top-ranked international journals (e.g. Current Biology, Nature, Nature Neuroscience, Nature Reviews Neuroscience, Brain, Trends in Neurosciences, PLoS). In 2000 he was awarded a DSc. In 2014 has become a member of the ‘Centro Linceo Beniamino Segre’ at the Accademia dei Lincei.