Pietro Pietrini

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Director; Full Professor of Clinical Biochemistry and Molecular Biology

Pietro Pietrini, MD, Ph.D., is Professor of Clinical Biochemistry and Molecular Biology. He graduated in Medicine and Surgery at the University of Pisa Medical School as a Intern Fellow of the Scuola Superiore Sant'Anna in Pisa in 1986, where he also obtained his Ph.D. in Neuroscience. He received his board-certification in Psychiatry from the University of Pisa Medical School. In 1989 he moved to the United States, where he spent over ten years first at the Laboratory of Neuroscience and then at the Cognitive Neuroscience Section of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) in Bethesda,Maryland, working on the study of the brain bases of mental function in health and disease. In 2000, he was appointed as full-professor and Chair of Clinical Biochemistry at the University of Pisa Medical School. In November 2015 he became Director of IMT School for Advanced Studies.

Prof. Pietrini research has combined modern brain imaging methodologies, including magnetic resonance imaging, positron emission tomography and transcranial magnetic stimulation, with neuropsychological and pharmacological tools to study brain structure and metabolism and the brain functional response to cognitive and behavioral stimulation in healthy subjects, in highly skilled individuals and in patients with mental disorders. A main line of research focuses on the study of the functional cortical organization in relation to conceptual representation in the absence of sight. Prof. Pietrini's lab has developed an innovative research program by adopting a multidisciplinary and integrated approach which spans across neuroscience, psychiatry, molecular biology, genetics, social psychology, bio-engineering, philosophy, linguistics and ethics to understand human social behavior.

Prof. Pietrini has been the President of the 2006 Annual Meeting and the Chairman of the Scientific Program Committee for the Organization for Human Brain Mapping in 2007-2009. He has authored over 150 papers, many of which have been published in top scientific journals including Science (one with cover), Nature, The Proceedings of the American Academy of Science, JAMA, The American Journal of Psychiatry (3 covers), Journal of Neuroscience and Human Brain Mapping (2 covers). He is the recipient of international awards for research in biological psychiatry and neuroscience. In 2015 he was bestowed the grade of Commander of the Order of Merit of the Italian Republic (Commendatore al Merito della Repubblica) because of his scientific achievements.