SENSEx Lab

SISSA Explorations into the Neuronal foundations of Sensory Experience Lab 

You gotta have skin;
All you really need is skin.
Skin's the thing, that if you've got it outside,
It helps keep your insides in.


Allan Sherman (1924-1973)

Open positions and latest news

New paper published!

Direct Contribution of Sensory Cortex to the Judgment of Stimulus Duration by Sebastian Reinartz & Arash Fassihi, Maria Ravera, Luciano Paz, Francesca Pulecchi, Marco Gigante, Mathew Diamond has been published in Nature Communications!

Check it out here! 

call for PhD

The application window for the SISSA Cognitive Neuroscience PhD program has just opened! SENSEx Lab is one of the research groups that admitted candidates can join. Interested students should write to the PhD office (phd@sissa.it) and to the Lab director of interest (diamond@sissa.it).

The deadline is March 28th. You can find more details in the PhD call document.


call for PostDoc

The SENSEx Lab, together with the Theory of Neural Networks Group (lead by Sebastian Goldt)  at SISSA, was awarded a Bridge Postdoc postdoctoral fellowship. Bridge fellowships are a new SISSA initiative to support in-house cross-disciplinary research. Our project will use novel machine learning and neural networks approaches to investigate the statistical structures that emerge in large neuronal populations during the course of learning, based on a new problem-solving task we have developed for rats. Anyone interested in applying – contact us!

DELIMIT meeting

In February 2024 we had the DELIMIT project kick-off meeting in Padova, where we met our partners Marco Mainardi and Serena Bovetti. We discussed our ideas and proposals for the project, and Davide, Maria, and Marlen presented their research work.

Learn more about DELIMIT on the Funded Projects page!

Davide's Ph.D. defense

In December 2023, Davide Giana defended his Ph.D. thesis, Investigation on tactile perception and memory in rats and humans: 

task and species differences within a general framework


Davide will keep working in the Lab as a postdoc in collaboration with Cynexo. Congratulations Davide!

Alessandra's Master defense

In December 2023, Alessandra Orsini defended her Master thesis, How do rats learn to ignore an irrelevant tactile stimulus? 

Congratulations Alessandra!

Zahra's Ph.D. defense

In December 2023, Zahra Yousefi Darani defended her Ph.D. thesis, Dynamics of the judgment of tactile stimulus intensity under stable and volatile conditions.

Zahra's next position is at the German Primate Center in Göttingen. Congratulations Zahra!

Iacopo wins best thesis

Iacopo Hachen was awarded the "Pedro Lagomarsino de Leon Roig" Prize from Istituto Italiano di Tecnologia (IIT) for the best doctoral thesis in neuroscience. After his PhD with us, he is currently a post-doctoral researcher at the Max Planck Institute of Animal Behavior (Konstanz, Germany).  

Congratulations Iacopo! 

Summer conferences

In Summer 2023, several Lab members presented their work at conferences: 

Picnic in Sissa garden

In June 2023 we had a nice picnic in the sunny Sissa garden to welcome two Lab members' new babies. 

Progress Reports 2023

In May 2023, our Ph.D. students had their Progress Reports, an annual examination by the Cognitive Neuroscience faculty, where the advance in the research project of each student is evaluated. We celebrated with a lunch in Osmiza!

New review out!

Have a look at our recent Review, Tactile cognition in rodents, by Alessandro Toso and Mathew Diamond.

Arianna's Master defense

In March 2023, Arianna Cella defended her Master's thesis, Duration perception encoding mechanisms in the auditory and tactile modalities

Arianna's next position is as a PhD student in the Department for BioMedical Research at Bern University, Switzerland. Congratulations Arianna!

Iacopo's Ph.D. defense

In December 2022, Iacopo Hachen defended his Ph.D. thesis, The role of sensory history in perceptual processing

Iacopo's next position is at the Max Planck Institute of Animal Behavior (Konstanz, Germany).  Congratulations Iacopo! 

From material to mind meeting

In November 2022, we hosted our collaborators from Technion and Pennsylvania State University in Trieste, for an interesting and productive 3-day meeting regarding our joint projects.

Mathew wins Famelab Big

In September 2022, Mathew Diamond won FameLab Big, a competition where the BIGS of Trieste scientific system were asked to tell a scientific topic or a piece of research in only 3 minutes. Congratulations Mathew!

Barrel Cortex conference

In July 2022, Maria Ravera and Marlen Gironimi presented their research work with posters and talks at the Barrel Cortex Neuro Symposium at EPFL in Lausanne, Switzerland. 

Boat trip

In April 2022, we had a fun boat trip in Laguna di Marano. We were shown the beautiful nature and we had a wonderful lunch!

Annachiara's Master defense

In March 2022, Annachiara Guglietti defended her Master's thesis, Behavioral and neural correlates of serial dependence in two different perceptual discrimination tasks. Congratulations Anna!

Lab trip to Leuven

In October 2021, Mathew, Francesca, Maria, Davide, and Marco went to Leuven, Belgium, for a hands-on workshop on Neuropixels. They were hosted by Neuro Electronic Research Flanders (NERF).

Lisa's Master defense

In April 2021, Lisa Fontana defended her Master's thesis, Trial-by-Trial Sensory Prioritization in Rats: overlapping tactile and acoustic cues . Congratulations Lisa!