Paolo Massobrio

Paolo Massobrio is Associate Professor of Bioengineering at the Department of Informatics, Bioengineering, Robotics and Systems Engineering (DIBRIS) of the University of Genova (Italy).
I got the M.S. degree in Biomedical Engineering and the Ph.D. degree in Bioengineering Materials Engineering and Robotics (curriculum: Bioengineering and Bioelectronics) from the University of Genova, in 2004 and 2008, respectively.

My research activities are in the field of neuroengineering, by investigating neuronal network properties and neural interfaces. This involves the design and use of novel experimental protocols inspired by theoretical frameworks. During my PhD, I worked on theoretical models of extracellular transducers to record the electrophysiological activity of large-scale assemblies. Then, I focused on both spontaneous and stimulus-evoked activity of cortical assemblies coupled to Micro-Electrode Arrays (MEAs) with the aim to efficacy “interact” with the nervous system.

Currently, I am working on new experimental models based on dissociated cultures coupled to MEAs to create 2D and 3D in vitro interconnected heterogeneous networks (e.g., cortical-hippocampal, cortical-thalamic): a step towards a brain-on-a-chip.

I teach to students of the Bachelor in Biomedical Engineering, and of the Master in Bioengineering and in Computer Science. In particular:

Since May 2022, I am the coordinator of the PhD Program in Bioengineering and Robotics at the University of Genova.


Martina Brofiga

Martina Brofiga finished her PhD in Bioengineering and Robotics on July 2022. She is involved in the development of experimental protocols to recreate interconnected brain regions on Micro-Electrode Arrays (MEAs). In addition, she is also involved in the computational framework to the program of user-friendly suites to analyze electrophysiological data. She is one of the co-founder of the start-up ScreenNeuroPharm (

PhD students

Francesca Callegari

Francesca Callegari started her PhD project the 1st November 2020, working on the development of new technological solutions for recreating interconnected brain regions on Micro-Electrode Arrays, as well as computational models able to describe the in vitro cortical-hippocampal interactions.

Fabio Poggio

Fabio Poggio started his PhD project the 1st November 2021, on the topic of brain-on-a-chip. In particular, he is involved in experiments of neuromodulation and in the development of algorithms to extract features of the dynamics generated by interconnected brain regions on a chip. 

Ilaria Donati della Lunga

Ilaria Donati della Lunga started her PhD on 1st November 2022. Her research activities deal with the characterization of the interactions between neuronal spheroids plated over Micro-Electrode Arrays.

Undergraduate students

Iris Segalerba

Master degree Bioengeneering

Iris Segalerba master degree project deals with the characterization of ALS neuronal networks (both from central and peripheral system) coupled to Micro-Electrode Arrays.

Letizia Cerutti

Master degree Bioengineering

Letizia Cerutti master degree project deal with the definition of a set-up for the characterization of the morphological properties of neuronal assembloids.

Former members

  • Marietta Pisano ( PhD thesis title: Exploring innovative stimulation protocols to promote neuromodulation in brain-on-a-chip models).
  • Vito Paolo Pastore (PhD thesis title: Development of statistical and computational methods to estimate functional connectivity and topology in large-scale neuronal assemblies).
  • Stefano Salvadè (1-year internship project: Advanced software tools for data analysis of multi-well high-density MEA system. In collaboration with 3Brain AG (Switzerland).
  • Miguel Duval Poo  (1-year internship project: Advanced software tools for data analysis of multi-well high-density MEA system. In collaboration with 3Brain AG (Switzerland).
  • Daniele Poli (PhD thesis title: From functional to structural connectivity in in silico and in vitro neuronal assemblies).
  • Virginia Pirino (PhD thesis title: Topological-statistic tools for network dynamics and connectivity in in vitro cortical cultures).
  • Przemyslaw Nowak (Post-doctoral project title: Development of a large-scale computational model mimicking the dynamical properties of interconnected neuronal networks).