About the Innovator

The Scuola Internazionale Superiore di Studi Avanzati (SISSA) was founded in 1978 and is a scientific center of excellence located in Trieste, Italy. In SISSA a team headed by Mathew Diamond, internationally recognized investigator in cognitive neuroscience, which includes experts in 3D prototyping, experiment management software, video image analysis, sensors and electronics, are developing models for measuring and manipulating neuronal activity under controlled conditions in freely moving rodents.

What is the innovation

Lightweight, compact microelectrode drives for neuronal recording in rodents are being developed. The system is comfortable and allows full mobility. The basic model is now marketed through the global technology company, TDT, based in Florida USA. Additionally, an optogenetic microelectrode drive is in final beta testing. The customizable, fully automated behavior box is in use by partner labs and the innovators team. This work is undertaken within the EU-funded project CORONET.

group photo of the team of innovators

Out of the lab – Into the Market

Within 18 months, SISSA intends to launch NeuroMicronica, to be co-incubated by The T-Factor of Technion-Israel. The spinoff proposal has just been awarded ERC Proof of Concept. Market demand for NeuroMicronica is testified by:

  • commercialization through the prestigious international leader, TDT,
  • NeuroMicronica’s recent victory in StartCup, a competition of startup proposals in Northeast Italy,
  • enthusiastic feedback from collaborators employing beta versions,
  • direct requests made by laboratories in the community.

Our goal is secure VC investment in NeuroMicronica during the incubation phase. We are interested in licensing, but only for products that we are unable to produce and market directly.

Benefits of participation in the Framework Programme

Participation in the framework programme persuaded SISSA that in-house development of instrumentation is a core component of cutting-edge neuroscience research, a strategy that frees investigators’ curiousity from technical limitations. Thus the SISSA research team achieves its goal of reliably training rats to levels of cognitive performance (perception, memory, decision making) previously seen only in primates, all the while measuring the underlying brain activity.