I am a Professor of Cognitive Neuroscience at the International School for Advanced Studies in Trieste Italy (known by its Italian acronym, SISSA). I earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Engineering from the University of Virginia in 1984 and a PhD in Neurobiology from the University of North Carolina in 1989. I was a postdoctoral fellow with Ford Ebner at Brown University and then an assistant professor at Vanderbilt University before moving to SISSA to create the Tactile Perception and Learning Laboratory in 1996. My main interest is to specify the relationship between neuronal activity and perception. The research is carried out mostly in the tactile whisker system in rodents, but some experiments attempt to generalize the principles found in the whisker system to the processing of information in the human tactile sensory system.
Outside my research activities, I am vice-Director of the university and delegate for international initiatives. I continually try to get young people interested in neuroscience through international courses; for the same reason, I co-authored the introductory book, From Neuron to Brain (5th edition, 2012; 6th edition, 2020).