Track Record

Institute of Innovative Research, Tokyo Institute of Technology, Tokyo, Japan
Jun 2017 - current | Specially-appointed associate professor
Jul-Sep 2016 | Adjunct associate professor

Under these intermittent, temporally-flexible appointments, he has been and is funded by the World Research Hub Initiative (WRHI) program and a member of the research group of Prof. Yasuharu Koike. He focuses on developing new robotic and brain-computer interface (BCI) systems. Responsibilities include ideating, participating and leading research studies in this area, and more specifically independently designing, simulating, realizing and experimentally investigating new insect-like robots and systems to analyse electroencephalogram (EEG) signals.

Accomplishments in this position include: i) developing a hybrid BCI system combining a consumer-grade wearable headset with a robotic manipulator guided by a stereoscopic vision system, ii) developing a bio-inspired hierarchical controller for a hexapod robot based on a network of non-linear oscillators implemented using field-programmable analog arrays (FPAAs), which generates a broad range insect-like gaits and postures based on few parameters [info: here].

He is currently investigating the possibility of analysing real-time brain activity by feeding the EEG signals to arrays of coupled chaotic oscillators and assessing the synchronization patterns that are formed. He is also collaborating with Prof. Natsue Yoshimura on projects related to the study of emotional processing using EEG and peripheral physiologic signals. Furthermore, he is collaborating with Prof. Hiroyuki Ito on realizing a radio-frequency implementation of a new chaos generator based on cross-coupled inverter rings. He retains strong collaborations in Italy, with the Universities of Catania (Prof. Mattia Frasca), Palermo (Prof. Luca Faes) and Trento (Prof. Leonardo Ricci).

Jun 2016 - current | Complex Systems Theory Department, Institute of Nuclear Physics – Polish Academy of Science (IFJ-PAN), Kraków, Poland
Visiting professor, Principal specialist

Under this appointment, he is a member of the research group of Prof. Stanisław Drożdż and focuses on attempting to replicate chosen aspects of neural dynamics in non-linear electronic circuits and networks. Responsibilities include ideating, participating and leading research studies in this area, and more specifically independently designing, simulating, realizing and experimentally investigating new circuits.

His accomplishments in this position include: i) understanding and modelling mechanisms of remote synchronization via interference in networks of FPAAs, ii) discovering a large number of new and atypical transistor-based oscillators showing diverse attractors and dynamics [info: here], iii) introducing new high-dimensional chaotic oscillators involving fractal L-C networks as resonators.

He is currently investigating the possibility of generating multi-fractal signals from elementary electronic circuits. He has also worked on the study of complex properties of music and sound signals, and of the emerging cryptocurrency market, and moreover obtained the title of Doktor Habilitowany in Physics.

Apr-Jun 2016, Apr-Jun 2017 and Mar-Jun 2018 | Faculty of Computer Science, Free University of Bolzano, Italy
Freelance, contract lecturer

Under this appointment, he conceived and delivered three editions of a course entitled Introduction to Robotics: An Experimental Approach, based on a large number of laboratory experiments and aimed at students from diverse engineering curricula. The course topics include embedded computing and interfacing, analog and digital sensors and signal processing, robot actuators and kinematics, control systems, machine vision principles and applications, artificial intelligence.

Jan-Jun 2018 | InterMotion Inc., Portland OR, USA
Freelance consultant, technical officer

Non-disclosable contracted development and advising on behalf of a market-leading FPGA device manufacturer. This role involved operating at chief technical officer (CTO) level to provide senior leadership, supervision, and training on technical and process-related topics to engineering team members, primarily based in Yerevan (Armenia). In particular, he has directly overseen the negotiations and contract agreement with the end customer, and the process of interviewing and selecting team members. He has been responsible for the development and verification of a broad portfolio of intellectual property including basic primitives, communication and networking interfaces, video- and audio-related interfaces, memory controllers and bus infrastructure. He has also lead the design, manufacturing, production and testing of custom circuit boards to support demanding testing applications. At present, activities still continue in the form of providing long-term support and guidance to the team, and exploring possible avenues of future work mainly in the field of electrical safety.

Aug 2015-Dec 2017 | In2H2 Inc., Folsom CA, USA
Freelance consultant

Non-disclosable contracted development and advising on large-scale data analysis applications, particularly in biomedicine and genetics, of vector distance calculation algorithms and in particular their hardware implementations at logic, board and system levels, involving collaboration with diverse entities and the filing of a patent. These activities have also involved leading the design of a massively-parallel co-processor board based on the PCI Express bus, a high-density FPGA, and an array of FPGAs and dynamic memories. He has been in charge of identifying the components and technologies, particularly to solve difficult power, signal integrity and bandwidth challenges, and furthermore personally designed all schematics. These activities have furthermore entailed liaising closely with layout designers, manufacturing directors, and overseeing the work of a group of senior system architects, defining the FPGA-to-FPGA protocols, calculation architectures, and associated software.

Aug 2015-Jun 2018 | Independent inventive activity

He has conducted independent and self-funded applied research in two areas: i) non-invasive, remote detection of physiological excretion in sanitary towels by incontinent hospitalized patients, based on a two-dimensional time-frequency impedance measurement, implemented using a custom wearable wireless device of own design and a disposable textile element; ii) detection of anomalous events in household electric systems enabling substantially improved sensitivity to dangerous fault conditions, implemented by means of a custom-designed advanced multi-frequency measurement front-end. Two corresponding patent applications have been filed.

Jan 2014-Jun 2016 | MRLab, Center for Mind/Brain Science, University of Trento, Italy
Guest post-doctoral fellow, freelance researcher

Under this appointment, he has been a member of the research group of Prof. Jorge Jovicich and focused initially on advanced methods for analysing time-series from resting-state functional magnetic resonance imaging (rs-fMRI), and later on own independent research attempting to replicate chosen aspects of neural dynamics in non-linear electronic circuits and networks. Responsibilities have included ideating, participating and leading research studies, and co-supervising students.

His accomplishments in this position include: i) introducing new transistor- and FPAA-based chaotic oscillator circuits, and using them to construct networks demonstrating emergence of modularity, remote synchronization and dynamics similar to neural observations [info: here], ii) introducing a new application-specific integrated circuit (ASIC) implementing chaos generation via cross-coupled inverter rings having length equal to prime numbers, iii) introducing a novel way to approximate large time-series correlation matrices using L1-norm, and implementing it on a custom circuit board based on zero-instruction set computer (ZISC) architecture processors, iv) introducing a lattice network of glow-lamps which closely reproduce critical avalanching and phase transition phenomena observed for neurons in-vivo and in-vitro, v) formulating a novel measure of collective dynamics based on notions from self-similarity and matrix theory, vi) contributing to studies on the reliability and accuracy of multi-centric rs-fMRI datasets on ageing and dementia (EU PharmaCog project).

He presently retains an unpaid, external affiliation as visiting researcher/guest fellow with this institution, and collaborations continue around the study of electrophysiological data from neural cultures, optical data from insect brains, and related topics on non-linear oscillators.

Mar 2014-Aug 2015 | CogniMem Technologies Inc., Folsom CA, USA
Unpaid consultant

For the purpose of professional development, throughout this period he conducted hardware development activities for a private start-up company. He independently designed a massively-parallel co-processor board based on the PCI express bus, including a high-density FPGA and an array of proprietary ASICs, choosing solutions to the specific challenges in data bandwidth, clock, power and thermal management, and independently defining and designing the schematics of the board. He headed completion of the project, liaising with a local partner (Tecno77 Srl; Vicenza, Italy) for board layout design and prototype manufacturing, and personally conducted all testing and characterization of prototypes. This work has also included advising on interfacing standards and periphery design for the custom ASIC.

“Carlo Besta” Neurological Institute-Foundation, Milan, Italy
Jun 2010-Feb 2012 | Collaborator, full-time research fellow and group leader
Feb 2012-Apr 2013 and May 2013-Jul 2015 | External collaborator, research fellow

Under these appointments, he has been a member Scientific Directorate department, led by Prof. Ferdinando Cornelio, and focused on advanced studies in applied neuroimaging and neurophysiology. Responsibilities have included ideating, participating and leading research studies. During this period, he has also completed his doctoral research and held other appointments at the Brighton & Sussex Medical School (Falmer, UK) and at the University of Trento (Trento, Italy).

His accomplishments in this position include: i) investigating non-linear dynamics in hubs of the human brain as potential early dementia biomarkers, based on clinical rs-fMRI scans from the Alzheimer’s Disease Neuroimaging Initiative (ADNI) and the EU PharmaCog project, ii) developing data analysis methods and conducting studies on the application of task-based and resting-state fMRI to the study of disorders of consciousness, epilepsy and pre-surgical planning, iii) coordinating and supervising advanced MRI studies on human participants and animal models, particularly as regards quantitative magnetization transfer imaging and 1H-MR spectroscopy of 2-hydroxyglutarate, iv) developing neural network-based algorithms for automated brain state (imagined actions) recognition, applied to a vision-guided robotic arm.

Throughout his doctoral research with Prof. Hugo Critchley, he has focused on the study of decision-making under risk. The experiments included i) exploring the univariate representation of. expected value, risk, uncertainty through fMRI, event-related potentials (ERPs), event-related spectral changes and autonomic responses, ii) generating and testing network-based models of activity, based on psychophysiological interactions and dynamic causal modelling, iii) behavioural study of patients with Parkinson’s disease and Huntington’s disease, iv) conducting a neuromodulation experiment using transcranial direct-current stimulation (tDCS) at the MacKenzie University (São Paulo, Brazil).

He has also been involved in several other ERP studies and has co-authored reviews on clinical applications of functional connectivity mapping. He has sat on the science committee of the Start-up coma research centre (CRC) project funded by the Lombardy regional government, within which he has co-ordinated a specific work-package on the study of resting-state functional connectivity in patients with disorders of consciousness. Before his relocation to the Brighton & Sussex Medical School, he co-ordinated a partially-independent research group with dedicated resources and facilities, including a cognitive neuroscientist, an engineer and a biologist.

Feb 2012-Dec 2013 | Neurology, Clinical Imaging Sciences Centre, Brighton and Sussex Medical School, Falmer, UK
Research fellow, grade 8

Under this appointment, he has been a member of the research group of Dr. Dennis Chan, focusing on functional and structural neuroimaging of dementias and senile cognitive impairment. An area of key technical interest was the development of techniques for high-resolution mapping of resting-state functional connectivity using functional MRI.

His accomplishments in this position include: i) designing a high-performance computational platform enabling high-resolution mapping of intrinsic connectivity, including a co-processor board mounting SHARC digital signal processors, which was designed by himself and has been released as open source hardware and software, ii) developing an associated geodesic mapping platform, which involved a hardware implementation of Dijkstra’s algorithm using the VHDL language, deployed on large a Virtex-7 FPGA, iii) applying related numerical techniques in an exploratory study based on a dataset of patients with mild cognitive impairment, demonstrating the superiority of whole-brain graph theoretical mapping to the use of source-separation techniques.

He has also conducted a study mapping the cognitive architecture in an expert “human calculator”, has been involved in simultaneous PET/MRI studies of Alzheimer’s disease and fronto-temporal dementia, and in clinical trials of a behavioural test of allocentric spatial memory to probe Alzheimer-related degeneration. He was a named researcher on a population scanning project funded by the UK government Technology Strategy Board (TSB) and Medical Research Council (MRC), and has been co-supervisor of two doctoral students, later also with the University of Cambridge.

Jan 2009-May 2010 | Psychiatry, Clinical Imaging Sciences Centre, Brighton and Sussex Medical School, Falmer, UK
Full-time research fellow, grade 7

Under this appointment, he has been a member of the research group of Prof. Hugo Critchley. He conducted and supported research projects on multimodal functional neuroimaging, combining fMRI, ERPs, functional near-infrared spectroscopy (fNIRS) and autonomic response monitoring.

His accomplishments in this position include: i) reviewing literature on the implementation of physiological monitoring devices during MRI, particularly associated signal processing and safety aspects, ii) conducting a study on emotional modulation of visual cortex responses using fNIRS, iii) investigating the physiological contamination of the fNIRS signal by systemic factors and the correspondence between the fNIRS and fMRI signals, with development of custom hardware and mechanics, iv) studying the effect of cardiac cycle and baroreceptor activity on nociceptive stimulation ERPs, v) investigating brain imaging in high-functioning autism, particularly brain connectivity and sexual dimorphism in Aspergers’ syndrome, language and spatial processing and large-scale grey matter texture, vi) investigating associative memory and implicit learning as a means to assess consciousness, vii) investigating decision-making processes under time-pressure, viii) investigating somato-sensory perception and affective touch, ix) investigating gustatory synaesthesia and association between joint hypermobility, anxiety and brain structure.

In the latter part of this appointment, he commenced his doctoral research which was later completed at the Neurological Institute-Foundation (see above).

Feb 2012 - Dec 2013 | Neurology, Clinical Imaging Sciences Centre, Brighton and Sussex Medical School, Falmer, UK
Research fellow, grade 8

He has been part of Dr. Dennis Chan’s research group, focusing on functional and structural neuroimaging of dementias and senile cognitive impairment. An area of key technical interest was the development of techniques for high-resolution mapping of resting-state functional connectivity using functional MRI.
In this context, he has designed a high-performance computational platform enabling high-resolution mapping of intrinsic connectivity, including a custom-designed co-processor board mounting SHARC ADSP-21369 (Analog Devices, Inc.) digital signal processors, which has been released as open source hardware and software. He has also developed an associated geodesic mapping platform, which involved a hardware implementation of Dijkstra’s algorithm using the VHDL language, deployed on a Virtex-7 (Xilinx, Inc.) field-programmable gate array (FPGA). Related numerical techniques have been applied in an exploratory study based on a dataset of patients with mild cognitive impairment scanned from Dr M. Bozzali’s group at the Fondazione IRCCS Santa Lucia (Rome, IT), demonstrating the superiority of whole-brain graph theoretical mapping to the use of source-separation techniques.
He has also conducted a study aiming to map the cognitive architecture underlying rapid calculation in an expert “human calculator”, has been involved in simultaneous PET/MRI addressing the co-localization and dissociation among structural, connectivity and metabolic changes in patients with Alzheimer’s disease and fronto-temporal dementia, and in clinical trials of a behavioural test of allocentric spatial memory to probe Alzheimer-related degeneration. He was a named researcher on a population scanning project funded by the UK government Technology Strategy Board (TSB) and Medical Research Council (MRC), and has been co-supervisor of two doctoral students.

Fondazione Istituto Neurologico Carlo Besta, Milan, Italy
Jun 2010 - Feb 2012 – Collaborator, full-time research fellow and group leader
Feb 2012 - Apr 2013 - External collaborator

In the context of his doctoral research with Prof. Critchley (see below), he focused on the study of decision-making under risk, investigating the representation of multiple economic parameters using simple prospects. Experiments included: i) exploring the univariate representation of. expected value, risk, uncertainty through fMRI, event-related potentials (ERPs), event-related spectral changes and autonomic responses, ii) behavioural study of patients with Parkinson’s disease and Huntington’s disease to evaluate the involvement of the basal ganglia in expected value representation, iii) exploring the relationship between prefrontal activity and risk taking via a neuromodulation experiment conducted using transcranial direct-current stimulation (tDCS) with the Universidate Presbiteriana MacKenzie (São Paulo, Brasile). He was also involved in other ERP studies with this laboratory, on social cognition and decision-making, semantic processing and autism, and action planning.
Other focus topics included i) development of algorithms and techniques to model functional connectivity using fMRI, with an experiment demonstrating that network mapping can reveal the areas and systems involved in economic value representation more accurately than univariate correlation analysis alone, and a similar experiment involving passive olfactory stimulation, and ii) development of algorithms for automated “brain state” recognition, in an experiment wherein a robotic arm driven by a machine-vision system performed specific operations determined through actions imagined by a participant undergoing fMRI.
He has sat on the science committee of the “Start-up coma research centre (CRC)” project funded by Regione Lombardia, within which he co-ordinated a specific work-package on the study of resting-state functional connectivity in patients with disorders of consciousness, particularly driving the development of dedicated data preprocessing pipelines for motion artefact reduction in resting-state fMRI. He also worked on quantitative in-vivo and ex-vivo imaging projects, co-authored a review on clinical applications of functional connectivity mapping and another on brain connectivity and autism. Throughout the first period of this appointment, before his relocation to the Brighton & Sussex Medical School and change to external collaborator, he co-ordinated a partially-independent research group with dedicated resources and facilities, including a cognitive neuroscientist, an engineer and a biologist

Jan 2009 - May 2010 | Psychiatry, Clinical Imaging Sciences Centre, Brighton and Sussex Medical School, Falmer, UK
Full-time research fellow, grade 7

Throughout this appointment in the team of Prof. Hugo D. Critchley, he conducted and supported research projects on multimodal functional neuroimaging, combining fMRI, ERPs, functional near-infrared spectroscopy (fNIRS) and autonomic response monitoring. Main research topics included: i) reviewing literature on the implementation of physiological monitoring devices during MRI, particularly associated signal processing and safety aspects, ii) conducting a study on emotional modulation of visual cortex responses using fNIRS, iii) investigating the physiological contamination of the fNIRS signal by systemic factors and the correspondence between the fNIRS and fMRI signals, with development of custom hardware and mechanics, iv) studying the effect of cardiac cycle and baroreceptor activity on nociceptive stimulation ERPs, v) brain imaging in high-functioning autism, particularly brain connectivity and sexual dimorphism in Aspergers’ syndrome, language and spatial processing and large-scale grey matter texture, vi) associative memory and implicit learning as a means to assess consciousness, vii) decision-making processes under time pressure, viii) somato-sensory perception and affective touch, ix) gustatory synaesthesia and association between joint hypermobility, anxiety and brain structure. In the latter part of this appointment, he commenced his doctoral research which was later completed at the Fondazione Istituto Neurologico Carlo Besta (see above).

“Carlo Besta” Neurological Institute-Foundation, Milan, Italy
Feb 2005 - Jan 2008 – Freelance consultant
Feb 2008 - Jan 2009 – Collaborator, full-time research fellow

He conducted and participated in research projects on multimodal MRI, bio-signal and image analysis with the Scientific Directorate and Neuroradiology Units.

His accomplishments in the first phase of this position include studies on: i) a tailored imaging protocol to study substantia nigra degeneration in Parkinson’s disease, ii) literature on normal brain ageing investigation using MR 1H-spectroscopy, diffusion and functional MRI and on Alzheimer’s disease, iii) diffusion-tensor imaging (DTI), increasing sensitivity to degenerative change through adoption of higher-rank tensors capable of capturing complex fibre crossing architecture (generalized DTI) and through removal of the assumption of Gaussian diffusion using bi-exponential and diffusional kurtosis models, iv) use of artificial neural networks to rapidly generate diffusional parametric maps, v) literature on the physical foundations of diffusion imaging and related mathematical methods, vi) conducting a quantitative brain 1H-spectroscopy.

His accomplishments in the second phase of this position include studies on: i) fMRI on plasticity in malformations of cortical development, ii) ERP study of dorsal and ventral visual pathway engagement in reading, iii) spatial correspondence between fMRI activations and cortical current density maps derived from low-resolution ERPs, iv) combined fMRI/ERP studies on musical syntax processing and sensory consonance, v) fMRI studies on memory lateralization, resting-state functional connectivity and myoclonus epilepsy.

2002-2004 | Microsystems Srl, Milan, Italy; MS Lab Srl, Trento, Italy; NeuriCam SpA, Trento, Italy

Consulting activities in the field information technology and microelectronics with provision of design support, co-ordination and management of research and development projects in the areas of biomedical telemetry (Microsystems Srl), systems electronics (MS Lab Srl), machine vision (NeuriCam SpA).

In the context of these activities he worked alongside senior engineers and acquired project management skills as well as proficiency in the Assembly, C and C++ languages under Linux and UNIX, in analog and digital electronic design using the EdWin, OrCAD and TannerTools packages, and in testing and characterization of electronic device prototypes.

In particular he was involved in the development of the hardware and low-level software of an early smart camera based on the ADSP-2181 processor and a CMOS sensor, supported a variety of FPGA designs and design revisions for a CMOS image sensor design (0.35 um), co-ordinated the development of a biomedical telemetry device base on GPRS (WAD/2) and worked on a high-speed optical cheque reading and sorting system. In the same context he developed a hexapod robot (GOLEM-1) based on a dedicated tree computing architecture hinged around the TOTEM neuro-chip.

Jan 2002 - Dec 2004 | MS Lab Srl, Trento, Italia

Company co-founder and board member.