Dr Riccardo Beltramo

University position

Assistant Professor

Dr Riccardo Beltramo is pleased to consider applications from prospective PhD students.


Department of Physiology, Development and Neuroscience



Home page

https://www.beltramolab.org/ (personal home page)

Research Themes

Systems and Computational Neuroscience

Cognitive and Behavioural Neuroscience


We aim to understand how the brain transforms sensory signals into the neural representations of the outside world that guide our behaviour.

Our lab uses the mouse visual system as a model and studies the contribution of parallel visual pathways to behaviours that promote survival, so-called “adaptive behaviours”.

We are particularly interested in innate and learned defensive responses, such as escaping upon detecting predators, and vision-based navigation. We focus on the neural circuits that allow us to navigate an ever-changing environment, creating internal “spatial maps” of the world.

Adaptive behaviours are protective responses susceptible to dysregulation and can become maladaptive, leading to mental illnesses. Our lab studies the pathogenesis of stress-induced anxiety in the early stage of sensory processing. We aim to understand how pathological changes in early neural representations of “dangerous” and “safe” sensory stimuli influence the occurrence of anxiety disorders.

Research Focus






Visual Cortex

Clinical conditions

Anxiety disorders

Post-traumatic stress disorder



Behavioural analysis

Calcium imaging

Computational modelling

Electrophysiological recording techniques



Whole cell patch clamp



Jasper Poort


Massimo Scanziani Web: https://www.scanzianilab.org/

Associated News Items

    Key publications

    Beltramo R (2020), “A new primary visual cortex” Science 370(6512):46

    Vecchia D, Beltramo R, Vallone F, Chéreau R, Forli A, Molano-Mazón M, Bawa T, Binini N, Moretti C, Holtmaat A, Panzeri S, Fellin T (2020), “Temporal sharpening of sensory responses by layer V in the mouse primary somatosensory cortex” Current Biology 4;30(9):1589-1599.e10

    Beltramo R, Scanziani M (2019), “A Collicular Visual Cortex: Neocortical Space for an Ancient Midbrain Visual Structure” Science 363(6422):64-69

    Pfeffer CK & Beltramo R (2017), “Correlating Anatomy and Function with Gene Expression in Individual Neurons by Combining in Vivo Labeling, Patch Clamp, and Single Cell RNA-seq” Frontiers in Cellular Neuroscience 11:376

    Wietek J, Beltramo R, Scanziani M, Hegemann P, Oertner TG, Wiegert JS (2015), “An improved chloride-conducting channelrhodopsin for light-induced inhibition of neuronal activity in vivo” Scientific Reports 10:7;5:14807

    Beltramo R, D’Urso G, Dal Maschio M, Farisello P, Bovetti S, Clovis Y, Lassi G, Tucci V, De Pietri Tonelli D, Fellin T (2013), “Layer-specific excitatory circuits differentially control recurrent network dynamics in the neocortex” Nature Neuroscience 16(2):227-34

    Dal Maschio M, Beltramo R, De Stasi A, Fellin T (2012), “Two-photon calcium imaging in the intact brain” Advances in Exp. Med. Biol. 740:83-102

    Dal Maschio M, Difato F, Beltramo R, De Stasi A, Blau A, Benfenati F, Fellin T (2012), “Optical investigation of brain networks using structured illumination” Cellular imaging techniques for neuroscience and beyond 5:101-120

    Difato F, Dal Maschio M, Beltramo R, Blau A, Benfenati F, Fellin T (2012), “Spatial light modulators for complex spatio-temporal illumination of neuronal networks” Neuromethods 67:61-81

    Dal Maschio M, Difato F, Beltramo R, Blau A, Benfenati F, Fellin T (2010), “Simultaneous two-photon imaging and photo-stimulation with structured light illumination” Optics Express 18:18720-18731



    Barral S, Beltramo R, Salio C, Aimar P, Lossi L, Merighi A (2014), “Phosphorylation of histone H2AX in the mouse brain from development to senescence” International Journal of Molecular Sciences 15(1): 1554–1573


    Halassa MM, Dal Maschio M, Beltramo R, Haydon PG, Benfenati F, Fellin T (2010), “Integrated Brain Circuits: neuron-astrocyte interaction in sleep-related rhythmogenesis” Scientific World Journal 10:1634-1645