Giuliano Taccola

Giuliano Taccola

Education and background:

rsz_foto_ucla_lab_07012016_1_1 (1)Giuliano graduated in 2000 in Pharmaceutical Chemistry and Technology at University of Genova, Italy. Then, in 2005, he earned his Ph.D. in Neuroscience at the International School for Advanced Studies (SISSA), Trieste, Italy. After two years Postdoctoral Fellowship at SISSA, in November 2008, Giuliano won the national selection for Assistant Professor in Pharmacology and was appointed, with a full time permanent position, as principal investigator for the SPINAL Lab SISSA-IMFR in Udine where he leads a group of four researchers.

In the past seven years, Giuliano has been a faculty member of SISSA, where he held classes and mentored students for the Ph.D. course in Neurobiology and Neurosciences. He has also been adjunct professor for the courses of “Neurophysiology” and “Plasticity and recovery” for the Universities of Udine and Trieste, Italy.

As Assistant Professor, Giuliano spent month-long sabbatical leaves at the:  Perinatal Research Centre, University of Alberta, Edmonton, Canada (2010); Department of Anesthesiology, University of Maastricht, Netherlands (2011); Institute of Neurosciences, Group of Neuropharmacology, Université Catholique de Louvain, Brussels, Belgium (2014).

Since October 2015, he is a visiting Scholar in Prof. Edgerton’s laboratory, funded by a Marie Sklodowska-Curie Individual Fellowships (GF).

Research interests:

Giuliano’s research activity is driven by the will to participate in realizing the commonly shared dream of turning spinal cord injuries into a curable condition in the near future. To do so, he focusses on spinal neuronal circuits for locomotion. Giuliano is interested in spinal cord pathophysiology, especially as for neuroplasticity, sensory motor integration, neuroprotection, muscle function, pain and repair of the peripheral nerve.

Giuliano’s expertise ranges from neurochemistry to electrophysiology, primarily applied to in vitro spinal cord preparations isolated from embryonic and neonatal rodents, on which he performs intracellular and extracellular recordings from single spinal neurons, spinal roots, peripheral nerves and muscles.

Recently, he identified new protocols of electrical stimulation, which support in deciphering the functional organization of spinal networks and in clarifying the logic about spinal cord integration of afferent stimuli. Moreover, these protocols deserve a preclinical validation before being proposed for a more efficient neurorehabilitation to reactivate locomotor neuronal circuits.

Current projects:

The main aim of his current research is to study how the direct electrical stimulation of the spinal cord combined with intense and targeted motor training, induced volitional motor recovery in persons with chronic and complete spinal cord injury.

Recordings from neurons and muscles in experimental preparations and in preclinical models are performed associating classical electrophysiology and new breakthrough and versatile technologies.

The ultimate goal of his study is the development of a targeted pharmacological treatment associated with the design of a nanostructured epidural array for a more effective stimulation to restore functions after a SCI.

Selected publications:

Dose F, Deumens R, Forget P, Taccola G. Staggered multi-site low-frequency electrostimulation effectively induces locomotor patterns in the isolated rat spinal cord. Spinal Cord. Spinal Cord. 2016, 54:93-101.

Sciancalepore M, Coslovich T, Lorenzon P, Ziraldo G, Taccola G. Extracellular stimulation with human “noisy” electromyographic patterns facilitates myotube activity. J Muscle Res Cell Motil. 2015, 36:349-357.

Dose F, Zanon P, Coslovich T, Taccola G. Nanomolar oxytocin synergizes with weak electrical afferent stimulation to activate the locomotor CPG of the rat spinal cord in vitro. Plos ONE. 2014, 9(3): e92967.

Dose F and Taccola G. Co-application noisy patterned electrical stimuli and NMDA plus serotonin facilitates fictive locomotion in the rat spinal cord. J Neurophysiol. 2012, 108:2977-2990.

Taccola G. The locomotor central pattern generator of the rat spinal cord in vitro is optimally activated by noisy dorsal root waveforms. J Neurophysiol. 2011, 106:872-884.

Mazzuca M, Minlebaev M, Shakirzyanova A, Tyzio R, Taccola G, Janackova S, Gataullina S, Ben-Ari Y, Giniatullin R, Khazipov R. Newborn Analgesia Mediated by Oxytocin during Delivery. Front Cell Neurosci. 2011, Apr 12; 5:3.

Taccola G, Mladinic M, Nistri A. Dynamics of early locomotor network dysfunction following a focal lesion in an in vitro model of spinal injury. Eur J Neurosci. 2010, 31:60-78.

Taccola G, Margaryan G, Mladinic M, Nistri A. Kainate and metabolic perturbation mimicking spinal injury differentially contribute to early damage of locomotor networks in the in vitro neonatal rat spinal cord. Neuroscience. 2008, 155:538-55.

Taccola G, Secchia L, Ballanyi K. Anoxic persistence of lumbar respiratory bursts and block of lumbar locomotion in newborn rat brainstem-spinal cords. J Physiol. 2007, 585:507-524.

Furlan F, Taccola G, Grandolfo M, Guasti L, Arcangeli A, Nistri A, Ballerini L. ERG conductance expression modulates the excitability of ventral horn GABAergic interneurons that control rhythmic oscillations in the developing mouse spinal cord. J Neurosci. 2007, 27:919-928.

Taccola G, Marchetti C, Nistri A. Modulation of rhythmic patterns and cumulative depolarization by group I metabotropic glutamate receptors in the neonatal rat spinal cord in vitro. Eur J Neurosci. 2004, 19:533-541.


Title: Enabling motor control after a spinal cord injury through nanoscaled electrical stimulation

Source: European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation program under the Marie Sklodowska-Curie Individual Fellowships (IF) Global Fellowships (GF). Grant agreement No 661452.

Period: 10/01/2015 to 10/01/2018

Role: Principal Investigator

Source: VERTICAL ONLUS Foundation, Rome (Italy)

Period: 01/01/2009 to 06/30/2012

Role: Principal Investigator