PhD Program in Neuroscience



Prof. Maurizio Taglialatela   tel. 081-7463325



Prof. Giuseppe Pignataro  tel. 081-7463332





The PhD program in Neuroscience aims to train successful candidates in top-level investigation of the cellular and molecular basis for neurological, psychiatric and neurodegenerative pathologies. In particular, genetic, neurochemical, neurobiological and electrophysiological techniques will be applied in order to define novel and innovative therapeutic strategies to combat these serious and often catastrophic diseases. The PhD program also aims to establish a link between functional CNS imaging and molecular-genetic approaches, in order to identify cellular and molecular mechanisms involved in the etiology, pathogenesis and progression of neurological, neurodegenerative and psychiatric disorders. The Doctorate is member of the network of Italian Research Doctorates of excellence NEIDOS (inserire link).


Selection and Admission

The ideal candidates are young graduates with an excellent undergraduate and master training and a documented interest in research.

Candidates must hold a master’s degree preferentially in one of the following disciplines: Medicine, Biotechnology, Pharmacy, Chemistry and Pharmaceutical Technology, Veterinary and Biological Sciences. A good knowledge of English is another important pre-requisite. Candidates must submit a complete CV, a brief description of their research activity and one or two recommendation letters. Participants will be evaluated on the basis of their CV, of a written test and of their English fluency.


For admission, consultation of the following texts is strongly suggested:

KANDEL / SCHWARZ / JESSEL – Principles of Neurosciences. Elsevier.

CLEMENTI / FUMAGALLI – General and Molecular Pharmacology, Wiley.

SIEGEL et al. – Basic neurochemistry: Molecular, Cellular and Medical aspects. Lippincott Raven.


As specified in the Notice of admission announcement (INSERIRE LINK AL SITO UNINA DEL DOTTORATO), PhD students will receive a scholarship of approximately 15,000 Euros per year. Additional positions without a scholarship are also available, up to a maximum of 25% of those with scholarships.
PhD Program structure

The three-year PhD course (180 CFU) is divided into three curricula:


Teaching activities are organized in specific multidisciplinary courses of common interest to the other Doctorates of the School of Medicine. There will be seminars and advanced courses on subjects relevant to the neuroscience community, which will be given by Italian and foreign teachers. Research activity will be prevalent; each doctoral student will carry out a research project under the guidance of a tutor to learn the most up-to-date techniques in the field and to become proficient in the study of the relevant literature, in order to perform independent research toward the thesis. A training period abroad is also foreseen. Every year, a presentation concerning the research progress will take place, in order to be granted admission to the following year. Specific seminar activities held by the PhD students, including research presentations at the Annual Meeting of the PhD Students of Neuroscience traditionally organized by the Federico II University, will be instrumental to train PhD student to: 1. give presentations to be held at national and international conferences; 2. publish the results obtained during the PhD program in indexed scientific journals with a high impact factor; 3. formulate, in the advanced stages of the training and also in preliminary form, a research project to be submitted to the approval for funding by public or private bodies. As foreseen by the current legislation and regulations of the University Federico II, it is also expected that the PhD student will have a limited teaching activities within the Undergraduate or Master Courses of the School of Medicine. The official language of the Neuroscience PhD program is English.


Doctoral thesis

The PhD program ends with the presentation of a written Thesis, previously reviewed by at least two external referees, which undergoes evaluation by a Commission of three experts in the field after a public seminar held by the Candidate. At the end of the Doctorate, the University of Naples Federico II awards the title of PhD in Neuroscience.

Teaching Staff and Researchers of Italian Universities


Non-academic staff employed by other institutions and teaching staff of foreign universities


  • CILIO MARIAROBERTA University of California at San Francisco, Stati Uniti d’America, UCSF Epilepsy Center, University of California at San Francisco
  • GEORGE ALFRED Jr   Northwestern University, Feinberg School of Medicine, Chicago         Stati Uniti d’America           Department of Pharmacology
  • LEMKE JOHANNES, Leipzig University Hospitals, Germania, Institute of Human Genetics
  • LESCA GAETAN. Groupement Hospitalier Est Hospices Civils de Lyon, Lyon, Francia,Service de génétique
  • PAPPATA SABINA, Consiglio Nazionale delle Ricerche, Italia Biostructure and Bioimaging Institute, National Research Council, Naples, Italy
  • VILLARROEL ALVARO , Universidad del País Vasco, Leioa Spagna Instituto Biofisika
  • WECKHUYSEN SARAH , University of Antwerp, Belgio Department of Molecular Genetics


Research Topics

  • Molecular mechanisms involved in the etiopathology of age-related neuropsychiatric diseases such as Alzheimer, Parkinson, ALS, Multiple Sclerosis, Epilepsy and Stroke
  • Therapeutic potential of microRNA in neuropsychiatric diseases
  • Epigenetic changes and molecular targets in neuropsychiatric diseases
  • Drug Research and Development against neuropsychiatric diseases
  • Role of intracellular organelles in the pathogenesis of neuropsychiatric diseases
  • Molecular mechanisms of rare hereditary movement disorders and neuromuscular diseases
  • Molecular mechanisms underlying schizophrenia
  • Innovative imaging diagnostic techniques for neurological and psychiatric disorders
  • Novel cellular (induced pluripotent stem cells) and in vivo disease models to investigate the molecular pathogenesis of neuropsychiatric disorders
  • Involvement of hypothalamic pituitary ovarian axis in neurological disorders and neurodegeneration
  • Transductional mechanisms involved in the neurotoxicity by environmental pollutants and abuse drugs


Occupational  prospects

The PhD program aims to train scholars able to develop their careers in the field of neuroscience applied to biomedicine, with employment prospects both in the academic and industrial fields.

The Doctor in Neuroscience will have access to a wide range of occupational and professional opportunities, in particular:

– at universities and other Public Research Institutions;

– at Private Research Institutions;

– within the National Health System, Hospitals, specialized public and private laboratories;

– in pharmaceutical, chemical, biotechnological companies;

– in public and private diagnostic research centers or laboratories;

– in communication and scientific dissemination agencies.