Simona Lodato obtained her Ph.D. in 2011 from the European School of Molecular Medicine (SEMM) and the University “Federico II”, in Naples (Italy) under the supervision of Prof. Michéle Studer at the Telethon Institute of Genetics and Medicine (TIGEM). During her Ph.D. training she investigated the intrinsic molecular mechanisms controlling the generation of distinct classes of inhibitory interneurons (IN) of the developing mammalian cerebral cortex.
She then joined the group of Prof. Paola Arlotta at Harvard University in Cambridge (USA) where she shed light on fundamental aspects of the molecular principles that govern the acquisition of distinct subtype-specific projection neuron (PN) identity, focusing in particular on corticospinal motor neurons – CSMN – that degenerate in ALS and in other motor disorders.
She also discovered that the PN identity influences the migration of INs in the developing cortex, controlling the assembly of functional networks in the adult brain.
Since December 2016, she is member of the Next Generation Leader Advisory Council, a group of eighteen esteemed early-career scientists who act as scientific advisors for the Allen Institute for Brain Science.