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Alfredo Fontanini, MD, PhD, Appointed Co-Director of Stony Brook University Neurosciences Institute and Chair of Department of Neurobiology and Behavior

Alfredo Fontanini, MD, PhD, was appointed Co-Director of Stony Brook University Neurosciences Institute, and Chair of the Department of Neurobiology and Behavior, effective September 1, 2018. He succeeds Lorna Role, PhD, who previously served in both capacities for 10 years since her arrival from Columbia University.

Dr. Fontanini is an Associate Professor of Neurobiology, and was recruited to the Stony Brook University School of Medicine in 2008. He received his medical degree from the University of Brescia School of Medicine and obtained a PhD in Neurosciences at both Brescia and California Institute of Technology; his dissertation research was performed at the latter. In 2003, Dr. Fontanini traveled to Brandeis University to perform a postdoctoral fellowship in neurosciences, before launching his independent academic career at Stony Brook University.

Dr. Fontanini’s area of scholarly interest is our sense of taste, or more scientifically put, understanding how gustatory circuits mediate the perception of taste, represent expectations, and control food consumption. His research, which relies on a combination of behavioral, computational, electrophysiological and imaging approaches, is of great relevance for understanding neural processes in physiological and pathological conditions.

Dr. Fontanini has successfully secured a range of grants to support his work, including several NIH R01 awards, and a very prestigious Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers (PECASE), the highest honor bestowed by the United States government on outstanding scientists and engineers in the early stages of their independent research careers. He has contributed to 26 peer-reviewed publications, of which he is first or senior author on the vast majority, and as a testament to the impact on his scholarly community, Dr. Fontanini has been asked to pen nine reviews and four book chapters, and deliver over 40 invited lectures on his work at national and international meetings.

In the educational realm, Dr. Fontanini teaches in an undergraduate neurobiology course in the College of Arts and Sciences, and contributes to the Medical School and Dental School in the brain and mind course. He has mentored 11 graduate students and post-doctoral fellows, helping nearly every one obtain independent funding.

Dr. Fontanini is also an academic citizen. He is in high demand as a reviewer of submitted manuscripts, having reviewed for some 16 different scholarly publications, and he serves or has served on 14 different Stony Brook and national and international scientific committees, including the curriculum committee in the School of Medicine.

The Department of Neurobiology and Behavior, which Dr. Fontanini now heads, has strengths in many areas of neuroscience, from cell signaling to biophysics, from synaptic physiology to systems and computational neuroscience. Dr. Fontanini states that the Department's "perspectives bring us from molecules to theories of brain function, and back. We are one of the few neuroscience departments in the nation serving both the College of Arts and Sciences and the School of Medicine, a unique privilege that defines our scientific, educational and social mission. Our interdisciplinary research program and our dual citizenship make us ideally positioned for bridging and catalyzing the strengths of the College, the Medical School and the University at large. I am looking forward with great enthusiasm to consolidating our strengths, creating initiatives for fostering collaborations across campus. Over the next years, neuroscience as a discipline will continue to play a central role in uncovering the links between brain and behavior, developing new treatments for neuropsychiatric disorders, unveiling new computational principles and architectures, and building bridges with arts and humanities. The Department of Neurobiology and Behavior will be at the forefront of this movement.”

In his other new role as a Co-Director of the Neurosciences Institute, Dr. Fontanini joins Dennis Choi, MD, PhD, Professor and Chair, Department of Neurology; Raphael Davis, MD, Professor and Chair, Department of Neurosurgery; and Ramin Parsey, MD, PhD, Professor and Chair, Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Health. The mission of the Neurosciences Institute is to enhance and facilitate institutional contributions to clinical care, research, and education with a focus on the nervous system: the brain, spinal cord, nerves, and muscle.

To learn more about Dr. Fontanini, visit: https://neuro.stonybrookmedicine.edu/meet-our-scientists   https://www.stonybrook.edu/experts/profile/alfredo-fontanini  https://medicine.stonybrookmedicine.edu/neurobiology/faculty/fontanini