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College of Arts and Sciences
Department: Biological Sciences
Electrophysiology, Imaging, Computational Neuroscience
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Dr. Scimemi began her scientific career in Italy, where she studied Biological Sciences at the University of Pisa (1993-1998). In 1998 she was selected for the PhD courses in Biophysics, Genetics and Molecular Biology, Cognitive Neurosciences, at the International School for Advanced Studies (SISSA/ISAS) in Trieste (Italy). She graduated in Biophysics at the end of 2001, working with Profs. John G. Nicholls and Enrico Cherubini. During her PhD, Dr. Scimemi studied the development of rhythmic circuits underlying locomotor-like behaviors. In 2002 she crossed The Channel and reached London (UK). Specifically, she reached UCL, one of the world leading institutes in the fields of neuroscience, physiology and pharmacology. At UCL, she used electrophysiology approaches to study synapses, specialized sites that allow neurons to communicate to one another. Together with Prof. Dimitri M. Kullmann, and also Dmitri A. Rusakov, Matthew C.Walker and many others in the lab, she learnt that the exchange of information among neurons at the level of the synapse is not spatially confined as it is often described in textbooks. This lack of spatial specificity, a phenomenon that is referred to as "neurotransmitter spillover", can be modified during epilepsy and is shaped by the activity of glial cells (particularly astrocytes) adjacent to synaptic contacts. In 2005 Dr. Scimemi joined the lab of Dr. Jeffrey S. Diamond at the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda (MD). Here she continued to work on spillover, strengthened her quantitative and analytical skills, and learnt to use astrocytic recordings and diffusion simulations to study the role of neuronal glutamate transporters at hippocampal synapses. In 2010 Dr. Scimemi was appointed Research Fellow, and used her expertise in diffusion analysis and two-photon microscopy to understand the structural organization of pre-synaptic terminals in the hippocampus.
In 2013 she became an Assistant Professor at SUNY Albany and two years later she became an Adjunct Professor in the Department of Physics at SUNY Albany. Her research currently focuses on understanding the role of transporters in regulating information processing in the brain. She works with students from Biology, Physics, Mathematics, Computer Science and Engineering. She is the President of the Society for Neuroscience Hudson-Berkshire Chapter and the recipient of federal funds which she supports her research team. Her trainees have continued their professional career in prestigious institutions including Cornell, Rochester and Johns Hopkins University.