|Fields||Psychology and Neuroscience|
University of Pisa
University of California at San Diego
|Known for||Sleep research, integrated information theory, Consciousness Studies|
|Notable awards||NIH Director's Pioneer award (2005)|
Giulio Tononi is a neuroscientist and psychiatrist who holds the David P. White Chair in Sleep Medicine, as well as a Distinguished Chair in Consciousness Science, at the University of Wisconsin.
Tononi was born in Trento, Italy, and obtained an M.D. and a Ph.D. in neurobiology at the Sant'Anna School of Advanced Studies in Pisa, Italy. He is an authority on sleep, and in particular the genetics and etiology of sleep. Tononi and collaborators have pioneered several complementary approaches to study sleep. These include genomics, proteomics, fruit fly models, rodent models employing multiunit / local field potential recordings in behaving animals, in vivo voltammetry and microscopy, high-density EEG recordings and transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) in humans, and large-scale computer models of sleep and wakefulness. This research has led to a comprehensive hypothesis on the function of sleep (proposed with sleep researcher Chiara Cirelli), the synaptic homeostasis hypothesis. According to the hypothesis, wakefulness leads to a net increase in synaptic strength, and sleep is necessary to reestablish synaptic homeostasis. The hypothesis has implications for understanding the effects of sleep deprivation and for developing novel diagnostic and therapeutic approaches to sleep disorders and neuropsychiatric disorders.
Tononi is a leader in the field of consciousness studies, and has co-authored a book on the subject with Gerald Edelman. He developed the integrated information theory (IIT): a scientific theory of what consciousness is, how it can be measured, how it is realized in the brain and, why it fades when we fall into dreamless sleep and returns when we dream. The theory is being tested with neuroimaging, TMS, and computer models. His work has been described as "the only really promising fundamental theory of consciousness" by Christof Koch.
- Tononi, G. (2012). PHI: A Voyage from the Brain to the Soul. Pantheon Books.
- Laureys, S.; Tononi, G. (2009). The Neurology of Consciousness: Cognitive Neuroscience and Neuropathology. Academic Press.
- Tononi, G. (2003). Galileo e il fotodiodo. Laterza (Bari).
- Edelman, G.M.; Tononi, G. (2000). A Universe of Consciousness: How Matter Becomes Imagination. Basic Books.
- Sporns, O.; Tononi, G. (1994). Selectionism and the Brain. Academic Press.
- "Hard lessons, sound sleep". New Scientist. June 2004. Retrieved 2008-05-15.
- "Memory formation: The big sleep". The Economist. April 2008. Retrieved 2008-05-15.
- Sarah Graham (April 2005). "Slumbering Fruit Flies Shed Light on Genetics of Sleep Needs". SciAm.com (Scientific American). Retrieved 2008-05-14.
- Carl Zimmer (November 2005). "Down for the Count". New York Times. Retrieved 2008-05-14.
- Henry Fountain (January 2008). "Study Gives Key Role to Sleep in Helping Brain Learn Anew". New York Times. Retrieved 2008-05-14.
- "Scientists Find Brain Areas Affected By Lack Of Sleep". ScienceDaily. November 2003. Retrieved 2008-05-14.
- John Fauber (May 2007). "Turning back brain's clock?: UW sleep study could have implications for disorders". Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. Retrieved 2008-05-15.
- "Giulio Tononi". Machines Like Us.
- Carl Zimmer (September 20, 2010). "Sizing Up Consciousness by Its Bits". New York Times. Retrieved 2010-09-20.
- Gerard Edelman; Giulio Tononi (June 2000). Consciousness: How Matter Becomes Imagination (book). Allen Lane.
- Steven Poole (June 2000). "Mind games: Gerald Edelman and Giulio Tononi dodge the question of free will in Consciousness". Guardian Unlimited. Retrieved 2008-05-14.
- Zimmer, Carl (20 September 2010). "Sizing Up Consciousness by Its Bits". New York Times. Retrieved 2010-09-22.
- Media related to Giulio Tononi at Wikimedia Commons