Cristina Alberini

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Cristina Alberini
Alma materUniversity of Pavia (BSc)
University of Genoa (PhD)
Known forNeuroscience
AwardsHirschl-Weill Career Scientist Award, NARSAD Independent Investigator Award, Camilo Golgi Medal, Athena Award, MERIT Award
Scientific career
InstitutionsNew York University
University of Brescia
Brown University
Academic advisorsEric Kandel

Cristina Maria Alberini is an Italian neuroscientist who studies the biological mechanisms of long-term memory. She is a Professor in Neuroscience at the Center for Neural Science in New York University, and adjunct professor at the Departments of Neuroscience, Psysciatry, and Structural and Chemical Biology at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York.[1] Her research focuses on understanding the cellular and molecular mechanisms underlying the stabilization, storage, and consolidation of long-term memories, as well as memory retrieval and reconsolidation.[2] In 2017 she was elected to the Dana Alliance for Brain Initiatives and awarded the Lombardy Region Rosa Camuna Award in 2019.[3][4]

Early life and education[edit]

She studied biology and graduated with honors from the University of Pavia, in Italy. Her undergraduate research focused in the study of antibodies in vitro. She obtained a doctoral degree in immunological sciences from the University of Genoa, where she studied T-cell antigen receptors. In 1985 she got a post-doctoral research fellowship at the Dana–Farber Cancer Institute at Harvard Medical School, where she joined.[5] From 1991 to 1994 she trained as a neurobiologist was during a post-doctoral fellow at Columbia University working in the laboratory of Eric Kandel and studying the role of gene expression regulation during long-term synaptic plasticity.[2][6][7]

Research and career[edit]

In 1997 Alberini joined Brown University as an Assistant Professor of Neuroscience.[8] She moved to the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in 2001, where she acted as an assistant professor. In 2010 she was promoted to full-time Professor.[9] In 2011 she joined the Center for Neural Science at the New York University as a full-time Professor in Neuroscience.[2]

Her research focusses on the molecular and cellular mechanisms underlying memory and learning processes. Her lab studies the stabilization, storage and strengthening of long-term memories, as well as memory retrieval and reconsolidation. The results of her research may led to therapeutic approaches for memory loss, such as the ones occurring in aging, Alzheimer's disease, or post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). To understand these processes her lab uses mammalian (e.g. mice) and invertebrate systems (e.g. Aplysia californica, a type of sea slug).[10][1][7]

Her early work involved investigations into the impact of the insulin-like growth factor 2 (IGF-II) protein on long-term memory. She showed that the brain produced more IGF-II when it is making memories, and that by increasing the amount of IGF-II it is possible to improve memory function and persistence. Similarly, she demonstrated that blocking the increase of IGF-II stopped the formation of long-term memory.[11] She has continued to study the biological aspects of long-term memory and ways to minimize the fear associated with particular memories, which may be an approach to treat people with PTSD.[6][12]

Alberini's work as demonstrated that early life experiences impact the biological function and development of the brain. To do so, she has investigated the biological aspects that are related to episodic memories.[13][14] In one of her publications her and her co-workers conclude:[15]

Memory development is important for thinking, future learning, planning, decision-making, problem solving, reflecting, imagining, and the overall capacity to form a sense of self. We suggest that regulation of infantile learning, especially during learning and memory critical periods, represents an extremely effective tool for preventing numerous psychopathologies.

Awards and honours[edit]

Since 2004 she has been member of the Council of the Molecular and Cellular Cognition Society, where she acted as Treasurer from 2006 to 2009 and as president from 2009 to 2012.[9] Moreover, she is co-chair of the International Neuropsychoanalysis Society and serves on the Council of The Harvey Society.[16][17] Along her career her work has been recognized with several awards such as:

  • 2011 Camillo Golgi Medal Award[18]
  • 2016 Prize for American Italian Relations[19]
  • 2017 Elected to the Council of The Harvey Society[17]
  • 2017 Elected to the Dana Alliance for Brain Initiatives
  • 2018 Jacob K. Javits Visiting Professor[20]
  • 2019 Lombardy Region Rosa Camuna Award[21]

Selected publications[edit]

Cristina is editor-in-chief of the journal Hippocampus.[22] Among her most important publications are:

  • Suzuki, Akinobu; Stern, Sarah A.; Bozdagi, Ozlem; Huntley, George W.; Walker, Ruth H.; Magistretti, Pierre J.; Alberini, Cristina (2011). "Astrocyte-neuron lactate transport is required for long-term memory formation". Cell. 144 (5): 810–823. doi:10.1016/j.cell.2011.02.018. PMC 3073831. PMID 21376239.
  • Alberini, Cristina (2009). "Transcription Factors in Long-Term Memory and Synaptic Plasticity". Physiological Reviews. 89 (1): 121–145. doi:10.1152/physrev.00017.2008. PMC 3883056. PMID 19126756.
  • Alberini, Cristina (2005). "Mechanisms of memory stabilization: are consolidation and reconsolidation similar or distinct processes?". Trends in Neurosciences. 28 (1): 51–56. doi:10.1016/j.tins.2004.11.001. PMID 15626497. S2CID 18339636.


  1. ^ a b "Cristina M. Alberini". Alberini Lab: NYU Center for Neural Science. Archived from the original on 16 February 2017.
  2. ^ a b c "Prof. Christina Alberini". Fondation Agalma. Retrieved 5 April 2021.
  3. ^ "Dana Alliance for Brain Initiatives Elects Fifteen New Members". Dana Foundation. Archived from the original on 4 February 2020.
  4. ^ "Premio Rosa Camuna 2019 alla ricercatrice cremonese Maria Cristina Alberini". Cremonaoggi (in Italian). 28 May 2019. Retrieved 6 April 2021.
  5. ^ "Cristina M. Alberini – Alberini Lab". Retrieved 13 February 2020.
  6. ^ a b Waal, Mandy De. "Cristina Alberini's long-term contribution to memory". Daily Maverick. Retrieved 13 February 2020.
  7. ^ a b Schousboe Sjøgaard, Susanne. "Cristina Alberini". Retrieved 13 February 2020.
  8. ^ "Cristina M. Alberini". Retrieved 13 February 2020.
  9. ^ a b "Cristina Alberini". The Helix Center. Retrieved 10 April 2021.
  10. ^ "fancyBox - iframe demo". Retrieved 13 February 2020.
  11. ^ "The protein that fights Alzheimer's and autism. Interview with Cristina Alberini". 3 June 2015. Archived from the original on 19 October 2015. Retrieved 13 February 2020.
  12. ^ "Rats! Bad, old memories stay with us - The Boston Globe". Retrieved 13 February 2020.
  13. ^ "Early life experiences biologically and functionally mature the brain: Study on rats and mice reveals impact on learning and memory". ScienceDaily. Retrieved 13 February 2020.
  14. ^ "Infantile memory study points to critical periods in early-life learning for brain development". ScienceDaily. Retrieved 13 February 2020.
  15. ^ Bessières, Benjamin; Travaglia, Alessio; Mowery, Todd M.; Zhang, Xinying; Alberini, Cristina M. (31 January 2020). "Early life experiences selectively mature learning and memory abilities". Nature Communications. 11 (1): 628. Bibcode:2020NatCo..11..628B. doi:10.1038/s41467-020-14461-3. ISSN 2041-1723. PMC 6994621. PMID 32005863.
  16. ^ "The International Neuropsychoanalysis Society". NPSA. Retrieved 13 February 2020.
  17. ^ a b "The Harvey Society: Officers & Council 2019—2020". Retrieved 13 February 2020.
  18. ^ "Ambassador Giulio Terzi di Sant'Agata Introduces the Global Health Symposium". Retrieved 13 February 2020.
  19. ^ Zanfagna, Zeffira. "Chi c'era alla consegna dei premi Prize for American Italian Relations al Csa. Foto di Pizzi". (in Italian). Retrieved 13 February 2020.
  20. ^ "Jacob K. Javits Visiting Professorship Lecture". Retrieved 13 February 2020.
  21. ^ "Decadimento della memoria, nuove prospettive con Alberini". Retrieved 13 February 2020.
  22. ^ "Hippocampus". Wiley Online Library. doi:10.1002/(ISSN)1098-1063. Retrieved 13 February 2020.