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Antonino Mario Cassarà

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Antonino Mario Cassará, PhD

PhD, Project Leader

Neurostimulation

Antonino Cassará was born in Partinico, Italy, in February 1980. He earned a bachelor's degree in physics from the Universita’ degli Studi di Catania, Italy in 2004, defending a thesis on nuclear physics and phase transitions of nuclear matter to quark matter in heavy ion collisions and in neutron stars.

 

 

Antonino defended his PhD dissertation in physics at the Universitá di Roma ‘La Sapienza’ in 2008 on the feasibility of direct detection of neuronal currents in the brain by means of magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). He conducted research on neuronal current imaging (NCI) by MRI techniques at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, USA, as visiting scientist, and as a post-doctoral fellow at the ‘Centro Studi e Ricerche E. Fermi’ in Rome and at the Physikalisch-Technische Bundesanstalt (PTB) in Berlin.

Antonino joined the IT'IS Foundation in May 2014 as a post-doctoral fellow to work on projects and services related to non-invasive brain stimulation (NIBS), functional neurostimulation in the context of bioelectronics medicine, electroceuticals, and safety aspects of unintended stimulation. In August 2016, he became a member of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) / International Committee on Electromagnetic Safety (ICES) Technical Committee (TC) 96 and Working Group (WG) 6. Since June 2017, Antonino has been the IT'IS project leader for neurostimulation and application head for neurostimulation applications.

His main research activities involve:

  • modelling of the neuroelectric response of the brain to non-invasive brain stimulation (NIBS) techniques, e.g., transcranial electrical stimulation (TES), transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS), deep brain stimulation (DBS), as well as NIBS via temporally interfering (TI) fields
  • development of neuro-functionalized head models and of procedures for optimization of electrode placement, patient personalization, investigations of mechanisms of neurostimulation at the level of a single neuron to neuronal populations
  • investigations of functional neurostimulation – e.g., vagus nerve stimulation – by electroceuticals and neuroprosthetic devices, device development, and optimization for targeted and selective peripheral nerve stimulation (PNS)
  • safety investigations related to mechanisms and contexts of unwanted stimulation by low-frequency electromagnetic fields in controlled – e.g., during MRI exposure – or uncontrolled exposures – e.g., exposure to wireless power transfer technologies (WPT), as well as the safety of medical implants during radiofrequency exposure (ISO-TS10974)
  • development and characterization of neuroelectric models of extended brain sources – based on electrophysiological models of neurons – for investigations of applied bioelectromagnetism, neuronal source imaging (NCI), and remote sensing
  • implementation, verification, and validation of electrophysiological models of nerve fibers and nerve models

Antonino serves as a scientific reviewer for a number of peer-review scientific journals – including Neuroimage, Magnetic Resonance Imaging, Medical & Biological Engineering & Computing, Journal of Neuroscience Methods, etc. – as well as for conferences and funding agencies.

PUBLICATION LIST

Peer-reviewed articles

Grossman, N., Bono, D., Dedic, N., Kodandaramaiah, S., Rudenko, A., Suk, H.J., Cassara, A.M., Neufeld, E., Kuster, N., Tsai, L.H., Pascual-Leone, A. & Boyden, E. Noninvasive Deep Brain Stimulation via Delivery of Temporally Interfering Electric Fields. Cell, 169(6):1029—1041.e16, 2017
Kumari, K., Capstick, M., Cassara, A.M., Herrala, M., Koivisto, H., Naarala, J., Tanila, H., Viluksela, M. & Juutilainen, J. Effects of intermediate frequency magnetic fields on male fertility indicators in mice. Environment Research, 157:64-70, 2017
Neufeld, E., Cassara, A.M., Montanaro, H., Kuster, N. & Kainz, W. Functionalized Anatomical Models for EM-Neuron Interaction Modeling. Physics in Medicine and Biology, 61(12):4390-4401, 2016

 

Conference proceedings

Cassara, A., Neufeld, E., Guidon, M., Kainz, W. & Kuster, N. Pulse-Shape-Related Effects in Transcranial Sub- and Suprathreshold Stimulation of Cortical Neurons using Anatomically, Morphologically, and Electrophysiologically Detailed Coupled Electromagnetic and Neuronal Modeling. In Proceedings of the 8th International IEEE EMBS Neural Engineering Conference, Shanghai, China, May 25 - 28, 2017
Cassara, A., Neufeld, E., Montanaro, H. & Kuster, N. Mechanism Investigation, Device Development, and Treatment Personalization Using Anatomical Models Functionalized with Electrophysiological Neuron Models. In Proceedings of the 32nd International Union of Radio Science General Assembly and Scientific Symposium (URSI GASS), Montreal, Canada, August 16 - 26, 2017
Cassara, A.M., Liorni, I., Neufeld, E. & Kuster, N. Assessment of neuronal Conduction Block (CB) related to medical implants in conjunction with Wireless Power Transfer (WPT) using simplified and electrophysiologically functionalized anatomical models. In Proceedings of the Joint Meeting of the Bioelectromagnetics Society (BEMS) and the European BioElectromagnetics Association (EBEA), Hangzhou, China, June 5- 9, 2017
Cassara, A.M., Neufeld, E., Hagberg, G., Guidon, M., Scheffler, K. & Kuster, N. Peripheral Nerve Stimulation in MRI: Insights from a three level analysis and coupled EM-electrophysiological simulations in neuro-functionalized human models. In Proceedings of the 25th International Society for Magnetic Resonance in Medicine (ISMRM), Honolulu, USA, April 22-27, 2017
Cassara, A.M., Neufeld, E. & Kuster, N. Accurate Modeling of Vagus Nerve Stimulation for Selective A-, B- and C- Fibers Recruitment in Functionalized Generic and Anatomical Head Models. In Proceedings of the Joint Meeting of the Bioelectromagnetics Society (BEMS) and the European BioElectromagnetics Association (EBEA), Hangzhou, China, June 5- 9, 2017
Cassara, A.M., Neufeld, E., Montanaro, H. & Kuster, N. Neuro-Functionalized Anatomical Human Models For Neuromodulation Related Mechanism and Safety Investigations, Device Development, Personalized Treatment Planning, and in silico Trials. In Proceedings of the 47th Annual Meeting of the Society for Neuroscience, Neuroscience 2017, Washington DC, USA, November 11-15, 2017
Neufeld, E., Cassara, A.M., Kainz, W., Angelone, L., Montanaro, H. & Kuster, N. Neuro-Functionalized Anatomical Models for Mechanism Investigation, Device Development, and Treatment Personalization.. In Proceedings of the 2017 BMES/FDA Frontiers in Medical Devices Conference, College Park MD, USA, May 16-18, 2017
Neufeld, E., Montanaro, H., Cassara, A.M., Guidon, M. & Kuster, N. Optimization of Targeted Neurostimulation Based on Activating Functions and Validation by Coupled Electromagnetic-Neuronal Dynamics Modeling. In Proceedings of the Joint Meeting of the Bioelectromagnetics Society (BEMS) and the European BioElectromagnetics Association (EBEA), Hangzhou, China, June 5- 9, 2017
Cassara, A.M., Neufeld, E., Guidon, M., Kainz, W. & Kuster, N. Large-Scale Multi Neuronal Simulation within an Anatomical Head Model for Transcranial Alternative Current Stimulation (tACS) Investigations. In Proceedings of the Joint Meeting of the Bioelectromagnetics Society (BEMS) and the European BioElectromagnetics Association (EBEA), Ghent, Belgium, June 5-10, 2016
Neufeld, E., Cassara, A.M., Montanaro, H., Kainz, W. & Kuster, N. Investigation of Electric and Magnetic Stimulation Time Constants Through Neuronal Dynamics Functionalized Anatomical Models. In Proceedings of the Joint Meeting of the Bioelectromagnetics Society (BEMS) and the European BioElectromagnetics Association (EBEA), Ghent, Belgium, June 5-10, 2016, pages 139-142