Credit: George Mason University (photograph by Tom LeGro)

Giorgio A. Ascoli

Hi, welcome to my personal home page. I am a University Professor in the Molecular Neuroscience Department and the founding Director of the Center for Neural Informatics, Structure, & Plasticity of the Krasnow Institute for Advanced Study at George Mason University. This page describes my scientific activity and links to some of the sites related to my professional interests. If you want to know more about (the unofficial) me, visit my

lighter side

Scientific Interests

cng logo I am the head of the Computational Neuroanatomy Group at the Krasnow Institute. Our main effort is to model neuronal morphology (the "shape" of brain cells) and its influence on network connectivity and electrophysiological activity. One of the products of our group is L-Neuron, a modeling tool that generates and describes realistic neurons. Among the current research projects of the Computational Neuroanatomy Group are anatomically plausible neural networks and autobiographic memory. Here is a Mason Gazette coverage of my research. For a detailed description of this field, see this review article. I edited a scientific book that defines Computational Neuroanatomy in broad terms.

My main long-term scientific and philosophical goal consists in establishing a working model for the highest cognitive functions such as human consciousness. My current consciousness model is fundamentally based on associative learning. If you want to download the zipped postcript version of one of my papers on the subject, click here. If you think that consciousness is and will forever remain a mystery that science cannot solve, see my response. Finally, if you wonder what neuroanatomy has to do with consciousness, you might find an answer here.

On the experimental side, my research involvement is primarily in neuroanatomy, but my scientific background is biochemistry. As a researcher at the former Laboratory of Adaptive Systems of the N.I.H., I worked on the structural characterization of a learning-associated neuronal protein, Calexcitin, and on the Prion protein, the infective agent of Mad Cow disease. I received my M.Sc. (Laurea) from the University of Pisa (yes, the leaning tower) and my Ph.D. from the Scuola Normale Superiore, in Italy, where I investigated drug-protein binding.

If you are interested in my research, you can find my CV with a list of publications here.

teaching logo  I enjoy teaching graduate courses and I welcome Neuroscience, Psychology, Bioinformatics, Biology, and Information Technology students interested in neuroinformatics and computational neuroanatomy to attend my classes. All students in the greater Washington DC area who wish to visit my Krasnow laboratory are strongly encouraged to contact me (thesis slots available!).

Past courses:

PRESENT COURSE (Spring 2014):

IMAGE ...more non-scientific links on my lighter side

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