social and cultural studies of neuroscience
BIOS Centre, London School of Economics and Political Science; Founder and Advisory Expert of the European Neuroscience and Society Network
Life and the Brain: What neuroscience can and cannot tell us about living
Today, neuroscience findings increasingly offer explanations to understand the world and make sense of significant, often personal, domains of human experience. However, on a daily basis, we live by concepts, observations and strategies which find their origins in the laboratory, as well as in other disciplines, cultural practices and commonsensical wisdom which are equally authoritative in providing meaning for our existence. From the way we deal with anxiety and depression, to how we fall in love, take decisions, enjoy a theatre performance or decide what to cook, knowledge about the brain can side with common sense judgments and strategies, but it can also be resisted in favour of inspiring words and images from the arts, the humanities and human experience with the power of resonating loudly and more lastingly with anyone in search for models to identify with. Until neuroscience has solved all the questions, two or more understandings of the same phenomenon will always co-exist with none of them being more or less meaningful, enchanting or explanatory than the other. Ultimately, it is possible to be at once scientific and lyrical about oneself when regarding the world
Founder of www.neuroculture.org
Neuroculture.org is an online platform for the documentation, promotion and exchange of cultural projects at the intersection between neuroscience, the arts and the humanities. It serves to document the vast spectacle of images and concepts associated with 21st century
brain science, trace their historical origins and examine their presence in contemporary culture.
Co-curator with Suzanne Anker (School of Visual Arts, NY) of 'Neuroculture: Visual Art and the Brain', Westport Arts Center, CT, USA, April-June 2006
'The Qualia Bar' (2004-2006), an art installation ironically exploring the qualitative nature of subjective experience and ineffable sensation and their conversion into molecular formulas.
Co-director of 'Brainstorm', a film-montage documenting the ways in which the brain and neurons have been portrayed both in popular culture arenas and the scientific community. The film was premiered at the Institute for Cultural Inquiry in Berlin in February 2009.
Coordinator of the international ENSN Interdisciplinary NeuroSchools
aimed at fostering learning in an interdisciplinary symmetrical environment. Intended for graduate students and post-doctoral fellows engaged in neuroscience research or in historical or social studies of neuroscience.
Co-convenor and lecturer, ‘Scared to Death! Biologie und Politik der Angst’ Summer Academy of the Studienstiftung des Deutschen Volkes
Salem, Germany Aug 16th-30th 2008. An interdisciplinary undergraduate course for the teaching of the biology, politics and societal aspects of anxiety.
Guest Lecturer, ‘Neuroscience and Society’ module, Annual EMBL PhD Course.
Guest Lecturer, ‘Art, Science and Technology’ course, School of Visual Arts, New York
Reviewer for Journals, PLoS Biology; PLoS One; Genes, Brain and Behavior, Social Science & Medicine
Reviewer of Collaborative Projects, European Science Foundation
Frazzetto G (2010) The science of online dating. Can the application of science to unravel the biological basis of love complement the traditional, romantic ideal of finding a soul mate?, EMBOreports, 11, 25-7.
Frazzetto G (2009) Genetics of Behaviour and Psychiatric Disorders: From the Laboratory to Society and Back, Current Science, 97, 1555-1563.
Frazzetto G and Anker S (2009) Neuroculture, Nature Reviews Neuroscience, 10, 815-821.
McDermott R, Tingley D, Cowden, J, Frazzetto G Johnson DDP (2009)
‘Monoamine oxidase A predicts aggression following provocation’ Proceedings National Academy of Science, 106, 2118-23.
Frazzetto G (2009) Corpus Extremus- Life and Death in the Gallery,
Commissioned Review, Nature, 457, 152.
Frazzetto G et al (2009) Dialogue between the disciplines is thriving, Nature, 458, 702.
Frazzetto G (2008) The drugs don’t work for everyone. Doubts about the efficacy of antidepressants renew debates over the medicalisation of common distress, EMBOreports, 9, 605-8.
Frazzetto G (2008) ‘Neural Networking in Manhattan’, Commissioned Review for the New York based Festival ‘Brainwave’, Nature, 451, 772.
Frazzetto G and Gross C (2007) ‘Behavioural Genetics: Beyond Susceptibility’, in the Special issue of EMBOreports on ‘Genes, Brain and Beahviour’ July, 2007
Frazzetto G, Keenan S and Singh IA (2007) ‘I Bambini e le Droghe: The Right to Ritalin vs. the Right to Childhood in Italy’ BioSocieties, 2, 393-412.
Frazzetto G, Di Lorenzo G, Carola V, Proietti L, Sokolowska E, Siracusano A, Gross C and Troisi A (2007) ‘Early trauma and increased risk for physical aggression: the moderating role of MAOA’ PLoS One May 30; 2:e486.
Carola V, Frazzetto G, Pascucci T, Audero E, Puglisi-Allegra S, Cabib S, Lesch Klaus-Peter and Gross C (2007) ‘Identifying molecular substrates in a mouse model of the 5-HTT-by-environment risk factor for anxiety and depression Biological Psychiatry, 63, 840-6.
Frazzetto, G (2007) ‘Antidepressants and the multiplicity of authentic selves’ Journal for the History of the Human Sciences Vol 20 No. 3, 147-152.
Frazzetto G (2007) ‘Crossing boundaries’ a short article in Nature featuring my experience as a ‘Society in Science’ fellow, Nature, 446, 828.
Frazzetto G (2007) ‘Verse and universe’ (book review of “Contemporary Poetry and Contemporary Science”) EMBOreports, 8, 218.
Carola V, Frazzetto G, Gross C (2006) ‘Identifying interactions between genes and early environment in the mouse’ Genes, Brain and Behaviour, 5, 189-99.
Frazzetto G. (2005) ‘Understanding Consciousness’. The race is on to
understand consciousness, but it will take time to accommodate the cultural repercussions of this knowledge EMBOreports 6, 303-6.
Frazzetto G (2004) ‘DNA or loving care?’ Parenthood and its interpretations in contemporary biomedical society. EMBOreports, 5 (Dec), 1117-1119.
Frazzetto G. (2004) ‘Different and yet alike’. Despite a history of different attitudes and approaches, art and science are engaging more often in collaborations of mutual benefit.. EMBOreports 5, 233-5
Frazzetto G. (2004) ‘The changing identity of the scientist’. As science puts on a new face, the identity of its practitioners evolves accrodingly' EMBOreports 5 (1), 18-20.
Frazzetto G. (2003) ‘French public research: time for an overhaul?’ EMBOreports 4 (12), 1110-1112.
Frazzetto G (2003) ‘White biotechnology’ EMBOreports 4 (9), 835-7.
Frazzetto G and Frischknecht F. (2003) ‘Local solutions for global problems’. With the gap between the rich and the poor becoming wider, participants of the third bioVision meeting discussed how the life sciences can help. EMBOreports 4 (6), 353-55.
Frazzetto G (2002) ‘Science on the stage’: recent plays on scientific topics show that science and theatre have more in common than it appears. EMBO reports 3 (9), 818-20.
Frazzetto G (2002) Mutamenti. A collection of juvenile poems (in Italian), Libroitaliano World, International Publishing House.
Frazzetto G, Klingbeil P and Bouwmeester T (2002) Xenopus marginal coil (Xmc), a novel FGF inducible cytosolic coiled-coil protein regulating gastrulation movements, Mech. Dev, 113 (1), 3-14.
Klingbeil P, Frazzetto G and Bouwmeester T (2001). Xwig1, a novel putative endoplasmic reticulum protein expressed during epithelial morphogenesis and in response to embryonic wounding. Int. J. Dev. Biol. 45, 379-85.
Klingbeil P, Frazzetto G and Bouwmeester T (2001). Xgravin-like (Xgl), a novel putative a-kinase anchoring protein (AKAP) expressed during embryonic development in Xenopus. Mech. Dev. 100, 323-6.
Selected Invited Papers
European Science Open Forum, 20 July 2008 in Barcelona, ‘Reflexivity and Social Awareness: the integration of society into life-sciences practice’. Panelist together with Helga Nowotny, Sheila Jasanoff, Philip Campbell, Ulrike Felt and Bryan Wynne in the session on ‘What’s the ethical and social responsibility of basic science?
‘Old and new anxiety drugs: expectations and discontents in a biologised world’, invited talk at the workshop: ‘Our Brains, our selves’ at Harvard University, 1-3 May, 2008.
Frazzetto G ‘Behavioural genetics: from the lab to society and back’, Department of Biological Sciences, University of Cyprus, April, 4th 2008.
Panelist in the first online symposium on ‘Visual Culture and Bioscience’, US National Academy of Sciences
‘Bambini on Drugs: The Right to Ritalin vs. the Right to Childhood in Italy’, Public Health and Human Rights, Monash University in Prato, Italy, June 7-9 2007.