Francesco Lacquaniti

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Francesco Lacquaniti
Born (1952-12-24) December 24, 1952 (age 70)
Turin, Italy
Alma mater
  • University of Turin (MD)
  • University of Turin (Specialty in Neurology)
Known forMotor coordination
  • National Research Council (Italy) Gradoni Prize (1985)
  • Ig Nobel Prize (2013)
  • Herlitzka International Prize for Physiology (2015)
  • Elected to Academia Europaea (2012)
  • Elected to Consiglio Universitario Nazionale (2015)
  • Doctor Honoris Causa Université catholique de Louvain (2020)
Scientific career
  • University of Turin
  • University of Minnesota Medical School
  • National Research Council (Italy)
  • University of Cagliari
  • University of Rome Tor Vergata

Francesco Lacquaniti is an Italian neurologist and neuroscientist. He received his medical education and completed his Neurology residency at the University of Turin.[1] He is currently Professor of Physiology at the University of Rome Tor Vergata,[2] the Director of the Center of Space Biomedicine at the University of Rome Tor Vergata,[3] and the Director of the Laboratory of Neuromotor Physiology at Santa Lucia Foundation IRCCS, Rome.[4] Between 1979 and 1986, he has been a Visiting Fellow and Visiting Professor at the Department of Physiology of the University of Minnesota Medical School.[1] He has been Visiting Fellow at LPPA, CNRS, Paris (France), Ricercatore and Acting Director at the Institute of Neural Centers of the National Research Council (Italy) in Milan, Professor of Physiology, Director of the Physiology Institute and the Director of the Specialty Schools in Sports Medicine and Nutritional Sciences at the University of Cagliari.[1] In 2000, he held a Chair of Invited Professor at Collège de France, Paris.[1] His research focuses on the laws of movement control in humans and other animals (including the two-thirds Power law, see Penmanship, Motor coordination, Affine curvature, Cat anatomy), their development in children and alteration after neurological lesions (Developmental coordination disorder). He also studied the neural representation of spatial information in the brain (Brodmann area 5), the neural representation of gravity effects on the body, and how the brain adapts to weightlessness (Locomotion in space). The New Scientist[5] covered his discovery about the encoding of a mental model of gravity effects in the human brain. This discovery is also discussed in Incognito: The Secret Lives of the Brain, a New York Times bestseller by David Eagleman, as well as in other books.[6] Several media covered his work on the presence of locomotor primitives in neonates of humans and other animal species.[7][8][9][10][11] [12] [13] [14]

The work on muscle synergies in adults and neonates is discussed at length in several books. [15] [16]

He has published several widely cited papers[17] and co-edited a book.[18] For his work, he received the Herlitzka International Prize for Physiology, [19] was elected to the Consiglio Universitario Nazionale,[20] was elected to the Academia Europaea,[21] and received a Honorary Degree in Neurosciences from the Université Catholique de Louvain.[22] [23]

Selected publications

  • Dominici N, et al. (2011). "Locomotor primitives in newborn babies and their development". Science (journal). 334 (6058): 997–999.
  • Sylos-Labini F, et al. (2020). "Distinct locomotor precursors in newborn babies". Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America. 117 (17): 9604–9612.


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 "Università degli Studi Tor Vergata. DidatticaWeb".
  2. "Università degli Studi di Roma Tor Vergata. Facoltà di Medicina e Chirurgia. Dipartimento di Medicina dei Sistemi. Lacquaniti Francesco".
  3. "Università degli Studi di Roma Tor Vergata. Facoltà di Medicina e Chirurgia. Centro di Biomedicina Spaziale".
  4. "Santa Lucia Neuroscienze e Riabilitazione. Innovative Methodologies for Rehabilitation".
  5. "Knowledge of gravity hard-wired in the brain". Retrieved 30 July 2020.
  6. "Biological Learning and Control".
  7. "Humans learn to walk like rats". Retrieved 30 July 2020.
  8. "Tottering piglets can't walk at first but learn super-fast". Retrieved 30 July 2020.
  9. "A Rat's First Steps: How Humans and Other Animals Learn to Walk". Retrieved 31 July 2020.
  10. "Der Standard. Wie wir wirklich gehen lernen".
  11. "Babies, rats share walking ancestry". Retrieved 30 July 2020.
  12. "Los primeros pasos de niños y animales comparten un mecanismo neuronal similar". Retrieved 30 July 2020.
  13. "Gizmodo. Francesco Lacquaniti. Humans learn to walk the same way as rats, cats, monkeys and birds".
  14. "Medical Xpress. New insights into how humans learn to walk".
  15. "Synergy".
  16. "Textbook of Pediatric Neurosurgery".
  17. "Google Scholar. Francesco Lacquaniti". Retrieved 30 July 2020.
  18. "Library of Congress Authorities. Lacquaniti, Francesco".
  19. "Accademia delle Scienze. Herlitzka 2015".
  20. "Consiglio Universitario Nazionale. Archivio Storico".
  21. "Academia Europaea. Members. Francesco Lacquaniti".
  22. "Deux brillants specialistes du contrôle moteur".
  23. "Professors Leonardo G. Cohen and Francesco Lacquaniti were awarded the title of Doctor Honoris Causa by the Health Science Sector of UCLouvain. March 2020".

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