Welcome to the website of Davide Zoccolan’s Visual Neuroscience Lab.

The lab is part of the PhD program in Cognitive Neuroscience of the International School for Advanced Studies (SISSA) of Trieste (Italy), and was established in 2009 thanks to the support of an Accademia Nazionale dei Lincei -   Compagnia di San Paolo Grant.

Our research aims at understanding the neuronal mechanisms underlying visual object recognition, using a combination of psychophysics, electrophysiology, and computational modeling. 

March 2013. The international team, of which Davide Zoccolan is a member, has been awarded an HFSP Program Grant to study the neuronal substrates of concept formation.

Press Release        Newspapers

April 2013. Our new study (revealing the complexity of rat visual object recognition strategy) has been published in The Journal of Neuroscience.

Article        Press Release

February 2013. Davide Zoccolan, in collaboration with David D. Cox (Harvard), Clay Reid (Harvard) and Andrea Benucci (UCL), is host editor of a Frontier Research Topic titled: What can simple brains teach us about how vision works? Articles accepted for the Research Topic will be published in Frontiers in Neural Circuits.

Relevant deadlines:

Abstract Submission: 30 Apr 2013       

Full Article Submission: 30 June 2014

August 2013. Our new study (about the coding of visual objects in monkey inferotemporal cortex) has been published in PLoS Computational Biology.

Article        Press Release

January 2014. Davide Zoccolan has been awarded an ERC Consolidator Grant to study the development of visual object representations.

Press Release        Newspapers        TV Interview

November 2015. Publication of the  ebook titled What can simple brains teach us about how vision works?, edited by D Zoccolan, DD Cox, A Benucci and RC Reid.

Press Release

Lab News   [see all news here]

April 2017. Our new study (about the coding of visual objects in rat visual cortex) has been published in eLife.

Article               Press release

Commentary    Press

June 2017. Davide Zoccolan will be part of SISSA’s delegation to the Joint Weizmann-SISSA meeting. 

Web site


July 2017. SISSA’s winners of an ERC grant are covered by an article on Platinum, the magazine of Sole 24 ore . 

Article [IT] [ENG]

February 2018. Our new study, led by our collaborator  Mathew Diamond  (about supramodal integration of visual and tactile information in rats), has been published in Neuron.

Article               Press Release [IT] [ENG]


March 2018. Our new study  (about the perceptual strategies deployed by rats in object recognition tasks) has been published in Current Biology.

Article       Press Release [IT] [ENG]


July 2018. Applications are open for ICTP Winter School on Quantitative Systems Biology: Learning and Artificial Intelligence, co-directed by Antonio Celani (ICTP), Chris Mathys (SISSA) and Davide Zoccolan (SISSA). The school will be held at ICTP (Trieste, Italy) from Nov 12 to Nov 23, 2018.     [See Poster]

Relevant deadlines:

Applicants requesting financial support: 1 Sep 2018

Applicants not requesting financial support: 15 Oct 2018

November 2018. Publication of the book Handbook of object novelty recognition (Academic Press, London),  where D. Zoccolan and A. Di Filippo contributed a chapter about the Methodological approaches to investigate visual perception in rodents.    


March 5, 2019. Davide Zoccolan & Andrea Benucci (Riken, Japan) have organized the Cosyne workshop Studying visual processing in rodents: where a decade of research has taken us and what is awaiting ahead.

This is the first workshop abut rodent vision @ Cosyne!

Cosyne 2019 Workshop Program

February 2019. Our new study  (about shape processing in rat visual cortex) has been published in The Journal of Neuroscience.

Article       Press Release [IT] [ENG]     Press [IT]

July 2019. Davide Zoccolan has been awarded an ERC Proof of Concept Grant to design and build smart cameras for head and eye tracking. 

Press Release [IT] [ENG]     ERC Press Release   

Sep & Oct 2019. Check out Davide Zoccolan’s seminars at Trieste NEXT and ICTP Workshop in Data Science

November 2019. Our new study (resulting from a collaboration with Alessandro Laio @ SISSA and Jakob Macke @ TUM) on the intrinsic dimension of data manifolds in deep networks has been published in the pre-proceedings of NeurIPS.

Article      Press Release [IT] [ENG]   Press [IT]     Seminar

Apr 2020. 300 Italian scientists winners of an ERC grant have written a letter in support of ERC and its vision to fund basic, bottom-up, cutting research.

Letter [IT]

May 2020. Our new study on the causal involvement of temporal continuity in the development of V1 complex cells has been published on Science Advances.

Article      Press Release [IT] [ENG]