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Contact Info:

Cinzia Metallo
Former Lab Member

Research Interests

  • Neuroscience
  • Electrophysiology
  • Electromyography (EMG)
  • Medical devices

Dr. Metallo holds a Ph.D. in Neuroscience from the Sackler School of Biomedical Sciences at Tufts University School of Medicine (Boston, MA).

As part of her Ph.D. research, she developed a novel platform technology aimed at monitoring bioelectrical signals such as muscle activity. This technology was applied to acquire motor patterns underlying adaptive locomotion in Manduca sexta, a soft-bodied animal that is being used in the Trimmer lab as animal model to develop biologically inspired soft robots.

A flexible, minimally invasive micro-electrode array was specifically designed to collect high resolution muscle activity from M. sexta muscles. Because of the high signal selectivity of Dr. Metallo's electrode arrays and because M. sexta muscles are innervated by a limited number of motor neurons, it was possible to extract single excitatory junction potentials (EJP) from the convoluted electromyographic (EMG) signals and thus identify the firing patterns of single motor neurons. In this way, the neural activity underlying adaptive locomotion was characterized with single motor neuron resolution. Dr. Metallo's work represents one of the most complete in vivo characterization of neural signals directly related to behavioral output.


  • 2013: Tufts University School of Medicine, Sackler School of Biomedical Sciences, Boston, MA
    Ph.D. in Neuroscience
    Thesis: Design, fabrication and development of a novel flexible electromyographic electrode array to study neural control of adaptive locomotion in soft-bodied animals.

  • 2012: Tufts University, Gordon Institute, Entrepreneurial Leadership Program, Medford, MA
    Course Focus: High Technology Entrepreneurship and Business Planning.

  • 2006: University of Tennessee, Knoxville, TN
    M.S. in Physics
    Thesis: Neutron diffraction study of heavy water intercalation in superconducting deuterated sodium cobaltate.

Selected Publications

  • C. Metallo, and B.A. Trimmer, "Orientation-dependent changes in single motor neuron activity during adaptive soft-bodied locomotion". Brain Behavior and Evolution (2014, in press).

  • C. Metallo, R.D. White, B.A. Trimmer, "Flexible parylene-based microelectrode arrays for high resolution EMG recordings in freely moving small animals". Journal of Neuroscience Methods 195, 176–184 (2011)

  • M. Shin, A.P. Gerratt, C. Metallo, A. Brindle, B.P. Kierstead, R.D. White, "Characterization of a micromachined parylene-based thermal C-shape actuator", J. Micromech. Microeng.

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