A fundamental job of the brain is to produce actions. Emeritus Professor Emilio Bizzi examined how the brain handles the enormous complexity involved in making even the simplest movement. One of his key discoveries was that groups of muscles are activated synergistically by circuits of neurons in the spinal cord. He argued that these synergies represent fundamental building blocks for assembling repertoires of complex movements and might be used to restore limb movements compromised by stroke or muscle injury.
Emilio Bizzi is an Emeritus MIT Institute Professor and Investigator in the McGovern Institute. He earned an MD from the University of Rome in 1958 and a PhD from the University of Pisa in 1968. Bizzi joined the MIT faculty in 1968 and served as director of the Whitaker College of Health Sciences and Technology from 1983 to 1989. Bizzi chaired the MIT Department of Brain and Cognitive Sciences from 1986 to 1997. He was appointed Investigator at the McGovern Institute in 2001.
Honors and Awards
Member, National Academy of Sciences
Member, Institute of Medicine
President, American Academy of Arts and Sciences 2006-2010
ISSNAF Lifetime Achievement Award, 2018
Gold Medal for Scientific Contributions from the President of Italy, 2005
Saltiel, P, d'Avella, A, Tresch, MC, Wyler, K, Bizzi, E. Critical Points and Traveling Wave in Locomotion: Experimental Evidence and Some Theoretical Considerations. Front Neural Circuits. 2017;11 :98. doi: 10.3389/fncir.2017.00098. PubMed PMID:29276476 PubMed Central PMC5727018.
Lencioni, T, Jonsdottir, J, Cattaneo, D, Crippa, A, Gervasoni, E, Rovaris, M et al.. Are Modular Activations Altered in Lower Limb Muscles of Persons with Multiple Sclerosis during Walking? Evidence from Muscle Synergies and Biomechanical Analysis. Front Hum Neurosci. 2016;10 :620. doi: 10.3389/fnhum.2016.00620. PubMed PMID:28018193 PubMed Central PMC5145858.
Flash, T, Bizzi, E. Cortical circuits and modules in movement generation: experiments and theories. Curr. Opin. Neurobiol. 2016;41 :174-178. doi: 10.1016/j.conb.2016.09.013. PubMed PMID:27736649 .