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Physical Therapy and Rehabilitation Science

Susanna Rosi, PhD

Associate Professor, UCSF

Director of Neurocognitive Research, Brain and Spinal Injury Center

University of California, San Francisco

Box 0899

San Francisco, CA 94153

Phone: (415) 206-3708

Fax: (415) 206-3948


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  • BS, Science, University of Florence, Italy, 1995
  • PhD, Biological Sciences, University of Florence, Italy, 2000
  • Postdoctoral, Pharmacology, University of Florence, Italy, 2000-01
  • Postdoctoral Research Associate, Psychology, University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ, 2002-06

Research Interests

  • Brain injury and cognitive functions
  • Neuroinflammation, innate immune system, synaptic plasticity, hippocampal learning and memory
  • Plasticity-related immediate early gene Arc (activity regulated cytoskeleton-associated protein)
  • Role of Tumor Necrosis Factor-(TNF-α) on learning and memory
  • Traumatic brain injury and prefrontal executive and cognitive functions
  • Hippocampal network stability
  • Functional integration of  adult born neurons into behaviorally-relevant networks
  • Information processing in the hippocampus (input and output in the entorhinal cortex-dentate-hippocampal system).

Program Affiliations


Dr. Rosi received a recent accelerated promotion to Associate Professor in the Departments of Physical Therapy and Rehabilitation Science and Neurological Surgery, she is also the Director of Neurocognitive Research in the Brain and Spinal Injury Center. Her areas of expertise include neuroinflammation, brain injury and cognitive functions. She obtained her PhD from the University of Florence, Italy. After completing her Post-Doctoral Training in Italy she moved to the University of Arizona for a Post-Doctoral Research associate position in the Neural System Memory and Aging Center. She joined the UCSF faculty in 2006. 

Current Research

Dr. Rosi has extensive training in animal models of brain injury, animal behavior, molecular biology and immunohistochemistry. During her postdoctoral studies at the University of Arizona, under the training of Drs. Carol Barnes and Gary Wenk, she used the expression of the plasticity-related immediate early gene (IEG) Arc to study hippocampal functions in an animal model of chronic neuroinflammation. At the University of California San Francisco, Dr. Rosi expanded her research to analyze in detail how the innate immune system affects information processing and cognition from a cellular and network perspective. Currently in her laboratory in the Brain and Spinal Injury Center (BASIC) at UCSF Dr. Rosi uses different animal models of brain injury: traumatic brain injury, chronic LPS-infusion, brain irradiation, combined injuries and genetically modified animals (CCR2 and CX3CR1 KO mice, TNFR1 KO mice, APP TG rats) to study the molecular mechanism of altered neuronal function that lead to impaired cognition. The laboratory is funded by the National Institute of Health and the the Alzheimer’s Association. Her long term goal is to identify diagnostic tools for treatment of cognitive dysfunctions associated with brain injury. As director of Neurocognitive research at BASIC Dr. Rosi develops and oversees behavioral tests for animals that are comparable to the cognitive tests used in the clinic. Her achievements have also been recognized by her recent accelerated promotion to Associate Professor and promotion to Director of Neurocognitive Research at the Brain and Spinal Injury Center.


Honors and Awards

  • Special Award for Research and Career: Vel l’Etrusco, City of Castiglion Fiorentino, Italy, 2006
  • Academic Senate Committee on Research - Individual Investigator Award, UCSF, 2007
  • Resaerch Evaluation & Allocation Committee Award, UCSF, 20073
  • Tuscany Special Award: Young Talents and Magnificant Excellences, City of Arezzo, Italy, 2007
  • New Investigator Research Grant, Alzheimer's Association, 2008
  • Department of Radiology & Biomedical Imaging Seed Grant, UCSF, 2012

Recent Publications (PubMed)