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Csilla Ari D`Agostino

Research Assistant Professor of Psychology, University of South Florida

I have a broad background in comparative neuroanatomy, molecular biology, microscopy, physiology, with numerous peer reviewed publications- mostly as first author-, a book and a book chapter, 7 provisional patents, as well as many national and international conference presentations.

I completed my PhD in 2008 on the cerebralization, astroglial architecture and blood-brain barrier composition of cartilaginous fishes using immunohistochemical markers on 12 shark and ray species.

After completing my PhD I moved to the United States of America and on June 1st, 2010 I joined Dr. Huntington Potter`s laboratory at the Byrd Alzheimer`s Institute. My project focused on studying the mechanism of neurotransmitter and neurotrophin receptor mislocalization in Alzheimer`s disease and my work involved cell cultures, immunocytochemistry, flow cytometry, spectrophotometry, Atomic Force Microscopy (AFM), fluorescence and confocal microscopy, RT-PCR and recombinant DNA techniques. I also worked with fluorescence live cell imaging of mitochondria, cell cultures, and gene transfection.

After receiving a SIPIN grant together, a collaborative project started with Dr. Dominic D`Agostino in 2012 that focused on the effect of hyperbaric oxygen on the viability, ROS production and oxidative stress of aging central nervous system. Later I have joined Dr. D`Agostino`s laboratory as a postdoctoral scholar and lead a project to test metabolic therapies on an ALS transgenic mouse model (SOD1G93A) using behavioral tests. I have also been involved in others project in Dr. D`Agostino`s laboratory, such as testing the effects of ketone supplements on seizure disorders and dietary interventions of cancer which also included in vivo imaging of mice. In 2013 I became a Research Associate and lead several projects independently, such as testing ketone supplements on GLUT1 deficiency syndrome mice, and serendipitously discovered further applications of the ketone supplements that I started to explore further which lead to 7 provisional patents.

In the meantime, I have developed several national and international collaborative projects that I contributed with work on the AFM, calcium imaging, histology and hyperbaric experiments.

In 2017 I established my laboratory at the Psychology Department at the University of South Florida, focusing on studying the behavioral affects of exogenous ketone supplements and the underlying mechanisms using mostly confocal microscopy. In the same year I became involved in psychological and physiological studies on Aquanauts through NASA Extreme Environment Mission Operations (NEEMO22) and the Institute of Human and Machine Cognition to study psychological and physiological effects of living in a saturation environment which serves as a space analog.

My passion is to study giant manta rays, their neurobiology, as well as their sensory, cognitive abilities, social behavior, morphology and physiology with evolutionary implications. These projects lead to several publications, a Research Recognition Award from the American Physiological Society, Comparative and Evolutionary Physiology Section, my discoveries on their rapid coloration changes were highlighted in the prestigious Nature magazine and allowed me to approach scientific problems from an evolutionary perspective.


  • –present
    Research Assistant Professor of Psychology, University of South Florida