Meet the Fresco Institute’s New Fellows


Fresco Institute clinical fellows Alberto Cucca, MD and Mia Ko, DO

The Fresco Institute welcomed four new fellows in 2016: clinical fellows Alberto Cucca, MD, and Mia Ko, DO, and research fellows Marta Maltese, PhD and Maria Mancini, PhD. All four are enjoying their work at the Fresco Institute, and each fellow brings a rich background of experience in studying and treating movement disorders.

Clinical Fellows:

Alberto Cucca, MD
Dr. Cucca is the first fellow of the Marlene and Paolo Fresco Clinical Fellowship for Italian Neurologists and Related Specialists. During his two years at the Fresco Institute, Dr. Cucca will see patients under the supervision of the attendings at the Institute, and complete a research project. Born in Venice, Italy, Dr. Cucca graduated cum laude from the Medical School of the University of Trieste, Italy in 2010. His medical school thesis discussed the gene expression profile of peripheral blood cells in patients with Parkinson's disease as a potential biomarker for early diagnosis. In 2015, Dr. Cucca completed a visiting fellowship in transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) at the City College of New York. He graduated cum laude from his neurology residency at the University of Udine-Trieste in June 2016, before joining the Fresco Institute in July. Dr. Cucca’s principal research interests include: discovering potential biomarkers for the diagnosis and treatment of Parkinson's, studying the metabolic and nutritional abnormalities associated with the more advanced stages of Parkinson’s, and applying TMS technology to treat the most disabling symptoms of Parkinson’s, such as balance impairment and gait dysfunction.

Mia Ko, DO
Dr. Ko is the Movement Disorders Fellow at the Fresco Institute. She sees patients in the clinic at the Institute, at the Movement Disorders Clinic of Bellevue Hospital Center, and in their homes through the Edmond J. Safra Interdisciplinary Home Visit Program for Parkinson’s. Dr. Ko is training at NYU Langone’s Center for Neuromodulation to assess candidates for deep brain stimulation (DBS), in order to both treat movement disorders and program stimulators post-operatively. Dr. Ko graduated from the Touro College of Osteopathic Medicine in 2012, and finished her neurology residency at Cooper University Hospital in New Jersey in 2016. Her clinical interests include diagnosing and treating various movement disorders including Parkinson’s disease, hyperkinetic movement disorders, and related neurodegenerative disorders; and performing Botulinum toxin injections and assessments for DBS.

Research Fellows:

Marta Maltese, PhD
Dr. Maltese is in the first cohort of Italian postdoctoral scientists awarded the Marlene and Paolo Fresco Institute Research Fellowship for Italian Researchers. While at the Fresco Institute, Dr. Maltese will work with Dr. Nicolas Tritsch to research the synaptic mechanisms that underlie the execution of movement, using both electrophysiology and optogenetics. Raised in Rome, she received her Bachelor’s degree in Human Biology and her Master’s degree in Human Biology and Evolution, both cum laude from the University of Rome Tor Vergata. Dr. Maltese received her PhD in Neuroscience in April 2016, also from the University of Rome Tor Vergata. There she worked with Dr. Antonio Pisani on basal ganglia neurophysiology in animal models of movements disorders, including dystonia, Parkinson’s disease, and monogenic parkinsonism. Dr. Maltese’s research interests lie in understanding how neural systems work in normal and pathological conditions.

Maria Mancini, PhD
Dr. Mancini is one of the inaugural postdoctoral researchers awarded a Marlene and Paolo Fresco Institute Research Fellowship for Italian Researchers. While at the Fresco Institute, she will work in the lab of Dr. Margaret Rice conducting a research project on dopamine release regulation using fast-scan cyclic voltammetry. Using in vivo and ex vivo measurements, she will also investigate the influence of insulin and other hormones on dopamine. Born in Benevento, Italy, Dr. Mancini received her Bachelor’s degree in biological sciences and her Master’s degree in biology, both summa cum laude from the University of Sannino in Benevento. In 2014, she received her PhD in Health Sciences from the University of Molise in Campobasso, Italy, where she studied the role of calcium and potassium channels in neuroprotection. She completed her first postdoc at the IRCCS Santa Lucia Foundation in Rome working with Drs. Paolo Calabresi and Barbara Picconi on corticostriatal synaptic plasticity in animal models of Parkinson’s disease. Dr. Mancini came to NYU from the Foundation IRCCS Neurological Institute Carlo Best, where she was a visiting scholar.

2016-10-07 16:32