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Federica Provini

Associate Professor

Department of Biomedical and Neuromotor Sciences

Academic discipline: MED/26 Neurology

Director of First Cycle Degree in Neurophysiopathology techniques

Curriculum vitae

Dr. Federica Provini born in Bologna Italy on 14th January 1964.

Academic qualifications

1989 - Graduated in Medicine and Surgery at the University of Bologna with 110 marks out of 110 cum laude

1993 - Post- graduate specialization in Neurology, University of Bologna with 70 marks out of 70 cum laude

2002 - PhD in Neurological Sciences, obtained at the University of Verona (Italy) with a thesis entitled: " Pre-dormitum: neurophysiological study".

Academic Appointments

University of Bologna – Assistant Professor of Neurology- (MED/26), since 10/1/2005


1994: scholarship awarded by the Italian Association of Medicine Sleep (AIMS) for a study on: "Changes in the plasma concentration of renin during sleep: case-control study in hypertensive patients and in patients with obstructive sleep apnea syndrome".

1999 - 2004: scholarship on "Effects of snoring and obstructive sleep apneas on attention and supervision and on the cardiovascular system" delivered by the Consortium for the management of the clinic for nervous and mental diseases, University of Bologna.

2004 - 2005: research fellowship granted by the University of Bologna with the following project: "Clinical and videopolysomnographic study of sleep-related eating disorders".

Participation in national and European research projects and grants

1996 -1998: Biomed 2 EU project “Clinico-pathological features and pathogenesis of fatal familial insomnia (FFI)” contract n° BMH4-CT96-0856.

1996: “Genetic, clinical and neurophysiological characterization of patients affected by Fatal Familial Insomnia (FFI) with short and long disease course” ex 60%; scientific coordinator: Elio Lugaresi.

1997: “Pathophysiology of sleep-related autonomic and motor disorders”, ex-40%; scientific coordinator: Pasquale Montagna.

1998: “Restless Legs Syndrome: neurophysiological evaluation” ex-60%; scientific coordinator: Elio Lugaresi.

1999: “Sleep and autonomic functions in toxic, metabolic and degenerative Central Nervous System diseases” ex- 40%; scientific coordinator: Elio Lugaresi.

2000-2002: “Multidisciplinary study in reversible dementias: clinical, polysomnographic, neurometabolic, psychological and cardiological evaluation in Obstructive Sleep Apnea Syndrome”, ex 40%; scientific coordinator: Elio Lugaresi.

2000: “Organic insomnia (agrypnia excitata) associated with motor and autonomic activation: neuro-physico-physiological evaluation”, ex 60%; scientific coordinator: Elio Lugaresi.

2001: “Effects on systemic blood pressure of acute and after six months CPAP therapy, in patients with Obstructive Sleep Apnea Syndrome”, ex 60%; scientific coordinator: Elio Lugaresi.

2002: “Pathophysiology, genetic transmission and prognosis of frontal lobe seizures”, ex 40%; scientific coordinator: Paolo Tinuper.

2004: “State-dependent (sleep-wake) variations of systemic blood pressure, heart rate, body core temperature, as a measure of allostatic load”, ex 60%; scientific coordinator: Pasquale Montagna.

2005 "Polysomnographic study of respiratory, autonomic and motor disorders in patients with multiple system atrophy”, ex 60%; scientific coordinator: Federica Provini.

2006-2011 "Sleep-related motor diseases (Restless Legs Syndrome, Nocturnal Frontal Lobe Epilepsy, Sleep-related eating disorders” and “Neurophysiological study of sleep onset, in normal and pathological conditions”, ex 60%; scientific coordinator: Federica Provini.

2006: “Definition and validation of clinical and video-polysomnographic criteria for the differential diagnosis between nocturnal frontal lobe seizures and parasomnias” - prot. 2006061871_001; scientific coordinator: Pasquale Montagna.

2006: “Pathogenetic mechanisms and medical behaviours which can improve health in patients with dementia, Parkinson disease and motoneuron diseases” scientific coordinator: C. Caltagirone.

Strategic research program funded by the Italian Ministry of Health.

2007 : ”Study of the relationship between of autonomic, metabolic, and endocrine changes and sleep behaviour in weight gain”, Bologna University strategic project; scientific coordinator: Giovanni Zamboni Gruppioni.

2011: “Excessive daytime sleepiness and road crashes: specific risk of transportation of waste and toxic substances of major environmental impact” Ministry of environment, land and sea; scientific coordinator: Agostino Baruzzi. Total grant: 300,000 euros.

2014: “PROPAGAGEING: The continuum between healthy ageing and idiopathic Parkinson Disease with a propagation perspective of inflammation and damage: the search for new diagnostic, prognostic and therapeutic targets” Horizon 2020. scientific coordinator : Claudio Franceschi. Co-coordinator: Federica Provini. Total grant: 5,993,376 euros

2019 GAME project: International collaboration for at risk cohort of Lewy body disease, Nagoya University, Giappone

2021: ERAPERMED2021 “Behaviours in REM sleep: personalized Automatic 3D Video Analysis as novel tool to detect alpha-synucleinopathies” (acronym BRAVA) in collaboration with: Prof. Birgit Högl, Medical University of Innsbruck; Prof. Alex Iranzo, Sleep Diosrders Centre, Neurology Service, Barcelona (Spain); Prof. Claudia Trenkwalder, Paracelsus-Elena Hospital, Kassel (Germania); Prof. Isabelle Arnulf, Sleep Disorder Unit Hôpital Pitié-Salpêtrière Paris (Francia). Total grant: 1,176,160 euros.

2023: Winner of the IRCCS Current Research Fund Call 2023-2024 with the project "Impact of the neurophysiological and neurobiological signature of sleep in the prognosis of neurodegenerative parkinsonian syndromes" Total grant: 120,000 euros

2023: SOMNIIA project, coordinated by the Italian Institute of Technology, winner of the "Research Day" call promoted by the Italian Space Agency (ASI), responsible for WP-8101 within the UNIBO unit coordinated by Prof. Matteo Cerri.

Major scientific achievements

Dr. Provini’s main research activities focus on sleep medicine, including the characterization of movement disorders during sleep and the description of sleep features in neurological diseases (in particular neurodegenerative diseases). Using an integrated approach combining clinical observation and video-polysomnographic recording of electroencephalographic, motor and autonomic parameters during wake and sleep, she collected original data in different pathological conditions.

In particular, she described in detail the clinical and video-polysomnographic characteristics of a sleep-related nocturnal epileptic syndrome (Nocturnal Frontal Lobe Epilepsy). The publications on this topic are a point of reference for the specific diagnostic criteria of this disease, given the large number of cases observed (the largest series in the world) and the accuracy of the clinical analysis conducted .

Following the tradition of the work developed in the Sleep Laboratory at the University of Bologna Department of Neurological Sciences, Dr. Provini has made original observations on Restless Legs Syndrome (RLS). She characterized the motor pattern of periodic movements during sleep in patients with RLS and took an active part in the international validation of a scale for the diagnosis of the RLS. This scale is currently used worldwide for RLS diagnosis.

Dr. Provini is actively involved in international studies on the search for genes associated with RLS and from 2005 to 2008 she took part in six international pharmacological clinical and polygraphic trials designed to assess the efficacy and tolerability of dopaminergic drugs (Rotigotine and Ropinirole) in RLS. The results of these studies were published in peer-reviewed journals).

More recently she opened new frontiers describing for the first time new aspects of the behaviour of RLS patients: the undescribed association with sleep-related eating and smoking disorders.

Dr. Provini described a new nosological entity: propriospinal myoclonus at sleep onset. She demonstrated that this particular form of spinal myoclonus, strictly confined to the pre-dormitum, causes a severe chronic insomnia; she contributed to the inclusion of this new entity in the latest International Classification of Sleep Disorders.

She has also collected original detailed data on the clinical and neurophysiological features of Fatal Familial Insomnia, Morvan Syndrome and Delirium Tremens, establishing their phenomenological similarities. She contributed to the development of the concept of "agrypnia excitata" as a nosological category defining a peculiar clinical condition characterized by loss of slow-wave sleep, oneiric stupor, motor and sympathergic activation. This concept led to a radical revision of hitherto accepted theories on the mechanisms regulating the sleep-wake cycle and other circadian rhythms.

Resuming a line of research started during her PhD, Dr Provini has is currently involved in an in-depth study of slow eye movements (SEMs). SEMs are typical of the sleep onset period and are a good and simple marker of sleepiness, matching with other validated tests. The goal of the research is to validate a new technology to detect involuntary sleep attacks or reductions of vigilance level during daily-life activities, especially among workers requiring a high level of alertness for prolonged periods of time(e.g. lorry driving).

Research Production and Impact

Dr. Provini’s research activity has led to more than 250 scientific papers of which 246 have been published in international peer-reviewed journals and more than 50 abstracts.

The current h-index is 49 (Scopus).

Dr. Provini contributed to 41 chapters on sleep disorders and epilepsy published in international textbooks by leading publishing houses including Saunders Elsevier Inc, Lippincott Williams & Wilkins and Cambridge University Press.

She is co-author of a chapter of the Handbook of Neurology (Vetrugno R, Provini F, Montagna P. Isolated motor phenomena and symptoms of sleep. Handb Clin Neurol 2011;99:883-899) which for the first time has included two volumes devoted to sleep disorders.

In 2006, together with Elio Lugaresi Dr. Provini wrote an invited chapter on Sleep Medicine for the Book of the year of the prestigious Italian encyclopedia TRECCANI 2006, documenting the large and growing cultural interest in sleep medicine in recent years.

Editorial Responsibilities

Invited editor of a Sleep Medicine Supplement (Sleep Med 2011;12:S2) devoted to sleep-related motor disorders.

Guest editor of a Sleep Science and Practice topical collection (2019) devoted to sleep and epilepsy.

Since 2016: associate editor of Medlink Neurology

2017-2023: academic editor of PLOS-ONE

Since 2019: member of the editorial board of Clinical Autonomic Research

Since 2020: member of the editorial board of Sleep Sciences and PracticeE

Teaching activity

Since 2003: Head of the Neurophysiopathology teaching course, Postgraduate Neurology Specialization, University of Bologna

Since 2005: Head of the Neurology teaching course in the Integrated Course of Neurology and Rehabilitation of the Podology Degree Course, University of Bologna

Since 2005: Head of the Neurology teaching course in the Integrated Course of Neurogenetics and Bioethics of the Degree Course in Neurophysiopathology Techniques, University of Bologna

Since 2005: Lecturer in the PhD course in Biomedical and Neuromotor Sciences, University of Bologna

Lectures and Conferences

I have been an invited speaker at more than 160 Conferences and Courses in Italy, Europe and the United States, in particular at Sleep Disorders Congresses.

Reviewer of Scientific Journals

2011-to date: Peer Reviewer for Sleep, Sleep Medicine, Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine, Clinical Autonomic Research.

Membership and Responsibilities in National and International Medical and Scientific Societies

Italian Society of Sleep Medicine (Secretary from 2015 to 2018)

Italian Society of Neurology

Italian Society of Neurophysiology

International Restless Legs Study Group (Executive Committee vice-president)

European Restless Legs Study Group (Board member)

World Association of Sleep Medicine (WSS) (Board member and Education Committee member)

International Parkinson and Movement Disorders Society (Evidence Based Medicine Committee member)

European Sleep Research Society