A technique to ensure correct color stimulation by functional MRI to study in vivo the human melanopsin ganglion cells system





Brain, Light treatment, Color stimulation, Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging, Spectral measurements, Circadian rhythms


This paper describes a methodology to achieve a correct light radiation coloring for stimulating intrinsically photosensitive ganglion cells. Indeed, it has been shown that light is capable of causing a response from the master circadian pacemaker located in the suprachiasmatic nucleus of the hypothalamus. A study was conducted using a stereoscopic viewer capable of projecting specific wavelengths onto the corneas of patients. Patients were then monitored using Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging, observing the response in subcortical (i.e., hypothalamus) and limbic areas (i.e., amygdala) and in some cortical areas primarily related to alertness. The spectral radiation emitted by the viewer was measured with laboratory instruments, and some considerations were also made on its possible influence at the level of the circadian cycle.

Author Biographies

  • Andrea Siniscalco

    MSc in Design in 2002 and Ph.D. in 2007 in lighting fixture design. Since 2003, he has collaborated with the Lab Luce - Department of Design - Politecnico di Milano. Since 2008, he has been teaching lighting (design theory and CAD methods) as an adjunct professor at the School of Design - Politecnico di Milano. Deputy Director of the Masters in Lighting Design & Technology. Vice President of the GdC-Associazione Italiana Colore.

  • Caterina Tonon

    Full Professor of Clinical Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Neurologist, and Director of the Functional and Molecular Neuroimaging Unit, multidisciplinary team within the IRCCS Institute of the Neurological Sciences of Bologna. Her scientific activity is devoted to the implementation of advanced Magnetic Resonance Imaging techniques for clinical and research purposes.

  • Micaela Mitolo

    Neuropsichologist, completed her PhD in the field of Neuroscience at University of Padua spending a period, as Visiting Ph.D., at University College London and University California San Diego. She is currently a Researcher at University of Parma and working at the IRCCS Institute of the Neurological Sciences of Bologna, exploring the neuroimaging correlated of clinical and neuropsychological impairments in neurodegenerative and neuro-oncology patients.

  • Claudia Testa

    Professor of Physics at University of Bologna. She is a medical physicist with experience in acquisition and analysis of neuroimaging data. Her expertise concerns multiparametric data analysis for neurological disorders. Her work is also on the effect of light on brain activity at different wavelengths.

  • Marco Gaiani

    Full Professor of Architectural Representation at University of Bologna, Dept. of Architecture, past Director of the INDACO Dept. of the Politecnico of Milano and DAPT Dept. of University of Bologna. A specialist in 3D computer imaging, modelling and visualization for Heritage and architecture, he was one the first developers/user of laser scanning and automatic photogrammetry technologies in the Heritage field.

  • Maurizio Rossi

    MSc, PhD. Full professor at Politecnico di Milano is the chair of the Lab. Luce, the Master in Lighting Design & Technology director, and member of the Ph.D. Design faculty. He directed 25 research financed projects on topics related to light and color. 2012-18 he was the President of the GdC-Associazione Italiana Colore. Since 2018 member of the Executive Committee of AIC-International Color Association. Since 2022 vice-president of the AIC (president-elect 2024-25). Since 2021 he is member of the board of directors of the SID (Società Italiana Design).


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How to Cite

“A technique to ensure correct color stimulation by functional MRI to study in vivo the human melanopsin ganglion cells system” (2023) Cultura e Scienza del Colore - Color Culture and Science, 15(02), pp. 47–56. doi:10.23738/CCSJ.150206.