People & Partners



LABLITA - Research Unit at the Humanities Department of the University of Florence

LABLITA is a Research Unit of the  University of Florence, devoted to the development of language resources and to their exploitation for theoretical linguistics and human language technologies. It has extensive experience in methodologies for dealing with language corpora and has gathered language resources of European interest. LABLITA performs corpus based research for modeling language in all modalities, with a special focus on spontaneous speech, lexical semantics and pragmatics. It owns the largest corpus of spoken Italian available and co-ordinates European and National projects.

Alessandro Panunzi (Principal Investigator)

Alessandro Panunzi is currently research fellow at the University of Florence, where he teaches Computational linguistics and is member of the LABLITA (Italian Linguistic Laboratory) Research Unit. He earned a full degree (BS/MA) in Semantics at the University of Florence (2002) and a PhD. in Linguistics, Applied Linguistcs and Linguistic Engineering at the University of Turin (2007). He was visiting professor at the Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais (UFMG) in Belo Horizonte (2010). He took part in national and international projects devoted to the constitution and exploitation of language resources, and he is currently Principal Investigator of the project MODELACT (MIUR Programme Futuro in Ricerca 2012).
His research interests range over lexical semantics, spoken language analysis, corpus linguistics and computational linguistics. The core of his research is the study of semantics properties of the verbal lexicon starting from corpus analysis. The outcome of his research has appeared in national and international publications.


  • Massimo Moneglia
  • Gloria Gagliardi
  • Lorenzo Gregori
  • Andrew Williams

ILC (CNR) - Institute of Computational Linguistics "Antonio Zampolli"

The Language Resources and Technology group at the Institute of Computational Linguistics "Antonio Zampolli" (CNR-ILC) since 1978 is active in the field of language resources and technologies for the processing of natural language. Its mission is to improve and foster language technologies through new methods and techniques for managing digital content and understanding human language.
The group has designed and built several innovative language resources: corpora, treebanks, computational lexicons (WordNet, SIMPLE) with the respective ontologies, semantic networks, grammars, and has defined international standards for language resources.
It has coordinated the major initiatives relating to language resources and standardization in Europe and worldwide. It has developed language technologies such as a suite of tools for processing of Italian; tools for knowledge acquisition from corpora, machine learning, word-sense disambiguation, mono- and multi-lingual terminology extraction, ontology acquisition and structuring, named entity recognition; multimedia tools for language learning. Such language technologies are used to transform textual documents into structured digital knowledge, and are applied in several application domains, ranging from filtering of Web documents, knowledge management, e-government and e-participation, e-learning, humanities, e-commerce, e-health.

Irene Russo (Unit Coordinator)

Irene Russo is post-doc researcher at the Institute of Computational Linguistics since 2009 (ILC-CNR) and member of the Language Resources and Technology group.
Graduated in Philosophy in 2005 at the University of Pisa, she obtained her PhD degree in Computational Linguistics in 2009. She has more than 20 papers published on various topics (lexical semantics, opinion mining, nouns and verbs classification etc.). She has been involved in several European projects (working in FLaReNet on metadata for language resources and annotation guidelines; working in Panacea on subcategorization frames for Italian verbs) and she had an active role in the ImagACT project.
Her research interests are in the area of natural language processing and cognitive approaches to language modeling, with a special focus on computational models for the acquisition and the representation of semantic knowledge through corpora annotation and machine learning approaches to information retrieval.


  • Monica Monachini
  • Irene De Felice
  • Francesca Frontini
  • Fahad Khan

ISTC (CNR) - Institute of Cognitive Sciences and Technologies

ISTC is an internationally known multi-/trans-disciplinary institution in the cognitive sciences field, playing an important role in bridging basic and applied research. ISTC researchers involved in the present project are highly qualified in several crucial fields and subfields.
The Language and Comunication Across Modalities Lab (LACAM) within ISTC is characterized by a competence gained over the years, both nationally and internationally on the relationship between language and cognition in children with typical development, deaf children and children with cognitive deficits; also exploring the emergence of the gesture-language system in infancy and its evolution toward the adult system.

Elena Tomasuolo (Unit Coordinator)

Elena Tomasuolo is currently Researcher at CNR’s Institute of Cognitive Sciences and Technologies and she is the responsible in charge of the Research Unit. She has completed a degree in Psychology at the University of Rome ‘La Sapienza’ in 2002; a PhD in Psychology with a thesis entitled: "Evaluating deaf children's linguistic abilities in Italian Sign Language" - Department of Development and Socialization Psychology University of Rome ‘La Sapienza’ in 2006; a Systemic Relational Psychotherapist Postgraduate Degree in 2010 and she has been an Italian Sign Language Interpreter since 2011.
Dr Tomasuolo's PhD research as well as her subsequent studies are extremely pertinent and relevant to the topics that the ISTC Unit will face. Elena’s research is mainly focused on: (a) language development, use and assessment in deaf children and adults (in the signed, vocal and written modalities); (b) cognitive processes involved in language acquisition; (c) the use and evaluation of multimedia technology, and of bilingual education programs in Italian Sign Language (LIS) and written Italian for improving deaf learners' language abilities.


  • Cristina Caselli
  • Olga Capirci
  • Alessio Di Rienzo
  • Tommaso Lucioli
  • Virginia Volterra

SIRSLab - Siena Robotics and Systems Lab

The Robotics Group of Siena University, coordinated by Prof. Domenico Prattichizzo, is active in robotics and haptics and, in particular, in robotic grasping and haptic rendering for multi-point contact interaction. The main research topics of the group are: Visuo-Haptic rendering algorithms, studying perceptual phenomena which characterize the kinesthetic interaction with complex virtual environments, developing of multicontact grasp models, bio-inspired control algorithms for robotic hands and prototyping of wearable and portable haptic interfaces.
The group has been involved in many research projects such as “THE - The Hand Embodied”, “Hands.dvi - A DeVice-Independent programming and control framework for robotic HANDS” (ECHORD experiment), “DALi - Devices for Assisted Living” and ROBOCAST “ROBot and SENSors INtegration as Guidance FOR Enhanced Computer Assisted Surgery and Therapy”, “WEARHAP: wearable haptics for human and robots”. The UNISI group has been awarded at the EXPO 2011 within the Italia degli Innovatori initiative (Shanghai, China) for the “RemoTouch” project.

Monica Malvezzi (Unit Coordinator)

Monica Malvezzi is Assistant Professor of Mechanics and Mechanism Theory at the Dipartimento di Ingegneria dell'Informazione e Scienze Matematiche of the University of Siena. She got the Laurea degree in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Florence in 1999 and and the Ph.D. degree in Applied Mechanics from the University of Bologna in 2003. From 2003 to 2008 she was researcher at the University of Florence, where she collaborated with the MDM lab (Laboratorio di Modellazione Dinamica e Meccatronica). Her main research interests are in mechanism theory, control of mechanical systems, robotics, vehicle localization, multibody dynamics, haptics, grasping and dexterous manipulation. She is author or co-author of more than 30 papers published in international peer-reviewed journals.


  • Domenico Pratichizzo
  • Gionata Salvietti
  • Francesco Chinello
  • Guido Gioioso