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- Research interest:My research activities are mainly focused on the study of neurodegenerative disorders, specifically Huntington's disease (HD), Temporal lobe epilepsy (TLE), and spinal cord injury (SCI), by means of non-invasive brain imaging techniques in a preclinical setting. My main effort is dedicated to the identification, validation, and assessment of innovative imaging biomarkers central nervous system (CNS) in neurodegenerative disorders. This is achieved by means of both positron emission tomography (PET) imaging, with the aid of computed tomography (CT), as well as magnetic resonance imaging (MRI).In order to further validate novel biomarkers, I perform post-mortem validation using different techniques, including immunohistochemistry, immunofluorescence, and autoradiography.In addition, when investigation novel radioligands for PET imaging, I perform appropriate methodological validation by performing pharmacokinetic modelling as well as radiometabolite analysis. Once I have established the protocol for a novel radioligand, it is then employed for the characterisation of neurological disorders. Finally, for studies in animal models of TLE, I developed the knowledge and capability of performing surgeries for electrode implantation and I executed several studies including long-term continuous video-electroencephalogram (vEEG) monitoring (24/7). The final goal is to identify candidate clinically relevant markers for the monitoring of disease progression as well as the assessment of therapeutic effect of novel treatments during the early stages of neurological disorders.
- Keywords:CNS DISEASE, BRAIN IMAGING, EXPERIMENTAL STUDY, MOUSE MODELS, Medicine
- Disciplines:Diagnostics, Laboratory medicine, Medical imaging and therapy, Medical systems biology, Neurosciences, Psychiatry and psychotherapy, Surgery, Other medical and health sciences
- Research techniques:I have experience with a wide range of techniques, mainly in vivo and in vitro work. 1) In vivo work:Positron emission tomography (PET) and computed tomography (CT) imaging. - Pharmacokinetic modelling of radioligands.- Validation of novel ligands for molecular imaging.- Radiometabolite assessment.- Pharmacological studies.- Application of novel radioligands in neurological disorders.Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI):- Anatomical acquisition.- Resting state functional MRI.- Network connectivity analyses. - Application in neurological disorders.Long-term monitoring of video-Electroencefalogram (videoEEG):- Cortical and deep electrodes surgery.- vEEG data processing and analysis. Behavioural studies in rodents, primarily for anxiety and depression (e.g. forced-swim test, tail suspension test, light/dark box, handling test, whisker nuisance test, resident-intruder test). 2) In vitro work:Sectioning with cryostat and microtomeAutoradiography:- Specificity validation of novel ligands.- Application in neurological disorders.Immunohistochemistry and immunofluorescence:- Validation of molecular changes and inflammation in brain tissue- Application in neurological disorders
- Users of research expertise:Researchers working with preclinical animal models of neurological disorders interested in the application of non-invasive techniques, primarily positron emission tomography (PET) imaging for the study of molecular changes during disease ontogenesis, progression, or as readout for the non-invasive assessment of therapeutic efficacy.