Experimental Neuropsychobiology Lab | Fondazione Santa Lucia

Experimental Neuropsychobiology Lab

Areas of Investigation 

The Laboratory of Experimental Neuropsychobiology conducts translational studies in the field of immunobiological research. Our research program is focused on the understanding of the immunological and inflammatory mechanisms linked to neurodegenerative and neuropsychiatric diseases.

Given the close connection between the central nervous system and the immune system, and the importance of the latter in the pathophysiology of brain diseases, the activities of the Laboratory are aimed at identifying the specific immune factors related to a specific clinical symptom and brain anatomical alteration of the patient.

 

Analysis and Experimental Models

In the Laboratory of Experimental Neuropsychobiology are performed ex-vivo and in-vitro morphological and functional analysis of subpopulations of immune cells present in the peripheral blood of patients, including measuring the levels of cytokines produced by the same cells and released into the serum. The purpose is to identify any illness-dependent changes of these cellular and molecular immune mediators, which could be predictive markers of disease or its progression over time. Specific cellular and animal models are used to investigate the molecular mechanisms involved in immune changes of patients.

The ultimate goal of our research is the recognition of the immunobiological processes involved in the onset and progression of brain damage, and therefore the creation of new tools for the prevention and treatment of neurodegenerative and neuropsychiatric diseases.

 

Biobank

Neurodegenerative and psychiatric disorders are complex diseases and, as such, require the observation of a large number of patients, compared to observation of healthy subjects. Having the availability of biological material related to a considerable number of individuals clinically well characterized is an essential tool for research in this area.

The Laboratory of Experimental Neuropsychobiology has for this reason a Biobank. It is here collected and preserved biologic material from healthy subjects and patients affected by neurological and neuropsychiatric diseases, to be used for diagnosis and research. The material (samples of DNA, RNA, serum, plasma, cerebrospinal fluid) is stored at a temperature of -80°C, inside of refrigerators positioned in protected area and provided with real time monitoring of temperature. In addition to those biological samples, blood mononuclear cells (PBMC) from the same subjects are kept in liquid nitrogen.

The Biobank is an important tool for scientific collaboration with research groups working around the world and allows to perform efficacious genetic and molecular studies on a very large number of people. The common objective is the progress in diagnostic methods and the development of new drugs for complex diseases such as Alzheimer's, Parkinson's and schizophrenia.

Collaborations 
  • Department of Anesthesiology, University of Florida, Gainesville (United States)
  • Department of Clinical and Experimental Science, University of Brescia (Italy)
  • Department of Neurosciences, Tor Vergata University of Rome (Italy)
  • Departments of Neurology, Psychiatry and Psychology, Sapienza - University of Rome (Italy)
  • Inserm U744, University of Lille 2 (France)
  • Institut Pasteur de Lille (France)
  • Institute of Psychological Medicine and Clinical Neurosciences, University of Cardiff (United Kingdom)

Laboratory of Experimental Neuropsychobiology

Fondazione Santa Lucia Irccs

Via Ardeatina, 354 – 00179 Rome

Building U2