The lab investigates the pathogenic mechanisms of acute brain injuries, aiming at the identification of new therapeutic strategies for stroke and traumatic brain injured patients. The lab exploits in vitro and in vivo models of pathologies as well as patients’ specimens. The lab has significantly contributed to the comprehension of neuroinflammatory processes involved in stroke and traumatic brain injury, paving the way for developing new therapeutic strategies.
Stroke and traumatic brain injury: the role of the complement system
We have demonstrated that the lectin pathway of complement activation, an inflammatory cascade belonging to innate immunity, contributes to cerebral damage progression and that its inhibition is protective. The lectin pathway is a hub of vascular events, overall referred to as thromboinflammation. This research topic aims at defining the pathogenic mechanisms downstream to the lectin pathway in stroke and traumatic brain injury, in order to identify relevant therapeutic targets and to develop effective compounds to inhibit them.
Atherosclerotic processes: the role of the complement system
The progression and rupture of atherosclerotic plaques is a major risk factor for ischemic stroke. An early diagnose of plaque vulnerability, presently unavailable, would help prevent the neurological consequences and improve the therapy for atherosclerotic patients. The lab reported that the lectin pathway of complement activation contributes to the plaque evolution through thromboinflammatory processes. Based on these observations, this research topic is dedicated to the study of the complement system in atherosclerosis, aiming at identifying a biomarker for plaque vulnerability predictive of cerebrovascular events.
Targeting microglia in acute brain injury
Among the resident brain cells, microglia have a key role in the inflammatory reactions to acute injuries. Microglia alter neuronal functions releasing neurotoxic substances, or contribute to restorative and protective processes to re-establish cerebral homeostasis. These different functions are characterized by specific phenotypical and morphological profiles, largely depending on the temporal evolution of the cerebral lesion. This research topic’s purpose is to explore unknown microglia responses to cerebral damage evolution, offering reasons to modulate microglia towards their protective actions.
Brain imaging using advanced microscopy techniques
The advances of optical microscopy techniques allow to have three-dimensional images at high resolution with a temporal range. This offers a new view on pathophysiological mechanisms in neurobiology. This research topic is dedicated to the development of new imaging approaches, including: 1) in vivo two-photon microscopy, to visualize and quantify brain hemodynamics and brain-recruited immune cell motility; 2) optical superresolution, to study sub-cellular events like cytoskeleton re-arrangement and lysosomal trafficking; 3) white-field quantitative microscopy, to study vascular parameters, cellular morphology and protein expression.
International Consensus on Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation.