Functional Neuroradiology


Head physician

Andrea Falini


The guiding theme of the Unit is the development and clinical validation of advanced MRI techniques that can be adapted to investigate normal brain function, brain disease, and treatment. The overall objective is to contribute to the understanding of normal physiology and to elucidate the underlying biological mechanisms of CNS diseases, with a strong translational commitment to apply advanced MRI in the clinics.

Research activity

‘Functional’ imaging. Functional MRI (fMRI) and diffusion MRI (dMRI) tractography are used to investigate motor and language functions in normal subjects, and to verify the influence of experience on specific motor skills.

Neuropediatrics. dMRI has been used to follow white matter myelination over time in normal and preterm newborns, and fMRI to investigate cortical maturation.

Neuro-oncology. The Unit has a consolidated track record in the development and clinical implementation of dMRI, tractography, fMRI, MR spectroscopy and perfusion MRI, to characterize brain tumor biology, to plan surgery and to evaluate therapy response. A specific focus has been devoted to the intraoperative validation of fMRI and tractography accuracy in identifying peritumoral eloquent brain areas.

Neurovascular disesases: The Unit applies new high resolution techniques to identify vulnerability features in severe carotid stenosis and their correlation with cerebral ischemia, and to test new contrast media.

Neurodegenerative diseases. The Unit focuses on the identification of early MRI marker associated with Alzheimer’s disease, to characterize brain selective involvement in frontotemporal dementia, and to identify motor neuron diseaserelated changes in amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, primary lateral sclerosis and adrenomyeloneuropathy (with the Neuroimaging of neurodegenerative diseases Unit).

Inflammatory diseases and optic nerve degeneration have been studied with the Neuroimaging Research, Neuroimaging of CNS white matter, and Eye repair Units.