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.
‘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.
Anzalone N, Castellano A, Cadioli M, Conte GM, Cuccarini V, Bizzi A, Grimaldi M, Costa A, Grillea G, Vitali P, Aquino D, Terreni MR, Torri V, Erickson BJ, Caulo M. Brain Gliomas: Multicenter Standardized Assessment of Dynamic Contrast-enhanced and Dynamic Susceptibility Contrasst MR Images. Radiology. 2018 Jan 22:170362.
Castellano A, Falini A. Progress in neuro-imaging of brain tumors. Curr Opin Oncol. 2016 Nov;28(6):484-493.
Castellano A, Donativi M, Ruda R, De Nunzio G, Riva M, Iadanza A, Bertero L, Rucco M, Bello L, Soffietti R, Falini A. Evaluation of low-grade glioma structural changes after chemotherapy using DTI-based histogram analysis and functional diffusion maps. European Radiology 2016 May;26(5):1263-73.
Baldoli C, Scola E, Della Rosa PA, Pontesilli S, Longaretti R, Poloniato A, Scotti R, Blasi V, Cirillo S, Iadanza A, Rovelli R, Barera G, Scifo P. Maturation of preterm newborn brains: a fMRI-DTI study of auditory processing of linguistic stimuli and white matter development. Brain Struct Funct. 2015 Nov;220(6):3733-51.
Filippi M, Agosta F, Scola E, Canu E, Magnani G, Marcone A, Valsasina P, Caso F, Copetti M, Comi G, Cappa SF, Falini A. Functional network connectivity in the behavioral variant of frontotemporal dementia. Cortex 2013 Oct;49(9):2389-401.
Castellano A, Bello L, Michelozzi C, Gallucci M, Fava E, Iadanza A, Riva M, Casaceli G, Falini A. Role of diffusion tensor magnetic resonance tractography in predicting the extent of resection in glioma surgery. Neuro-Oncology 2012 Feb;14(2):192-202.
Cabinio M, Blasi V, Borroni P, Montagna M, Iadanza A, Falini A, Cerri G. The shape of motor resonance: right- or left-handed? Neuroimage 2010 May 15;51(1):313-23.
Bello L, Gambini A, Castellano A, Carrabba G, Acerbi F, Fava E, Giussani C, Cadioli M, Blasi V, Casarotti A, Papagno C, Gupta AK, Gaini S, Scotti G, Falini A. Motor and language DTI Fiber Tracking combined with intraoperative subcortical mapping for surgical removal of gliomas. Neuroimage 2008; 39(1):369-382.
Anzalone N, Scomazzoni F, Castellano R, Strada L, Righi C, Politi LS, Kirchin MA, Chiesa R, Scotti G. Carotid artery stenosis: intraindividual correlations of 3D time-of-flight MR angiography, contrastenhanced MR angiography, conventional DSA, and rotational angiography for detection and grading. Radiology 2005;236(1):204-213.
Filippi M, Bozzali M, Rovaris M, Gonen O, Kesavadas C, Ghezzi A, Martinelli V, Grossman RI, Scotti G, Comi G, Falini A. Evidence for widespread axonal damage at the earliest clinical stage of multiple sclerosis. Brain 2003 Feb;126(Pt 2):433-7.
MD, PhD, Researcher
Gian Marco Conte
Anna Del Poggio
PhD student, Neural stem cell biology Unit