Psychiatry and clinical psychobiology

Sara Poletti

Sara Poletti

Location: Settore D, Floor 1S, Room and Ville Turro, Palazzina G, Floor 1S, Room 14

Project Leader, Psychiatry and clinical psychobiology Unit

My work focused on psychiatric illnesses from the beginning of my research experience. I graduated in Experimental Psychology with a thesis on the cognitive rehabilitation of schizophrenic patients and continued my research activity with a PhD in neuroscience and behavioral disorders with a thesis on the neural underpinnings of theory of mind in schizophrenic patients. After the PhD I started my work on neuroinflammation by participating in two European grants of the role of inflammation in mood disorders. In the last 5 years I have been granted for 5 research project (4 national and 1 international as coordinator) encompassing neural plasticity, inflammation, brain imaging and response to treatment in psychiatric disorders. Further, in the last 3 years I’ve been study coordinator in the first Phase II trial aimed at targeting the immune system with an immune modulator (Low-Dose Interleukin 2) to increase T regulatory cells frequencies and improve depressive symptomatology in mood disorders.

Brief Introduction

As part of the Psychiatry and Clinical Psychobiology Unit my research is based upon the integration of several measures and the use of different techniques including genetics, in vivo imaging, clinical psychobiology, pharmacology, neuropsychology, neurophysiology, machine learning, and clinical research instruments. Thanks to the collaboration with several professional figures such as biologist and bioinformaticians and with other research groups both in Italy and abroad, my research is aimed at identifying the neurobiological underpinnings of mood disorders and the factors associated with response to treatment.

Research Activity

From 2008 I’ve been involved in the study of mood disorders from the perspective of immunology with the aim of stratifying patients with mood disorder based on their immunological profile. My work mainly focuses on the investigation of the role of neuroinflammation in mood disorders and its impact on brain and behavior with a special focus on the role of stress and infections in determining the inflammatory state, and the consequences on brain integrity and cognitive functioning. Also, my research activity points to understand the mechanisms underlying the response to treatment and, in particular, the role of inflammation, plasticity and the interaction with antidepressant treatments

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