The aims of our research include:
Understand how signaling pathways are integrated at the molecular and systems level to control cellular responses in physiological and pathological conditions.
Investigate pathological signaling pathways in the brain of transgenic mouse models of autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and Alzheimer’s disease (AD) in order to discover novel therapeutic targets. Our findings on mouse models will lead to translate the results of biomedical research from preclinical to clinical stages.
Conduct large sets of behavioral studies to examine the effectiveness of different pharmacological therapies aimed at inhibiting/activating “high risk” proteins/signaling pathways. This includes testing of motor activity, anxiety, memory, spatial learning, novel exploration, social interaction, repetitive behavior and more.
Carry out Proteomics studies to measure the protein expression levels and to characterize their post-translational modifications (PTMs) in order to acquire information on the cellular state. In neurons, proteins are the real effectors of most of the activities. We aim to evaluate the relative expression of the proteins and their PTMs in healthy and diseased brain to identify drug targets and biomarkers in both humans and mice.
Identify PTMs that are modulated during health state and disease progression. We work on the global mapping of PTMs, in particular S-nitrosylation (nitric oxide-mediated PTM) and phosphorylation, to better understand the signaling networks that regulate essentially all biological functions of the cells and organisms in normal and pathologic state.
Investigate the cross-talk between S-nitrosylation and phosphorylation which affects the nitrergic and kinase signaling.
Follow up the proteomics analysis with the large-scale bioinformatics and computational biology analysis. The purpose of this analysis is to decipher the key proteins, biological processes, and signaling pathways that underlie different physiological and pathological conditions.
Identify novel disease biomarkers in the blood and CSF of patients with ASD, AD, and other diseases.