Research interests

  • Epilepsy
  • Inflammation
  • Neurodevelopmental disorders
  • Brain development and ageing
  • Neuroncology
  • Neuromuscular diseases 

The research group headed by Aronica is involved in different research lines in neuropathology (neurodegenerative disorders, neuro-oncology and epilepsy), establishing national and international collaboration. In particular we focused on the role of neuron-glia interactions in brain function and pathology. We address three pivotal scientific objectives of current international interest: 1. Identifying and defining novel molecular and cellular pathways of bidirectional communication between neurons and glia in the developing and the adult brain 2. Defining alterations of neuron-glia interactions in the diseased brain using epilepsy as a central paradigm (complex brain disorder exhibiting a variety of pathological events also seen in other CNS diseases) 3. Developing better research instrumentation, novel drug screening and evaluation assays and disease models to reveal the diversity of neuron-glia interactions in the healthy and the epileptic brain. The research has been focused on the search for effective treatment for patients with epilepsy by delineating the biological and molecular pathways that contribute to development and progression of epilepsy (epileptogenesis) in patients with focal epilepsy, including patients with malformations of cortical development (MCD). The research group has contribute to the identification of key pathways involved in the pathogenesis of a large spectrum of MCD. Moreover, we provided evidence of a prominent and persistent activation of the innate immune response in various neurological disorders with different etiologies, but without a primary inflammatory pathogenesis. This response involves both astrocytes and microglial cells and is associated with the activation of several pathways which influence hyperexcitability and degeneration. Looking for an effective disease-modifying therapies targeting pathologic neuroinflammation, we studied the upstream control mechanism this process focusing on a family of non-coding RNAs (microRNAs) acting as key post-transcriptional modulators of the innate immune response and as novel disease biomarkers.

specialisation

Neuropathology

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