Ataxia Research Lab

Areas of Investigation 

The Ataxia Laboratory investigates the role of the cerebellum in different cognitive and behavioral domains, with a particular focus on the function and structure of the cerebellar-cortical circuits. The studies aim to characterize etiopathogenesis and clinical manifestations of ataxic syndromes (in action, cognition, and behaviour). The goal is to develop rehabilitation protocols specific for the cerebellar pathology. The Laboratory is also focused on the study of the relationship between cerebellum and autism spectrum disorders, such as Asperger Syndrome.

The Ataxia Laboratory’s studies have allowed to understand the role of the cerebellum in multiple functional areas and to open new perspectives on how the cerebellar modulation modifies the functionality of the cerebral cortex.


Methodology and Experimental Protocols

The Laboratory applies a multidisciplinary approach in research activity. Motor and cognitive assessments and neurophysiological techniques are employed. In particular, transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS), sensorized platforms, and mood-monitoring devices.

Collaborations with other research groups have allowed the development of experimental protocols which include the use of transcranial magnetic stimulation techniques, EEG, event-related potentials, immersive virtual reality, structural and functional magnetic resonance imaging.

  • Brain, Cognition and Action Laboratory, Department of Psychology, Royal Holloway, University of London (United Kingdom)
  • Center for Cognitive Disorders and Alzheimer's Disease, Department of Geriatrics, Orthopedics and Neurosciences, Catholic University of Sacro Cuore, Rome (Italy)
  • Centre de Neuroscience Cognitive, Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (CNRS), Lyon (France)
  • Clinical Imaging Science Center (CISC), Brighton and Sussex Medical School (United Kingdom)
  • Department of Economics, University of Southern California, Los Angeles (United States)
  • Department of Physiology and Pharmacology, Sapienza – University of Rome (Italy)
  • NESMOS Department, Sapienza – University of Rome (Italy)
  • Sobell Department of Motor Neuroscience and Movement Disorders, UCL Institute of Neurology, London (United Kingdom)
Ongoing Research Projects 
  • Social cognition in patients affected by cerebellar damage
  • Cerebellar tDCS effects on the social behaviour
  • Anatomo-functional correlates of the cerebello-cortical interaction
  • Cerebellar modulation of the visuospatial cognition
  • Characterization of the executive functions in cerebellar diseases

Laboratory of Ataxia Research

Fondazione Santa Lucia Irccs

Via Ardeatina, 354 – 00179 Rome

Building A – Floor 3 – Room 314, 316