Molecular Neuroscience Lab

Areas of Investigation 

The Laboratory of Molecular Neuroscience employs experimental models and procedures to characterize the molecular and biochemical changes that occur due to aging, age-related neurodegenerative diseases or as a result of brain damage.

Of particular interest are the studies of the synaptic alterations in the hippocampus, a crucial area for the function of memory and during the early phases of development of Alzheimer's disease. In particular, the research conducted to date has focused on the identification and functional characterization of enzymatic factors which, if not properly regulated at the synaptic level, lead to a progressive reduction of the function of hippocampal synapses until complete destruction and associated resulting cognitive impairment.

The identification of key molecules in the synapse degenerative process has promoted a number of other functional studies aimed at the characterization of drugs capable of modulating the activity of the factors that determine the synaptic loss. These same molecules are capable of being used as early markers of disease.



Loss of Memory and Mood Alteration

The Laboratory is currently engaged in the study of the alteration of the mesolimbic circuit, caused by synaptic dysfunction in the hippocampus. The mesolimbic circuit is functionally associated with mood. The research aims to understand how a primarily hippocampal damage can alter the function of other areas of the central nervous system, anatomically distinct but functionally linked to the hippocampus. This research studies two characteristic aspects of the early stages of manifestation of Alzheimer's disease: memory loss and mood disturbance.

Acquired Patents 
  • Autophagy Enhancing Compounds, Peptides And Peptidomimetic Compounds For Use In The Treatment Of Neuronal Diseases. WO/2012/076555
  • Campus Bio-Medico University of Rome (Italy)
  • GB Bietti Foundation, Rome (Italy)
  • National Institute of Health (ISS), Rome (Italy)
  • Sapienza – University of Rome (Italy)
  • Tor Vergata University of Rome (Italy)
  • University of L'Aquila (Italy)
Ongoing Research Projects 
  • Unraveling the mystery of Alzheimer's Disease-related synaptic degeneration
Completed Research Projects 
  • Preventing and monitoring Onset of Synaptic Degeneration in Early Alzheimer’s Disease 

Laboratory of Molecular Neuroscience

Fondazione Santa Lucia Irccs

Via del Fosso di Fiorano, 64 00143 Rome

European Centre for Brain Research (CERC) – Floor 2 – Rooms 207