Research activities

The Mafalda Luce Centre for Pervasive Developmental Disorders represents an important resource for the Campus Bio-Medico University in Rome. Our close co-operation is paying valuable dividends for numerous research programmes focusing on this complex pathology, not least autism, a disability that has been of prime interest for some years to Professor Antonio Persico and his team at the Child Neuropsychiatry Unit in Rome.


This Clinic is part of the EU-AIMS European consortium, a broad network for research into markers that can be objectively measured to indicate the presence of autism and identify those individuals most likely to respond to a particular treatment (the first such project to have ever been funded at a European level). The Clinic is also a member of the Italian Network for the early detection of Autistic Spectrum Disorders coordinated by the Istituto Superiore di Sanità (ISS), which thanks to funding from the Ministry of Health is able to monitor the siblings of autistic children from birth for any signs of the initial phase of the condition and identification of the earliest markers.


The UO’s research integrates more traditional observations of the individual’s behaviour with research aimed at identifying possible genetic alterations and environmental factors that, either individually or in combination, might lead to autism. This approach requires the use of specific detection techniques, such as the ultra high resolution Array CGH method, as well as DNA sequencing, from short segments right up to the entire human genome. Some of these services are already available at the Neurogenetics Laboratory at the Campus Bio-Medico University Hospital in Rome and more are planned during the course of 2013. At the same time, the scope of the Mafalda Luce Centre’s own laboratory in Milan is being expanded and it has already launched a fundraising campaign to raise the finance needed to equip it.


Please support the Mafalda Luce Centre’s research activities into Pervasive Developmental Disorders


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