This research group’s main strategic objective is to identify brain injury biomarkers (indicators) in perinatal life (the first weeks of life); that would allow the team to define measures for early intervention, which would potentially benefit thousands of families across Europe every year. The researchers now understand more about the mechanisms involved in fetal brain damage due to hypoxia (lack of oxygen) and how the brain establishes different ways of protection, and have also refined specific neuro-psychological tests detecting subtle delays in newborns. They have also developed unique protocols to perform MR imaging in infants during natural sleep. All this helps with early diagnosis and the identification of appropriate interventions.
This interdisciplinary research team is composed of specialists in fetal and paediatric medicine, basic scientists and bioengineers, allowing a holistic approach to their research. They are integrating research from prenatal to postnatal care in the Unit’s functional design, so that the fetus and child are seen as the same patient over time; this is a unique model to allow early diagnosis and the identification of potential therapeutic targets.
To read more about the research activities undertaken by the team, take a look at the annual report: