Molecular psychiatry and genetics laboratory


Research objectives

The main goal of our lab is to study molecular mechanisms subtending major psychiatric diseases, such as schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. In particular, we seek to understand the impact of genetic variation on the risk for these disorders, while looking at gene-by-environment interaction. Furthermore, we are interested in exploring the molecular mechanisms modulating response to pharmacological treatments, with the aim to identify potential targets of new drugs.

Within such a framework, the specific objectives of our lab are:

  • Evaluating the effect of genetic variants on cognitive function, emotional processing and brain physiology, which are typical phenotypes associated with schizophrenia and bipolar disorder.
  • Identifying molecular pathways that are altered in schizophrenia and bipolar disorder
  • Evaluating the effect of genetic variation on patients’ clinical outcome to treatments, in order to facilitate the identification of personalized and effective therapies.



Our research is carried out through studies involving the enrollment of voluntary healthy subjects and patients affected by schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. These subjects undergo a blood withdrawal that is necessary to obtain DNA for genome-wide genotyping analysis, that we currently performance by SNP microarray. Such an approach allows for the detection of Single Nucleotide Polymorphisms (SNPs) which might be responsible for individual susceptibility to diseases. In fact, SNP genetic variation typically impact on cell level phenotypes, such as gene and protein expression, cell morphology, along with more distal phenotypes including human behavior and clinical phenotypes. Our molecular investigation involves biochemical, cellular, and molecular biology techniques. In particular, we use Real-time PCR techniques for gene expression analysis, ELISA and western blotting for determination of protein levels and epifluorescence microscopy for cell imaging.


Azioni sul documento

pubblicato il 05/04/2018 ultima modifica 19/04/2021