My past research activities have been framed in a model of translational research to humans supported in rigorous scientific evidence developed in animal models. Clinical experience demonstrates that plasticity operating at the level of spared neural systems might have the potential to drive recovery after irreversible cerebral damage. Nonetheless a majority of the traditional rehabilitation procedures used in isolation show erratic results and remain far from being scientifically validated. The long-term goal of my research program is to develop, implement and validate new rehabilitation methods directed at manipulating the plastic properties of the intact or focally damaged neural circuitry and achieve performance amelioration in humans. We will focus on the use of noninvasive brain neurostimulation (TMS&tDCS) in combination with rehabilitation (visual stimulation/spatial cuing), with a prior understanding of the key molecular, cellular, metabolic events affecting the underlying neural circuitry (2DG, DTI/fMRI) and its dynamic reorganization after injury or treatment. The short term goal of my project is to unveil some of the basic mechanisms by which brain neurostimulation and cognitive/physical therapy can converge to drive adaptive recovery after brain lesions, and by doing so, develop more efficient interventional approaches for patients. In particular we plan on working in animal models and neurological patients requiring visuo-attentional or visual and visuospatial rehabilitation after cortoical damage, with the ambition to expand our findings and methods to other lesion types and neurological sequels, including highly prevalent neurodegenerative diseases associated with aging.
Biography Updated on 12 June 2013