Associate Professor Andrea Guzzetta is an Associate Investigator on the CRE and a member of the Early Detection and Neuroimaging theme.
Dr Guzetta is Head of Stella Maris Infant Lab for Early-intervention (SMILE), a professor at the University of Pisa Medical School, and an accredited international trainer with the General Movements Trust. He will provide expertise in both clinical and neuroimaging data as a Member of the Early Detection and Neurosciences theme in the CRE.
Dr Guzzetta's main research has focused on the effects of early brain damage on the development of different functions and the underlying neuroplastic mechanisms, with the final aim to improve early intervention paradigms and outcomes. In his still relatively short research career, he has provided significant contribution to a number of research questions in the area, thanks to his compound training experiences in some of the most productive European centres in the field, including the Hammersmith Hospital and the Visual Development Unit in London (Great Britain) and the Department of Child Neurology in Tuebingen (Germany).
His major scientific contributions have been achieved in the following areas:
- Early prediction of functional outcome in infants with brain damage using neonatal brain imaging
- The early assessment of visual functions and diagnosis of cerebral visual impairment
- The early neurological assessment in infants at neurological risk
- Brain plasticity in congenital lesions
- The effect of neurodevelopmental interventions on brain maturation
Dr. Guzzetta's current research focus builds upon these contributions, and includes:
- Advanced brain imaging focused on the study of structural differences in brain reorganization between subjects with congenital brain damage and those with acquired lesions (e.g. DTI, cortical connectivity, etc.). A better understanding of causal pathways to functional impairment is essential for improving early therapies.
- New early interventions, based on the stimulation of the mirror neuron system to activate the motor cortex and thus influence the pattern of cortical reorganization. The theory of mirror neurons can have the power to revolutionize the field of early motor rehabilitation, although the field is still completely unexplored.
- New early interventions, based on the environmental enrichment of preterm born infants. Reducing the risk for neurodevelopmental complications of preterm birth might have enormous social and economical positive consequences.
Dr Guzzetta received the prestigious Heinz Prechtl Award for Developmental Neurology in 2012.