The IRCCS-FBF has extensive experience in the field of affective disorders, mainly in the following areas: I) diagnosis and treatment of affective disorders; II) Pharmacogenetic of psychotropic medications; III) Pathophysiology of affective disorders; IV) Mechanism of action of psychotropic drugs.
Over the years I have worked in several areas of preclinical and human research. In preclinical research I have been mainly interested in the role of the intracellular mechanisms beyond the receptor level in the neurochemical action of psychotropic drugs. In particular I have studied the involvement of protein phosphorylation systems in the action of psychotropic medications. These investigations were pionering and of outstanding interest in the field of neuropsychopharmacology. From a medical point of view, I have worked with and coordinated multidisciplinary teams in identifying the involvement of genes and proteins (related with the protein phosphorylation systems) in the pharmachotherapy and pathophysiology of affective disorders. I have been mainly involved in investigating the role of the serotonin transporter gene in the response to antidepressant drugs. Also, I have coordinated a research group which was involved in developing novel strategies for the short and long-term treatment of affective disorders.
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Principal investigator in three national projects of the Italian Ministry of Health from 2001 to 2004, and Operative Unit Supervisor in numerous projects of the Italian Ministry of Health, FIRB, COFIN and Cariplo Foundation. Twenty-five international publications document the researches that Prof. Gennarelli conducted on Myotonic Dystrophy type 1 (DM1). The objects of these studies were the analysis of the DM1 mutation, the genotype-phenotype correlation, the evaluation of the somatic mosaicism, the definition of the biochemical defect, the preferential segregation of the mutated allele in the families at risk, the identification of novel isoforms of the gene DMPK, the confirmation of the Nord-Euroasian origin of the DM mutation and the demonstration of the "meiotic drive". Moreover, an algorithm for the predictive DM diagnosis based on the genotype-phenotype correlation has been developed. Recently, the quantitative analysis of the mRNA level in the DM patients brain led to evidence the reduced expression of the gene DMAHP, suggesting a possible role for this gene in the pathogenesis of the mental retardation typical of the congenital forms of DM1. More recently, Prof. Gennarelli activity has been addressed to the fields of genetics and pharmacogenetics of psychiatric disorders. In the last years, numerous case-control association studies have been conducted on candidate genes for the susceptibility to Major Psychoses, in order to clarify the role of some neurotransmitter systems (glutamate, serotonin and dopamine), cytokines and neurotrophic factors genes. In particular, preferential associations has been evidenced with some functional polymorphisms of the genes TNF-alfa, IL-10, IL-1 and GRIK3 with schizophrenia. The polymorphic variants of the genes encoding for cytokines and neurotrophic factors has been studied also in the patients suffering from the sporadic form of Alzheimer (AD) disease. These studies led to evidence a preferential association of an intragenic polymorphism of the BDNF (Brain Derived Neurotrophic Factor) with the susceptibility to AD. Until now Prof. Gennarelli is author of 100 "in extenso" publications on national and international journals.
Anna is a young researcher, employed by the Institute of Research and Care for Mental Disorders of Brescia. She is psychologist and psychotherapist, with experience in the assessment as well as in the diagnosis of patients with psychiatric disorders. During the past years Anna has been involved in a national research program addressed to investigate the quality of life of patients with severe mental disorders. Now, she is involved in several national and international research projects. In particular, she is mainly involved in investigating the role of bio-psycho-social factors in the diagnosis and treatment of psychiatric disorders.
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