Understanding brain function, mechanisms of healthy nervous system in the adult, developing and aging brain, mechanisms of neurological and psychiatric disorders represents one of the major challenges for humans. With world-wide aging populations, the burden of neurological diseases is increasing and represents a major cost for society. Despite the recent technological and scientific advances (high throughput technologies, NMR, PET, discovery of genetic determinants of diseases and of their molecular pathways), disorders such as autism, schizophrenia, Alzheimer, Parkinson, Multiple Sclerosis, Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis can be accurately diagnosed at the earliest phases, but still lack effective long-term disease-modifying treatments.
We recently recognized that molecular mechanism leading to these disorders may start even decades before clinical presentation, and that effective treatments should start before brain damage become clinically relevant. For this reason, a major challenge for modern neuroscience is to detect the border between brain function and dysfunction with a multidisciplinary approach: clinical neurology and psychiatry, psychology, neuroimaging, genetics and biology.
Furthermore, congenital or acquired brain damage most frequently leads to severe impairment of sensorimotor and superior cognitive functions (e.g. language, memory, attention, awareness) that need accurate diagnosis and effective rehabilitation. Hence the compelling need to further understand the cognitive functions of the normal brain and to develop novel strategies for rehabilitation of brain-damaged individuals, following multidisciplinary approaches and up-to-date instrumental monitoring.
Finally, the challenge of modern society and its economic and social determinants, more and more strongly rely upon the contribution of the modern cognitive neuroscience, to understand the core mechanisms regulating interactions among individuals and social behaviour.
To promote high-level and multidisciplinary research and education in the field of neuroscience, to uncover mechanisms of nervous system function and dysfunction across the life cycle.
The effort to accomplish this challenging goal must be based on a multidisciplinary team encompassing basic and clinical neuroscientists, and taking advantage of collaborations with institutions at regional, national and international level..
Expertise spans from genetics, molecular biology, cell-, tissue- and in vivo-neuroimaging, psychology, neurology, neuropsychology, neurosurgery, psychiatry, child neuropsychiatry, computational technologies, informatics, statistics, system biology, economy, physics with the use of a large variety of technological platforms.