Perinatal injury could lead to disruption of normal developmental processes and deterioration of brain functions. The Cortex to Classroom programme is a specific targeted programme including research projects designed to (1) understand the effects of prematurity on long-term structural and functional brain development, (2) identify early markers of perinatal brain damage and its underlying mechanism and (3) target endogenous and exogenous molecules for potential neuroprotective and neuroregenerative intervention.
One important objective of the initial project and its prolongation is to use and to develop animal models of functional recovery. This will represent the translational part between clinicians and basic scientists. This approach further allows for simultaneously addressing issues of medical relevance and testing molecular hypotheses using an animal study design that includes similar methodology as that for human studies, such as imaging, electro-physiology, behavioral testing and serum markers.
As a whole, the project will incorporate both animal studies (basic neuroscience) and applied research in human newborns (neuroimaging, EEG and clinical neurodevelopment) in order to identify new approaches for early diagnosis of brain damage and therapy to enhance brain development.