Dr Sabrina Signorini
This unit’s research activity, which is intrinsically bound up with clinical care, is aimed at pediatric subjects (0-18 years) with neuro-ophthalmological disorders. It is divided into the following main areas:
Assessment and outcome
Interventions must necessarily be based on prior assessment of the individual patient’s perceptual, motor, cognitive and adaptive skills. Due to a lack of standardized instruments, it is currently difficult to “measure” the efficacy of rehabilitation training. This line of research targets the construction and validation of new assessment tools and the simultaneous development of outcome measures, also in the form of patient reported outcome measures (PROMs).
Clinical profiles and their correlations
In the presence of visual impairment, be it isolated or part of a neuropsychiatric disorder of childhood, the study of clinical, genetic, neurophysiological and imaging correlations is useful for understanding the anatomo-functional substrates of the condition and for defining innovative therapeutic approaches (e.g., gene therapy for retinal dystrophies).
Sensory experience and neuropsychomotor development
Visual disability, especially if congenital, can have a negative impact on neuromotor, cognitive, emotional-relational development. Exploration of the interplay between sensory experience, the environment and development can be helpful for creating interaction models useful for defining guidelines on intervention, and also for developing multisensory rehabilitation technologies.
Intersubjectivity and social-emotional development
The parent-child relationship in the first years of life is the natural and most conducive setting for the child’s acquisition of social and emotional skills and the ability to regulate stress. This line of research integrates the principles of infant research and technology (e.g., eye tracking) and aims to protect and support the essential role of parents in promoting development.
Mondino-IIT Joint Lab (Interactive Gym, “i-Gym”) (principal investigators: S. Signorini and M. Gori)
In 2018 a joint lab was set up between the Mondino Foundation’s Center of Child Neuro-ophthalmology and the Unit for Visually Impaired People (U-VIP) at IIT (Istituto Italiano di Tecnologia) in Genoa. The IIT’s Electronic Design Laboratory (EDL) is also involved in the activity of the lab. U-VIP team: M. Gori (team leader), G. Cappagli, L. Schiatti, C. Campus, A. Inuggi, H. Vitali; EDL team: M. Crepaldi (team leader), A. Maviglia. The Joint Lab contributes to most of the above-listed research areas, but also has the following specific aims:
Our Center of Child-Neuro-ophthalmology is supported by the Mariani Foundation (Milan) and is also the reference center of I.A.LC.A., the Italian association devoted to Leber congenital amaurosis (a congenital hereditary retinal dystrophy).