- Neuropsychiatric Systemic Lupus Erithematosus (NPSLE)
Francesca hold a Master Degree cum laude in Pharmaceutical Biotechnology by the University of Rome “La Sapienza” (Rome, Italy) in 2016. During her Master thesis, she performed preclinical research in AD at Pharmacology and Biochemestry departments. There, she acquired skills in several methods of samples preparation, molecular techniques (immunoblotting and PCR), and statistical analysis.
From the end of 2016, she was at the University Medical Center Groningen, UMCG, Nuclear Medicine and Molecular Imaging Department, for three months under the grant “North-South Traineeship Programme” and for other two months under the grant “Abel Tasman Talent Program” for prospective PhD students of the Faculty of Medical Sciences. During her stay in the Netherlands at the UMCG she worked in a preclinical project: Neuroinflammation in rat models of Schizophrenia. She gained skills on: learning how to analyse several types of neuroimaging data (PET) and understanding the theoretical basis underlying their application.
Her experience in NMR/MRI started with her PhD almost 1 year ago. Her project will focus on Neuropsychiatric Systemic Lupus Erythematosus (NPSLE). Accurate diagnosis of NPSLE is important since it has grave consequences for patients. Attribution of neuropsychiatric symptoms to SLE remains a challenge, given the lack of a gold standard in the diagnostic approach. Another central question pertinent to the diagnosis and to the selection of treatment course for NPSLE patients, is whether NPSLE symptoms are based on ischemia, caused by a disturbed coagulation system, or whether they are based on an inflammatory response.
In her PhD project she wish to provide a reliable, non-invasive MRI-based diagnostic tool that will help to find biomarkers:
-to distinguish between NPSLE and non-NPSLE (NPSLE patients with NP syndrome not due to SLE)
-to distinguish between ischemic and inflammatory subtypes.
Leids Universitair Medisch Centrum
2333 ZA Leiden
2300 RC Leiden