Daniela Tropea is Assistant Professor of Molecular Psychiatry in Trinity College Dublin. She was a scholar in Scuola Normale Superiore Pisa, Italy, and she received her PhD in Neuroscience from the International School of Advanced Studies (ISAS) in Trieste Italy. Before moving to Trinity College Dublin, she spent several years as Post Doc in the department of Brain and Cognitive Sciences at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
She is an expert in mechanisms of brain plasticity in health and disease and in the role of growth factors- in particular Insulin-like growth factor 1 (IGF1) -in the brain. She has pioneered the use of IGF1 and derivatives as candidate treatments for neurodevelopmental disorders. The success of these studies in animal models prompted the translation to clinical studies, and now these drugs are at several phases of clinical trials in disorders such as Rett Syndrome, Phelan McDermit and Autism.
Recently Dr Tropea developed an interest in the identification of measurable, reliable and accessible biomarkers for the study of neurodevelopmental disorders and for assessing potential treatments. Using animal models of Rett Syndrome, her team identified common molecular markers in brain and blood. In collaboration with clinical centers, she studies brain activity as tool for prognosis and identification of altered processing in brain disorders. The overall goal of this research is to identify markers to improve the design and interpretation of clinical trials.