As a developmental pediatrician and neonatologist I have been interested in developmental brain injury that leads to functional deficits in children suffering from such conditions. From our preclinical work, that includes the use of different models of developmental brain injury and advanced magnetic resonance neuroimaging with a strong translational aspect to neuropathology seen in preterm and growth restricted newborns, we have been able to delineate damage and importantly, to test for neuroprotective strategies for this vulnerable population. This especially includes the use of Lactoferrin (Lf) during gestation and lactation. The anti-inflammatory, anti-oxidant and anti-apoptotic properties of Lf have the potential to reduce developmental brain injury, including postnatal hypoxic-ischemic, inflammatory and intra-uterine fetal injury, the three being major mechanisms of injury in the developing brain.
Our most recent project is about evaluation of the effects of sensory-motor rehabilitation in a model of rodent cerebral palsy with understanding the connectivity changes within the brain after injury and rehabilitation. Also, the window of opportunity in regard to brain development and plasticity will be analyzed. This project is highly translational using neuroimaging, motricity evaluation and neurobehavioural testing and as part of a multicentric clinical trial that is performed within the research consortium.