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Past Research Projects in the Anatomy Department

Externally Funded

  Stereotactic localisation of Brain Stem nuclei

This is a joint project with the Institute of Neurology, University College London.

Funding:  Industry/UCL.

Principal Investigators:  Mr Ludvic U. Zrinzo, Mr Marwan Hariz, Institute of Neurology, Queen Square, University College London, Mr Laurence V.  Zrinzo, Department of Anatomy, University of Malta.

Summary:  Our research is aimed at the stereotactic localization of nuclei which appear to be useful for deep brain stimulation in the treatment of functional neurological conditions, particularly movement disorders.  This line of research demands certain high technology such as a stereotactic frame, a neuro-navigation system and high-field MRI, which is where this collaboration comes into its own.  It has already resulted in a number of high-profile neurology/neuroanatomy publications.

Zrinzo L, Zrinzo LV. Surgical anatomy of the pedunculopontine and peripeduncular nuclei. British Journal of Neurosurgery. 2008; 22(Suppl. 1): S19–S24

Zrinzo L, Zrinzo LV, Tisch S, et al. Stereotactic localization of the human pedunculopontine nucleus: atlas-based coordinates and validation of a magnetic resonance imaging protocol for direct localization. Brain 2008;131: 1588–98.

Zrinzo L, Zrinzo LV, Hariz M. The pedunculopontine and peripeduncular nuclei: a tale of two structures. Brain 2007;130(Pt 6):e73;author reply e74.

Zrinzo L, Zrinzo LV, Hariz M. The peripeduncular nucleus: a novel target for deep brain stimulation? Neuroreport 2007;18:1301–2.

Internally Funded

  Dysmorphology of Spontaneously Miscarried Foetuses

Principal Investigators:  Professor Alfred Cuschieri, Dr Jean Calleja-Agius Department of Anatomy, University of Malta.

Summary:  Foetuses resulting from spontaneous miscarriages are examined post-mortem to study the embryology and prevalence of malformations, dysmorphology and chromosome anomalies.  In a big proportion of cases where the foetus has been dead in utero for several days and cells are non-viable, the most common numerical anomalies are still detectable by interphase FISH analysis.  This project is an extension of the "Register of Congenital Anomalies in Malta", which was originally established within the Department of Anatomy in 1984.  It is intended to identify the anomalies that are the main causes of foetal death, but are not normally included in the Register of congenital anomalies, which includes the anomalies recorded clinically in live or still-born babies.  It will therefore give a more complete picture of Foetal and Congenital Anomalies, and of their pathogenesis.

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Last Updated: 13 November 2014

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