Maddalena Mauri


Mauri Maddalena, born in Bergamo on March the 2nd, 1990, I earned my bachelor degree in Psychological Science in 2012 with a thesis entitled “Sindrome di Asperger, Fobia Sociale e Social Skills Training” and in 2014 my master of science in Psychology degree with a thesis entitled “Externalizing Disorders in Children and Adolescents struck by L’Aquila Earthquake: a study four years after the event” both at Vita-Salute San Raffaele University. From 2016 to 2018 I worked as research fellow at Eugenio Medea Scientific Institute, on projects aimed to identify psychopathological risk and resilience factors with multimodal investigation. Specifically, I collaborated in investigating the behavioral, biological (genetic and imaging) and environmental characteristics of children and adolescents with a diagnosis of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, and emotional dysregulation. Since November 2018, I have been a Ph. D. student in Clinical Neuroscience at the University of Milano-Bicocca, School of Medicine and Surgery, under the supervision of Professor Alberto Gallace and Dr. Maria Nobile. The project “Multi neuro-functional biomarkers for monitoring developmental trajectories in early onset psychopathology” is carried out at IRCCS Eugenio Medea Scientific Institute and aimed to identify psychopathological trajectories from childhood towards early adulthood. This aim will be achieved by means of a 15-years follow-up of a longitudinal observational epidemiological study, in which the role of genetics and epigenetics, neuroimaging measures and environmental risk and resilience factors in shaping developmental trajectories will be investigated. 


Multi neuro-functional biomarkers for monitoring developmental trajectories in early onset psychopathology

  • Track: Clinical Neuroscience
  • Tutor: Prof. Alberto Gallace


The main aim of this project is to identify specific developmental trajectories of internalizing and externalizing disorders, from childhood towards early adulthood.

Subsequently we will focus on the role of genetics and epigenetics, neuroimaging measures and environmental risk and resilience factors, and on their complex interactions, in shaping developmental trajectories.

This aim will be achieved by means of the 15-years follow-up assessment of the PrISMA study (Progetto Italiano Salute Mentale Adolescenti, Frigerio et al, 2006), a longitudinal observational epidemiological study.


The transition from childhood to adolescence is a key period in the development of psychopathology (McElroy et al., 2018). The prevalence of childhood mental disorders has increased over the last years, attracting the interest of researchers, clinicians and community (Polanczyk et al., 2015). The National Institute of Mental Health stated that it is necessary to identify individuals at highest risk early in the disease trajectory and to intervene, as early as possible, to potentially prevent illness onset. Given these premises, it is crucial to identify multilevel biomarkers that predicts the disease pathways. In this perspectives, longitudinal studies, which might permit a better understanding of the role of genetic and environmental risk factors, and of their interaction, in shaping developmental trajectories through time, are crucial.

Previous studies suggest emotional dysregulation, defined as lacking the ability to modify an emotional state to promote adaptive behaviors, is a developmental risk factor for both internalizing and externalizing disorders, regardless of the categorical diagnosis (Bianchi et al., 2017). Abnormalities in structural and functional connectivity between amygdala and regions in the prefrontal cortex (PFC) seem to be a specific brain functional features underpinnings of emotional regulation (Bertocci et al., 2014).

The serotoninergic system is a good candidate for imaging-genetic studies, given the evidences that genetically driven and epigenetic variations (i.e. DNA methylation) in regulators of serotonin signaling (i.e. tryptophan hydroxylase 2, TPH2; serotonin transporter, 5-HTT) have been associated with internalizing and externalizing psychopathological traits as well as with response to emotional stimuli (Nobile et al., 2014; 2016; Booij et al., 2015).

Furthermore, previous studies demonstrated the role of environmental risk factors (i.e. socio-economic status and familial variables), both alone and in interaction with polymorphisms in serotoninergic pathways, in determining psychopathological symptoms during preadolescence (Nobile et al., 2007; 2009).


This fifteen years follow-up study will be conducted involving the original PriSMA study sample, an epidemiological sample followed in previous years from childhood to early adulthood (N= 420, today aged 25-29).

The PrISMA study started in 2003 (first wave, W1), with the purpose of assessing the prevalence of mental disorders in preadolescents (N=1172; aged 10-14 ) living in Italian urban areas (Frigerio et al., 2009). Second wave (W2) started in 2008 and involved adolescents, aged 15-19 (N=607) (Nobile et al, 2013; 2014; 2016)

This unique population has been assessed (W1, W2) and will be re-assessed (W3) for the presence of genetic and environmental risk and resilience factors. In addition, in order to collect a multilevel set of possible risk/resilience factors, neuroimaging data will be also acquired.

All participants will undergo a complete clinical, behavioral and environmental evaluation. More specifically psychopathological traits and emotional dysregulation symptoms will be assessed by questionnaire from the Achenbach System of Empirically Based Assessment (ASEBA, Adult Self Report 18-59 and Adult Behavior Checklist 18-59, filled in by subjects and by their relatives, respectively – Achenbach et al., 2001).

Complete environmental risk factors (i.e., obstetric complication, prenatal infection inventory, life events, drug/alcohol/tobacco use/abuse) will be collected. Family distress and relationship quality will be evaluated by Parent Problem Checklist (Morawska et al., 2009) and quality of life will be evaluated by the Italian version of the WHOQOL (De Girolamo et al., 2000). Socio Economic status will be coded according to the Hollingshead (1975) 9-point scale.

In order to collect genetic and epigenetic factors, saliva sample will be collected. All samples will be genotyped for SNPs in serotonergic candidate genes. The methylation status of a panel of candidate regions containing CpG residues thought to be differentially methylated in individuals with psychopathology will be analyzed.

A subgroup of participants will undergo a functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) session with an emotional continuous performance task, in which faces with relevant positive, negative and neutral expression will be presented alternated with images of neutral content (Soloff et al., 2015), in order to study neurophysiological pathways involved in emotional regulation.

Preliminary data analyses for group’s description will use contingency tables with chi-square testing, t-test or ANOVAs, and examination of correlations between variables and specified outcomes. Different underlying trajectories of internalizing and externalizing behaviors will be identified using a Latent Class Growth Analysis (LCGA; Muthén et al., 2004).

The role of collected biomarkers (genetics, epigenetics, neuroimaging and environmental) in shaping developmental trajectories will be evaluated as mediator or moderator using a regression-based path analysis approach (Hayes, 2013).


Statistic Summer School: “General Linear Model, Mixed Model and Generalized Linear Model”, Associazione Italiana di Psicologia, Bertinoro, Italy, September 2019


Chapters in book

  • Nobile, M., Brambilla, P., Mauri, M. (2019). Disturbo da deficit di attenzione e iperattività e disturbi esternalizzanti. In Brambilla, P., Manuale di Psichiatria Clinica (pp. 133-157). Torino: Edizioni Minerva Medica.


  • Squarcina L, Delvecchio G, Nobile M, Mauri M, Madonna D, Bonivento C, Garzitto M, Piccin S, Molteni M, Tomasino B, Bressi C, Fabbro F, Stanley JA and Brambilla P. (2019) The Assertive Brain: Anterior Cingulate Creatine Levels Correlate With Self-Directedness in Healthy Adolescents. Front. Psychiatry 10:763. doi: 10.3389/fpsyt.2019.00763
  • Grazioli S, Crippa A, Mauri M, Piazza C, Bacchetta A, Salandi A, Trabattoni S, Agostoni C, Molteni M, Nobile M. (2019) Association Between Fatty Acids Profile and Cerebral Blood Flow: An Exploratory fNIRS Study on Children with and without ADHD. Nutrients, October 10, 2019, DOI: 10.3390/nu11102414
  • Piazza C, Bacchetta A, Crippa A, Mauri M, Grazioli S, Reni G, Nobile M & Bianchi Am. “Preprocessing Pipeline For Fnirs Data In Children” In: Henriques J., Neves N., De Carvalho P. (Eds) Xv Mediterranean Conference On Medical And Biological Engineering And Computing – MEDICON 2019. MEDICON 2019. IFMBE Proceedings, vol 76. Springer, Cham, 2020,
  • Bellina, M., Grazioli, S., Garzitto, M., Mauri, M., Rosi, E., Molteni, M., Brambilla,P., Nobile, M. (2020). Relationship between parenting measures and parents and child psychopathological symptoms: a cross-sectional study. BMC Psychiatry, 20, 377-388; 
  • Rosi, E., Grazioli, S., Villa, F. M., Mauri, M., Gazzola, E., Pozzi, M., Molteni, M., Nobile, M. (2020). Use of  Non-Pharmacological Supplementations in Children and Adolescents with Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder: A Critical Review. Nutrients, 12 (6), 1573; doi:10.3390/nu12061573
  • Mauri, M., Crippa, A., Bacchetta, A., Grazioli, S., Rosi, E., Gazzola, E., Gallace, A., Nobile, M. (2020). The utility of NIRS technology for exploring emotional processing in children. Journal of Affective Disorders, 274, 819–824;
  • Mauri, M., Grazioli, S., Crippa, A., Bacchetta, A., Pozzoli, U., Bertella, S., Gatti, E., Maggioni, E., Rosi, E., Diwadkar, V., Brambilla, P., Molteni, M., Nobile, M. (2020). Hemodynamic and behavioral peculiarities in response to emotional stimuli in children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder: an fNIRS study. Journal of Affective Disorder, 277, 671-680;
  • Vanzin L*, Crippa A*, Mauri V, Valli A, Mauri M, Molteni M & Nobile M. (2020). Does ACT-Group Training Improve Cognitive Domain in Children with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder? A Single-Arm, Open-Label Study. Behaviour Change, 1-12. doi:10.1017/bec.2020.3.

Posters and oral presentations

  • Poster @ Annual Meeting delle rete IRCCS delle  neuroscienze e della neuroriabilitazione, RIN, 24-25 marzo 2020, ONLINE,  Eleonora Rosi et al; ReMIND: Real Matters IN Developmental psychopathology. Implementation of an online platform for a 15 years follow-up study.
  • Oral presentation @ EUROPEAN CONFERENCE ON DIGITAL PSYCHOLOGY: 19-20 febbraio 2021, ONLINE, Silvia Grazioli et al; ReMIND: Real Matters IN Developmental psychopathology. Digital assessment and monitoring in clinical research and psychiatric epidemiology. 
  • Presentazione Orale @ 29TH EUROPEAN CONGRESS OF PSYCHIATRY, EPA, 10-13 apr 2021, ONLINE, Filippo Maria Villa et al; Associations between genes methylation, postnatal risk factors and psychiatric symptoms in a clinical sample of children and adolescents: preliminar results from the ReMIND longitudinal study.
  • Presentazione Orale @ 29TH EUROPEAN CONGRESS OF PSYCHIATRY, EPA, 10-13 apr 2021, ONLINE, SIlvia Grazioli et al., Relationship between internalizing and externalizing symptoms trajectories and perinatal risk factors in an epidemiological sample: preliminary results from the ReMIND Project. 
  • Poster @ Annual Meeting delle rete IRCCS delle  neuroscienze e della neuroriabilitazione, RIN, 24-25 marzo 2020, ONLINE, Maddalena Mauri et al., Hemodynamic responses to emotion in children with ADHD.
  • Poster @ Annual Meeting delle rete IRCCS delle  neuroscienze e della neuroriabilitazione, RIN, 24-25 marzo 2020, ONLINE, Silvia Grazioli et al., Role of PUFA Biostatus in human cerebral Blood Flow: an exploratory fNIRS study on children with and without ADHD.
  • Poster @28TH EUROPEAN CONGRESS OF PSYCHIATRY, EPA, 4-7 lug 2020, ONLINE, Maddalena Mauri et al., Functional NIRS evaluation of prefrontal cortex activity during emotional processing in children with ADHD.
  • Poster @33RD ECNP, 12-15 set 2020, ONLINE, Silvia Grazioli et al., Hemodynamic response to methylphenidate in children with attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder: first administration, titration phase and associations with clinical severity.


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