Research groups


The main research interests of the Unit include: (a) pharmaco-epidemiology, oriented to describe the beneficial and harmful effects of psychotropic drugs in ordinary practice; (b) randomized controlled trials, oriented to assess the efficacy and tolerability profile of psychotropic drugs in experimental conditions; (c) systematic reviews, oriented to summarize clinical trial findings using meta-analytical techniques. Recent achievements of the Unit include the production of systematic reviews in the field of antidepressants and antipsychotics, together with the Cochrane Common Mental Disorders Group (CMD) group; the development of tools oriented to improve the rational use of psychotropic drugs in low and middle income countries; the production of evidence based guidelines. In 2017 the Unit members founded Cochrane Global Mental Health, a Cochrane network that supports the production, dissemination and implementation of systematic reviews relevant to mental health in low- and middle-income countries. Currently, the Unit coordinates STAR Network (Servizi Territoriali Associati per la Ricerca), a group of physicians working in Italian psychiatric services that collect data for multi-centre studies. STAR Network has finalised a number of pharmaco-epidemiological studies in people exposed to psychotropic drugs, and is currently recruiting patients for a multi-centre observational study on long acting antipsychotics. Additionally, the Unit coordinates a randomised controlled trial (funded by Agenzia Italiana del Farmaco) to assess the comparative tolerability, safety and efficacy of Vortioxetine compared with the SSRIs as a group in elderly patients affected by major depression. The primary outcome will be the withdrawal rate due to adverse events. The Unit is currently coordinating an Horizon2020 project called RE-DEFINE, which aims to test the effectiveness of an innovative psychological intervention for preventing the onset of mental disorders in refugees and asylum seekers with psychological distress resettled in middle-income and high-income countries. The project focuses on adaptation, testing, and implementation of Self Help Plus (SH+), a novel trans-diagnostic self-help preventive psychosocial intervention specifically developed by the World Health Organization (WHO) to respond to humanitarian crises. The cost-effectiveness of SH+ will be tested in two large, multicentre, pragmatic randomised controlled trials. One study will be conducted in Italy, Germany, Finland, Austria, and in two UK sites, and a second study will be conducted in Turkey. Over the years, the Unit members have published hundreds of scientific publications in international peer-reviewed journals. The Unit Coordinator, Professor Corrado Barbui, is Editor-in-Chief of Epidemiology and Psychiatric Sciences, a Cambridge University Press scientific journal with an impact factor of 5.684.
Contact people
Corrado Barbui

Corrado Barbui
Full Professor
Michela Nose'
Associate Professor
Davide Papola
Research Scholarship Holders
Giulia Turrini
Scholarship holder
Chiara Gastaldon
Research Scholarship Holders
Giovanni Ostuzzi
Temporary Assistant Professor
Marianna Purgato
Associate Professor
Topic Research area
Evidence-based mental health Neurosciences
Clinical Psychopharmacology Neurosciences
Global Mental Health Neurosciences


Research facilities