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Michael Vincent Lombardo

Senior Researcher Tenure Track - Principal Investigator

Research Line

Neurodevelopmental Disorders


CNCS@UniTn Trento


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I am Principal Investigator (PI) of the Neurodevelopmental Disorders research line at IIT and direct the Laboratory for Autism and Neurodevelopmental Disorders (LAND). The primary focus of IIT LAND is to better understand what drives heterogeneity in autism and other neurodevelopmental disorders. Diagnostic labels for neurodevelopmental conditions like autism try to explain what is common between individuals at the level of observable behavior. While this level of explanation tries to maximize consensus amongst clinicians about what can be observed in behavior, it also potentially masks important differences between individuals possessing the same label. These differences between individuals can also be expressed at every level one looks at – from the genome, through neural systems, the phenotype, and all the way up to response to treatment and later life outcome. It may be that these multi-level differences between individuals are most important features for understanding causes and mechanisms driving the emergence of such conditions. These differences may also be important clues that help us develop interventions and clinical practice that better maximizes the outcomes and potential of such individuals. The lab’s goal is better to understand what drives multi-level heterogeneity within and between individuals affected by neurodevelopmental conditions such as autism and to use that more precise understanding to better impact the lives of patients and their families.


autism neurodevelopmental disorders precision medicine computational psychiatry


ERC Starting Grant (AUTISMS): Decomposing Heterogeneity in Autism Spectrum Disorders

Selected Publications

Trakoshis, S., Martinez-Canada, P., Rocchi, F., Canella, C., You, W., Chakrabarti, B., Ruigrok, A. N. V., Bullmore, E. T., Suckling, J., Markicevic, M., Zerbi, V., MRC AIMS Consortium, Baron-Cohen, S., Gozzi, A., Lai, M. C., Panzeri, S., & Lombardo, M. V. (2020). Intrinsic excitation-inhibition imbalance affects medial prefrontal cortex differently in autistic men versus women. eLife, 9, e55684.

Lombardo, M. V., Eyler, L., Moore, A., Datko, M., Carter Barnes, C., Cha, D., Courchesne, E., & Pierce, K. (2019). Default mode-visual network hypoconnectivity in an autism subtype with pronounced social visual engagement difficulties. eLife, 8, e47427.

Lombardo, M. V., Pramparo, T., Gazestani, V., Warrier, V, Bethlehem, R. A. I., Carter Barnes, C., Lopez, L., Lewis, N. E., Eyler, L., Pierce, K., & Courchesne, E. (2018). Large-scale associations between the leukocyte transcriptome and BOLD responses to speech differ in autism early language outcome subtypes. Nature Neuroscience, 21, 1680-1688.

Lombardo, M. V., Pierce, K., Eyler, L., Carter Barnes, C., Ahrens-Barbeau, C., Solso, S., Campbell, K., & Courchesne, E. (2015).  Different functional neural substrates for good and poor language outcome in autism.  Neuron, 86, 567-577. 

Lombardo, M. V., Lai, M. C., & Baron-Cohen, S. (2019). Big data approaches to decomposing heterogeneity across the autism spectrum. Molecular Psychiatry, 24, 1435-1450.

Lombardo, M. V., Moon, H. M., Su J., Palmer, T. D., Courchesne, E., & Pramparo, T. (2018). Maternal immune activation dysregulation of the fetal brain transcriptome and relevance to the pathophysiology of autism spectrum disorder. Molecular Psychiatry, 23, 1001-1013.

Lombardo, M. V., Auyeung, B., Pramparo, T., Quartier, A., Courraud, J., Holt, R. J., Waldman, J., Ruigrok, A. N. V., Mooney, N., Bethlehem, R. A. I., Lai, M. C., Kundu, P., Bullmore, E. T., Mandel, J. L., Piton, A., & Baron-Cohen, S. (in press). Sex-specific impact of prenatal androgens on intrinsic functional connectivity between social brain default mode subsystems. Molecular Psychiatry. doi:10.1038/s41380-018-0198-y.

Baron-Cohen, S., Auyeung, B., Nørgaard-Pedersen, B., Hougaard, D. M., Abdallah, M. W., Melgaard, L., Cohen, A. S., Chakrabarti, B., Ruta, L., & Lombardo, M. V. (2015).  Elevated fetal steroidogenic activity in autism. Molecular Psychiatry, 20, 369-376. 

Lombardo, M. V., Lai, M. C., Auyeung, B., Holt, R. J., Allison, C., Smith, P., Chakrabarti, B., Ruigrok, A. N. V., Suckling, J., Bullmore, E. T., MRC AIMS Consortium, Ecker, C., Craig M. C., Murphy, D. G. M., Happe, F., & Baron-Cohen, S. (2016). Unsupervised data-driven stratification of mentalizing heterogeneity in autism. Scientific Reports, 6, 35333.

Lai, M. C., Lombardo, M. V., Baron-Cohen, S. (2014).  Autism.  Lancet, 383, 896-910.

Lombardo, M. V., Chakrabarti, B., Bullmore, E. T., Sadek, S. A., Pasco, G., Wheelwright, S. J., Suckling, J., MRC AIMS Consortium, & Baron-Cohen, S. (2010).  Atypical neural self-representation in autism.  Brain, 133, 611-624.

Courchesne, E., Pramparo, T., Gazestani, V., Lombardo, M. V., Pierce, K., & Lewis. N. E. (2019). The ASD living biology: From cell proliferation to clinical phenotype. Molecular Psychiatry, 24, 88-107.

Lai, M. C., Lombardo, M. V., Auyeung, B., Chakrabarti, B., & Baron-Cohen, S. (2015).  Sex/gender differences and autism:  Setting the scene for future research. Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, 54, 11-24.

Lai, M. C., Lombardo, M. V., Chakrabarti, B., & Baron-Cohen, S. (2013). Subgrouping the autism spectrum:  Reflections on DSM-5. PLoS Biology, 11(4), e1001544.

Lombardo, M. V., Ashwin, E., Auyeung, B., Chakrabarti, B., Taylor, K., Hackett, G., Bullmore, E. T., & Baron-Cohen, S. (2012). Fetal testosterone influences sexually dimorphic gray matter in the human brain. Journal of Neuroscience, 32, 674-680.  

Lombardo, M. V., Ashwin, E., Auyeung, B., Chakrabarti, B., Lai, M. C., Taylor, K., Hackett, G., Bullmore, E. T., & Baron-Cohen, S. (2012). Fetal programming effects of testosterone on the reward system and behavioral approach tendencies in humans. Biological Psychiatry, 72, 839-847.

Lombardo, M. V., Courchesne, E., Lewis, N. E., & Pramparo, T (2017).  Hierarchical cortical transcriptome disorganization in autism. Molecular Autism, 8, 29.

Auyeung, B., Lombardo, M. V., Heinrichs, M., Chakrabarti, B., Sule, A., Rayment, D., Deakin, J., Dickens, L., Bethlehem R., Mooney, N., Sipple, J., Thiemann, P., & Baron-Cohen, S. (2015).  Oxytocin increases eye contact during a real-time, naturalistic social interaction in males with and without autism. Translational Psychiatry, 5, e507. 

Lai, M. C.*, Lombardo, M. V.*, Suckling, J., Ruigrok, A. N. V., Chakrabarti, B., Ecker, C., Deoni, S. C., Craig, M. C., Murphy, D. G. M., Bullmore, E. T., MRC AIMS Consortium, & Baron-Cohen, S. (2013). Biological sex affects the neurobiology of autism. Brain, 136, 2799-2815. * = Joint first authorship for equal contributions.

Bethlehem, R, A. I*, Lombardo, M. V.*, Lai, M. C., Auyeung, B., Crockford, S. K., Deakin, J., Soubramanian, S., Sule, A., Kundu, P., Voon, V., & Baron-Cohen, S.   (2017). Intranasal oxytocin enhances intrinsic corticostriatal functional connectivity in women. Translational Psychiatry, 7, e1099. * = Joint first authorship for equal contributions.



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