Clinical research


Laura Mifano


Giannina Rita Iannotti, PhD-PD


Centre de médecine virtuelle
Olivier Kannape

Clinical research


Clinical research includes studies carried out on human subjects (healthy volunteers and patients) in order to develop innovative strategies for the diagnosis and treatment of diseases and, therefore, improve patient care.

The success of clinical research requires the effective cooperation of the various stakeholders: doctors, researchers, research nurses, technicians.

The HUG NeuroCentre offers support for carrying out clinical studies in the Department of Clinical Neurosciences. In more detail, the Neuro-Clinical Trial Unit team (N-CTU: S.Morel, N.Isidor, A.Ray) can intervene on different aspects, depending on the characteristics of the studies.

  • Creation of employee flyers
  • Dissemination of studies on the HUG Research site to help researchers in recruitment
  • Creation of Case Report Form (CRF)
  • Setting up the study
  • Coordination
    • Recruitment of healthy volunteers
    • Programming of visits
    • Information to the patient and collection of consent
    • Nursing care (e.g. blood test, ECG, saliva sample, urine, etc.)
    • Sample management (contract with Sérothèque centrale - HUG)
    • Collection of data in databases

For internal HUG staff and/or researchers who carry out clinical studies within the HUG, other institution-specific tasks can be performed (e.g., DPI screening, REDCap Do It Yourself).
For more details, please consult the NeuroCentre Intranet site.

For information on the development of a research project requiring the use of external research platforms (e.g., BBL, Campus Biotech) and, in particular projects with brain neuroimaging (e.g., EEG, MRI, TMS), you can contact Giannina Rita Iannotti.

For virtual reality and augmented reality projects, please contact George Popescu and Oliver Kannapé.


Le Projet Gemini est un projet européen multidisciplinaire visant à créer des jumeaux numériques multi-échelles de personnes victimes d’un accident vasculaire cérébral ischémique et hémorragique, afin d'optimiser leur prise en charge.


SMELL-RS: a test-retest reliability study (SARS-CoV-2 patients included)

In the presence of a smell disorder, tests are carried out to measure olfactory function and make a diagnosis. However, the results of these tests can be improved, because they are influenced by the individual experience of smells and the genetic code of each person.

The Rhinology and Olfactology Unit seeks to determine the reliability of SMELL-RS, a new universal olfactory test.

RADIONOX: Radiosurgery induced ototoxicity in patients treated for a Vestibular Schwannoma

The Vestibulo-cochlear Schwannomas (VS) are benign tumors derived from Schwann cells, occurring in the vestibular and cochlear parts of the eighth cranial nerve. 
The use of ionizing radiation (gamma or X rays) is an effective treatment to control tumor evolution. However, ionizing radiation can have side effects such as hearing loss, due to the close proximity between the tumor and the inner ear, disequilibrium, taste loss and facial nerve dysfunction.

The aim of the Radionox study is to assess the side effects of ionizing radiation in the inner ear and to identify the profile of people at high risk for these side effects.

@neurIST: Integrated biomedical informatics for the management of brain aneurysms

Cerebral aneurysms are abnormalities in the blood vessels supplying our brain. Aneurysms are diagnosed by X-ray, CT scan, angiography or MRI. When a brain aneurysm ruptures, treatment of the aneurysm is essential for the patient to survive.

The @neurIST project aims to determine the causes and development of cerebral aneurysms in order to improve their treatment.

HIgh frequency Sampling to sTudy the physiological Effect of Probiotics on Peripheral markers of Alzheimer’s pathology: a proof-of-concept study (HISTEPPA)

The gut microbiota is defined as the community of microorganisms colonizing the human intestinal tract. It has been suggested that the gut microbiota could be involved in Alzheimer’s disease pathophysiology but no definite relationship has been demonstrated.Probiotics consumption (commensal bacteria of the intestinal
flora) has become common, especially in digestive disorders. Several clinical studies have shown that the use of certain probiotics can have positive effects on memory. 

The aim of our project is to precisely identify the effects linked to probiotics consumption on different biomarkers associated with Alzheimer's disease.

  • BASEC No. 2022-01052
  • Sponsor: HUG
  • Principal investigator: Prof Giovanni B. Frisoni, Senior Staff Physician, Head of the Memory Center
Reproducibility of intraretinal layer thickness and vascular measurements using optical coherence tomography (OCT) and optical coherence tomography-angiography (OCT-A): Swiss Ophthalmic Imaging Network (SOIN)

Swiss hospitals specializing in ophthalmology, ophthalmologists and general practitioners work together to improve patient care. The Swiss Ophthalmic Imaging Network (SOIN) aims to develop platforms for a better exchange of patient data between doctors and researchers to improve research on occular diseases.

The primary objective of our project is to determine the reproducibility of non-invasive retinal scans (called Optical Coherence Tomography (OCT) and Optical Coherence Tomography-Angiography (OCT-A)) to characterize the neuronal and vascular layers of the retina and regions around the optic nerve in healthy volunteers. Such technics would help to detect ocular neurodegenerative and vascular changes at an early stage in patients affected by diabetic retinopathy
and glaucoma.

Protocol for the management of dry syndrome: prospective diagnostic approaches

Xerostomia, also called dry syndrome, is a common problem in the population.
Xerostomia, which is a subjective complaint of the patient, is assessed by a questionnaire. Hyposalivation, which is the objective measure of xerostomia, is assessed using a quantitative measurement of saliva called sialometry.
Saliva plays many functions including digestion but also oral cavity protection. Healthy subjects produce 500 to 1500 mL of saliva per day and this production varies during the day. The quantity and the quality of the saliva can be altered by many environmental factors such as drugs, hormonal factors but also by pathologies affecting the salivary glands.

Our research aims to standardize methods of diagnosis and post-therapeutic follow-up of patients with oral dryness and/or salivary disorders. We first assess the "normal" production of saliva in healthy subjects during the day.

HYPNO-VR: Use of virtual reality to improve perioperative care and in particular the immediate preoperative stress of patients in neurosurgery

Nearly half of hospitalized patients suffer from pain. There is considerable evidence that non-pharmacological adjunct techniques, such as cognitive behavioral therapy and relaxation techniques, can reduce pain perception.

Virtual reality is an exciting new technology that offers multiple possibilities for use in the hospital. It allows a complete immersion in a distant virtual place and a total escape, without physical displacement. Its positive effects have been studied since the 90s in pain and anxiety management, neuro-rehabilitation and psychotherapy.

In our study, we want to use virtual reality during the period of sedation induced by anesthesiologists in the preoperative period to measure the beneficial effect on stress, and on the intraoperative and postoperative parameters that follow. By improving the patient's environment at the time of sedation we hope to decrease the effect of the impact of stress and pain on surgery and its complications.

•    BASEC No. 2020-00962
•    Sponsor: HUG
•    Principal investigator: Prof. Karl Schaller, Head of Division, and Dre Insa Janssen, Senior Resident, Division of Neurosurgery

Investigation of inappropriate secretion or insufficient secretion of oxytocin after pituitary surgery and its possible behavioural, electrolyte and metabolic effects

Oxytocin, in addition to its effect on women during childbirth and breastfeeding, seems to have less known effects including effects on behavior (including confidence), hydro-electrolyte balance (salt), and metabolism (fats).

In this study, we wish to test the hypothesis of a release of oxytocin after pituitary surgery and, if it occurs, try to evaluate the effects of this release on confidence, salt balance and fat metabolism.

•    BASEC No. 2021-01193
•    Sponsor: HUG
•    Principal investigator: Pr Shahan Momjian, Senior Staff Physician, Division of Neurosurgery, and Pre Sophie de Seigneux, Head of Division, Division of Nephrology and Hypertension

MRI with DTI and neurophysiology with motor evoked potentials and somatosensory in patients with cervical spondylotic myelopathy: how to identify the best responders to surgical treatment

Degenerative disorders of the cervical spine are common causes of myelopathy, especially in patients over 40 years of age.

The purpose of this study is to monitor regularly and with standardized means all patients operated on for cervical myelopathy in the Neurosurgery Department of HUG in order to better understand, diagnose and treat the disease, and to identify patients respond best to surgical treatment.

•    BASEC No. 2018-00122
•    Sponsor: HUG
•    Principal investigator: Prof. Enrico Tessitore, Senior Staff Physician, Division of Neurosurgery

EUROSPIN: The EUropean RObotic SPinal Instrumentation Trial

EUROSPIN is an observational study taking place in several European hospitals in Austria, Germany, France, the Netherlands and Switzerland.

The purpose of this study is to compare, in patients requiring fixation of the spine with pedicle screws, three different techniques to assist with screw insertion: 1) traditional surgery to fix pedicle screws using x-ray control, 2) navigated surgery using a camera and a frame of reference attached to the patient, and 3) robot-assisted surgery.

•    BASEC No. 2019-00901
•    Sponsor: Bergman Clinics, Amsterdam, The Netherlands.
•    Principal investigator: Pr Enrico Tessitore, Senior staff physician, et Dr Granit Molliqaj, Senior resident, Division of Neurosurgery


Last update : 03/04/2023

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