Alessandra Retico 1 , Silvia Arezzini 2 , Paolo Bosco 2 , Sara Calderoni 3 , Alberto Ciampa 2 , Simone Coscetti 2 , Stefano Cuomo 4 , Luca De Santis 5 , Dario Fabiani 2 , Maria Evelina Fantacci 6 , Alessia Giuliano 2 , Enrico Mazzoni 2 , Pietro Mercatali 4 , Giovanni Miscali 5 , Massimiliano Pardini 5 , Margherita Prosperi 7 , Francesco Romano 4 , Elena Tamburini 8 , Michela Tosetti 7 , Filippo Muratori 3
May 17 2017
The complexity and heterogeneity of Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) require the implementation of dedicated analysis techniques to obtain the maximum from the interrelationship among many variables that describe affected individuals, spanning from clinical phenotypic characterization and genetic profile to structural and functional brain images. The ARIANNA project has developed a collaborative interdisciplinary research environment that is easily accessible to the community of researchers working on ASD (https://arianna.pi.infn.it). The main goals of the project are: to analyze neuroimaging data acquired in multiple sites with multivariate approaches based on machine learning; to detect structural and functional brain characteristics that allow the distinguishing of individuals with ASD from control subjects; to identify neuroimaging-based criteria to stratify the population with ASD to support the future development of personalized treatments. Secure data handling and storage are guaranteed within the project, as well as the access to fast grid/cloud-based computational resources. This paper outlines the web-based architecture, the computing infrastructure and the collaborative analysis workflows at the basis of the ARIANNA interdisciplinary working environment. It also demonstrates the full functionality of the research platform. The availability of this innovative working environment for analyzing clinical and neuroimaging information of individuals with ASD is expected to support researchers in disentangling complex data thus facilitating their interpretation.