The University of Southampton
Biological Sciences
(023) 8120 5358

Dr Diego Gomez-Nicola DPhil, MSc, BSc

Principal Research Fellow in Neuroscience, Principal Investigator in Neuroimmunology

Dr Diego Gomez-Nicola's photo
Related links
Gomez-Nicola's Lab: Twitter

Dr Diego Gomez-Nicola is Principal Research Fellow within Biological Sciences at the University of Southampton. As a neuroscientist, Dr Gomez-Nicola is interested in unveiling the roles of glial cells in the healthy and diseased brain, as a way to understand the fascinating complexity of our brain.

Understanding how our brain works and reacts to disease is the most exciting and challenging task of biomedical science

Career History

2017-present: Principal Research Fellow. University of Southampton, UK.
2016-2017: Lecturer in Neuroscience. Principal investigator in Neuroimmunology, University of Southampton, UK.
2013-2016: MRC NIRG Fellow. University of Southampton, UK.
2011-2013: Marie Curie Fellow (IEF FP7, European Union). CNS Inflammation Group, Biological Sciences, University of Southampton, UK.
2010-2011: Postdoctoral Fellow of the Spanish Ministry of Education. CNS Inflammation Group, Biological Sciences, University of Southampton, UK.
2008-2010: Postdoctoral Researcher. Neural Plasticity Group, National Hospital of Paraplegics, Toledo, Spain.
2003-2008: PhD student. Neural Plasticity Group, Cajal Institute (CSIC), Madrid, Spain.

Academic qualifications

2008: PhD in Molecular biology (Neurosciences). Autonoma University of Madrid, Spain.
2005: MSci in Molecular biology (Neurosciences). Autonoma University of Madrid, Spain. 
2003: BSci in Biological Sciences (Neurobiology). Complutense University of Madrid, Spain.






Research interests

My research is focused in the understanding of the multicellular response of the CNS to injury or neurodegeneration, aiming at providing an integrative and detailed study of the functions and cross-regulation of the different cell components during neuropathology.
In the past I studied the role of proinflammatory cytokines in the regulation of the activation state of glial cells, in the context of brain inflammation, spinal cord injury, neuropathic pain or multiple sclerosis.
The goal of my current research is to study the regulation of microglial proliferation during chronic neurodegenerative diseases such as prion or Alzheimer's. The expansion of the microglial population is a hallmark of neurodegeneration and contributes to the development of the pathology. A detailed understanding of the molecules and mechanisms orchestrating microglial proliferation could open a window to elaborate therapeutic approaches to control the neuroinflammatory component of the disease.
Also, I am interested in the study of the dynamics and regulation of adult neurogenesis during neurodegeneration. Understanding of the basic mechanisms regulating the generation of new functional neurons could provide useful ways to improve functional recovery during chronic neurodegenerative diseases.

We thank the following funders for supporting our current projects:
Medical Research Council (MRC)
Alzheimer’s Research UK
Wessex Medical Research

Phd Supervision

Ahmed Salman (Faculty of Medicine)
Project Title: A study of the first transgenic model of infantile nystagmus (knockout-first, reporter driven Frmd7tm1a(KOMP)Wtsi mouse)
Funding Provider: Wessex Medical Research & Fight for Sight

Katharine Askew (Biological Sciences)
Project Title: Understanding microglial dynamics in the healthy and diseased brain
Funding Provider: Vice-chancellor studentship

Natascha Vana (Biological Sciences)
Project Title: Modulation of Alzheimer’s disease protein networks: Minimising neuronal toxicity while preserving synaptic plasticity
Funding Provider: Gerald Kerkut Trust

Grants Awarded

MRC New Investigator Grant
ARUK Pilot Grant
Wessex Medical Research Innovation Grant
Dementia Consortium Grant

Gomez-Nicola Lab

Microglial cells (green) increase in number in the brain with chronic neurodegnerative diseases.
Overbooking in the Dentate Gyrus
Multicolour RGB marking of newborn neurons in the adult hippocampus
Retroviral tracing-newborn neurons

Research group(s)

Biomedical Sciences

Affiliate research group(s)

Southampton Neuroscience Group (SoNG)

Research project(s)

Control of adult neurogenesis during chronic neurodegeneration

Neurogenesis is increased during acute and chronic neurodegeneration, with the potential to replace damaged neurons at the sites of neuronal loss.

Inflammation in chronic neurodegeneration and the contribution of systemic inflammation

We are investigating the microglia activation in a model of prion disease, mouse scrapie.

Modulation of Alzheimer's disease protein networks: Minimising neuronal toxicity while preserving synaptic plasticity

Regulation of microglial proliferation during chronic neurodegeneration

An important aspect of chronic neurodegenerative diseases, such as Alzheimer's, Parkinson's, Huntington's and prion disease, is the generation of an innate inflammatory response within the central nervous system (CNS).

Understanding oligodendrocyte progenitor dynamics and myelin loss in Alzheimer’s Disease

Oligodendrocyte progenitor cells (OPCs) may be altered in Alzheimer’s disease.

Understanding microglial dynamics in the healthy and ageing brain

Microglial cells are the resident immune cells of the brain and play crucial roles in the regulation of normal and pathological neural functions. This PhD project aims at studying the balance of the numbers of microglial cells from development to ageing, to better understand the roles of these cells in the brain, through a multidisciplinary approach using in vivo models, genetic molecular tools and behavioural analysis of brain function.


Book Section(s)

  • Neurodegenerative diseases - Gomez-Nicola, Diego and Perry, V. Hugh. In Microglia in Health and Disease - Tremblay, Marie-Eve and Sierra, Amanda (eds.)
    Published by:
    New York, US
    Page Range:



BIOL2016 Pharmacology A
BIOL6067 Advanced Neuroscience
BIOL3048 Neurodegenerative diseases


BIOL2014 Neuroscience


BIOL3034 In-depth research project

University of Southampton

SGH Lab Representative at Research Strategy Group, Biological Sciences
SGH Lab Representative at Core Equipment and Service Contracts Group, Biological Sciences

Professional Contributions

Administrator of the South Coast Alzheimer’s Research UK Network (from 2016)
Reviewer for the Spanish National Agency for Evaluation of Projects (ANEP), the European Union, MS Society, Alzheimer’s Society and MRC
Charter member of the Spanish Young Neuroscientists Club (CJN) of the SENC. 2009
Spanish Glial Network: Member of the Board since 2011
STEM Ambassador
Member of the Editorial Board of Scientific Reports

Dr Diego Gomez-Nicola
Biological Sciences University of Southampton
Mail Point 840 LD80C
South Lab & Path Block
Southampton General Hospital
Tremona Road
Tel: +44(0)238120 5358

Room Number:SGH/LD80C/MP840

Telephone:(023) 8120 5358

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