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The University of Southampton
Biological Sciences

Dr Diego Gomez-Nicola PhD, MSc, BSc

Associate Professor, Principal Investigator in Neuroimmunology

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Dr Diego Gomez-Nicola is Associate Professor 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

2018-present: Associate Professor. University of Southampton, UK.
2019: Head of Neuroimmunology. Eli Lilly & Company, UK
2017-2018: 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
Leverhulme Trust
Institute for Life Sciences
Gerald Kerkut Trust

Phd Supervision

Liam Barry-Carroll (Biological Sciences)
Project title: Understanding microglial dynamics in the healthy and ageing brain.
Funding provider: The Leverhulme Trust

Monica Guerrero-Carrasco (Biological Sciences)
Project title: Understanding the role of early-life inflammation on the incidence of Alzheimer’s disease
Funding provider: The Gerald Kerkut Trust & Biological Sciences

Tim Muntslag (IfLS)
Project title: Unravelling the clonal nature of microglial diversity in the brain
Funding provider: MRC & IfLS

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

Biomedical Sciences

Affiliate research groups

Neuroscience, Southampton Neuroscience Group (SoNG)

Research project(s)

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 the role of early-life inflammation on the incidence of Alzheimer’s disease

This project aims to investigate the impact of early-life systemic inflammation on the onset and progression of Alzheimer’s disease.

Module Coordinator

BIOL6079 Glial Development and biology


BIOL2016 Pharmacology A
BIOL6079 Glial Development and biology
BIOL3048 Neurodegenerative diseases


BIOL3034 Laboratory research project
BIOL6013 Advanced research project

Reviewer for the Spanish National Agency for Evaluation of Projects (ANEP), the European Union, MS Society, ARUK, Alzheimer’s Society, MRC, BBSRC, Wellcome Trust

STEM Ambassador

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

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