Diego Gomez-Nicola

Principal Investigator, Associate Professor in Neuroscience

Diego Gomez-Nicola is an Associate Professor in Neuroscience at Biological Sciences of the University of Southampton. He graduated from the Complutense University (Madrid, Spain) in Biological Sciences (Neuroscience) in 2003 and completed his PhD at the Cajal Institute (Madrid, Spain) in 2008, studying the roles of microglial IL-15 in brain pathology under the supervision of Prof. Nieto-Sampedro. After a first postdoctoral stage at the National Hospital of Paraplegics (Toledo, Spain), he moved to the University of Southampton (UK) to complete his postdoctoral training under the supervision of Prof. Perry thanks to a Marie Curie fellowship (EU). His started his independent lab in 2013 thanks to the award of a New Investigator Grant of the MRC. Diego is also Chair of the Biological Sciences Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Committee, and Lead of the Neuroscience Theme at Biological Sciences. He is also the Coordinator of the Alzheimer’s Research UK South Coast Network.










Emilie Simon

Postdoctoral fellow 

Emilie Simon is Postdoctoral Fellow in Neuroimmunology at the Centre for Biological Sciences of the University of Southampton and her research interests focus on the ageing cell mechanisms in physiological and pathological conditions. She graduated from Descartes University (Paris, France) in Cellular Biology, Physiology and Pathology in 2007 she is specialized in biology of ageing and associated pathologies. She completed her PhD at the University of Burgundy (Dijon, France) in 2012, studying implication of nutritional and environmental factors in ageing of the retina and in age-related retinopathies under the supervision of Professor Catherine Creuzot-Garcher and Doctor Lionel Bretillon. In 2013, she performed one postdoctoral stage at the Pasteur Institute (Lille, France) as Clinical Project Manager for ALGOVUE study targeting prevention of age-related macular degeneration by polyunsaturated fatty acids consumption. She moved to the University of Southampton (Southampton, United Kingdom) to complete her postdoctoral experience by investigating the role of CSF1R and its ligands (CSF1 and IL-34) on the control of the activation and the proliferation of microglial cells in a pathological context under the supervision of Dr Diego Gomez-Nicola.










Juliane Obst

Postdoctoral fellow 

Juliane Obst is Postdoctoral Fellow in Neuroimmunology at the Centre for Biological Sciences of the University of Southampton. She graduated at the University of Leipzig (Germany) in Biological Sciences in 2009 and continued with her PhD training in Medical Neurosciences at the Charite – Universitaetsmedizin Berlin (Germany) under the supervision of Prof. Frank L. Heppner. In 2015, she joined Diego Gomez-Nicola’s lab, focusing on microglia function in neurodegenerative diseases.









David A. Menassa

Postdoctoral fellow 

David obtained his B.Sc. in biological and earth sciences at the Université Saint Joseph in Beirut in 2006. Following a brief spell at the École Normale Supérieure in Paris, he completed his M.Sc. in applied physiology at the University of Oxford followed by an M.Phil. in bioenergetics at the University of Cambridge. In 2009, he was awarded a Clarendon scholarship to pursue his D.Phil. (Ph.D.) studies in clinical neurology at the University of Oxford. Since 2014, he has held two postdoctoral appointments at Bristol and Oxford and investigated the role of maternal factors, which can alter synaptic wiring in the offspring and increase the incidence of neurodevelopmental disorders such as autism spectrum disorders, mental retardation and schizophrenia. More importantly, whether these maternal factors could be blocked would be pivotal for potentially rescuing the clinical phenotype. David joins the Gomez-Nicola laboratory to investigate microglial dynamics during development in the rodent and human brain funded by a Leverhulme Trust research grant.










Gemma Fryatt

Research technician

Gemma Fryatt is a Research Technician in Neuroscience for the DGN lab. She completed a BSc at Portsmouth University in Forensic Biology in 2008. This was followed by a few years working in industry and 18 months travelling through Asia. On returning to the UK Gemma completed an MSc with Kings College London in Neuroscience with Neurodegeneration, after which she obtained her role with the University of Southampton.


Katharine Askew

PhD Student

Katie Askew is a PhD student in Neuroimmunology at the University of Southampton. She graduated with First Class Honours in the Integrated Master of Biomedical Sciences program at University of Southampton in 2015, winning the Southampton Neuroscience Group (SoNG) VHP Prize for Outstanding Performance in a Master Research Project. During this time she completed two summer placements with the DGN lab, studying the basal rate of microglial proliferation in the healthy brain. Her PhD project continues this work, focusing on the mechanisms regulating the dynamics of the microglial population in the healthy brain and ageing. Outside the lab, Katie entertains an amateur interest in coral reef ecology and shark biology, and talks about her rabbit Lola to anyone and everyone who will listen.


Monica Guerrero-Carrasco

PhD Student

Monica is a PhD student in Neuroimmunology at Southampton University. She completed her undergraduate degree in Biology at Universidad Autonoma de Madrid, Spain in 2016. In 2017 she completed her MSc degree in Clinical Neuroscience with distinction at Roehampton University, London. Now she has join DGN lab to study the role of early-life inflammation on the incidence of Alzheimer’s disease.


Liam Barry-Carroll

PhD Student

Liam did his undergraduate in physiology at Trinity College Dublin where he carried out a final year research project supervised by Professor Marina Lynch. The project investigated the responsiveness of monocyte-derived macrophages between two groups of elderly individuals, a control group and a group presenting with a mild memory deficit, to the NLRP3 activating stimuli LPS and AB. He was awarded with the best project prize in his class for my thesis based on this project. The aim of his PhD project is to investigate the use of fluorescent labels to track microglia in developing and ageing mice, in order to get a better understanding of microglial cell dynamics. In my spare time, I enjoy reading and running.


Tim Muntslag

PhD Student

Tim is a PhD-candidate in Clinical and Experimental Sciences, funded by the Institute for Life Sciences (IfLS) and the Medical Research Council (MRC). Prior to joining the lab of Dr. Diego-Gomez Nicola, he has received extensive training in neurodegeneration, neuroimmunology and mitochondrial function, with a particular interest in microglial function. In his project in Southampton he will continue to work on microglia, aiming to elucidate previously unknown microglial phenotypes in development and ageing.


Current students:

Liana Barkwill, M.Res. student

Irina Vasiliescu, M.Res. student

Amy Stevens, M.Neuro. student

Miles Cottier, M.Neuro. student

Former lab members:

Adrian Olmos-Alonso, M.Sci., Research fellow (University of Edinburgh)

Madeleine Cleal, B.Sci., PhD Student (University of Portsmouth)

Richard Reynolds, B. Sci., Cellular Pathology Service (NHS)

Claire Butler, M.Sci., PhD Student (University of Cambridge)

Rosie Marshall, M.Res., PhD Student (UCL)

Lucy Kimbley, M.Res.

Jennifer Dewing, Ph. D., Postdoctoral Fellow (Faculty of Medicine, University of Southampton)