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Personal profile

Personal profile

Dr. Villapol graduated from the University of Santiago of Compostela, Spain in 2003 with a bachelor’s degree in Molecular Biology and Biotechnology. She received her Master´s degree and Ph.D. in Neuroscience from the Autonomous University of Barcelona, Spain in 2007. She worked as a postdoctoral fellow at CNRS in the University Pierre and Marie Curie VI and at INSERM in Paris, France (2007-2010); and at National Institute of Health (NIH) and Center for Neuroscience and Regenerative Medicine at Uniformed Services University (USUHS) in Bethesda, MD (2010-2014). Following her postdoctoral research work, Dr. Villapol joined the Department of Neuroscience at Georgetown University (Washington, D.C.) as a Research Assistant Professor in May 2014. In July 2018, she started as an Assistant Professor to the Center for Neuroregeneration at Houston Methodist Research Institute. Dr. Villapol has received extramural research funding as Principal Investigator from NIH, and she serves as an Associate Editor for Cellular and Molecular Neurobiology (Springer Journal), and Review Editor for Frontiers in Neurotrauma. She has published over 40 articles in peer reviewer journals and book chapters. 

Research interests

Dr. Villapol´s research interests have been mainly focused on elucidating the mechanisms of neurodegeneration, neuroinflammation or neurogenesis via several models of brain injury (traumatic brain injury or cerebral ischemia), and how inflammatory mediators connect the brain with the periphery.

Villapol lab focus is the pursuit of novel neurorestorative treatments for debilitating brain injuries to open the door to alternative therapies that repair and recovery in the damaged brain through the periphery.


Research Interests:

  • Cerebral ischemia and traumatic brain injury
  • Neuroinflammation and neurodegeneration
  • Sex and gender differences in response to brain damage
  • Brain-Liver axis ~ Brain-gut-microbiome axis ~ Brain-Periphery axis
  • Glia activation
  • Neuroprotection and Neurorestoration


Research Methods:

  • Animal models of brain injury
  • Immunohistochemistry and microscopy analysis
  • Protein analysis
  • DNA and RNA purification
  • Sequence analysis


Education/Academic qualification

Neuroscience, PhD, Autonomous University of Barcelona

Award Date: Oct 19 2007

External positions

Faculty Academic Visitor, Rice University

Jun 15 2020Jun 14 2021

Affiliated Faculty Member, Texas A&M College of Medicine Health Science Center

Feb 17 2020Feb 16 2022

Faculty Academic Visitor, Baylor College of Medicine

Jun 1 2019 → …

Assistant Professor, Georgetown University

May 1 2014Jun 30 2018

Research Area Keywords

  • Neurosciences
  • Regenerative Medicine
  • Immunobiology & Inflammation
  • Clinical Translation & Trials

Free-text keywords

  • Apoptosis
  • Inflammation
  • Microglia
  • Immune activation
  • Traumatic brain injury (TBI)
  • Cerebral blood flow (CBF)
  • Stroke
  • Ischemia
  • Microbiome


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