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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, Baylor College of Medicine One Baylor Plaza

Jun 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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Research Output

Gastrointestinal symptoms associated with COVID-19: impact on the gut microbiome

Villapol, S., Aug 20 2020, In : Translational Research.

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

  • Gastrointestinal symptoms associated with COVID-19: impact on the gut microbiome

    Villapol, S., 2020, (Accepted/In press) In : Translational Research. 226, p. 57-69 13 p.

    Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

    Open Access
  • Hidden genomic diversity of SARS-CoV-2: implications for qRT-PCR diagnostics and transmission

    Sapoval, N., Mahmoud, M., Jochum, M. D., Liu, Y., Leo Elworth, R. A., Wang, Q., Albin, D., Ogilvie, H., Lee, M. D., Villapol, S., Hernandez, K. M., Berry, I. M., Foox, J., Beheshti, A., Ternus, K., Aagaard, K. M., Posada, D., Mason, C. E., Sedlazeck, F. & Treangen, T. J., Jul 2 2020, In : bioRxiv.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  • Early sex differences in the immune-inflammatory responses to neonatal ischemic stroke

    Villapol, S., Faivre, V., Joshi, P., Moretti, R., Besson, V. C. & Charriaut-Marlangue, C., Aug 1 2019, In : International journal of molecular sciences. 20, 15, 3809.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  • 2 Scopus citations

    Polypathology and Dementia After Brain Trauma: Does Brain Injury Trigger Distinct Neurodegenerative Diseases, or Should They Be Classified Together as Traumatic Encephalopathy?,

    Washington, P. M., Villapol, S. & Burns, M. P., Feb 13 2019, Concussion and Traumatic Encephalopathy . Cambridge University Press, p. 573-581

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter