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Personal profile

Personal profile

Dr. Sonia Villapol graduated from the University of Santiago of Compostela, Spain (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 (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 the 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 at the Center for Neuroregeneration at Houston Methodist Research Institute. Dr. Villapol has received extramural research funding as Principal Investigator from NIH. She has published over 70 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 neurodegeneration as Alzheimer's disease. We are investigating the brain-gut axis or drug delivery using nanoparticles for neurorestoration in a gender-dependent manner. 

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


Research Interests:

  • Cerebral ischemia and traumatic brain injury
  • Neurodegeneration and Alzheimer's disease
  • Neuroinflammation and neurodegeneration
  • Sex and gender differences in response to brain damage
  • 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
  • Drug delivery
  • Neuroimaging


Education/Academic qualification

Neuroscience, PhD, Autonomous University of Barcelona

Award Date: Oct 19 2007

Neuroscience, MS, Autonomous University of Barcelona

Award Date: Feb 1 2004

Molecular & Cellular Biology, BS, University of Santiago de Compostela

Award Date: Jan 3 2003

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
  • Digestive Disorders

Free-text keywords

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


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