De Paola Vincenzo

Visiting Professor


Contact: 65166382

I received a Ph.D. in molecular and cellular neurobiology from the University of Basel, Switzerland, for work in the laboratory of Dr. Pico Caroni at the Friedrich Miescher Institut for Biomedical Research, part of the Novartis foundation. I was then awarded an EMBO post-doctoral fellowship to train in the HHMI laboratory of Dr. Karel Svoboda at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, New York, USA. Since 2008, I am honorary Group Leader at the MRC London Institute of Medical Sciences and a permanent member of the Faculty of Medicine of Imperial College London. In 2021, I joined the Neuroscience and Behavioural Disorders Programme at Duke-NUS, Singapore.


The goal of my scientific research is to understand the regulation of neural network connectivity and function in the neocortex, a brain region affected in numerous developmental and degenerative diseases as well as acute injuries, which are incurable to date. My ultimate aim is to use this knowledge to help enhance the brain regenerative potential. To study human cortical circuit wiring and dysfunction, we use a multidisciplinary approach at the interface between neuroscience (e.g. neuroanatomy, electrophysiology, tissue culture), genetics (genomics, snRNAseq), human stem cell and tissue biology (cell culture, xenotransplantation) and high-resolution optical imaging (multiphoton microscopy).

There are three interrelated research themes in the laboratory:

1) Mechanisms of human axon and synaptic dysfunction in the early stages of neurodegenerative conditions

2) Principles of human cortical circuit assembly in vivo

3) Regeneration of human cortical axons and synapses

For more information please visit:


  1. In vivo imaging of injured cortical axons reveals a rapid onset form of Wallerian degeneration. Canty, A.J.*, Jackson, J.S.*, Huang, L., Trabalza, A, Little, G.,Tortora, M., Khan, S., De Paola, V BMC Biology 2020
  2. In vivo modeling of human neuron dynamics and Down syndrome. Real, R.*, Peter, M.*, Trabalza, A.*, Khan, S., Smith, M. A., Dopp, J., Barnes, S. J., Momoh, A., Strano, A., Volpi, E., Knott, G., Livesey, F. J.†, De Paola, V.† Science 2018
  3. Clinically relevant haloperidol exposure has no effect on microglial morphology and [3H]PBR28 binding. Bloomfield P S, Bonsall D, Wells L, Doorman D, Howes* O D, De Paola* V J. Psychopharmacology 2018. *Co-Senior authors
  4. Microglial activity in people at ultra-high risk of psychosis and in schizophrenia; an [11C]PBR28 PET brain imaging study. Bloomfield P, Sudhakar S, Veronese V, Rizzo G, Bertoldo A, Owen D, Bloomfield M, Bonoldi I, Kalk N, Turkheimer F, McGuire P, De Paola V§, Howes O§ American Journal of Psychiatry 2016. §Co-Senior authors
  5. Synaptic elimination and protection after minimal injury depend on cell type and their pre-lesion structural dynamics in the adult cerebral cortex. Canty, A.J., Teles-Grilo Ruivo, L., Nesarajah, C., Jackson, J.S., Little, G., Song, S., De Paola, V J Neurosci. 2013
  6. Increased axonal bouton dynamics in the ageing mouse cortex. Grillo, F, Song, S^, Teles-Grilo Ruivo, LM, Huang, L, Ge, G, Knott, G, Ferretti, V, Thompson, D, Little, G, De Paola, V PNAS 2013
  7. In-vivo single neuron axotomy triggers axon regeneration to restore synaptic density in specific cortical circuits. Canty, A.J., Huang, L., Jackson, J.S., Little, G., Knott, G., Maco, B., De Paola, V Nature Comm. 2013
  8. Long-term high resolution imaging in the mouse neocortex through a chronic cranial window. Holtmaat* A, Bonhoeffer T, Chow D, Chuckowree J, De Paola* V, Hofer S, Hübener* M, Keck T, Knott* G, Lee W, Mostany R, Mrsic-Flogel T, Nedivi* E, Portera-Cailliau* C, Svoboda K, Trachtenberg* J, Wilbrecht L. Nature Protocols 2009. Except first author, leading/corresponding authors* are listed in alphabetical order
  9. Cell type-specific structural plasticity of axonal branches and boutons in the adult neocortex. De Paola, V., Holtmaat, A., Knott, G., Song, S., Wilbrecht, L., Caroni, P., and Svoboda, K. Neuron 2006
  10. AMPA receptors regulate dynamic equilibrium of presynaptic terminals in mature hippocampal networks. De Paola, V., Arber, S., and Caroni, P. Nature Neurosci. 2003

Full list here