The Department of Neuroscience has a priority interest in finding effective solutions to neuroscience-related challenges affecting the global community. These challenges include debilitating neurodegenerative disorders, Alzheimer's disease, and Parkinson's disease, among others.

Therapeutic objective

The aim of the research projects is to promote healthy ageing and improve cognitive function in affected individuals by minimising the effects of brain diseases and promoting repair mechanisms. To this end, we focus on bioactive dietary agents of natural origin and design novel therapeutic strategies to specifically target neuropathogenic processes. As chronic persistence of neuroinflammation is now considered a critical driving force of neurodegeneration, we continue to seek means to therapeutically target disorders that link important areas of neuroscience with immunology (neuroimmunology).

Research approach

Since bioactive nutrients play a crucial role in controlling brain physiology, we analyse nutraceutical agents and investigate the mechanisms of ageing based on biomarkers discovered in previous projects, as well as new biomarkers with therapeutic potential. To explore nervous system function and dysfunction, we use disease models that mimic how neuronal cells act, communicate, and respond, as closely as possible.


In this way, we employ multiple approaches to investigate neuronal function ranging from the single cell level to the whole organism. Our experimental approaches include the use of cortical, hippocampal, and glial cell cultures, brain slices, and in vivo models of neurodegeneration. To this end, we use an integrated approach to study the influence of neuroinflammation on behaviour, brain physiology, and pharmacology.


To preserve learning and memory, and other cognitive functions that may be compromised due to neurodegenerative diseases, some of our research objectives include:

  1. Investigating whether dietary interventions improve ameliorate pathogenic processes such as beta-amyloid production, inflammatory processes, aberrant neuronal structure and function, and synaptotoxicity in brain disorders.
  2. Determining the effects of nutraceutical compounds on activation states, and the relationship between microgliosis and reactive astrocytosis that may contribute to temporal changes in glial cell populations during neuroinflammation and thus to therapeutic outcomes.
  3. Dissecting the mechanisms and associated epigenetic changes that may lead to altered expression of neural proteins and dysregulated signalling pathways in Alzheimer's disease, Parkinson's disease, and oncogenic processes.

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