Imperial College London

Professor Irene Miguel-Aliaga

Faculty of MedicineInstitute of Clinical Sciences

Professor of Genetics and Physiology



+44 (0)20 3383 3907i.miguel-aliaga Website




232ICTEM buildingHammersmith Campus




Research links

Ongoing projects

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Functions of enteric neurons

Our ongoing characterisation of the different neuronal types innervating the intestine has already revealed their key roles in regulating food intake, fluid balance, renal function and mating-triggered intestinal adaptations (Cognigni et al (2011) Cell Metab, Talsma et al (2012) Proc Natl Acad USA).

Neuron/trachea interactions

We have found that the nutrient-driven remodelling of enteric trachea (tubes that, like our vascular system, deliver oxygen to intestinal cells) drives metabolic adaptations to malnutrition that enhance survival (Linneweber et al (2015) Cell). We now wonder how changes in the branching of enteric trachea are sensed and decoded by the intestine to drive these metabolic adaptations.

The plasticity of the intestinal epithelium

We have found that the intestinal epithelium of females is resized and metabolically reprogrammed during reproduction. Intestinal remodelling is mediated by juvenile hormone released after mating, and is required to sustain reproduction – or, as Alex Shingleton put it, females have the guts for reproduction! (Reiff et al (2015) eLife, Shingleton (2015) Curr Biol).

Sex differences in the intestine

Our recent RNAseq analysis has uncovered the existence of significant sex differences in transcription and splicing between male and female guts. We are characterising these differences as well as their physiological significance.

Guest lectures

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Conference speaker

06/2016.                 10th FENS Forum of Neuroscience, Copenhagen, Denmark.

05/2016.                 Shaping Life, Marseille, France.

05/2016.                 EMBO Workshop “Neural control of metabolism and eating behaviour”, Cascais, Portugal.

04/2016.                 Fondation des Treilles meeting “Integrative physiology: at the cross roads of nutrition, growth, metabolism and microbiota", France.

10/2015.                  24th European Drosophila Research Conference, Heidelberg, Germany. Workshop organizer and Chair.

06/2015.                 Society for Developmental Biology 74th Annual Meeting. Snowbird, Utah, USA.

04/2015.                 Enteric Nervous System 2015, Rotterdam, the Netherlands.

04/2015.                 British Societies of Developmental Biology and Cell Biology Meeting, Warwick, UK.

09/2014.                 5th ASM Conference on Beneficial Microbes, Washington, USA.

06/2014.                 Gordon Research Conference on Molecular and Cellular Neurobiology, Hong Kong, China (declined because of conflicting dates).

06/2014.                 19th EMBO Conference Development of Drosophila, Crete, Greece.

04/2014.                 “Visions in Cell Biology” Symposium, Max Planck Institute, Dresden, Germany.

10/2013.                  23rd European Drosophila Research Conference, Barcelona, Spain. Workshop organizer and Chair.

06/2012.                 18th EMBO Conference “Development of Drosophila”, Crete, Greece.  I was also invited to write the meeting report.

01/2012.                  Temasek Life Sciences Laboratory Annual Symposium, Singapore (declined because of maternity leave).

10/2011.                  25th Annual French Drosophila Conference, Lyon, France.

09/2011.                  22nd European Drosophila Research Conference, Lisbon, Portugal. Workshop organizer and Chair.

09/2011.                  1st Junior European Drosophila Investigator Meeting, Leysin, Switzerland.

06/2010.                 17th EMBO Conference “Development of Drosophila”, Crete, Greece.  Talk highlighted in an EMBO reports article: EMBO reports 11, 724 - 726.

03/2009.                 21st Cambridge Neuroscience Meeting “New Approaches in Neuroscience”, UK.

02/2009.                 2nd International Symposium Development of the enteric nervous system, London, UK. Young Investigator talk.


02/2016.                 Max Planck Institute of Neurobiology, Martinsried, Germany.

01/2016.                  Manchester University, UK.

12/2015.                  Oxford University, UK.

11/2015.                   Université Nice Sophia Antipolis, France.

02/2015.                  Umea University, Sweden.

10/2014.                  Skirball Institute, New York, USA.

02/2014.                 École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne, Switzerland. 

01/2014.                  Randall Division of Cell & Molecular Biophysics, King’s College London, UK.

12/2013.                  Institut Curie, Paris, France. 

11/2013.                   MRC Laboratory for Molecular Cell Biology, UCL, London. 

03/2013.                  Institute of Molecular Life Sciences, University of Zurich, Switzerland. 

02/2013.                  MRC Centre for Developmental Neurobiology, King’s College London.

02/2013.                  VIB and KU Leuven School of Medicine, Belgium. 

11/2012.                   Beatson Institute for Cancer Research, Glasgow, UK. 

06/2012.                 Oxford University, UK. 

02/2012.                  Trinity College Dublin, Ireland (declined because of maternity leave).

07/2011.                  Queen Mary University of London, UK.

06/2011.                  École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne, Switzerland.

05/2011.                  IRB Barcelona, Spain.

02/2011.                  Institut de Biologie du Développement de Marseille Luminy, France. 

10/2010.                 Centre de Biologie du Développement, Toulouse, France. 

10/2010.                 UCL, London, UK.

09/2010.                 University of Helsinki, Finland.

10/2009.                 Wolfson Centre for Age-Related Diseases, London, UK.