Imperial College London

ProfessorSimoneDi Giovanni

Faculty of MedicineDepartment of Brain Sciences

Chair in Restorative Neuroscience



+44 (0)20 7594 3178s.di-giovanni




E505Burlington DanesHammersmith Campus





Dextran-red tracing of sensory DRG axons following spinal cord injury

I hold a Chair in Restorative Neuroscience at Imperial College where my research group investigates the molecular signalling and transcriptional mechanisms that control axonal sprouting and regeneration. I also hold a honorary post within the NHS as a consultant in Neurology. Previously, since 2006, I worked at the University of Tuebingen, Germany as a Research Group Leader, where I was also a consultant clinician in Stroke and General Neurology.

I did my post-doctoral training in Neuroscience studying gene expression regulation after spinal cord injury at Georgetown University, Washington DC, 2001-2004 where I became research Instructor (2004-2006). I studied Medicine at La Sapienza University and did my Neurology training at Catholic University, Rome, Italy.

Research in my group aims to investigate the molecular signalling mechanisms  that discriminate between axonal regeneration and regenerative failure including following peripheral and spinal cord injuries respectively. In fact, while axons that lie in the periphery mount a regenerative programme, axons in the central nervous system do not. Therefore we prioritize the study of the post-injury differential regenerative ability of dorsal root ganglia neurons. They are pseudounipolar sensory neurons that from the same cell body project a peripheral regeneration-competent axon to the periphery and a central regeneration-incompetent axon into the dorsal column of the spinal cord.

Since axonal regeneration in the peripheral nervous system is imperfect and inefficient, enhancing the regenerative properties of the injured central nervous system such as in the spinal cord may be important to promote recovery of function and limit neurological disability in both spinal cord and peripheral nerve injury. Our work can have broad implications for conditions spanning from traumatic, vascular, inflammatory, degenerative and metabolic (such as diabetes) damage to the spinal cord, spinal roots and peripheral nerves.

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Thomas Hutson, post-doctoral fellow

Ilaria Palmisano, post-doctoral fellow

Paolo La Montanara, post-doctoral fellow

Luming Zhou, post-doctoral fellow

Francesco De Virgiliis, PhD student

Elisabeth Serger, PhD student

Franziska Mueller, PhD student

Guiping Kong, PhD student

Jessica Chadwick, PhD student


Arnau Hervera

Radhika Puttagunta

Giorgia Quadrato

Andrea Tedeschi

Ricco Lindner

Kirsi Forsberg

Marilia Soria

Yashi Joshi

Perrine Gaub

Tuan Nguyen

Elisa Floriddia

Kizhir Rathore

Elidh Maclachlan

Restorative Neuroscience research

For further information the role of Prof. Di Giovanni within the Restorative Neurosciences section please skip to the 3 minute mark on the video below or use the following link:


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Additional information on the Restorative Neuroscience section of Imperial's Brain Sciences Division can be found here:



Hervera A, Zhou L, Palmisano I, et al., 2019, PP4-dependent HDAC3 dephosphorylation discriminates between axonal regeneration and regenerative failure., Embo J, Vol:38

Hervera A, Zhou L, Palmisano I, et al., 2019, PP4-dependent HDAC3 dephosphorylation discriminates between axonal regeneration and regenerative failure, Embo Journal, Vol:38, ISSN:0261-4189

Hutson TH, Kathe C, Palmisano I, et al., 2019, Cbp-dependent histone acetylation mediates axon regeneration induced by environmental enrichment in rodent spinal cord injury models, Science Translational Medicine, Vol:11, ISSN:1946-6234

Hervera A, Santos CX, De Virgiliis F, et al., 2019, Paracrine mechanism of redox signalling for post-mitotic cell and tissue regeneration, Trends in Cell Biology, ISSN:0962-8924

Hervera A, De Virgiliis F, Palmisano I, et al., 2018, Reactive oxygen species regulate axonal regeneration through the release of exosomal NADPH oxidase 2 complexes into injured axons (vol 20, pg 307, 2018), Nature Cell Biology, Vol:20, ISSN:1465-7392, Pages:1098-1098

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