Imperial College London


Faculty of MedicineDepartment of Brain Sciences

Lecturer in Dementia Research & UK DRI Fellow



+44 (0)20 7594 7907m.brancaccio




E410Burlington DanesHammersmith Campus





My group investigates the mechanisms driving circadian disruption in the prodromal stages of neurodegenerative diseases. We focus on the interplay of different cell-types (neurons and glia), brain areas and molecular pathways specifying circadian function and their mys-regulation in the pathogenesis of Alzheimer's disease.

I received my MSc degree in Medical Biotechnology from the University of Naples “Federico II”, Italy. After obtaining a PhD degree in Neuroscience from SISSA (International School for Advanced Studies) in Trieste, Italy, I joined Michael Hastings group in the MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology in Cambridge (UK) to study the mechanisms of circadian time-keeping in the brain. I have pioneered viral delivery of genetically encoded indicators for live imaging of circadian calcium, voltage and gene expression, as well as pharmacogenetic manipulation of neurons of the suprachiasmatic nucleus (SCN) (Brancaccio et al. 2013, Neuron; Brancaccio et al J. Neurosc. 2014). In 2014, I established a novel independent research line addressing the role of neuronal-astrocytic interplay in circadian pacemaking. In this work, I have demonstrated that astrocytes of the SCN can impose their intrinsic tempo to the living mouse and described the underlying molecular and inter-cellular mechanisms (Brancaccio et al. 2017, Neuron; Hastings MH, Maywood ES, Brancaccio M., Nature Reviews Neurosc. 2018; Brancaccio et al. Science 2019). In October 2018, I joined the Division of Brain Sciences at Imperial College London as a Lecturer and a Fellow of the UK Dementia Research Institute (UK-DRI) to study the mechanisms driving circadian mys-regulation in the early stages of dementia. Here, I use a wide range of cutting-edge techniques, including live imaging and in vivo gene therapy to both investigate and harness circadian brain function with the aim of preventing/delaying dementia onset and progression.

Selected Publications

Journal Articles

Brancaccio M, Edwards MD, Patton AP, et al., 2019, Cell-autonomous clock of astrocytes drives circadian behavior in mammals, Science, Vol:363, ISSN:0036-8075, Pages:187-192

Hastings MH, Maywood ES, Brancaccio M, 2018, Generation of circadian rhythms in the suprachiasmatic nucleus, Nature Reviews Neuroscience, Vol:19, ISSN:1471-003X, Pages:453-469

Brancaccio M, Patton AP, Chesham JE, et al., 2017, Astrocytes control circadian timekeeping in the suprachiasmatic nucleus via glutamatergic signaling, Neuron, Vol:93, ISSN:0896-6273, Pages:1420-1435.e5

Parsons MJ, Brancaccio M, Sethi S, et al., 2015, The regulatory factor ZFHX3 modifies circadian function in SCN via an AT motif-driven axis, Cell, Vol:162, ISSN:0092-8674, Pages:607-621

Brancaccio M, Enoki R, Mazuski CN, et al., 2014, Network-Mediated Encoding of Circadian Time: The Suprachiasmatic Nucleus (SCN) from Genes to Neurons to Circuits, and Back, Journal of Neuroscience, Vol:34, ISSN:0270-6474, Pages:15192-15199

Brancaccio M, Maywood ES, Chesham JE, et al., 2013, A Gq-Ca2+ Axis Controls Circuit-Level Encoding of Circadian Time in the Suprachiasmatic Nucleus, Neuron, Vol:78, ISSN:0896-6273, Pages:714-728

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