Imperial College London

ProfessorSimoneDi Giovanni

Faculty of MedicineDepartment of Medicine

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.

FOLLOW OUR LAB on twitter @Digiovannilab


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

Elidh Maclachlan, PhD student

Guiping Kong, 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

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:


YouTube placeholder

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

Selected Publications

Journal Articles

Lindner R, Puttagunta R, Di Giovanni S, 2013, Epigenetic regulation of axon outgrowth and regeneration in CNS injury: the first steps forward., Neurotherapeutics, Vol:10, Pages:771-781

Forsberg K, Wuttke A, Quadrato G, et al., 2013, The tumor suppressor p53 fine-tunes reactive oxygen species levels and neurogenesis via PI3 kinase signaling., J Neurosci, Vol:33, Pages:14318-14330

Floriddia EM, Rathore KI, Tedeschi A, et al., 2012, p53 Regulates the Neuronal Intrinsic and Extrinsic Responses Affecting the Recovery of Motor Function following Spinal Cord Injury, Journal of Neuroscience, Vol:32, ISSN:0270-6474, Pages:13956-13970

Quadrato G, Benevento M, Alber S, et al., 2012, Nuclear factor of activated T cells (NFATc4) is required for BDNF-dependent survival of adult-born neurons and spatial memory formation in the hippocampus, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, Vol:109, ISSN:0027-8424, Pages:E1499-E1508

Gaub P, Joshi Y, Wuttke A, et al., 2011, The histone acetyltransferase p300 promotes intrinsic axonal regeneration, Brain, Vol:134, ISSN:0006-8950, Pages:2134-2148

Puttagunta R, Schmandke A, Floriddia EM, et al., 2011, RA-RAR-β counteracts myelin-dependent inhibition of neurite outgrowth via Lingo-1 repression, Journal of Cell Biology, Vol:193, ISSN:0021-9525, Pages:1147-1156

Gaub P, Tedeschi A, Puttagunta R, et al., 2010, HDAC inhibition promotes neuronal outgrowth and counteracts growth cone collapse through CBP/p300 and P/CAF-dependent p53 acetylation., Cell Death Differ, Vol:17, Pages:1392-1408

Tedeschi A, Nguyen T, Steele SU, et al., 2009, The tumor suppressor p53 transcriptionally regulates cGKI expression during neuronal maturation and is required for cGMP-dependent growth cone collapse., J Neurosci, Vol:29, Pages:15155-15160

Tedeschi A, Di Giovanni S, 2009, The non-apoptotic role of p53 in neuronal biology: enlightening the dark side of the moon., Embo Rep, Vol:10, Pages:576-583

Tedeschi A, Nguyen T, Puttagunta R, et al., 2009, A p53-CBP/p300 transcription module is required for GAP-43 expression, axon outgrowth, and regeneration., Cell Death Differ, Vol:16, Pages:543-554

Di Giovanni S, Knights CD, Rao M, et al., 2006, The tumor suppressor protein p53 is required for neurite outgrowth and axon regeneration., EMBO Journal, Vol:25, ISSN:0261-4189, Pages:4084-4096

Di Giovanni S, Movsesyan V, Ahmed F, et al., 2005, Cell cycle inhibition provides neuroprotection and reduces glial proliferation and scar formation after traumatic brain injury., Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A, Vol:102, Pages:8333-8338

Di Giovanni S, De Biase A, Yakovlev A, et al., 2005, In vivo and in vitro characterization of novel neuronal plasticity factors identified following spinal cord injury., Journal of Biological Chemistry, Vol:280, Pages:2084-2091

Di Giovanni S, Faden Ai, Yakovlev A, et al., 2004, Neuronal plasticity after spinal cord injury: identification of a gene cluster driving neurite outgrowth., Faseb J., Vol:19, Pages:153-154

Di Giovanni S, Molon A, Broccolini A, et al., 2004, Constitutive activation of MAPK cascade in acute quadriplegic myopathy., Annals of Neurology, Vol:55, Pages:195-206

Di Giovanni S, Knoblach SM, Brandoli C, et al., 2003, Gene profiling in spinal cord injury shows role of cell cycle in neuronal death., Annals of Neurology, Vol:53, Pages:454-468

Di Giovanni S, Mirabella M, Spinazzola A, et al., 2001, Coenzyme Q10 reverses pathological phenotype and reduces apoptosis in familial CoQ10 deficiency., Neurology, Vol:57, Pages:515-518

More Publications