Imperial College London

Dr Samuel Barnes

Faculty of MedicineDepartment of Brain Sciences

Senior Lecturer



+44 (0)20 7594 6817samuel.barnes




Burlington DanesHammersmith Campus





The goal of my research is to understand the role of neural circuit plasticity in aging and neurodegeneration.

After graduating from Oxford University in 2006, I was awarded an MRC capacity building PhD. studentship at King’s College London to investigate the functional signatures of synaptic connection loss in the cortex. I then completed my postdoctoral work, investigating homeostatic plasticity in the mouse visual cortex at University College London. In October 2015, I won the internationally competitive Safra Fellowship, an award which supports early career researchers as they tr­ansition to independence.

In April 2018 I was awarded a UK Dementia Research Institute (UK DRI) Fellowship and became a lecturer in the Department of Brain Sciences at Imperial College London. In September 2022, I was promoted to Senior Lecturer in Neural Plasticity and in April 2023 successfully underwent UK DRI renewal, providing long-term funding support until 2028. In April 2024, I was appointed the interim Deputy Director of the UK DRI Centre at Imperial.

My group focuses on homeostatic plasticity mechanisms that regulate neural firing-rate activity within a stable dynamic range, preventing prolonged periods of hyper- or hypo-activity. We hypothesise that homeostatic control is neuroprotective, but may fail in aging and the early stages of neurodegeneration leading to pathophysiological neural-circuit activity. To test this hypothesis, we use a combination of electrophysiology, 2-Photon calcium imaging and 1-Photon brain-wide imaging. My group combines these approaches with molecular measures such as transcriptomics and spatial proteomics to probe the mechanisms involved in homeostatic control, as well as behavioural testing to measure the consequences of destabilised neural-circuit activity.



Radulescu CI, Doostdar N, Zabouri N, et al., 2023, Age-related dysregulation of homeostatic control in neuronal microcircuits, Nature Neuroscience, Vol:26, ISSN:1097-6256, Pages:2158-2170

Rueda-Carrasco J, Sokolova D, Lee S-E, et al., 2023, Microglia-synapse engulfment via PtdSer-TREM2 ameliorates neuronal hyperactivity in Alzheimer's disease models, Embo Journal, Vol:42, ISSN:0261-4189

Nutma E, Fancy N, Weinert M, et al., 2023, Translocator protein is a marker of activated microglia in rodent models but not human neurodegenerative diseases, Nature Communications, Vol:14, ISSN:2041-1723, Pages:1-25

Melgosa-Ecenarro L, Doostdar N, Radulescu CI, et al., 2023, Pinpointing the locus of GABAergic vulnerability in Alzheimer?s disease, Seminars in Cell & Developmental Biology, Vol:139, ISSN:1084-9521, Pages:35-54

Barnes SJ, Keller GB, Keck T, 2022, Homeostatic regulation through strengthening of neuronal network-correlated synaptic inputs, Elife, Vol:11, ISSN:2050-084X

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