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Welcome to the Villapol Lab 

Villapol lab’s focus is the pursuit of novel neurorestorative treatments for debilitating brain injuries to  open the door to alternative therapies that repair the damaged brain through the periphery


Texas Medical center

Houston, TX

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villapol lab

March 2019



  • Brain damage: excitotoxicity, cerebral ischemia, stroke, traumatic brain injury, neonatal and adult.

  • Neuroinflammation: microglia activation, astrogliosis, cytokines, oxidative stress, gliosis, sex-differences, trauma, macrophages, cerebral blood flow, cerebral edema, hypertension, vasculature, glial scar, TGFbeta, smad3, NOS

  • Neurodegeneration and neurogenesis: apoptosis, necrosis, neurorestoration, neuronal injury, proliferation, oligodendrocytes, caspase-3, PPARgamma.

  • Neuroprotection and neurorestauration: angiotensin receptor blockers, melatonin, ApoE genotype, sartans, inhaled nitric oxide, candesartan, telmisartan, antisense therapy.

  • Brain-periphery axis: hepatic inflammation, acute phase proteins, serum amyloid A, systemic inflammation, brain-liver axis, brain-gut axis, microbiome, Brain-Speen axis, Brain-Kidney axis.

Sonia Villapol noHM.jpg

Sonia Villapol, Ph.D.

My scientific research has focused on elucidating the basic mechanisms and processes that occur after different types of brain injuries, including apoptosis, inflammation, neurogenesis or glial activation. My future research plan is fueled by my motivation of investigating the distinct, intricate aspects of the contribution of peripheral signals and microbiome to brain pathology.

email: svillapol@gmail.com


I'm very passionate about mentoring and teaching those that are just starting their career in science; it is one of the most rewarding things I've experienced as a scientist.

During my time as Assistant Professor at Georgetown University, I have mentored 19 students; 4 undergrads, 2 medical students, 4 Ph.D. students, 2 postdocs, and 8 master students (Biochemistry and Physiology programs).


Villapol Lab, May 2018 (Georgetown University, Washington D.C.)  (left to right; Eduardo Flores, Aishu Nambiar, Luke Djavaherian, Alex Harvey, and Sonia Villapol).

Villapol Lab, May 2018 (Georgetown University, Washington D.C.)

(left to right; Eduardo Flores, Aishu Nambiar, Luke Djavaherian, Alex Harvey, and Sonia Villapol).

Areas of expertise:

- Cerebral ischemia and traumatic brain injury

- Neuroinflammation and neurodegeneration

- Sex and gender differences in response to brain damage

- Brain-Liver axis ~ Brain-gut-microbiome axis

- Glia activation

- Neuroprotection and Neurorestoration

Publications on these Topics:

stroke / brain Ischemia                             traumatic brain injury


How can we restore the injured brain ?

Research Focus

Our research interests are mainly focused on the elucidating of mechanisms of cell death, gliosis, inflammation, and neurogenesis via models of brain damage (ischemia and trauma), and how inflammatory mediators connect the brain with the periphery.

To date, our research has mainly been dedicated towards the development of novel therapeutics to repair the brain after damage, focusing on endogenous inhibitors of apoptosis, nitric oxide, melatonin or angiotensin II receptor inhibitors and exploiting their protective roles in the brain.

Our passion is the pursuit of novel neurorestorative treatments for debilitating brain injuries and to open the door to alternative systemic therapies that may potentially provide repair and recovery in the damaged brain.

Our overall goal is to identify new treatments to restore the injured brain.

We perform neuroscience research with rodents models of traumatic brain injury and cerebral ischemia.