Dr Philip Hasel

My lab studies astrocyte subtypes, their role at brain borders, and their contribution to neurodegeneration.

Dr Philip Hasel

Group Leader and Wellcome Trust Career Development Fellow

Philip Hasel#

Chancellor's Building

49 Little France Crescent 

Edinburgh, EH16 4SB

Contact details

Email: philip.hasel@ed.ac.uk

Personal profile

  • 2024 - present: Group Leader and Wellcome Trust Career Development Fellow, University of Edinburgh
  • 2019 - 2023: Postdoc, New York University
  • 2018 - 2019: Postdoc, University of Edinburgh
  • 2013 - 2017: PhD, University of Edinburgh           
  • 2010 - 2012 : MSc, University of Heidelberg     
  • 2007-2010: BSc, University of Maastricht                   


We study astrocytes using a combination of computational and wet lab tools to explore their role in disease. We use single cell RNA-sequencing and spatial transcriptomics to profile new astrocyte subtypes and pinpoint their anatomical location. Using molecular and genetic approaches, we then aim to understand their specialized functions and what goes awry in disease.

Recently, we described the astrocyte subtype that makes up the brain and spinal cord surface, called glia limitans superficialis astrocytes. These cells can be identified by a gene called Myocilin. They have flat cell bodies that tile the brain surface and processes that reach into the brain parenchyma. It is entirely unclear what these cells do, but we think they act as sentinels that protect the brain from physical and inflammatory insults.

We use these same wet and dry lab approaches to better understand the astrocytes that wrap penetrating blood vessels, the glia limitans perivascularis. We think that profiling their molecular makeup and their transformation in disease will improve our understanding of diseases where the blood brain barrier is disrupted.


Wellcome Trust Career Development Award

Selected publications

Hasel P, Cooper ML, Marchildon AE, Rufen-Blanchette UA, Kim RD, Ma TC, Kang UJ, Chao MV, Liddelow SA. Defining the molecular identity and morphology of glia limitans superficialis astrocytes in mouse and human. bioRxiv [Preprint]. 2023 Apr 6:2023.04.06.535893. doi: 10.1101/2023.04.06.535893

Hasel P, Aisenberg WH, Bennett FC, Liddelow SA. Molecular and metabolic heterogeneity of astrocytes and microglia. Cell Metab. 2023 Apr 4;35(4):555-570. doi: 10.1016/j.cmet.2023.03.006

Hasel, P., Rose, I. V. L., Sadick, J. S., Kim, R. D. & Liddelow, S. A. Neuroinflammatory astrocyte subtypes in the mouse brain. Nat. Neurosci. 24, 1475–1487 (2021).

Hasel, P. & Liddelow, S. A. Astrocytes. Curr. Biol. 31, R326–R327 (2021).

Hasel, P., Dando, O., Jiwaji, Z., Baxter, P., Todd, A. C., Heron, S., Márkus, N. M., McQueen, J., Hampton, D. W., Torvell, M., Tiwari, S. S., McKay, S., Eraso-Pichot, A., Zorzano, A., Masgrau, R., Galea, E., Chandran, S., Wyllie, D. J. A., Simpson, T. I. & Hardingham, G. E. Neurons and neuronal activity control gene expression in astrocytes to regulate their development and metabolism. Nat. Commun. 8, 15132 (2017).

Information for students:

Willingness to discuss research projects with undergraduate and postgraduate students: YES - please click here