Gaia Brezzo

My research focuses on understanding neuro-glial-vascular and extracellular matrix breakdown and how neuroimmune changes can lead to long-term cognitive dysfunction in cerebrovascular disease.

Dr Gaia Brezzo

Research Fellow - McColl Lab

Chancellor's Building

49 Little France Crescent

Edinburgh, EH16 4SB

Contact details

 Work: +44 (0) 131 242 6293


 Web: McColl Research Group

Double label immunofluorecence image of d-MBP (red), indentifying myelin debris and IBA-1 (green), a microglia/macrophage marker in the optic tract. This data suggest impaired phagocytosis of myelin debris by microglia/macrophages.

Personal profile

  • Postdoctoral Research Associate - University of Edinburgh, UK & University of Glasgow, UK (Jan 2018- April 2021)

  • Research Assistant - University of Sheffield, UK (Oct 2017-Dec 2017)

  • PhD Teaching Fellow - University of Sheffield, UK (Oct 2013-Sept 2017)

Double label immunofluorecence image of endothelial cells (CD31, red) and UBXN1 (green) to determine if endothelial cells, in a mouse model of small vessel disease, undergo endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress


Stroke doubles the risk of later cognitive decline and dementia, and up to a third of stroke patients will develop post-stroke cognitive decline within five years. This highlights post-stroke cognitive decline as a key and unaddressed component of vascular dementia.

Despite research showcasing the importance of innate and adaptive immunity in stroke, research on inflammation as a cause of post-stroke cognitive decline is limited. We propose that immune alterations in the acute phase after stroke shape chronic maladaptive neuroimmune responses that compromise long-term structural and functional brain integrity, and contribute to post-stroke cognitive decline.

This work is part of the wider Stroke-IMPaCT network ( and funded by the Foundation Leducq Transatlantic Network of Excellence (

Relevant Publications 

Pokhilko A.,* Brezzo, G.,* Handunnetthi, L., Heilig, R., Lennon, R., Smith, C., Alan, S., Granata, A., Sinha S., Wang, T., Markus, H., Naba, A., Fischer, R., Van Agtmael T., Horsburgh K. Cader M., Z. (2021). Global proteomics analysis of extracellular matrix in mouse and human brain highlights relevance to cerebrovascular disease. Journal of Cerebral Blood Flow and Metabolism. doi:10.1177/0271678X211004307 (*joint first authors)

Brezzo, G., Simpson, J., Ameen-Ali, K.E, Berwick, J & Martin, C. (2020). Acute effects of systemic inflammation upon neuro-glial-vascular unit and cerebrovascular function. Journal of Brain, Behaviour, & Immunity – Health, 5:100074. doi:10.1016/j.bbih.2020.100074

McFall, A., Hietamies, T. M., Bernard, A., Aimable, M., Allan, S. M., Bath, P. M., Brezzo, G. … & T.J Quinn. (2019). UK consensus on pre-clinical vascular cognitive impairment functional outcomes assessment: questionnaire and workshop proceedings. Journal of Cerebral Blood Flow and Metabolism, 40(7):1402-1414. doi:10.1177/0271678X20910552

Gatseva, A., Sin, Y. Y., Brezzo, G., & Van Agtmael, T. (2019). Basement membrane collagens and disease mechanisms. Essays in Biochemistry, 63(3), 297-312. doi:10.1042/EBC20180071

Ameen-Ali, K. E., Simpson, J. E., Wharton, S. B., Heath, P. R., Sharp, P. S., Brezzo, G., & Berwick, J. (2019). The time course of recognition memory impairment and glial pathology in the hAPP-J20 mouse model of Alzheimer’s disease. Journal of Alzheimer's Disease, 68(2), 609-624. doi:10.3233/JAD-181238