Axel Montagne, Ph.D.
Principal Investigator (

Axel joined the UK DRI at Edinburgh in December 2020. He completed his PhD degree at the University of Caen Normandy (France) in 2012, followed by a postdoctoral training at the University of Southern California (USC) in Los Angeles from 2013 to 2016. Axel rapidly became Assistant then Associate Professor at USC in 2016 and 2020, respectively. His carrier has been focusing on how cerebrovascular dysfunctions contribute to neurodegeneration and dementia in both animal models and humans. In this UK DRI project, he combines molecular approaches with rodent non-invasive imaging, particularly MRI, PET and two-photon microscopy, to study the causes and effects of blood-brain barrier (BBB) dysfunction, with a particular focus on the pericyte-endothelial crosstalk, in the context of neurodegenerative diseases. In his spare time, Axel enjoys spending time with his family, playing with his son, playing guitare, hiking, and all sorts of sports activities including tennis and football.

Daniela Jaime Garcia
Wellcome Trust Translational Neuroscience PhD Student (

Dany joined the Montagne lab in 2021 as a Wellcome Trust Translational Neuroscience PhD student. She is investigating the role of pericytes and endothelial cells in the blood-brain-barrier breakdown observed in small vessel disease and vascular dementia. She completed her undergraduate in psychology and neuroscience at Grinnell College, USA, and subsequently pursued a Masters in Stroke Medicine at the Institute of Neurology, University College London. She has since been a research assistant in clinical studies of small vessel disease with Prof. Joanna Wardlaw at the University of Edinburgh and continues to collaborate with the Wardlaw group for her PhD. In her spare time, Dany loves playing tennis, taking long walks with her dog, cycling, and cooking.

Dorota Stefancova
Undergrad Neuroscience Degree (

Dorota is joining the Montagne lab in January 2022 for 4 months. Dorota is currently in her final year of Neuroscience studies at the University of Edinburgh. She will investigate the degree of both pericyte capillary coverage and BBB permeability in different brain regions in wildtype mice of different ages using post-mortem brain tissue analysis. She previously worked with pericytes and mesenchymal stromal cells in mice and humans. In her free time, Dorota enjoys hikes, baking, and reading.

Louis Fizelier
Medical Student (

Louis will be joining the Montagne lab in July 2022 for 2 months. Louis is currently in his 5th year of medical school at the University of Caen Normandy. He has already received hands on training in the departments of Neurology and Neurosurgery at the Centre Hospitalier Universitaire (CHU) of Caen. Louis now wants to gain experience in a neuroscience wet lab and is currently following a Master Neuroscience programme focused on brain diseases, particularly vascular pathologies. In his free time, Louis plays basketball, enjoys sailing, and loves going to the movies.