Dr Miguel Burguillos


Microglia activation is a general phenomenon present virtually in all neurodegenerative diseases where the innate immune response driven by microglia cells plays a decisive role in the fate of the neuronal population. Throughout my research career, I have been interested in the mechanisms regulating microglia activation in different brain disorders in order to find translatable targets for drug therapy, ranging from Parkinson’s disease (Burguillos MA et al., Nature 2011) ischemic stroke (Burguillos MA et al., Cell Reports 2015), traumatic brain injury (Yip P., et al., Scientific Reports 2017) to glioblastoma (Burguillos MA and Shen et al., Nature Immunology 2016). To achieve that goal, I combine both in vitro (primary cells and cell lines) and in vivo (using different preclinical animal models for different diseases) approaches in my research.

Research Focus





Clinical conditions

Alzheimer's disease


Parkinson's disease


Traumatic brain injury


Cell culture

Confocal microscopy

Enzyme assays

Fluorescence microscopy





Guy Brown

Peter StGeorge-Hyslop

United Kingdom

Miguel Branco Web: http://m.branco@qmul.ac.uk

Pin Yip Web: http://p.yip@qmul.ac.uk


Bertrand Joseph Web: http://bertrand.joseph@ki.se

Jose Venero Web: http://jlvenero@us.es

Associated News Items

    Key publications

    Yip PK, Carrillo-Jimenez A, King P, Vilalta A, Nomura K, Chau CC, Egerton AM, Liu ZH, Shetty AJ, Tremoleda JL, Davies M, Deierborg T, Priestley JV, Brown GC, Michael-Titus AT, Venero JL, Burguillos MA (2017), “Galectin-3 released in response to traumatic brain injury acts as an alarmin orchestrating brain immune response and promoting neurodegeneration.” Scientific Reports Jan 27;7:41689. doi: 10.1038/srep41689.

    Shen X, Burguillos MA, Osman AM, Frijhoff J, Carrillo-Jiménez A, Kanatani S, Augsten M, Saidi D, Rodhe J, Kavanagh E, Rongvaux A, Rraklli V, Nyman U, Holmberg J, Östman A, Flavell RA, Barragan A, Venero JL, Blomgren K, Joseph B (2016), “Glioma-induced inhibition of caspase-3 in microglia promotes a tumor-supportive phenotype.” Nature Immunology Nov;17(11):1282-1290. doi: 10.1038/ni.3545

    Burguillos MA, Svensson M, Schulte T, Boza-Serrano A, Garcia-Quintanilla A, Kavanagh E, Santiago M, Viceconte N, Oliva-Martin MJ, Osman AM, Salomonsson E, Amar L, Persson A, Blomgren K, Achour A, Englund E, Leffler H, Venero JL, Joseph B, Deierborg T. (2015), “Microglia-Secreted Galectin-3 Acts as a Toll-like Receptor 4 Ligand and Contributes to Microglial Activation.” Cell Reports Mar 4. pii: S2211-1247(15)00140-0. doi: 10.1016/j.celrep.2015.02.012.

    Burguillos MA, Deierborg T, Kavanagh E, Persson A, Hajji N, Garcia-Quintanilla A, Cano J, Brundin P, Englund E, Venero JL, Joseph B. (2011), “Caspase signalling controls microglia activation and neurotoxicity.” Nature Apr 21;472(7343):319-24. doi: 10.1038/nature09788

    Venero JL, Burguillos MA, Brundin P, Joseph B. (2011), “The executioners sing a new song: killer caspases activate microglia.” Cell Death & Differentiation Nov;18(11):1679-91. doi: 10.1038/cdd.2011.107.



    Shen X, Burguillos MA, Joseph B. (2017), “Guilt by association, caspase-3 regulates microglia polarization.” Cell Cycle Feb 16;16(4):306-307. doi: 10.1080/15384101.2016.1254979


    Rodhe J, Burguillos MA, de Pablos RM, Kavanagh E, Persson A, Englund E, Deierborg T, Venero JL, Joseph B. (2016), “Spatio-temporal activation of caspase-8 in myeloid cells upon ischemic stroke.” Acta Neuropathologica Communications Aug 26;4(1):92. doi: 10.1186/s40478-016-0365-9.


    Deierborg T, Burguillos MA. (2015), “A new "sweet" ligand for Toll-like receptor 4.” Oncotarget Aug 21;6(24):19928-9

    Pallier PN, Poddighe L, Zbarsky V, Kostusiak M, Choudhury R, Hart T, Burguillos MA, Musbahi O, Groenendijk M, Sijben JW, deWilde MC, Quartu M, Priestley JV, Michael-Titus AT. (2015), “A nutrient combination designed to enhance synapse formation and function improves outcome in experimental spinal cord injury.” Neurobiology of Disease Oct;82:504-15. doi: 10.1016/j.nbd.2015.09.007

    Viceconte N, Burguillos MA, Herrera AJ, De Pablos RM, Joseph B, Venero JL. (2015), “Neuromelanin activates proinflammatory microglia through a caspase-8-dependent mechanism.” Journal of Neuroinflammation Jan 14;12:5. doi: 10.1186/s12974-014-0228-x.


    Boza-Serrano A, Reyes JF, Rey NL, Leffler H, Bousset L, Nilsson U, Brundin P, Venero JL, Burguillos MA, Deierborg T. (2014), “The role of Galectin-3 in α-synuclein-induced microglial activation.” Acta Neuropathologica Communications Nov 12;2:156. doi: 10.1186/s40478-014-0156-0.

    Heublein M, Burguillos MA, Vögtle FN, Teixeira PF, Imhof A, Meisinger C, Ott M. (2014), “The novel component Kgd4 recruits the E3 subunit to the mitochondrial α-ketoglutarate dehydrogenase.” Molecular Biology of the Cell Nov 1;25(21):3342-9. doi: 10.1091/mbc.E14-07-1178

    Kavanagh E, Rodhe J, Burguillos MA, Venero JL, Joseph B. (2014), “Regulation of caspase-3 processing by cIAP2 controls the switch between pro-inflammatory activation and cell death in microglia.” Cell Death & Disease Dec 11;5:e1565. doi: 10.1038/cddis.2014.514


    Burguillos MA (2013), “Use of meso-scale discovery™ to examine cytokine content in microglia cell supernatant.” Methods in Molecular Biology 1041:93-100. doi: 10.1007/978-1-62703-520-0_11.

    Burguillos MA, Magnusson C, Nordin M, Lenshof A, Augustsson P, Hansson MJ, Elmér E, Lilja H, Brundin P, Laurell T, Deierborg T. (2013), “Microchannel acoustophoresis does not impact survival or function of microglia, leukocytes or tumor cells.” PLoS One May 27;8(5):e64233. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0064233

    Venero JL, Burguillos MA, Joseph B. (2013), “Caspases playing in the field of neuroinflammation: old and new players.” Developmental Neuroscience 35(2-3):88-101. doi: 10.1159/000346155.


    Burguillos MA, Hajji N, Englund E, Persson A, Cenci AM, Machado A, Cano J, Joseph B, Venero JL. (2011), “Apoptosis-inducing factor mediates dopaminergic cell death in response to LPS-induced inflammatory stimulus: evidence in Parkinson's disease patients.” Neurobiology of Disease Jan;41(1):177-88. doi: 10.1016/j.nbd.2010.09.005


    García Navia JT, Burguillos MA, Ramón-Cueto A, Machado A, Cano J, Venero JL. (2008), “Regional-specific regulation of BDNF and trkB correlates with nigral dopaminergic cell sprouting following unilateral nigrostriatal axotomy.” Journal of Neuroscience Research Jul;86(9):2016-27. doi: 10.1002/jnr.21654.

    Ortiz T, Burguillos MA, López-Lluch G, Navas P, Herrador M, González I, Piñero J. (2008), “Enhanced induction of apoptosis in a radio-resistant bladder tumor cell line by combined treatments with X-rays and wortmannin.” Radiation and Environmental Biophysics Nov;47(4):445-52. doi: 10.1007/s00411-008-0188-6


    Ortiz T, Lopez S, Burguillos MA, Edreira A, Piñero J. (2004), “Radiosensitizer effect of wortmannin in radioresistant bladder tumoral cell lines.” International Journal of Oncology an;24(1):169-75.