Edinburgh Imaging

27 Jan 21. Welcome Dr Axel Montagne

Edinburgh Imaging would like to welcome Dr Axel Montagne, Chancellor’s Fellow, to the University.

Dr Axel Montagne, Chancellor’s Fellow
Dr Axel Montagne, Chancellor’s Fellow
Career to date

Dr Axel Montagne completed his PhD at the University of Caen Normandy (France) with Professor Denis Vivien in 2012, followed by postdoctoral training at the University of Southern California (USA) with Professor Berislav Zlokovic from 2013 to 2020.

Axel published several articles about the vascular contribution to dementia in humans but also using innovative animal models.

In December 2020, Axel joined the University of Edinburgh, Centre for Clinical Brain Sciences as a Chancellor’s fellow.

His work combines molecular approaches with rodent non-invasive imaging, particularly MRI & PET, to study the causes & effects of blood-brain barrier (BBB) dysfunction in the context of neurodegenerative disease. BBB dysfunction is a major cause of inflammatory & bioenergetic deregulation in the brain, but the interplay between pericytes & endothelial cells that causes this collapse is not fully delineated.

Axel’s lab is now focusing on probing BBB function & pericyte-endothelial cross-talk, especially the consequences of pericyte dysfunction on endothelial cells & the BBB, plus reciprocal signaling by activated endothelial cells.


Future work in new appointment

Axel aims to combine advanced molecular approaches (e.g., transcriptomic) with rodent non-invasive imaging, e.g., MRI & PET. He hypothesises that endothelial activation at the BBB is an early trigger for pericyte dysfunction & intends to better understand the consequences of this to the BBB as a whole.

Specifically, he will determine:

  1. The spatiotemporal relationship between endothelial activation, pericyte dysfunction, & BBB breakdown in normal ageing & dementia
  2. How specific manipulation of endothelial or pericyte functions affects BBB properties
  3. Whether vascular-targeted interventions restore vascular, neuronal, & cognitive functions


We asked Dr Axel Montagne his thoughts regarding joining the University.

“Having received excellent training in France (University of Caen Normandy) & the US (University of Southern California), I feel that the University of Edinburgh is the best place for me to establish my independent group.

The reasons are the combination of the intellectual environment (basic & clinical), training opportunities to broaden my skillset, as well as the commitment the University has made to me in terms of space, facilities, investment in specialist equipment, & a clear pathway to a full tenured position.

Edinburgh is world leading in cerebrovascular diseases especially SVD, stroke, & dementia research, & in MRI & PET, which also defines the core of my research.

The DRI Centre is an ideal environment, focusing on understanding how vascular cells, glia, & neurons interact in brain health & disease.

I will also benefit from co-location with group leaders in vascular-glial communications, neuroinflammation, & neuron-macroglia interactions. I will also be able to interact with vascular biologists in the juxtaposed BHF Centre for Research Excellence.

The UK DRI links to 6 centres across the UK, including via the Vascular X-Centre Theme, providing additional access to an intellectual environment of the highest calibre. The juxtaposition of clinical & preclinical interests & leaders in cerebrovascular diseases in Edinburgh will allow me to expand on the translational aspects of BBB & pericyte dysfunctions to humans.

Altogether, it provides an ideal scientific environment in which to carry out my research.”



Social media tags & titles

Edinburgh Imaging would like to welcome Dr Axel Montagne, Chancellor’s Fellow, to the University.

@AxL_Montagne @EdinUniBrainSci @EdinUniMedicine @EdinburghUni @UKDRI