Dr Marcelo Barria

Group Leader / Research Fellow

  • Centre for Clinical Brain Sciences
  • National CJD Research & Surveillance Unit

Contact details



National CJD Research & Surveillance Unit
Bryan Matthews Building
Western General Hospital

Post code

Centre for Clinical Brain Sciences
Chancellor’s Building
Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh

Post code
EH16 4SB


Head of the Protein Biochemistry Laboratory and the CSF Diagnostic Laboratory at the National CJD Research & Surveillance Unit, Centre for Clinical Brain Sciences

Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the National CJD Research & Surveillance Unit, Centre for Clinical Brain Sciences, University of Edinburgh, UK

PhD in Molecular and Clinical Medicine at the College of Medicine and Veterinary Medicine, School of Clinical Sciences, The University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh, UK

Research Associate at the George And Cynthia W Mitchell Center For Alzheimer's Disease And Other Brain Related Illnesses, University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston (UTHealth), Houston, Texas, USA.

Graduate in Biology (specialisation in Virology) at the University Austral of Chile, Chile; Licentiate in Biological Sciences.

Responsibilities & affiliations

Dr Barria is the head of the Protein Biochemistry Laboratory  and the CSF Diagnostics Laboratory at the National CJD Research & Surveillance Unit, Centre for Clinical Brain Sciences

Research summary

Currently, neurodegenerative diseases are attracting the interest of the scientific community due to the dramatic increase in the number of cases and their impact on public health. Many of these diseases, such as Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, Huntington’s disease and prion diseases, share common features and molecular patterns including protein misfolding, protein aggregation, and cell death. There is an unrevealed understanding on the specific mechanisms of how these aggregation process starts, and how they are implicated with complex pathways to trigger finally toxicity and neuronal loss. Prion research has been utilized to reveal details of protein misfolding disorders expanding the possibility to develop an early diagnostic method and future treatments for prions disease and to other protein misfolded disorders.

Current research interests

Dr Barria research interests lie in the field of neurodegenerative disorders, and for the last two decades He has been investigating the molecular pathology of prion diseases using tissue-based approaches, and animal and in vitro models. Prion diseases are associated with the conformational change of a normal protein, termed the prion protein, to a misfolded isoform. They can affect both animals and humans, and they are transmissible and fatal. Dr Barria current research interests are to explore (i) the molecular basis of human and animal prion diseases and their potential for zoonotic transmission; (ii) the effect of cofactors which may influence prion conversion; (iii) the events that trigger their spontaneous formation; and (iv) developing of highly sensitive molecular tools for the early diagnosis of neurodegenerative illnesses.

View all 38 publications on Research Explorer