Dimitrios Davalos, PhD
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Associate Director, Gladstone/UCSF Center for In Vivo Imaging Research (CIVIR)
More about Dr. Davalos
Dr. Dimitrios Davalos studies the physiological behavior of microglia, the resident immune cells of the brain, and deciphering their role in different animal models of neurological disease. Microglia are the first responders to any pathological insult, be it injury or disease, in the brain or the spinal cord. During his graduate years Dr. Davalos performed the first in vivo imaging study of microglia, taking advantage of powerful microscopy and imaging technologies that allow researchers to follow the behavior of individual cells inside the intact living brain, in real time. His work has been reviewed by peers as a study that redefined our understanding of the role of microglia in the brain and with over 600 citations to date, it is considered one of the classic studies in microglial biology.
Dr. Davalos is currently investigating mechanisms of blood brain barrier disruption, a pathological phenomenon that is very common among neurological diseases, and often occurs very early as they develop. He seeks to understand how microglia become activated when the brain vasculature is compromised, and how microglial responses relate to the neuronal deficits observed in neurological diseases. In doing so, his ultimate goal is to identify new targets for therapeutic intervention.
As the Associate Director of the Center for In Vivo Imaging Research (CIVIR), Dr. Davalos oversees the day to day operations of the Center, designs and performs experiments, and trains collaborating scientists in surgical and in vivo imaging procedures. He has significant experience in addressing the technical challenges that are inherent with in vivo imaging experiments in different tissues and has developed and published new methods to make such experiments possible. Currently, the Center is equipped with two cutting-edge two-photon microscopes especially customized for multicolor, simultaneous, deep tissue imaging of multiple fluorescently labeled cells in vivo.
Dr. Davalos earned a bachelor’s degree in biology from the University of Athens in Greece, and then a Master’s and a PhD in physiology and neuroscience from New York University. He then joined the laboratory of Dr. Katerina Akassoglou for his postdoctoral training at the University of California, San Diego (UCSD), and moved with her to the Gladstone Institute of Neurological Disease in 2008. In 2010, Drs. Akassoglou and Davalos established the CIVIR, which collaborates with researchers from all over the US and internationally.
Before joining Gladstone, Dr. Davalos helped to establish in vivo imaging at the National Center for Microscopy and Imaging Research (NCMIR) at UCSD, where he is still a visiting scientist. He serves as a member of the pilot grant review committee for the National Multiple Sclerosis Society (NMSS) and received postdoctoral and young investigator awards, from the NMSS, the American Heart Association and the Nancy Davis Foundation for Multiple Sclerosis. He has authored several peer-reviewed publications and regularly serves as a reviewer for scientific journals. Dr. Davalos has been invited to present his work to several international scientific conferences and has co-organized and chaired two Gordon Research Seminars for students and postdocs.