Welcome to the Piccio lab

The main focus of our research is to dissect inflammatory, immune-mediated and neurodegenerative mechanisms implicated in multiple sclerosis (MS) and other neurodegenerative diseases. The major goals are to identify potential new avenues for therapeutic intervention or disease prevention. We utilize both animal models and samples from human subjects (blood, cerebrospinal fluid and autopsied tissues).

Specific areas of research interests in the laboratory are:

  • The study of the complex interplay between nutrition, metabolism and immune inflammatory responses in MS.
  • The study of microglial biology and the innate immune receptor TREM2 (which is expressed by microglia) in the context of central nervous system (CNS) neurodegeneration, demyelination and remyelination.
  • The identification of cerebrospinal fluid or blood biomarkers to provide information on MS disease prognosis and guide treatment choices.

A common theme of all Piccio laboratory research is to quickly take laboratory-based research findings into the clinical setting.

Funding Sources

NIH/National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS)

NIH/National Institute on Aging (NIA)

National Multiple Sclerosis Society (NMSS)

Fondazione Italiana Sclerosi Multipla (FISM)

Conrad N. Hilton Foundation

Midwest Strategic Pharma-Academic Research Consortium (SPARC)

Principal Investigator
Laura Piccio, MD, PhD

Laura Piccio is a neurologist and a physician scientist who does mainly research on MS and its animal models. Piccio obtained an MD and a PhD degree from the School of Medicine at the University of Milan in Italy. She completed a neurology residency program at the University of Milan in Italy. In 2005, she was awarded a 3 year post-doctoral fellowship from the National MS Society (NMSS) that she completed under the mentorship of Anne H Cross, MD, an expert in the MS field at Washington University in St Louis. In 2008, Piccio became a faculty member in the Department of Neurology at Washington University and she is currently an Associate Professor in Neurology. Notably, Piccio was named a Harry Weaver Neuroscience Scholar of the National MS Society (2010-2015) and a Dana Neuroscience Scholar in 2012. Piccio has published over 55 peer-reviewed articles in international Journals and her research integrates clinical and research aspects related to MS with the goal to investigate the mechanisms leading to MS and potential treatments.