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Lucia obtained a Biology (Hons) in the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro (Brazil), followed by a Master’s degree in Neuroscience at the Instituto de Biofísica Carlos Chagas Filho (IBCCF-RJ, Brazil) and obtained her PhD in Developmental Neuroscience in 1997 from the University of St Andrews (Scotland). She continued her work on neurotrophic factors and their receptors as a postdoctoral fellow with Prof Alun Davies in Edinburgh funded by the Welcome Trust. In 2002, Lucia moved to the MRC Toxicology Unit as a Research Fellow in Prof Nicotera’s laboratory to work on neuronal cell death, excitoxicity and mitochondrial Ca2+ signalling in the central nervous system. 
In 2011 Lucia became Head of the Flow Cytometry facility and more recently Head of the Advanced Light Imaging facility. Lucia is interested in all aspects of cell imaging and cell analysis using flow cytometers or high-end technology microscopes and facilitates the Unit’s research by providing advice in experimental planning, training and on-going support on all instruments and technologies available in the facility. 


Key Publications:

1. Mutant p53 promotes RCP-dependent chemoresistance coinciding with increased delivery of P-glycoprotein to the plasma membrane  (2021) Vinaya Phatak , Yannick von Grabowiecki  , Justyna Janus   , Leah Officer , Caron Behan  , Lydia Aschauer  , Lucia Piñon   , Hannah Mackay , Sara Zanivan , Jim C Norman  , Michael Kelly  , John Le Quesne , Patricia A J Muller.   Cell Death Disease (Feb 24;12(2):207. doi: 10.1038/s41419-021-03497-y.


2. Isolation of CD4+ T-cells and Analysis of Circulating T-follicular Helper (cTfh) Cell Subsets from Peripheral Blood Using 6-color Flow Cytometry. (2019) Byford E, Carr M, Piñon L, Ahearne MJ, Wagner SD.J Vis Exp. (2019) Jan 7;(143). doi: 10.3791/58431.


3. Genomic instability in mutant p53 cancer cells upon entotic engulfment. (2018)Mackay HL, Moore D, Hall C, Birkbak NJ, Jamal-Hanjani M, Karim SA, Phatak VM, Piñon L, Morton JP, Swanton C, Le Quesne J, Muller PAJ. Nat Commun. Aug 3;9(1):3070. doi: 10.1038/s41467-018-05368-1.PMID: 30076358 Free PMC article.


4. Enhancement of CD154/IL4 proliferation by the T follicular helper (Tfh) cytokine, IL21 and increased numbers of circulating cells resembling Tfh cells in chronic lymphocytic leukaemia. (2013) Ahearne MJ, Willimott S, Piñon L, Kennedy DB, Miall F, Dyer MJ, Wagner SD.Br J Haematol. 2013 Aug;162(3):360-70. doi: 10.1111/bjh.12401. Epub May 27.PMID: 23710828


5. Mitochondrial fragmentation and neuronal cell death in response to the Bcl-2/Bcl-x(L)/Bcl-w antagonist ABT-737.J Young KW, Piñon LG, Bampton ET, Nicotera P. (2010) Biochem Mol Toxicol. 2010 Sep-Oct;24(5):335-41.


6. Different pathways lead to mitochondrial fragmentation during apoptotic and excitotoxic cell death in primary neurons. (2010) Young KW, Piñon LG, Bampton ET, Nicotera P.J Biochem Mol Toxicol. 2010 Sep-Oct;24(5):335-41. doi: 10.1002/jbt.20343.PMID: 20201108


7. Mitochondrial fragmentation and neuronal cell death in response to the Bcl-2/Bcl-x(L)/Bcl-w antagonist ABT-737. (2010)  Young KW, Piñón LG, Dhiraj D, Twiddy D, Macfarlane M, Hickman J, Nicotera P.Neuropharmacology. Jun;58(8):1258-67. doi: 10.1016/j.neuropharm.2010.03.008. Epub 2010 Mar 20.PMID: 20307556


 8. Mitochondrial Ca2+ signalling in hippocampal neurons. (2007) Young KW, Bampton ET, Piñon L, Bano D, Nicotera P.Cell Calcium. 2008 Mar;43(3):296-306. doi: 10.1016/j.ceca.2007.06.007. Epub  Aug 30.PMID: 17764739


 9. Prevention of ischemic brain injury by treatment with the membrane penetrating apoptosis inhibitor, TAT-BH4. Donnini S, Solito R, Monti M, Balduini W, Carloni S, Cimino M, Bampton ET, Pinon LG, Nicotera P, Thorpe PE, Ziche M.Cell Cycle. 2009 Apr 15;8(8):1271-8. doi: 10.4161/cc.8.8.8301. Epub 2009 Apr 26.PMID: 19305142

Head of Advanced Light Imaging and Flow Cytometry Facilities

Contact Details

MRC Toxicology Unit
Gleeson Building
Tennis Court Road


Telephone and Email

Office 03-0134
+44 (0)1223 3 34792