Edinburgh Research Explorer

Prof Pedro Piccardo

(Former employee or visitor)

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Education/Academic qualification

Doctor of Health Science
1985, Laboratory of Central Nervous System Studies (LCNSS), National Institute of Neurological and Communicative Disorders and Stroke (NINDS), National Institutes of Health (NIH), Bethesda, Maryland, USA


Pedro Piccardo was born in Argentina in 1954 and graduated from the University of Buenos Aires’ School of Medicine in 1979.

In 1985 he was awarded a Fogarty Fellowship to conduct research on transmissible spongiform encephalopathies (TSEs) at the National Institutes of Health, US.

He became tenured Associate Professor of Pathology at Indiana University, US.

He was selected to serve as a member of the TSE Advisory Committee to the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and consultant to the Harvard School of Public Health on TSEs.

He joined the US-FDA in 2003 as Chief TSE Pathogenesis Program, an appointment he held until 2014.

He was among the first to demonstrate the localization of cellular prion protein (PrP) in the human brain and has described novel phenotypes of TSEs and related diseases.

In collaboration with researchers at Indiana University and Washington University, he has studied pathogenic mechanisms in TSEs, including the accumulation of neurotoxic but non-infectious misfolded PrP in brains of animals.

In collaboration with investigators at the Roslin Institute of the University of Edinburgh, he has described the first animal model in which cerebral PrP amyloidosis develops without TSE.

He has received awards from Argentina’s Academy of Medicine, the American Association of Neuropathologists, and the US Government.

In 2015 Pedro joined the Centre for Comparative Pathology as Chair of Neuropathology within the Roslin Institute, Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies, College of Medicine and Veterinary Medicine.

Research Interests

My research aims to understand the pathogenesis of neurodegenerative diseases within the central nervous system. Particular interest include understanding the heterogenous presentation of prion diseases as models of chronic neurodegeneration and the possible correlation with ageing. Studies are also focused on the effects of host-agent interaction. 

Current studies includes proteomic analysis of bovine brains with the first natural complex proteinopathy described in farmed animals. 

This research benefits from the availability of defined mouse prion pathogenesis models, and transgenic mice generated by gene-replacement strategy.

My research shows that prion diseases include a heterogeneous group of disorders some of which are associated with abnormal tau and α-synuclein deposits. We have demonstrated in several experimental models that the accumulation of abnormal prion protein is not always associated with the transmission of a spongiform encephalopathy. 

Current Research Interests

Brain response to neurodegenerative processes and ageing.


Mentoring of technicians, students and post-doctoral fellows (2005-2014)

Supervisor (with Dr. Fiona Houston): Robert McGeachan, MSc Project: “Comparative analysis of age-related neuropathological changes in older cattle" (2015-2016).

Supervisor (with Dr. Andrew Gill): Christiana Kontaxi, MScR Neurobiology: "Correlating specific post-translational modifications of tau protein with characteristics of amyloid deposition" (2016-2017).


Research activities & awards

  1. Prion 2017

    Activity: Participating in or organising an event typesParticipation in conference

  2. Reviewer Grant Application, Children with Cancer UK

    Activity: Examination typesExternal Examiner or Assessor

  3. Reviewer Grant Application, Alzheimer’s Research UK

    Activity: Examination typesExternal Examiner or Assessor

View all (8) »

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