Diego Iacono, MD PhD

Diego Iacono, MD PhD

Name: Diego Iacono, MD PhD

USU Department of Primary Appointment: 
Deputy Director Brain Tissue Repository and Neuropathology Core, CNRM, USU
Faculty Rank: 
Associate Professor
Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences, Bethesda, MD

Research Interests:
Traumatic brain injury (TBI), TBI-related Neuropsychiatric disorders, Dementias, Movement Disorders, Clinical Trials
Animal modeling, Molecular mechanisms, Drug Discovery

Office Phone: 
(301) 319-0649


Dr. Iacono received his medical degree (MD) and PhD in Neuroscience from the Catholic University of the Sacred Heart, Gemelli Hospital, Rome, Italy. He then completed his residency in Neurology in Italy, which included clinical training periods at the Pitié-Salpêtrière University Hospital in Paris, France, and at the National Hospital for Neurology and Neurosurgery, London, UK. During his clinical and research training Dr. Iacono focused on general neurology and neurological emergencies with a special focus on neurodegenerative diseases and especially dementias and movement disorders. He conducted numerous early-phase drug international clinical trials. After his clinical and research training in Europe, Dr. Iacono received post-residency training in clinical and experimental neuropathology at Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, MD. At Johns Hopkins University, he began to study and publish novel data related to normal and pathologic aging using clinical, imaging, genetic and neuropathologic correlative analyses of subjects enrolled in historical longitudinal studies of aging such as the Baltimore Longitudinal Study of Aging (BLSA) and the Nun Study.


After his post-residency training at Johns Hopkins University, Dr. Iacono was called to direct the Brain Bank of the Karolinska Institutet in Stockholm, Sweden. At Karolinska Institutet, Dr. Iacono expanded his research on neurodegenerative diseases examining and comparing brains of identical and fraternal twins belonging to the Swedish Twin Study of Aging. He then founded a brain bank and directed the Neuropathology Research activities of the Biomedical Research Institute of New Jersey (BRInj) and Atlantic Health System (AHS), NJ. Concurrently, he was appointed as Associate Professor in the Department of Neurology at the Icahn School of Medicine, Mount Sinai Hospital, NY City, NY.
In 2016, on the behalf of the Henry M. Jackson Foundation for the Advancement of Military Medicine (HJF), Dr. Iacono joined the Center for Neuroscience and Regenerative Medicine (CNRM) at the Uniformed Services University (USU), Bethesda, MD as Research Associate Professor, where he was also appointed Deputy Director of the Brain Tissue Repository (BTR) and Neuropathology Core. In 2017 he obtained a Faculty appointment at USU as Associate Professor in the Departments of Neurology and Pathology (Neuropathology).
As Deputy Director of BTR and Neuropathology Core at CNRM-USU, Dr. Iacono is contributing to establishing and expanding the first brain bank and neuropathology research center in the world fully dedicated to the study of TBI and TBI-related neuropsychiatric consequences in military personnel. One of the main goals of Dr. Iacono's research is to investigate short- and long-term effects on the brain of TBI and TBI-related neuropsychiatric sequelae in military personnel. In addition, Dr. Iacono is expanding his clinical and experimental research activities collaborating and initiating multiple collaborative grant-funded studies that include imaging-genetic-pathologic correlations in subjects with a history of single-TBI, repetitive-TBI and TBI-related neurodegenerative diseases with a special emphasis on neuropsychiatric-neuropathological correlates. Dr. Iacono has recently established his own translational neuropathology lab to perform more for basic research investigations using human tissues, rodents, and other animal models (e.g. ferret, swine) to identify precise molecular aspects and better understand pathophysiological mechanisms, and timing, of TBI and TBI-related conditions (including dementias, movement disorders and epilepsy).
In 2017, Dr. Iacono has been appointed as Research Collaborator at the Neurodegenerative Clinics, NINDS, NIH, Bethesda, MD, where he will collaborate to different research studies examining subjects with various type of neurodegenerative conditions, especially those with a diagnosis of FTD, ALS-FTD, PD and DLB and history of TBI.

Representative publications, projects, and/or deployments

  • MRI-Neuropathology Correlations (USU-Harvard University-Mount Sinai Icahn School of Medicine, and USU-CNRM-NIH collaborations
  • RepetitiveTBI (CNRM Brain collection), BlastTBI (CNRM brain collection), Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) (CNRM brain collection and USU-CNRM-Duke collaboration)
  • CTE and Co-occurring Brain Pathologies; Quantitative Neuropathology (Neurostereology)
  • TBI and Neurodegeneration (Early-onset dementias, parkinsonisms, FTD, ALS)
  • Tau pathology mechanisms and therapeutics (USU-UCSF)
  • Guam disease (3-diseases with a common cause project), Department of Pathology, USU Guam Brain collection
  • Twin Brains Study