Diego Iacono

M.D., Ph.D.

Department of Primary Appointment:
School of Medicine
Deputy Director DoD/USU Brain Tissue Repository
Location: 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


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, 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 publish novel data related to normal and pathologic aging using clinical, neuroimaging, genetic and neuropathologic findings obtained from 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 2015, 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. He also obtained a Faculty appointment at USU as Associate Professor in the Departments of Neurology, Pathology (Neuropathology), and Neuroscience.
As Deputy Director of BTR and Neuropathology Core at CNRM-USU, Dr. Iacono is contributing to establishing the first brain bank in the world and neuropathology research center 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 correlate 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 correlations. Dr. Iacono has recently established his own translational neuropathology lab to perform more basic research studies using human and animal tissues (e.g. rodents, ferret, swine). His research activities aim to identify molecular aspects, pathophysiological mechanisms, and pathophysiological timing of TBI and TBI-related conditions (including dementias, movement disorders, and epilepsy).
Dr. Iacono has been also appointed Research Collaborator at the Neurodegenerative Clinics, NINDS, NIH, Bethesda, MD, where he collaborates to different clinical research studies evaluating subjects with various types of neurodegenerative conditions such as FTD, ALS-FTD, PD and DLB with history of TBI.

Representative publications, projects, and/or deployments

MRI-Neuropathology Correlations (USU-Harvard University-Mount Sinai Icahn School of Medicine project; USU-CNRM-NIH MRI histology project)

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