Dr Zsuzsanna Nagy MD, MA, DPhil

Image of Dr Zsuzsa Nagy

Institute of Inflammation and Ageing
Senior Lecturer

Contact details

Institute of Inflammation and Ageing
College of Medical and Dental Sciences
University of Birmingham
B15 2TT

Zsuzsanna Nagy is a Senior Lecturer in the Neurotrauma Research Group. 

Zsuzsanna has published over 50 research papers in scientific journals as well as reviews and book chapters in the fields of Alzheimer’s disease and related neurodegenerative diseases. Her grant income is partly from charitable organisations partly from industry. 

She is an enthusiastic communicator on different topics relating to dementia and gives frequent talks to various groups at both the local and national level. 

You can see Dr Nagy in action in the clip below where she gives a talk entitled "815,827 Dementia patients in the UK - and counting!" at a TEDx event. (This event used the TED conference format but was independently organised by a local community.) Learn more at http://ted.com/tedx.


  • DPhil, 1995
  • MD, 1989


Zsuzsanna Nagy qualified as an MD from the Medical School in Tirgu Mures Romania in 1989.  She started research as student research assistant in her third year of medical studies. The main topic of her interest was the development of the central nervous system, with special interest in the teratogenic effect of some hypnotic drugs. Following the completion of her internship in 1991 she has returned to research as a visiting scientist in the Human Anatomy Department of Oxford University. The following year marked a pivotal change in her research career – from CNS development she went on to study neurodegeneration. She has joined the Oxford Project to Investigate Memory and Ageing (OPTIMA) in 1992 and completed her DPhil under the supervision of Professors Margaret Esiri and David Smith on Alzheimer’s disease in 1995. Since then she is working on the pathogenic mechanisms of Alzheimer’s disease, novel biomarker development and early stage drug discovery for disease-modifying drugs. In 2004 she has moved to Birmingham University Medical School.

Her work on the involvement of the cell cycle in neurodegenerative diseases was groundbreaking and started a new chapter in the history of neurodegeneration research.

She has several patents covering novel biomarkers and therapeutic interventions for Alzheimer’s disease.

Clinica’s Business Editor Madeleine Armstrong spoke to several high-profile women in medtech about whether women are underrepresented at high levels in medical device companies and the potential reasons for this, as well as the specific challenges they have faced as a woman in this industry. In the clip below you can hear what Dr Nagy had to say on the matter.


Teaching Programmes

Postgraduate supervision

Zsuzsanna is interested in supervising doctoral research students in the following area:

  • The role of cell cycle related molecules in the pathogenesis of Alzheimer’s disease and related disorders.

If you are interesting in studying in this subject area please contact Zsuzsanna on the contact details above, or for any general doctoral research enquiries, please email: dr@contacts.bham.ac.uk or call +44 (0)121 414 5005.

For a full list of available Doctoral Research opportunities, please visit our Doctoral Research programme listings.   


Dr Nagy discusses recent publication


Neurodegeneration, preclinical drug screening, biomarkers and risk factors for neurodegenerative diseases


The role of cell cycle activation in neurodegenerative diseases

The main emphasis of her work over the last 15 years has been on the role of cell cycle reactivation in the pathogenesis of Alzheimer’s disease (AD) and related disorders. This work ranged from the examination of cell cycle related gene expression in neurones of AD patients and controls to functional analysis of mutations of cell cycle regulatory genes associated with Alzheimer’s disease.  She was the first to put forward the unified hypothesis for the role of cell cycle related phenomena in neurodegenerative disorders in 1998 and carried on further refining aspects of this working hypothesis.

Her studies on cell cycle related pathways and genes associated with AD led to the development of a functional blood based biomarker for Alzheimer’s disease and the identification of novel genetic risk factors.

The identification of the cell cycle as a primary target for therapy was quickly followed by identification and preclinical screening of potentially disease-modifying drugs.

Dr Zsuzsanna Nagy discusses her recent publication:

Other activities

  • Zsuzsa is a founder and Scientific Director of CytOx Ltd, a spin-out company from The Universities of Oxford and Birmingham
  • She is also the President elect (2015-2017) of the Lichfield Science and Engineering Society


Yates SC, Zafar A, Rabai EM, Foxall JB, Nagy S, Morrison KE, Clarke C, Esiri MM, Christie S, Smith AD and Nagy Z (2015) The effects of two polymorphisms on p21cip1 function and their association with Alzheimer’s disease in a population of European descent. PLoS One 10(1):e0114050

Gharanei S, Zatyka M, Astuti D, Fenton J, Sik A, Nagy Z and Barrett TG (2013) Vacuolar-type H+-ATPase V1A subunit is a molecular partner of Wolfram syndrome 1 (WFS1) protein, which regulates its expression and stability. Hum Mol Genet 22(2):203-17

Yates SC, Zafar A, Hubbard P, Nagy S, Durant S, Bicknell R, Wilcock G, Christie S, Esiri MM, Smith AD and Nagy Z (2013) Dysfunction of the mTOR pathway is a risk factor for Alzheimer’s disease. Acta Neuropathol Commun 1:3

Dore GA, Elias MF, Robbins MA, Elias PK and Nagy Z (2009) Presence of the ApoE-ε4 allele modifies the relation between Type 2 diabetes and cognitive performance: The Maine-Syracuse Study. Diabetologia 52(12):2551-60

Elias MF, Robbins MA, Budge MM, Elias PK, Dore GA, Brennan SL, Johnston C and Nagy Z (2008) Homocysteine and cognitive performance: Modification by the ApoE genotype. Neurosci Lett 430(1):64-9 

Nagy Z (2007) The dysregulation of the cell cycle and the diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease. Biochim Biophys Acta 1772(4):402-8

Hubbard PS, Esiri MM, Reading M, McShane R and Nagy Z (2007) Alpha-Synuclein Pathology in the Olfactory Pathways of Dementia Patients. J Anat 211(1):117-24

Elias MF, Robbins MA, Budge MM, Elias PK, Brennan SL, Johnston C, Nagy Z and Bates CJ (2006) Homocysteine, folate and vitamin B6 blood levels in relation to cognitive performance: The Maine-Syracuse Study. Psychosom Med 68(4):547–54

Milwain EJ and Nagy Z (2005) Depressive symptoms increase the likelihood of cognitive impairment in elderly people with sub-clinical Alzheimer pathology. Dement Geriatr Cogn Disord 19(1):46-50

Nagy Z (2005) The last neuronal division: a unifying hypothesis for the pathogenesis of Alzheimer’s disease. J Cell Mol Med 9(3):531-41

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