Genetics, Evolution and Environment


Dr Teresa Niccoli

Dr Teresa Niccoli


UCL Institute of Healthy Ageing
Department of Genetics, Evolution and Environment


  • Senior Research Associate
    Genetics, Evolution & Environment
    Div of Biosciences

Joined UCL


Research Themes

My lab is interested in understanding the molecular mechanisms leading to neuronal cell death in dementia and, in particular, the role of glucose metabolism in this process. Our brains consume 20% of our body’s energy, however, nerve cells can’t store energy or use fat as a fuel so they have to generate all their energy from sugar. The brain has complex molecular mechanisms to ensure a constant supply of sugar to nerve cells, but in people with dementia this system gradually breaks down as disease progresses.  


I investigate this question in Drosophila models of Alzheimer’s disease and Fronto Temporal Dementia. Fruit-flies make excellent models to study dementia as they have a well defined brain and don’t live very long, allowing us to study disease progression throughout their whole lifespan.

Award year Qualification Institution
2018 AFHEA
ATQ02 - Recognised by the HEA as an Associate Fellow
Teaching and Learning in Higher Education
University College London
2009 MA
Master of Arts
Medical Ethics
King's College London
2002 PhD
Doctor of Philosophy
Cell Biology
University College London

I am an ARUK Senior Research Fellow at the Institute of Healthy Ageing. I obtained my PhD in 2002 from the laboratory of Paul Nurse at Cancer Research UK, investigating cell polarity in the yeast S. pombe. I then joined the laboratory of Daniel St Johnson at the Gurdon Institute in Cambridge as a Beit Memorial Fellow, looking at polarity during Drosophila oogenesis. I then took a career break to look after my two sons and completed a Master’s in Medical Ethics and Law at King’s College, London in 2009.

In 2010 I joined the laboratory of Prof Linda Partridge at UCL to work on Drosophila models of neurodegenerative diseases and then moved to Adrian Isaacs laboratory at the Dementia Research Centre at UCL.