UCL Division of Biosciences

Dr John Labbadia

Dr John Labbadia


Genetics, Evolution & Environment

Div of Biosciences

Joined UCL
1st May 2017

Research summary

The ability to preserve proteome integrity is essential for the long-term health of all cells. Numerous physiological and environmental conditions promote protein misfolding and damage, which can result in the appearance of protein aggregates. This is often referred to as a loss of protein homeostasis (proteostasis), and is highly detrimental. Therefore, cells have evolved a network of highly conserved protein quality control and stress response pathways that cooperate to prevent the appearance and persistence of misfolded and damaged proteins across the cell.

My lab uses the nematode worm Caenorhabditis elegans to understand how signals that promote growth, development, and reproduction early in life, influence proteostasis across tissues. Using a combination of molecular biology, genetics, and high-throughput methods, we study the impact of these pathways on ageing and disease susceptibility. Our ultimate goal is to identify new targets that can be manipulated pharmacologically to improve long-term human health. 

Teaching summary

I act as a tutor on the Topics in Current Research module (BIOL0036) and lecture on the Biology of Ageing (BIOL022), and Diseases of Ageing (BIOL0027), modules. I also run the Year 2 Core Skills module (BIOL0015) with Elvira Mambetisaeva.


University College London
Other Postgraduate qualification (including professional), Fellowship | 2017
Northwestern University
Other Postgraduate qualification (including professional), Post Doctoral Qualification | 2012
King's College London
Doctorate, Doctor of Philosophy | 2011


I received my PhD in 2011 from King’s College London, where I worked in Gill Bates’ laboratory to understand how protein quality control pathways are dysregulated in Huntington’s disease. In 2012, I was awarded an ALS Association post-doctoral fellowship to establish an independent research programme in the laboratory of Rick Morimoto, at Northwestern University, USA. While there, I adopted the small nematode worm Caenorhabditis elegans as a model system to determine the basic mechanisms that underlie changes in protein homeostasis during ageing. In 2017, I moved to UCL to start my laboratory, supported by a BBSRC David Phillips Fellowship. My group currently combines genetics, high-throughput approaches, and molecular biology, to find pathways that regulate protein homeostasis with age, thereby identifying novel targets to promote healthy human ageing.