UCL Division of Biosciences


Dr Teresa Niccoli

Senior Research Fellow

Genetics, Evolution & Environment

Div of Biosciences

Joined UCL
27th Sep 2010

Research summary

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.


Teaching summary


University College London
Other Postgraduate qualification (including professional), ATQ02 - Recognised by the HEA as an Associate Fellow | 2018
King's College London
Other higher degree, Master of Arts | 2009
University College London
Doctorate, Doctor of Philosophy | 2002


I am an ARUK Senior Research Fellow at the Institute of Healthy Ageing (IHA) in the Department of Genetics, Evolution and Environment (GEE). 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 the Institute of Healthy Ageing (IHA) at UCL to work on Drosophila models of neurodegenerative diseases and then moved to Adrian Isaacs laboratory at the Dementia Research Centre at UCL. 


In January 2019 I came back to the IHA to start my own group working on Drosophila models of dementia.