UCL Division of Biosciences

Prof William Richardson

Prof William Richardson

Professor of Biology

Wolfson Inst for Biomedical Research

Div of Medicine

Joined UCL
1st Oct 1985

Research summary

We study the biology of CNS stem cells and their neuronal and glial progeny, in order to better understand their roles in normal CNS physiology. Stem cells in the adult forebrain generate new neurons for the olfactory bulb and hippocampus throughout life. The role of these adult-born neurons is not clear, although they appear to be involved in some aspects of olfactory and spatial memory function. Another population of stem-like cells - known as NG2 cells - is distributed uniformly throughout the brain and spinal cord. These generate many new oligodendrocytes during adult life, raising the intriguing possibility that late-forming myelin might modify the properties of neural circuits and contribute to neural plasticity. We found recently that NG2 cells also generate small numbers of projection neurons in the piriform cortex (primary olfactory cortex), raising further questions about adult neurogenesis and its potential role in plasticity. With collaborators at UCL and in the USA, we are also investigating the development of CNS glial cells (oligodendrocytes and astrocytes) and their interactions with one another and with neurons. We specialize in the use of transgenic mouse technology to manipulate cells of interest in vivo. We also use chick, zebrafish and cell culture models where appropriate.

Teaching summary

I teach undergraduate (2nd and 3rd year) and MSc level lectures. I supervise postgraduate (PhD) research students.


King's College London
Doctorate, Doctor of Philosophy | 1977
University of Manchester
First Degree, Bachelor of Science (Honours) | 1973