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Teresa Niccoli

I joined the Institute of Healthy Ageing at UCL as a Senior ARUK Fellow in 2019. I completed my PhD with Paul Nurse at Cancer Research UK, studying cell polarity and microtubule dynamics in the yeast S. pombe. I continued investigating cell polarity at the Gurdon Institute in Cambridge with Daniel St. Johnston. I then took a 5-year career break to look after my two sons. In 2010 I resumed my scientific career by joining Linda Partridge's lab at UCL to work on Drosophila models of neurodegeneration and continued this work in Adrian Isaac's laboratory at the Dementia Research Institute UCL.

Academic Background



King's College London

Masters in Medical Ethics and Law


University College London

Doctor of Philosophy in Cell Biology


Cambridge University

BA in Natural Sciences

Lab Members


Dunxin Shen

Postdoctoral Researcher

Originally from China, I went to the United States for my PhD degree in pharmaceutical sciences at Washington State University and graduated in 2020. My PhD project was focusing on designing and synthesizing small molecules for the potential treatment of neurodegenerative diseases, where I got in touch with fruit flies for the first time, using them as disease models to test the pharmacological effects of my synthesized molecules. Realizing that fruit fly is a powerful, efficient while economical tool, I joined as a research fellow in 2021 to focus on utilizing fruit flies to trace the transcriptomic changes in each single brain cell caused by the C9orf72 expansion mutation. 


Katharina Wenz

PhD Student

I moved to the UK from Germany at the age of 14 to complete my school education. I then moved to London to study biological sciences in UCL. Throughout my undergraduate degree I was interested in a broad range of biology related topics and only specialised to focus on ageing research in my final MSci year. For my PhD, under the co-supervision of Dr Frances Wiseman (Institute of Neurology) and Dr Niccoli, I am investigating Aβ toxicity in Down Syndrome model using fruit fly and human clinical and genetic datasets.


Sharifah Zahra binti Anoar

PhD Student

I completed my Bachelor’s degree in Biomedical Science at International Islamic University Malaysia (IIUM), Malaysia. I realised I have keen interest in Neuroscience which then I decided to do Master’s degree in Neuroscience at King’s College London, UK. Doing master’s degree further sparked my interest in the study of neurodegenerative diseases which takes me to pursue PhD here in Niccoli Lab. I am investigating the toxicity associated with the hexanucleotide repeat expansion found in the C9orf72 (C9) gene which is commonly found in FTD/ALS and use Drosophila as an animal model system.


Benjamin Aleyakpo

Research Technician



Mirjam Adams

Master's Student



Scott Wilson

Summer Student



Suifan Yang

Master's Student



Neina Motoki

Master's Student


Marcus Yong Sin Kiat.jpg

Marcus Yong Sin Kiat

Undergraduate Volunteer



Caitlin Barton-Sargeant

Undergraduate Volunteer


Margot Jacobs.JPG

Margot Jacobs

Master's Student


Past Members


Dongwei Xu

PhD Student

During my undergraduate study at the University of Edinburgh, I got fascinated by the molecular mechanisms underlying the pathogenesis of neurodegenerative diseases. For my PhD project, I am exploring the role of metformin as a therapeutics for Alzheimer's disease. 


Bianca Manu 
MSci Student 



Farah Mahiddine

Master's Student

I graduated in 2021 with a Bachelor's degree in Neuroscience from King's College London, where I developed a keen interest in elucidating the molecular and cellular mechanisms that underlie neurodegeneration. Seeing as Drosophila are such a powerful model system, responsible for numerous key developments, I was eager to work with them in the study of neurodegeneration. This led me to discover and join the Niccoli lab for my MRes project, where I am currently working on identifying the neuronal and glial populations that are vulnerable and resistant to C9orf72-associated toxicity


Harry Lau

Master's Student

I completed my undergraduate degree in Biomedical Sciences at University of Southampton, where I became particularly interested in neurodegenerative diseases. This has led me to undertake a Master’s degree in Dementia (Neuroscience) at UCL, where I am currently completing my research project in the Niccoli Lab. I am investigating the effects of chromosome 21 orthologous genes on amyloid-β aggregation and toxicity in Drosophila, and how this relates to early-onset Alzheimer’s disease in people with Down syndrome. 

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