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


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.


Benjamin Aleyakpo

Research Technician

I graduated from University of Lagos in Nigeria in 2008. I completed my Master's of Science in University of East London in 2012. I obtained my PhD in Molecular Neuroscience from University of East London in 2017 using Drosophila as a model of ethanol-related behaviours. In my current role I contribute to exploring the exciting possibilities of Drosophila model of neurodegenerative diseases.


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


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.


Dongwei Xu

Master's 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 MRes project, I am exploring the role of ketone body metabolism in the development of Frontotemporal Dementia and Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis. 


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. 


Bianca Manu 
MSci Student 

During these past three years at UCL, I developed a strong interest and curiosity for the biology and genetics of ageing, particularly in relation to neurodegenerative diseases. I joined Dr. Niccoli’s lab as part of my final year on the Human Genetics MSci. My research focuses on energy metabolism in neurodegeneration: I am using a C9orf72 repeat expansion Drosophila model of Frontotemporal Dementia to study the role of lactate as a metabolic modifier. I am enjoying learning Drosophila-related techniques and contributing to the greater research effort in Dr. Niccoli’s lab.