2019 – 2020 UCL HRA Supervisors
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Dr Nazif Alic

The Alic laboratory is interested in how changes in gene expression, specifically at the level of transcription, can alter animal physiology and improve health and survival in old age.

Dr Nazif Alic

How do transcriptional changes drive the plasticity of adult physiology, metabolism and lifespan? We are answering this question in the fruit fly using molecular, genetic and 'omic techniques.

Dr María Rodríguez-López

Dr. María Rodríguez-López received her PhD in Genetics and Cellular Biology from the University Complutense of Madrid in 2013. For the past years she has been working as a postdoctoral associate in Jürg Bähler’s lab at UCL. She is interested in the regulation of gene transcription, and applies a wide range of techniques to study this process in fission yeast.

Dr María Rodríguez-López

Bahler Lab
The Bahler lab is interested in genome regulation, ageing, quiescence and long non-coding RNAs. We use Fission yeast as a model organism to try to uncover how genomes are regulated.Currently we are undertaking a project to find the cellular functions of long non-coding RNAs and for that we have generated a library of ncRNA deletions (using crispr/Cas9) and overexpressions and we are studying the effects during ageing, differentiation and stress response.

Dr Cristina Cotobal Martin

I am Cristina Cotobal, holding a Senior Research Associate position in Prof. Jürg Bähler laboratory at UCL. I am interested in the study of cellular roles of long non coding RNAs (lncRNAs) using as model organism S. pombe. Despite not being translated into proteins, a growing number of studies reveal that some lncRNAs are functional molecules.

Dr Cristina Cotobal Martin

Bahler Lab
We have developed overexpression strains and seamless deletions (using a CRISPR/Cas9-based method) for ~120 intergenic lncRNAs. In order to assess cellular roles of lncRNAs, we are performing broad phenotypic screens with these mutant collections in over 120 conditions, including growth under
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Dr Kerri Kinghorn

My research seeks to understand the underlying pathogenic mechanisms of neurodegenerative disorders, such as Parkinson’s disease (PD) and Alzheimer’s disease (AD), using the fruit fly Drosophila melanogaster, as well as neuronal models of disease.

Dr Kerri Kinghorn

My research is focused on unravelling the underlying mechanisms linking genes involved in endosomal-lysosomal intracellular trafficking pathways and PD. In addition, using fly AD models, we have identified drugs that modulate lysosomal function to rescue Abeta-mediated neuropathology, offering novel therapeutic strategies in AD.
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Dr John Labbadia

My lab is focused on addressing two crucial questions: (1) how do cells maintain proteome integrity and (2) why do these mechanisms fail with age? By answering these questions, we aim to find ways to suppress protein aggregation in aged cells and identify novel therapeutic targets to combat age-associated protein conformational diseases, such as Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and Huntington’s disease.

Dr John Labbadia

To this end, we use a combination of genetic screening, molecular biology and in vivo fluorescent reporter systems in the nematode worm Caenorhabditis elegans. Through this approach, we are able to rapidly identify conserved genes and pathways that dictate the timing and severity of protein aggregation in various tissues as they age.
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Dr Teresa Niccoli

Our lab is interested in understanding the molecular mechanisms leading to neuronal cell death in dementia. Dementia's main risk factor is increasing age, and as the population ages the prevalence of this disease has rocketed, making it the leading cause of death in the UK.

Dr Teresa Niccoli

We use fruit fly models of dementia to understand disease progression. Fruit flies make excellent models to study this disease as they have well-defined brains, with similar cell types to human brains. They also don't live very long, allowing us to study disease progression throughout the whole lifespan of the organism which is very important in studying diseases affecting older population.
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Dr Nathan Woodling

Age is the primary risk factor for many neurodegenerative diseases including Alzheimer’s disease, yet little is known about how ageing predisposes the brain to disease. Recent evidence from my own work and other studies suggests that, among brain cell types, it is glial cells that may contribute most to ageing and whose gene expression changes most with age.

Dr Nathan Woodling

Patridge Lab
I use the fruit fly Drosophila melanogaster, whose neurons and glial cells closely parallel those of humans in their functions, as a simple system to study the role of different nervous system cell types in ageing and neurodegenerative diseases. I use a combination of genetics, behavioural analysis, imaging techniques, and molecular biology to study how age-related changes in different cell types contribute to brain ageing and disease.
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Dr Yuan Zhao

Yuan is a postdoctorate researcher in the David Gems laboratory. She is interested in the interaction between food/pathogen and ageing in the nematode C. elegans. She is currently working on how different pro-longevity pathways affect worm susceptibility to bacteria, including genetic dietary restriction, insulin IGF signalling and autophagy.

Dr Yuan Zhao

Gems Lab
The David Gems laboratory is currently focussed on understanding the biological mechanisms that cause pathologies of ageing, and how such pathologies lead to mortality; and how reduced insulin/IGF-1 signalling and dietary restriction suppress ageing and increase lifespan. Other interests include the mechanisms of organismal death, sex differences in the biology of ageing, the role of the microbiome in ageing, evolutionary conservation of mechanisms of ageing, and bioethical implications of ageing research. Their work is largely funded by the European Union and the Wellcome Trust.