Nikolas Nikolaou
  • 4 SOUTH 0.42

Accepting Doctoral Students

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Personal profile

Research interests

We are interested in elucidating some of the fundamental molecular and cellular mechanisms that drive neural circuit formation during developmental periods, how neural connections are maintained during life, and how such processes are mis-regulated in certain neurological disease conditions.


The lab primarily uses the zebrafish as a model system and there are currently two active areas of research:

(i) linking the structure of molecularly defined neuronal populations to their function.

(ii) examining the role of local RNA metabolism during establishment and maintenance of neuronal connectivity.


Neural circuit function and ultimately animal behaviour depend on the precise formation of synaptic connections in the brain. However, there is a staggering complexity in the way neuron wiring is established during development. The first project aims to shed light into the mechanisms that allow subtype specific connections in the brain. To achieve that, we are molecularly defining classes of neurons through single-cell RNA sequencing. We then use CRISPR/cas9 and transgenesis tools to label individual subtypes of neurons with the aim to characterise their functional response properties and reveal novel connectivity mechanisms.

Another area of research in the lab is focused on investigating the contribution of local RNA metabolism in axons and dendrites to neural wiring. We have recently shown that U1-70K/SNRNP70, a major spliceosome factor, localises in axons where it regulates the axonal transcriptome and the establishment of synaptic connections. We are now exploring the mechanisms by which local transcriptome composition is regulated by such splicing regulators and how local mRNA processing influences the establishment and maintenance of neuronal connectivity. We are also exploring how changes in the distribution and localisation of many RNA-binding proteins contribute to neurological disease.


Broad research specialisms:

Generating zebrafish models using CRISPR/cas9 and transgenesis techniques

Grafting/transplantation of cells or tissues

Transcriptomic profiling of neurons

High content functional imaging techniques

Analysis of animal behaviour  



Willing to supervise doctoral students

We are always open to students interested in neuronal development. PhD funded projects in the lab will appear here when become available. Postdocs interested in joining our lab are also wellcomed and advised to contact me directly well in advance.

Education/Academic qualification

Anatomy and Developmental Biology, Doctor of Philosophy, University College London


Biology, Bachelor of Science, University of Crete


External positions

Postdoctoral Research Associate, King's College London



  • Neurobiology
  • RNA metabolism
  • Zebrafish
  • Neural circuits
  • Axonal growth
  • Synapse formation
  • Brain development


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