David G. Nicholls, PhD, Professor

Mitochondrial function and the life and death of cells

David Nicholls has researched mitochondrial function for almost 50 years and has more than 280 publications. He is perhaps best known as the author (with Stuart Ferguson) of the standard textbook ‘Bioenergetics’, the 4th edition of which was published in 2013. He is known in addition for his discovery of the original uncoupling protein, UCP1, for work on mitochondrial calcium transport and isolated nerve terminals and for his research into mitochondrial dysfunction in nerve cells. Most recently he has been investigating novel control mechanisms for insulin secretion. 

David established the Bioenergetics laboratory at the Buck in 2000 before handing it over to Martin Brand in 2008. He retains a part-time position in the Institute and spends 3-4 months a year there at the bench helping to develop novel techniques to investigate in situ mitochondrial bioenergetics. For the rest of the year he is based in Lund, Sweden and travels extensively around the World lecturing and teaching. He recently appeared on the Swedish Television Educational Channel giving an introduction (in English) to the mitochondrion for non-specialists:

Dr. Nicholls received his Ph.D., in Biochemistry from the University of Bristol, England. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh and holder of the 2008 Mitchell Memorial Medal from the European Bioenergetics Congress.

Phone: 415-209-2095
Research Support Manager: Eduardo Meza
Phone: 415-209-2082


Recent Publications


David G Nicholls, Eduardo Rial... Eduardo Rial "A novel regulatory mechanism for the brown-fat uncoupling protein?" Nat. Struct. Mol. Biol. 23:5 364-5
Shona A Mookerjee, David G Nicholls... Martin D Brand "Determining Maximum Glycolytic Capacity Using Extracellular Flux Measurements." PLoS ONE 11:3 e0152016
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