David G. Nicholls, PhD, Professor Emeritus

Mitochondrial function and the life and death of cells

David Nicholls has researched mitochondrial function for 50 years and has more than 300 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 critically reviewed current hypotheses for the control of insulin secretion and has contributed novel techniques to the field. 

David established the Bioenergetics laboratory at the Buck in 2000 before handing it over to Martin Brand in 2008. Until 2016 he retained a part-time position in the Institute, spending 3-4 months a year there at the bench helping to develop novel techniques to investigate in situ mitochondrial bioenergetics. Since July 2106 he has attained emeritus status, meaning that he continues to contribute to the scientific output of the Institute while being based in Lund, Sweden, where he collaborates with the Lund University Diabetes Center.

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


Recent Publications


Malin Fex, Lisa M Nicholas... Hindrik Mulder "The pathogenetic role of β-cell mitochondria in type 2 diabetes." J. Endocrinol. 236:3 R145-R159
David G Nicholls, ... David G Nicholls "Fluorescence Measurement of Mitochondrial Membrane Potential Changes in Cultured Cells." Methods Mol. Biol. 1782 121-135
Change text size: