Dequina Nicholas

Principal Investigator

CV Download

Fun Fact: Was an acrobat in undergrad and her favorite color is pink.

Dr. Dequina Nicholas is an Assistant Professor at the University of California Irvine in the Department of Molecular Biology and Biochemistry. The Nicholas lab studies the intersection of the nutrient environment, the immune system, and metabolic disease using a combination of molecular and cellular biology, transgenic mouse models, cytokine profiling, and flow cytometry. Dr. Nicholas’s work focuses on how the immune system and cellular metabolism impacts endocrine diseases, particularly type 2 diabetes and polycystic ovary syndrome. Dr. Nicholas received her Ph.D in biochemistry from Loma Linda University and pursued postdoctoral training in the laboratory of Dr. Barbara Nikolajczyk at Boston University, studying the metabolism of immune cells from patients with type 2 diabetes. Dr. Nicholas also trained in the laboratories of Drs. Mark Lawson and Pamela Mellon. During that time, Dr. Nicholas established the importance of glucose metabolism in reproduction and discovered a population of immune cells in the pituitary that regulate the reproductive axis. Dr. Nicholas has received the NIH Director’s New Innovator Award from NIAID to fund her “immunoendocrine” lab where her mission is to train the next generation of diverse scientists and cure Type 2 Diabetes. She is passionate about changing the culture of science to valuing diversity and inclusivity. She is the Associate Director for the UCI KL-2 program, and in this role is supporting the development of a University-wide junior faculty mentoring program that increases retention and success of minoritized scholars. She has a passion for first-generation scientists and founded 1stGenInSTEM to curate a consolidated resource that demystifies the “Hidden Curriculum” for students who are the first in their families to pursue STEM higher education. Dr. Nicholas advocates for bringing your authentic and whole self to science through sharing the ups and downs of being a new PI, a mom, and minority scholar on TikTok (@NicholasLab) and Twitter (@QuinaScience).

Learn more about Dr. Nicholas’s journey in science from featured interviews by Stem Cell Technologies, the Endocrine Society, and UCI.

Upcoming Engagements


Jan 22, Talk at Seattle Children’s Hospital
Feb 2, Talk at Eastern Washington University
Feb 5-7,  Talk at Stanford University, CA
March 2, UC LEADS poster judge, UCSD, La Jolla CA
March 14, Talk at World Minds, Zurich Switzerland
March 20, Talk at Louisiana State University Health Sciences
May 2 -7, IMMUNOLOGY2024, Annual Meeting of AAI, Chicago
June 1-4, ENDO2024, Annual Meeting of the Endocrine Society, Boston
June 16-21 Speaker, Basic and Translational Cellular Metabolism in Immunity and Immunological Diseases, Gordon Research Conference Rhode Island
July 28- 2 Speaker, Hypothalamus, Gordon Research Conference Maine