Nephi Stella, PhD

Personal Statement

My laboratory studies the therapeutic value and molecular mechanism of action of drugs targeting the cannabinoid signaling system. Our goal is to develop novel treatments for brain deficits and cognitive impairment linked to neurodegeneration (Huntington’s disease) and drug addiction. We are particularly interested in the cannabinoid signaling system expressed by medium spiny neurons (MSN), a neuronal cell population affected in both diseases.

To understand how cannabinoid receptors and their endogenous ligands, the endocannabinoids, control fundamental functions of MSN under healthy and disease states, we leverages a broad array of analytical approaches and molecular technics. Thus, over the years, my laboratory has acquired expertise in analytical chemistry (especially measuring drugs and lipids by GC-MS and LC-MS, and more recently proteins by SILAC), pharmacology (especially the pharmacodynamics characteristics of compounds acting at GPCR), biochemistry (second messengers and enzymatic activities), molecular biology (subcloning and genetic manipulations of protein expression), cell phenotype (gene arrays and qPCR), cell viability (both using metabolism and cell integrity-based assays), semi-quantitative immunocytochemistry and immunohistochemistry, pharmacokinetics, safety and toxicology and animal behavior (motor and motivated: e.g. drug sensitization and CPP).

Department Affiliations

Recent Publications

Mitosis exit followed by death in interphase prevents the development of polyploid giant cancer cells.
(2023 Sep 1)
Vicente JJ, Khan K, Tillinghast G, McFaline-Figueroa JL, Sancak Y, Stella N

ABHD6 and MAGL control 2-AG levels in the PAG and allodynia in a CSD-induced periorbital model of headache.
Front Pain Res (Lausanne) 4(): 1171188
Liktor-Busa E, Levine AA, Palomino SM, Singh S, Wahl J, Vanderah TW, Stella N, Largent-Milnes TM

The serine hydrolase ABHD6 controls survival and thermally induced seizures in a mouse model of Dravet syndrome.
(2023 May)
Neurobiol Dis 180(): 106099
Westenbroek R, Kaplan J, Viray K, Stella N

Pharmacological characterization of the endocannabinoid sensor GRAB (eCB2.0).
(2023 Mar 6)
Singh S, Sarroza D, English A, McGrory M, Dong A, Zweifel L, Land BB, Li Y, Bruchas MR, Stella N

Design, synthesis, and evaluation of substituted alkylindoles that activate G protein-coupled receptors distinct from the cannabinoid CB(1) and CB(2) receptors.
(2023 Mar 5)
Eur J Med Chem 249(): 115123
Kline T, Xu C, Kreitzer FR, Hurst DP, Eldeeb KM, Wager-Miller J, Olivas K, Hepburn SA, Huffman JW, Mackie K, Howlett AC, Reggio P, Stella N

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