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

Haploinsufficiency of phosphodiesterase 10A activates PI3K/AKT signaling independent of PTEN to induce an aggressive glioma phenotype.
(2024 Apr 17)
Genes Dev 38(5-6): 273-288
Nuechterlein N, Shelbourn A, Szulzewsky F, Arora S, Casad M, Pattwell S, Merino-Galan L, Sulman E, Arowa S, Alvinez N, Jung M, Brown D, Tang K, Jackson S, Stoica S, Chittaboina P, Banasavadi-Siddegowda YK, Wirsching HG, Stella N, Shapiro L, Paddison P, Patel AP, Gilbert MR, Abdullaev Z, Aldape K, Pratt D, Holland EC, Cimino PJ

P2X(7) receptor-dependent increase in endocannabinoid 2-arachidonoyl glycerol production by neuronal cells in culture: Dynamics and mechanism.
(2024 Apr 6)
Br J Pharmacol
Singh S, Sarroza D, English A, Whittington D, Dong A, Malamas M, Makriyannis A, van der Stelt M, Li Y, Zweifel L, Bruchas MR, Land BB, Stella N

A preclinical model of THC edibles that produces high-dose cannabimimetic responses.
(2024 Jan 12)
Elife 12():
English A, Uittenbogaard F, Torrens A, Sarroza D, Slaven AVE, Piomelli D, Bruchas MR, Stella N, Land BB

Pharmacological Characterization of the Endocannabinoid Sensor GRAB(eCB2.0).
(2023 Dec 8)
Cannabis Cannabinoid Res
Singh S, Sarroza D, English A, McGrory M, Dong A, Zweifel L, Land BB, Li Y, Bruchas MR, Stella N

Mitosis exit followed by death in interphase prevents the development of polyploid giant cancer cells.
(2023 Oct 5)
Vicente JJ, Khan K, Tillinghast G, McFaline-Figueroa JL, Sancak Y, Stella N

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