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

A brain-penetrant microtubule-targeting agent that disrupts hallmarks of glioma tumorigenesis.
(2021 Jan-Dec)
Neurooncol Adv 3(1): vdaa165
Horne EA, Diaz P, Cimino PJ, Jung E, Xu C, Hamel E, Wagenbach M, Kumasaka D, Wageling NB, Azorín DD, Winkler F, Wordeman LG, Holland EC, Stella N

Identification of α,β-Hydrolase Domain Containing Protein 6 as a Diacylglycerol Lipase in Neuro-2a Cells.
Front Mol Neurosci 12(): 286
van Esbroeck ACM, Kantae V, Di X, van der Wel T, den Dulk H, Stevens AF, Singh S, Bakker AT, Florea BI, Stella N, Overkleeft HS, Hankemeier T, van der Stelt M

Benzisothiazolinone Derivatives as Potent Allosteric Monoacylglycerol Lipase Inhibitors That Functionally Mimic Sulfenylation of Regulatory Cysteines.
(2020 Feb 13)
J Med Chem 63(3): 1261-1280
Castelli R, Scalvini L, Vacondio F, Lodola A, Anselmi M, Vezzosi S, Carmi C, Bassi M, Ferlenghi F, Rivara S, Møller IR, Rand KD, Daglian J, Wei D, Dotsey EY, Ahmed F, Jung KM, Stella N, Singh S, Mor M, Piomelli D

Sex-dependent impaired locomotion and motor coordination in the HdhQ200/200 mouse model of Huntington's Disease.
(2019 Dec)
Neurobiol Dis 132(): 104607
Cao JK, Viray K, Zweifel L, Stella N

GPR124 regulates microtubule assembly, mitotic progression, and glioblastoma cell proliferation.
(2019 Aug)
Glia 67(8): 1558-1570
Cherry AE, Vicente JJ, Xu C, Morrison RS, Ong SE, Wordeman L, Stella N

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