Developmental Biology Program
Dr. Bellipanni’s laboratory employs the non-mammalian vertebrate, zebrafish, as animal model for two main projects.
1. Modeling nociception in the zebrafish.
2. Roles of canonical-Wnt/b-catenin pathway in the specification of dorso-ventral axis, neurogenesis and cancer in the zebrafish.
The zebrafish has emerged in the past few years as an ideal animal model to study the basic events leading to embryo development as well as modeling human diseases. These embryos are translucent and fast growing and suitable for classical embryological studies as well as more complex approaches. These characteristics make them one of the best models for genetic studies, suitable for both direct and reverse genetic experiments.
Specific research projects:
- We aim to establish an in vivo assay to detect the response of different noxious stimuli in the PNS of the zebrafish that will allow us to understand the major nociceptive pathways, it will provide a better system to dissect neuronal networks involved in sensing noxious stimuli and use it as screening tool to identify novel compounds with analgesic activity.
- We aim to elucidate the regulation of canonical-Wnt/b-catenin pathway at molecular level. This pathway regulates the induction of the dorsal axis and induction, patterning and specification of the central nervous system in the Zebrafish embryo. However, the miss-regulation of the same pathway in adult animals is responsible for cancer induction and progression. We are gaining more insight on the mechanisms controlling stability and activity of b-catenin.
Dr. Gianfranco Bellipanni isAssistant Professor (Research/ Teaching) at the Department of Biology and the Sbarro Institute for Cancer Research and Molecular Medicine (SHRO) at the College of Science and Technology, Temple University (USA). Dr. Bellipanni received his BS and Ph.D. in Cellular and Developmental Biology from the University of Palermo, Italy. He worked at the University of Pennsylvania with Prof. Eric Weinberg and at the GSF of Munich with Prof. Laure Bally-Cuif. Since 2008 Dr. Bellipanni is leading the Developmental Biology unit of the SHRO and Assistant Professor at Temple University.