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Associate Professor of Molecular and Cellular Biology

Nicholas Bellono

Associate Professor of Molecular and Cellular Biology

Sensory Biology and Cell Physiology

We are interested in how organisms adapt to detect and amplify salient environmental signals based on their ecological or behavioral context. We emphasize a curiosity-based approach in which specialized, unconventional systems are exploited to reveal fundamental concepts of signal transduction and amplification, ion channel biophysics, and sensory adaptation and evolution. We then aim to understand how these molecular mechanisms impact organismal physiology, pathophysiology, and behavior. These interests span a range of biological contexts including, but not limited to: 1) electroreception in sharks, skates, and other fishes, 2) sensory physiology in octopus, 3) visceral sensation, 4) intracellular signaling and ion channels in organelles.


Selected Publications

Bellono NW*, Leitch DB*, Julius D (2018) Molecular tuning of electroreception in sharks and skates. Nature In Press

Bellono NW*, Leitch DB*, Julius D (2017) Molecular basis of ancestral vertebrate electroreception. Nature 6;543(7645): 391-396. PMCID: PMC5354974.

Bellono NW*, Bayrer JR*, Leitch DB, Castro J, O’Donnell T, Brierley SM, Ingraham HA, Julius D (2017) Enterochromaffin cells are gut chemosensors that couple to sensory neural pathways. Cell 170(1): 185-198. PMID: 28648659.

Bellono NW, Escobar IE, Leftkovith AJ, Marks MS, Oancea E (2014) An intracellular anion channel critical for pigmentation. eLife 3: e04543. PMCID: PMC4270065