Research in the Papa lab is broadly focused on the understanding of the molecular mechanisms regulating programmed cell death and survival. The fields of programmed cell death have become the foundation of biomedical research, central to both fundamental biology and the understanding of a broad range of human diseases ranging from cancer to inflammatory and neurodegenerative diseases. At the molecular level, the group focus on the post-translational modifications, the study of the covalent modification of proteins during or after protein biosynthesis. Most of our efforts to date have concentrated on phosphorylation, which is one of the most fundamental types of post-translational modification in eukaryotic cells. We are interested in the regulation and activity of a group of serine/threonine (Ser/Thr) protein kinases known as c-Jun N-terminal kinases (JNKs), master regulators of a large variety of cellular functions including apoptosis, differentiation, cell survival and proliferation.

When we succeed, we succeed because of our individual initiative, but also because we do things together

(Barack Obama)

Our Research Explained

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....for 'specialists'

We focus our research on understanding  the molecular mechanisms, regulation and role of apoptosis (i.e. programmed cell death) in pathogenesis, and translating these insights in therapeutic concepts and, if possible, novel treatments for human disease including cancer, inflammation and infectious disease.


....for 'general audience'

Cancer is one of the scenarios where too little cell death occurs, resulting in malignant cells that will not die. Cancer cells are therefore cells that cheat death - rather than growing old and dying, as healthy cells do, they continue to grow and divide, changing their metabolism to continue proliferating throughout the body.

Research Topics

Programmed Cell Death

  • TNFa-induced apoptosis

  • Chemotherapeutic-induced apoptosis/necrosis

  • JNK-mediated apoptosis

Cancer Metabolism

  • Aerobic glycolysis

  • Cellular metabolism

  • JNK-mediated regulation of PKM2

Signal Transduction

  • NF-kB-mediated control of JNK activity

  • PARP14-control of cell survival

  • JNK-mediated phosphorylation of PKM2

Pre-clinical models of human disease

  • Models of tissue injury and repair

  • Tissue regeneration models

  • Cancer models

  • Xenograft models

Pre-clinical Drug Studies

Effectiveness of novel PARP inhibitors in pre-clinical models of disease

Drug Discovery

  • PARP inhibitors

  • JNK inhibitors

  • Modulator of cell survival



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© 2017-2020  Edited by S. Papa | All rights reserved | The author expresses his own opinions. | AUTHOR STATEMENT: All the images, other than personal ones, present in this site are Creative Commons Licensed from WIX.com free collection or Wellcome Collection or other open sources. Logos images are property of the indicated company and were used to create a hyperlink to the company website. Video is builded with Animoto.com and I do not own the soundtrack which is from Animoto music library. This website provide links to other websites. However, because it has no control over the content of such websites and because their content could change, the author shall not be held liable for the content, practices or standards of third-party websites.

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