Paola Sacchetti

Paola Sacchetti headshot

Associate Professor; Director, M.S. Neuroscience Program


College of Arts and Sciences
860.768.5926 BC 160B

PhD, Wayne State University School of Medicine

BS, Wayne State University

Research Interests:

My research focuses on neuroscience and molecular biology. I study how transcription factors control expression of genes important for the development of brain cells. In particular I focus on dopamine neurons, the cells that die in patients affected by Parkinson's disease. My aim is to understand how normal cells develop and which genes and regulators are essential for the life of dopamine cells in order to better understand what happens during the disease state. I am also interested in other neurodegenerative disorders, in particular dementia. I am currently investigating the biology of concussions and I am interested in designing educational tools to inform the community about manifestation, short-term and long-term consequences of mild traumatic brain injury.
Brain endogenous liver X receptor ligands selectively promote midbrain neurogenesis. Theofilopoulos S, Wang Y, Kitambi SS, Sacchetti P, Sousa KM, Bodin K, Kirk J, Saltó C, Gustafsson M, Toledo EM, Karu K, Gustafsson JÅ, Steffensen KR, Ernfors P, Sjövall J, Griffiths WJ, Arenas E. Nat Chem Biol. 2013 Feb;9(2):126-33. doi: 10.1038

Liver X receptors and oxysterols promote ventral midbrain neurogenesis in vivo and in human embryonic stem cells. Sacchetti P, Sousa KM, Hall AC, Liste I, Steffensen KR, Theofilopoulos S, Parish CL, Hazenberg C, Richter LA, Hovatta O, Gustafsson JA, Arenas E. Cell Stem Cell. 2009 Oct 2;5(4):409-19. doi: 10.1016

Targeted lipidomic analysis of oxysterols in the embryonic central nervous system. Wang Y, Sousa KM, Bodin K, Theofilopoulos S, Sacchetti P, Hornshaw M, Woffendin G, Karu K, Sjövall J, Arenas E, Griffiths WJ. Mol Biosyst. 2009 May;5(5):529-41. doi: 10.1039

CXXC5 is a novel BMP4-regulated modulator of Wnt signaling in neural stem cells. Andersson T, Södersten E, Duckworth JK, Cascante A, Fritz N, Sacchetti P, Cervenka I, Bryja V, Hermanson O. J Biol Chem. 2009 Feb 6;284(6):3672-81. doi: 10.1074

The glucocorticoid receptor is a co-regulator of the orphan nuclear receptor Nurr1. Carpentier R, Sacchetti P, Ségard P, Staels B, Lefebvre P. J Neurochem. 2008 Feb;104(3):777-89.

Multiple signaling pathways regulate the transcriptional activity of the orphan nuclear receptor NURR1.Sacchetti P, Carpentier R, Ségard P, Olivé-Cren C, Lefebvre P. Nucleic Acids Res. 2006;34(19):5515-27.

Candida albicans phospholipomannan is sensed through toll-like receptors. Jouault T, Ibata-Ombetta S, Takeuchi O, Trinel PA, Sacchetti P, Lefebvre P, Akira S, Poulain D. J Infect Dis. 2003 Jul 1;188(1):165-72.

1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D3 protects RINm5F and human islet cells against cytokine-induced apoptosis: implication of the antiapoptotic protein A20. Riachy R, Vandewalle B, Kerr Conte J, Moerman E, Sacchetti P, Lukowiak B, Gmyr V, Bouckenooghe T, Dubois M, Pattou F. Endocrinology. 2002 Dec;143(12):4809-19.

Requirements for heterodimerization between the orphan nuclear receptor Nurr1 and retinoid X receptors. Sacchetti P, Dwornik H, Formstecher P, Rachez C, Lefebvre P. J Biol Chem. 2002 Sep 20;277(38):35088-96.

Decreased expression of the transcription factor NURR1 in dopamine neurons of cocaine abusers. Bannon MJ, Pruetz B, Manning-Bog AB, Whitty CJ, Michelhaugh SK, Sacchetti P, Granneman JG, Mash DC, Schmidt CJ. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2002 Apr 30;99(9):6382-5.

The human dopamine transporter gene: gene organization, transcriptional regulation, and potential involvement in neuropsychiatric disorders. Bannon MJ, Michelhaugh SK, Wang J, Sacchetti P. Eur Neuropsychopharmacol. 2001 Dec;11(6):449-55. Review.

Nurr1 enhances transcription of the human dopamine transporter gene through a novel mechanism. Sacchetti P, Mitchell TR, Granneman JG, Bannon MJ. J Neurochem. 2001 Mar;76(5):1565-72.

Characterization of the 5'-flanking region of the human dopamine transporter gene. Sacchetti P, Brownschidle LA, Granneman JG, Bannon MJ. Brain Res Mol Brain Res. 1999 Dec 10;74(1-2):167-74.