University of Miami >> Miller School of Medicine >> Office of Graduate Studies >> Faculty Research >> Faculty Research Detail

Laura Bianchi, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor, Physiology and Biophysics

305-243-1887 (office)

305-243-5931 (fax)

Rosenstiel Medical Science Building - 5133

Curriculum Vitae
1992 B.S. and M.A. in Biology, University of Milan, Italy
1997 PhD Physiology, University of Florence, Italy
1997-1998 Postdoctoral Fellowship, Physiology and Biophysics, Case Western Reserve
1998-2001 Postdoctoral Fellowship, Department of Medicine, Vanderbilt University
2001-2006 Research Assistant Professor, Dept. of Molecular Biology and Biochemistry, Rutgers University
2006-present Assistant Professor, Dept. of Physiology and Biophysics, University of Miami School of Medicine

Research Interests

Visit Bianchi Lab Page


Our laboratory is interested in deciphering the role of DEG/ENaC ion channels in sensory perception and neurodegeneration and primarily employs the powerful model organism C. elegans. DEG/ENaCs are two-transmembrane domain subunits of voltage-independent Na+ channels that function as trimers in an extraordinary range of biological processes including touch sensation, pain sensation, thermo-sensation, pheromone perception, proprioception, vascular and visceral mechanotransduction, taste and transepithelial Na+ transport. DEG/ENaC dysfunction has been linked to human diseases. For example, mutant epithelially-expressed DEG/ENaC channels cause a form of salt-sensitive hypertension called Liddle syndrome and neuronally-expressed DEG/ENaCs induce neurodegeneration in conditions in which they become hyperactivated.
Techniques: genetics, molecular biology, imaging, C. elegans primary cell culture, two-electrodes voltage-clamp in Xenopus oocytes, patch-clamp.

Recent Publications

Wang Y, D'Urso G, Bianchi L. (2011) Knock-out of glial channel ACD-1 exacerbates sensory deficits in a C. elegans mutant by regulating calcium levels of sensory neurons. J Neurophysiol. 2011 Oct 12. [Epub ahead of print]

Bianchi L, Díez-Sampedro A. (2010) A single amino acid change converts the sugar sensor  SGLT3 into a sugar transporter. PLoS One. 5(4):e10241.

Wang Y.&, Apicella A. Jr&, Lee S-K, Ezcurra M., Slone D., Goldmit M., Schafer W. R., Shaham S., Driscoll M. and Bianchi L. * (2008) A glial DEG/ENaC channel functions with neuronal channel DEG-1 to mediate specific sensory functions in C. elegans. EMBO Journal 2008 Sep 17;27(18):2388-99.
* Corresponding author, & These two authors contributed equally to this work

Zhang W., Bianchi L., Lee W.-H., Wang Y., Israel S. and Driscoll M. (2008) Intersubunit interactions between mutant DEG/ENaCs induce synthetic neurotoxicity. Cell Death and Differentiation, 15(11): 179-803

Tsechpenakis G.*, Bianchi L.*, Metaxas D. and Driscoll M. (2008) A novel computational approach for simultaneous tracking and feature extraction of C. elegans populations in fluid environments. IEEE Transactions in Biomedical Engineering, 55: 1539-1549.
*These two authors contributed equally to this work

Bianchi L., (2007) Mechanotransduction: touch and feel at the molecular level as modeled in Caenorhabditis elegans. Molecular Neurobiology, 2007 Dec;36(3):254-71.

Royal D. C.*, Bianchi L.*, Royal M. A., Lizzio M., Mukherjee G., Nunez, Y. O. and Driscoll M. (2005)Temperature-sensitive mutant of the Caenorhabditis elegans neurotoxic MEC-4(d) DEG/ENaC channel identifies a site required for trafficking or surface maintenance.The Journal of Biological Chemistry 280(51):41976-86.
*These two authors contributed equally to this work

Bianchi L., Gerstbrein B., Frøkjær-Jensen C., Royal D. C., Mukherjee G., Royal M. A., Xue J., Schafer W. R. and Driscoll M. (2004) The neurotoxic MEC-4(d) DEG/ENaC sodium channel conducts calcium: implications for necrosis initiation. Nature Neuroscience, 7 (12): 1337-1344.

Suzuki H.*, Kerr R. A.*, Bianchi L., Frøkjær-Jensen C., Slone D., Xue J., Gerstbrein B., Driscoll M. and Schafer W. R. (2003)In vivo imaging of C. elegans mechanosensory neurons demonstrates a specific role for the MEC-4 channel in the process of gentle touch sensation. Neuron, 39(6):1005-1017.
*These two authors contributed equally to this work.

Bianchi L., S-M. Kwok, Driscoll M., and Sesti F. (2003). A potassium channel-MiRP complex controls neurosensory function in Caenorhabditis elegans. The Journal of Biological Chemistry, 278: 12415 – 12424.

Bianchi L., and Driscoll M., (2002)Protons at the gate: DEG/ENaC ion channels help us feel and remember. Review, Neuron, 34: 337-340.

George A. L. Jr., Bianchi L., Link E. M., Vanoye C. G. (2001)From stones to bones: The biology of ClC chloride channels. Review, Current Biology, 11(15): R620-628.

Rutledge E., Bianchi L., Christensen M., Boehmer C., Morrison R., Broslat A., Beld A. M., George A. L. Jr., Greenstein D. and Strange K. (2001).CLH-3, ClC-2 anion channel ortholog activated during meiotic maturation in C. elegans oocytes. Current Biology, 11 (3): 161-170

Book chapters:

Bianchi L.* and Driscoll M. (2006) Culture of embryonic C. elegans cells for electrophysiological and pharmacological analyses. Book Chapter in WormBook, ed. The C. elegans Research Community, (
* Corresponding author

Bianchi L.* and Driscoll M. (2006)Heterologous expression of C. elegans channels in Xenopus oocytes. Book Chapter in WormBook, ed. The C. elegans Research Community.
* Corresponding author

Bianchi L., and Driscoll M., (2004) The molecular basis of touch sensation as modeled in Caenorhabditis elegans. Book Chapter in “Transduction channels in sensory cells”, (eds. Frings, S. & Bradley J.), 1-29 (Wiley-VCH, Weinheim, Germany).


Back to Previous Page
Copyright © 1997-2015
University of Miami,
All Rights Reserved.

Terms of Use
Privacy Statement
Contact Us
Medical Disclaimer
Site Map
Web Technology