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Biology

Josephine S. Modica-Napolitano

Professor

Biology

Degree(s)

B.S., Magna Cum Laude, University of Massachusetts-Boston & Ph.D., Tufts University

Teaching

Dr. Modica-Napolitano has taught the following courses: Cellular Biochemistry; Methods in Cell and Molecular Biology; Human Pathophysiology; Cell Culture Techniques; Principles of Biology I and II Laboratory; Genetics Laboratory; Special Topics I and II; Directed Research; Senior Thesis Research. 

Professional Experience

Dr. Modica-Napolitano has also served Merrimack College as Interim Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs (2011-2013), Dean of the School of Science and Engineering (2009-2012), Founding Director of the Center for Biotechnology and Biomedical Sciences (2008-2009), and Chair of the Department of Biology (2006-2009). 

Research

Dr. Modica-Napolitano’s primary biological research interest is in the study of mitochondria, especially mitochondrial bioenergetics. She is particularly interested in investigating differences in mitochondrial structure and function between normal epithelial and carcinoma cells, and identifying ways to exploit these differences as targets for cancer chemotherapy. She is also interested in understanding the role of mitochondrial dysfunction in the etiology and pathogenesis of several diseases, including cancer and bipolar disorder.

Selected Publications:  (full length peer review articles or chapters; *denotes undergraduate researcher)                                                

Modica-Napolitano, JS and Weissig, V. Treatment Strategies That Enhance the Efficacy and Selectivity of Mitochondria-Targeted Anticancer Agents. International Journal of Molecular Sciences, 16:17394-17421, 2015

Owens, KM, Modica-Napolitano, JS, Singh, KK. “Mitochondria and Cancer” in Mitochondria and Cancer. (eds. Singh, K.K and Costello, L.C.) Springer, New York: pp. 1-21, 2009

Lieberman, JA., Bymaster, FP, Meltzer, HY, Deutch, AY, Duncan, GE, Marx, CE, Aprille, JR, Dwyer, DS, Li,  X-M, Sahebarao P, Mahadik, SP, Duman, RS, Porter, JH, Modica-Napolitano, JS, Newton, SS, Csernansky, JG, and Kollack-Walker, S. Antipsychotic Drugs: Comparison in Animal Models of Efficacy, Neurotransmitter Regulation, and Neuroprotection. Pharmacological Reviews 60:358-403, 2008

Modica-Napolitano, JS  Kulawiec, M. and Singh, KK,  Mitochondria and Human Cancer.  Current Molecular Medicine 7:121-131, 2007

Modica-Napolitano, JS and Singh, KK, Mitochondrial Dysfunction in Cancer.  Mitochondrion 4:755-762, 2004

Aprille, J.R., Lagace, C.J., Modica-Napolitano, J.S., and Trimmer, B.A. Role of nitric oxide and mitochondria in control of firefly flash. Integrative and Comparative Biology Vol. 44, 2004

Trimmer, BA, Aprille, J, Modica-Napolitano, JS  Nitric oxide signalling: Insect brains and photocytes Biochemical Society Annual Symposium No. 71. Free Radicals: Enzymology, Signalling and Disease. (Eds  Cooper, C. Wilson, M., Darley-Usmar, V.) p65-83 Portland Press, London.isbn 1855781611, 2004

Modica-Napolitano, J.S. and Renshaw P.F.  Ethanolamine and Phosphoethanolamine Inhibit Mitochondrial Function in vitro:  Implications for Mitochondrial Dysfunction Hypothesis in Depression and Bipolar Disorder.  Biological Psychiatry 55:273-277, 2004  

Modica-Napolitano, J.S., Lagace, C.J., Brennan, W.A., and Aprille, J.R.   Differential effects of typical vs. atypical neuroleptics on mitochondrial function in vitro. Archives of Pharmacal Research 26:951-959, 2003

Modica-Napolitano, J.S., *Nalbandian, R., *Kidd, M.E., *Nalbandian, A., *Nguyen, C.C.  The selective in vitro cytotoxicity of carcinoma cells by AZT is enhanced by concurrent treatment with delocalized lipophilic cations. Cancer Letters 198:59-68, 2003

Hagen, T., Lagace, C.J. and Modica-Napolitano, J.S. and Aprille, J.R., Permeablity transition in rat liver mitochondria is modulated by the ATP-Mg/Pi carrier.  American Journal of Physiology. Gastrointestinal and Liver Physiology 285:G274-G281, 2003

Aprille, J.R, Lagace, C.J. Lewis, S.M., Michel, T., Modica-Napolitano, J.S., Trimmer, B.A., and Zayas, R.M.  Mechanism of firefly flash control: nitric oxide inhibition of oxygen consumption in lantern mitochondria is reversed by light. In  Bioluminescence & Chemiluminescence: Progress & Current Applications, pp  25-28  Editors: Stanley PE & Kricka LJ Publisher: World Scientific Publishing, Singapore, 2002

Modica-Napolitano, J.S.,  and Singh, K.K.  Mitochondria as Targets for the detection and treatment of cancer.  Expert Reviews in Molecular Medicine, Cambridge University Press, http://www.ermm.cbcu.cam.ac.uk_. 2002.

Modica-Napolitano, J.S. and Aprille, J.R.   Delocalized lipophilic cations selectively target the mitochondria of carcinoma cells.  Advanced Drug Delivery Reviews.  49:63-70, 2001.

Modica-Napolitano, J.S.  The mitochondrion as a target for cancer chemotherapy in: Mitochondrial DNA Mutations in Aging, Disease and Cancer.  Keshav Singh (ed.), R.G. Landes, Austin, TX, p 337-344, 1998.

Modica-Napolitano, J.S., *Brunelli, B.T., Koya, K. and Chen, L.B. Photoactivation enhances the mitochondrial toxicity of MKT-077. Cancer Research 58:71-75. 1998            

Modica-Napolitano, J.S., Koya, K., Weisberg, E., *Brunelli, B.T., Li,Y. and Chen, L.B.  Selective damage to carcinoma mitochondria by the rhodacyanine MKT-077.  Cancer Research 56: 544-550, 1996

Weisberg, E., Koya, K., Modica-Napolitano, J.S., Li, Y. and Chen, L.B.  In vivo administration of MKT-077 causes partial yet reversible impairment of mitochondrial function.  Cancer Research 56:551-555, 1996

Modica-Napolitano, J.S.  AZT causes tissue-specific inhibition of mitochondrial bioenergetic function. Biochemical and Biophysical Research Communications 194:170-177, 1993

Yoon, K.L., Modica-Napolitano, J.S., Ernst, S.G., and Aprille, J.R.  Denaturing gradient gel method for mapping single base changes in human mitochondrial DNA.  Analytical Biochemistry 196:427-432, 1991

Modica-Napolitano, J.S., Joyal, J.L., Ara, G., Oseroff, A.R. and Aprille, J.R.  Mitochondrial toxicity of cationic photosensitizers for photochemotherapy.  Cancer Research  50:7876-7881,1990

Modica-Napolitano, J.S., Steele G.S., Jr. and Chen L.B.  Aberrant mitochondria in two human Colon carcinoma cell lines.  Cancer Research. 49:3369-3373, 1989

Modica-Napolitano, J.S. and Aprille, J.R.  Basis for the selective cytotoxicity of rhodamine 123. Cancer Research  47:4361-4365, 1987

Selected Published Abstracts and Presentations: (*denotes undergraduate researcher)

Modica-Napolitano, J.S. Treatment Strategies That Enhance the Efficacy and Selectivity of Mitochondria-Targeted Anticancer Agents. Drug Discovery and Therapy World Congress 2015, Boston, MA, July 22-25, 2015

*Ata, E., *Kilbride, C. *Viarengo, L., and Modica-Napolitano, J.S.Investigating the effect of the Anti-Cancer Compound Elesclomol on Mitochondrial bioenergetic Function in Vitro.  Eastern New England Biological Conference, Emmanuel College, Boston April 2011

Modica-Napolitano, J.S., *Francescone, R.A., *Napolitano, M.J., and *Randolph, W.E.  A comparison of mitochondrial cytochromec oxidase structure and function between human prostate carcinoma and control epithelial cells in vitro. Setting the Pace in Mitochondrial Medicine, Annual Meeting of the Mitochondria Research Society, Indianapolis, IN, June 2008

*Francescone, R.A., *Napolitano, M.J., and *Randolph, W.E.Modica-Napolitano, J.S.,  A comparison of mitochondrial cytochrome c oxidase structure and function between human prostate carcinoma and control epithelial cells in vitro. Eastern New England Biological Conference, Colby-Sawyer College, April 2008

Modica-Napolitano, J.S. and *West, R. A comparison of mitochondrial cytochrome c oxidase structure and function between human prostate carcinoma and control epithelial cellsin vitro.  Mastering the Mitochondrial Maze, Annual Meeting of the Mitochondria Research Society, Atlanta, GA, June 2006

*Calder, N., *McGarry, T., Theberge, S., and Modica-Napolitano, J.S., High performance liquid chromatographic analysis of the phospholipid content of the inner mitochondrial membrane in human prostate carcinoma and control cell lines. Annual Meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, Washington, DC, February 2005

*Richardson, J.R., *Smart, M. and Modica-Napolitano, J.S.Investigating a novel mitochondrial target for cancer chemotherapy. Eastern New England Biological Conference, Eastern Nazarene College, Quincy, MA, April 2004

Modica-Napolitano, J.S. and *Sullivan, R.S., The relative expression of mitochondrial cytochrome c oxidase sub-units in normal epithelial and carcinoma cells.  Mitochondria 2003, San Diego, CA, 2003, and published abstract, Mitochondrion 3:169 2003

*Sullivan, R.S. and Modica-Napolitano, J.S. The molecular basis for functional differences in mitochondrial cytochrome c oxidase in normal epithelial and carcinoma cells.  Eastern New England Biological Conference, Boston College, Boston, MA, April 2003

*Nalbandian, R. and Modica-Napolitano, J.S.  The selective in vitro cytotoxicity of carcinoma cells by AZT is enhanced by concurrent treatment with delocalized lipophilic cations.  Annual Meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, Boston, MA, February 2002

*Nalbandian, R. and Modica-Napolitano, J.S.  The selective in vitro cytotoxicity of carcinoma cells by AZT is enhanced by concurrent treatment with delocalized lipophilic cations. Eastern New England Biological Conference, Emmanuel College, Boston, MA, April 2002

*Touma, S.E. and Modica-Napolitano, J.S.  The biochemical and molecular analysis of mitochondrial respiratory enzyme complexes in normal epithelial and carcinoma cells.  Eastern New England Biological conference, St. Anslem’s College, Manchester, NH, April 2001

Modica-Napolitano, J.S., *Nalbandian, A. and *Nguyen, C.C.   The Mitochondrial inhibitor dequalinium chloride selectively decreases the total cellular ATP content in carcinoma cells. Mitochondria 2001, San Diego, CA, February/March 2001

Modica-Napolitano, J.S. and *Touma, S.E.   Functional differences in mitochondrial enzymes from normal epithelial and carcinoma cells. Abstract. Keystone Symposia on Mitochondria Dysfunction in Pathogenesis,  Santa Fe, NM. January 2000

*Nalbandian, A., *Nguyen, C. and Modica-Napolitano, J.S.  A Comparison of Total Cellular ATP in Control and Dequalinium Chloride (DECA)-treated Carcinoma and Normal Epithelial Cells. Eastern New England Biological Conference, Merrimack College, April 2000

*Touma, S.E. and Modica-Napolitano, J.S.  Differences in Mitochondrial Enzyme Activities in Normal Epithelial vs. Carcinoma Cells.  Eastern New England Biological Conference, Merrimack College, April 2000

*Coviello, M.R., *Mansour, K.L., Modica-Napolitano, J.S., and *Tyrrell, H.L. A Comparison of Mitochondrial ATP Synthetase Activity and Cytosolic ATP Content in Carcinoma vs. Normal Epithelial Cell Lines.  Eastern New England Biological Conference, Suffolk University, Boston MA, April 1999

Modica-Napolitano, J.S. and *Kidd M.E.   Dequalinium chloride enhances AZT- induced selective cytotoxicity of carcinoma cells in vitro.  Proc. American Assoc. Can. Res.  39: 309, 1998

Government Grants Awarded:                                                      

National Science Foundation Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics Talent Expansion Program, Foundations for STEM Success, Co-Principal Investigator; $448,856 (2013-2016)

National Institutes of Health Academic Research Enhancement Award, Increased Membrane Potential in CarcinomaMitochondria; Principal Investigator; $105,343 (1998-2000) 

Foundation Grants Awarded: 

Davis Educational Foundation, support for a Center for Excellence in Teaching and Learning; $200,000 (2013)

Artemas Stearns Trust, Lawrence Math and Science Partnership; $5,000 (2013)

Josephine Russell Trust, Lawrence Math and Science Partnership; $5,000 (2013)

AT&T Foundation, Engineering Scholarship Program; $25,000 (2012); $25,000 (2013)

Deshpande Foundation/Merrimack Valley Sandbox Initiative, (for faculty and student funding) $5,000 (2011); $5,000 (2012); $5,000 (2013)

Ludcke Foundation, Lawrence Math and Science Partnership; $25,000 (2010); $25,000 (2011); $25,000 (2012)

George I. Alden Trust, matching grant for purchase of a DNA Sequencer for use in the Department of Biology and the Center for Biotechnology and Biomedical Sciences; $50,000 (2009)

Merck/AAAS Undergraduate Science Research Program Award, Summer Undergraduate Research Program in Biology and Chemistry. Co-author; $60,000 (2000-2002); $60,000 (2004-2006)

Daher Charitable Gift in support of Cancer Research at Merrimack College, $2,641 (2001)

 

Contact

978-837-5368
modicanapolj@merrimack.edu

Office

300 Mendel Hall