Research - Coastal Carolina University
In This Section

The Gamberi Research Group

Our research as seen by the 2021 SCoRE students.

Scientific Contributions    |    Our Research    |    Main Research Goals

Our Research

Complex human anatomy and physiology often hinders deciphering disease mechanisms making experimentation unfeasible or unethical. However, fundamental knowledge of how cells and organisms function and what breaks down in diseased states is necessary for the rational design of effective therapeutics.

Model organism research is one of the “big science” approaches together with “omics” approaches that focus on probing cells, organs and individuals as physical entities, rather than using theoretic modeling or simulations. Rooted in evolutionary theory, model organism research yields the double return of generating fundamental biological knowledge and translating such knowledge broadly from the specific discovery context to other domains, including human disease.

An especially powerful model organism, the fruit fly Drosophila melanogaster harbors in its genome the homologs of 75% of human disease-related genes and pathways. Drosophila also has rapid generation time, well-established genetics, and an integrated platform for interdisciplinary integration across biology, and several features that accelerate the iterative experimentation necessary to model biological functions. While at first glance using fruit flies to study human physiology may seem unlikely, many fundamental and complex biological processes have been first discovered in flies and were critical for biomedicine (e.g., chromosomes as base of inheritance, X-rays mutagenicity, circadian rhythms, stem cells etc.).

Our interdisciplinary molecular developmental biology research utilizes genetic, molecular, and chemical probing to decipher how renal cyst form in polycystic kidney disease (PKD) and cancer and how longevity-promoting pathways function. We apply this knowledge towards identification of novel therapeutic approaches.

While at Concordia University in Montreal, we have established a first-in-kind Drosophila PKD model. Small-molecule chemical probing and tailored "fly pharmacology" in fly populations in vivo are employed to identify cyst-reducing drug prototypes (e.g., here, here, and here) and improve currently incomplete knowledge of the “renal cystic pathways”. Now at Coastal Carolina University, we will continue our research towards a PKD cure and the strategic use of Drosophila models to decode pathogenic mechanisms and fundamental biology.

We are always looking for talented and interested students to join our team. If this sounds like you, contact Dr. Gamberi.


We have three main research and education goals:

Contact Us

Visit Us

Mailing Address

Chiara Gamberi
Principal Investigator
Swain Building, Room 117
111 Chanticleer Drive East
Conway, SC 29526
Department of Biology
Coastal Carolina University
P.O. Box 261954
Conway, SC 29528-6054