Vito Mennella

Vito Mennella

Assistant Professor

BSc, Universita' di Roma, "La Sapienza", 1999
PhD, Albert Einstein College of Medicine, 2007
Postdoc, HHMI and University of California San Francisco, 2013

Address The Hospital for Sick Children
Peter Gilgan Centre for Research and Learning
686 Bay Street, Rm. 18.9709 Toronto, ON
Toronto, ON M5G 0A4
Lab Mennella Lab
Lab Phone (416)-813-7654 ext. 309352
Office Phone (416)-813-7654 ext. 309267

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Research Lab

Stochastic Optical Reconstruction Microscopy

The Mennella laboratory is a dynamic and interdisciplinary laboratory located on the 18th floor of the Peter Gilgan Center for Research and Learning. The laboratory is currently composed of one research associate, two postdoctoral fellows, two graduate and several undergraduate students. We are equipped with state-of-the-art imaging tools such as super-resolution, spinning disc confocal microscopes with automated image acquisition and high speed video microscopy cameras. We perform routinely protein expression and purification in the laboratory by FPLC and have access to a suite of biochemical and biophysical tools through the structural biology facility at SickKids. We are engaged in numerous collaborations locally and internationally including with companies involved in development of imaging tools. The laboratory is currently accepting graduate student and postdoctoral fellow applications.

Research Description

Discovery of supramolecular assemblies responsible for microcephaly and ciliopathies

Our main interest is to discover how novel genetic mutations identified in pediatric patients at SickKids cause rare diseases of the lung and brain. We study motile ciliopathies and microcephaly, diseases with severe consequences for patients caused by impaired function of proteins that regulate centrosomes and cilia.

To understand the mechanism underlying these rare diseases and how to diagnose them better we study how multiple proteins are organized together in “supramolecular assemblies” and how individual patients’ mutations affect their function. To study this level of cellular organization we use a unique and cross-disciplinary toolbox: we build nanometer-scale molecular maps of centrosome and cilia complexes by combining advanced imaging tools — e.g. super-resolution fluorescence and FIB-SEM electron tomography imaging— and we determine the role of these assemblies using functional analysis in patient-derived cells.

Awards & Distinctions

2001 — Fulbright Scholar

Courses Taught

BCH374Y Research Project in Biochemistry
BCH473Y Advanced Research Project in Biochemistry


View all publications on PubMed

Super-Resolution Microscopy: From Single Molecules to Protein Complexes to Supramolecular Assemblies
Sydor A, Czymmek KJ, Puchner EM, Mennella V.
Trends in Cell Biology. 2015 Dec;25(12):730-48.

Subdiffraction resolution microscopy methods for analyzing centrosomes organization.
Mennella V, Hanna R, Kim M
Methods Cell Biol. 2015; 129:129-52.

The conserved Seckel syndrome and centrosomal protein Ninein localizes asymmetrically to stem cell centrosomes, but is not required for normal development, behavior, or DNA damage response
*Zheng Y, *Mennella V, Marks S, Wildonger J, Elnagdi E, Nung Y. Jan, David Agard and Timothy Megraw
Molecular Biology of the Cell, 2016 vol. 27 no. 11 1740-1752

Super-resolution Light Microscopy: SIM (Structured Illumination Microscopy).
Vito Mennella
Encyclopedia of Cell Biology, edited by Ralph A. Bradshaw and Philip Stahl

Centriole Remodeling during Spermiogenesis in Drosophila.
Khire A, Jo KH, Kong D, Akhshi T, Blachon S, Cekic AR, Hynek S, Ha A, Loncarek J, Mennella V, Avidor-Reiss T.
Curr Biol. 2016 Dec 5;26(23):3183-3189

Amorphous no more: subdiffraction view of the pericentriolar material architecture.
Mennella V, Agard DA, Huang B, Pelletier L.
Trends Cell Biol. 2014 Mar;24(3):188-97.

Subdiffraction-resolution fluorescence microscopy reveals a domain of the centrosome critical for pericentriolar material organization.
Mennella V, Keszthelyi B, McDonald KL, Chhun B, Kan F, Rogers GC, Huang B, Agard DA.
Nature Cell Biology. 2012 Nov;14(11):1159-68.

Sas-4 provides a scaffold for cytoplasmic complexes and tethers them in a centrosome.
Gopalakrishnan J, Mennella V, Blachon S, Zhai B, Smith AH, Megraw TL, Nicastro D, Gygi SP, Agard DA, Avidor-Reiss T.
Nature Communications 2011 Jun 21;2:359. doi: 10.1038/ncomms1367.

Motor domain phosphorylation and regulation of the Drosophila kinesin 13, KLP10A.
Mennella V, Tan DY, Buster DW, Asenjo AB, Rath U, Ma A, Sosa HJ, Sharp DJ.
J Cell Biology. 2009 Aug 24;186(4):481-90.

Functionally distinct kinesin-13 family members cooperate to regulate microtubule dynamics during interphase.
Mennella V, Rogers GC, Rogers SL, Buster DW, Vale RD, Sharp DJ.
Nature Cell Biology. 2005 Mar;7(3):235-45.