Dr. Andrew Bellemer


  • Ph.D. Yale University Interdepartmental Neuroscience Program, New Haven, CT
  • B.S. University of Massachusetts, Amherst, MA

Professional Experience:

  • Assistant Professor, Appalachian State University, Department of Biology
  • Postdoctoral Associate, Duke University, Department of Anesthesiology
  • Graduate Researcher, Yale University, Department of Molecular Biophysics & Biochemistry

Areas of Interest:

  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience
  • Drosophila genetics and behavior
  • Sensory Neurobiology
  • Microscopy and imaging
  • Nociception and chronic pain

Research Statement:

Chronic pain is a pervasive condition that effects over 100 million Americans, resulting in over $500 billion in medical and economic costs annually as well as incalculable human suffering. A major challenge in developing clinical treatments for pain is understanding the complex genetic and cellular factors that contribute to how painful stimuli are detected and transmitted by sensory neurons. My laboratory uses the fruit fly, Drosophila melanogaster, as a simple model organism to study the cellular and molecular biology of sensory neurons that detect noxious stimuli. We use behavioral techniques to identify genetic manipulations that affect the sensitivity of larval Drosophila to noxious stimuli, and then a combination of molecular and microscopic methods to learn about how these genetic manipulations affect the development, form, and function of sensory neurons. Because ~75% of human disease genes have identifiable Drosophila homologs, it is likely that novel genetic factors that control sensory neuron signaling in flies will be preserved to in humans and may be targeted by future clinical interventions.

Selected Publications:

  • Schwartz, N.*, Zhong, L., Bellemer, A., Tracey, W.D. (2012) Egg laying decisions in Drosophila are consistent with foraging costs of larval progeny. PLoS One. 7(5):e37910.
  • Zhong, L.**, Bellemer, A.**, Yan, H., Honjo, K., Robertson, J., Hwang, H.Y., Pitt, G.S., Tracey, W.D. (2011) Thermosensory and Nonthermosensory Isoforms of Drosophila melanogaster TRPA1 Reveal Heat-Sensor Domains of a ThermoTRP Channel. Cell Reports. doi:10.1016/j.celrep.2011.11.002.
  • Bellemer, A., Hirata, H., Romero, M.F., Koelle, M.R. (2011) Two types of chloride transporters are required for GABAA receptor-mediated inhibition in C. elegans. EMBO J. 30(9):1852-1863.
  • Tanis, J.E., Bellemer, A., Moresco, J.J., Forbush, B., Koelle, M.R. (2009) The potassium chloride cotransporter KCC-2 coordinates development of inhibitory neurotransmission and synapse structure in Caenorhabditis elegans. J. Neurosci. 29(32):9943-9954
  • Fite, K.V., Wu, P.S., Bellemer, A. (2005) Photostimulation alters c-Fos expression in the dorsal raphe nucleus. Brain Research. 1031:245-252.

* undergraduate author

** co-first authorship

Title: Associate Professor, Assistant Chair for Faculty Affairs, Molecular Neuroscience
Department: Department of Biology

Email address: Email me

Phone: (828) 262-6923

Office address
Rankin Science North 319