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Christian Sell

Christian Sell, PhD

Associate Professor

Department: Biochemistry & Molecular Biology


  • PhD in Pathology - Albany Medical College (1990)

Awards & Honors

  • Nathan Shock Center of Excellence in Aging "Young Investigator Award"

Memberships / Professional Affiliations

  • Endocrine Society
  • Gerontological Society of America
  • IGF Society
  • Philadelphia Cancer Research Association

Christian Sell, PhD, is an associate professor in the Department of Biochemistry & Molecular Biology at Drexel University College of Medicine. Prior to joining the College of Medicine, he was an associate investigator at the Lankenau Institute for Medical Research in Wynnewood, Pennsylvania. He had previously worked as an assistant professor at Medical College of Pennsylvania (now Drexel College of Medicine), where he earned the Nathan Shock Center of Excellence in Aging “Young Investigator” Award, and also served as the director of the Molecular Pathobiology Graduate program. In addition, Dr. Sell has held positions at Thomas Jefferson University and Temple University.

He is a member of the Endocrine Society, the Gerontological Society of America, IGF Society, and Philadelphia Cancer Research Association.

Research Interests

Biology of aging; neuroendocrine networks.


A growing body of evidence suggests that a neuroendocrine signaling network involving growth hormone and its downstream effectors, the insulin-like growth factors, are involved in modulating basic physiologic processes that serve to alter lifespan. The interactions are complex since this neuroendocrine network is involved in growth and development of the entire organism and tissue specific changes are clearly important in the resulting phenotype. Experimental evidence from several animal models suggests that a reduced level of growth hormone or insulin-like growth factor signaling leads to increased lifespan, enhanced stress resistance and a shift in metabolism.

The increased lifespan in animals with low growth hormone or insulin-like growth factors is at odds with some clinical studies that have suggested a benefit to late life supplementation with growth hormone and/or insulin-like growth factors. This highlights the paradox in the field. Growth hormone and the insulin-like growth factors are positive regulators of growth, development and survival of neurons and muscle yet a reduction in this axis leads to life extension. The goal of the laboratory is to understand the mechanisms involved in the lifespan extension provided by decreased growth hormone or insulin-like growth factors and to identify those settings in which supplementation can be of benefit late in life. Due to the broad nature of these questions our laboratory is drawn into diverse areas such as cancer, DNA repair, metabolism and neurobiology.

The laboratory uses both mouse and cell culture models. Ongoing projects in the laboratory include:

  • Dissection of growth hormone and insulin-like growth factors in the modulation of lifespan using mouse models of insulin-like growth factor deficiency and tissue specific production.
  • The interaction between DNA damage recognition, telomeres, and insulin-like growth factors in aging and cancer.
  • The role of local growth factor production in the development of prostate cancer.
  • Protein clearance during aging.

In the Media


Selected Publications

"Ras mutations selectively alter tight junction permeability"
Sell C, Francis MK, Mullin J
Mol Cell Biol 2005;16:5538-50 (2005)

"Activated Ras enhances insulin-like growth factor 1 mediated induction of vascular endothelial growth factor in postate epithelial cells"
Stearns M, Tran J, Zhang H, Francis MK, Sell C
Cancer Res 2005;65:2085-8 (2005)

"Ectopic expression of DICE1 suppresses tumor cell growth"
Wieland I, Sell C, Weidel UH, Wieacker P
Oncol Rep 2004;12:207-11 (2004)

"Extension of replicative lifespan in WI-38 human fibroblasts is accompanied by suppression of p21Waf1/Cip1/Sdi1 levels"
Mawal-Dewan M, Frisoni L, Cristofalo VJ, Sell C
Exp Cell Res. 2003:285;91-98 (2003)

"Downregulation of IRS-1 protein in thapsigargin treated human prostate epithelial cells"
Zhang H, Hoff H, Sell C
Exp Cell Res. 2003:289;352-358 (2003)

"Molecular characterization of the DICE1 (DDX26) tumor suppressor gene in lung carcinoma cells"
Wieland I, Ropke A, Stumm M, Sell C, Wiedle U, Wieacker P
Oncol Res. 2002:12;491-500 (2002)

"Regulation of collagenase expression during replicative senescence by Akt-forkhead signaling"
Mawal-Dewan M, Lorenzini A, Frisoni L, Zhang H, Cristofalo VJ, Sell C
J Biol Chem. 2002:277;7857-7864 (2002)

"Mitogen independent phosphorylation of S6K1 and decreased ribosomal S6 phosporylation in senescent human fibroblast cells"
Zhang H, Hoff H, Marinucci T, Cristofalo VJ, Sell C
Exp Cell Res. 2000:259;284-292 (2000)

Contact Information

Department of Biochemistry & Molecular Biology
245 North 15th Street
Mail Stop 497
Philadelphia, PA 19102
Phone: 215.762.8367
Fax: 215.762.3978