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Jeannette Bennicelli

Dr. Jeannette L. Bennicelli

Senior Research Investigator at UPenn; Director of CAROT iPSC Core facility


Jeannette L. Bennicelli, Ph.D., is the Director of the Induced Pluripotent Stem Cell (iPSC) Facility at CAROT. She held a Postdoctoral Fellowship in the Department of Human Genetics at the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia and was later appointed as Research Assistant Professor in the Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania where she worked for 8 years studying the molecular mechanisms of carcinogenesis in the tumor alveolar rhabdomyosarcoma.  Dr. Bennicelli has more than 30 years hands-on experience in all aspects of cell culture. She established many of the cell lines and hybridomas used in her earlier publications, and virtually all of her publications reflect work utilizing cell models. Working at the Wistar Institute in the 1980’s, she maintained a repository of tumor cells and was instrumental in working with the lab of Peter Nowell in using genetic techniques to establish genetic markers for individual lines. During this time, she established dozens of cell lines from human melanomas and colorectal carcinomas, some of which are available through ATCC. Additionally, her expertise includes establishment of primary explants from murine and canine tissues, production of hybridomas for antibody production, growth of patient-derived lymphocytes for use in immune response studies, use of cultured cells for transcription assays, targeting and growth of embryonic stem cells for establishment of transgenic mice, and culture of both human embryonic and induced pluripotent stem cells. Dr. Bennicelli has trained dozens of students, postdocs, and technicians in the technical aspects of cell culture, cloning, and molecular biology.  She is an expert in the design and construction of DNA vectors as well as assays for cellular and protein functions.  Dr. Bennicelli started working on vision in 2003, applying her expertise in molecular biology to the design and construction of DNA vectors to be used in translational research seeking to find treatments for blinding diseases of the retina.  She was integral in the design, construction, and testing of the adeno-associated viral vector that was and is currently being tested in a Phase I, II and III Studies in Subjects with Leber Congenital Amaurosis (LCA) at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia and has also designed and validated assays to evaluate responses to the vector. Dr. Bennicelli is now focusing on developing personalized in vitro models of retinal disease and, in the process, establishing a biobank for these conditions. In her spare time, Dr. Bennicelli likes to swim and travel and is currently training for her first triathalon. She also enjoys caring for horses Gray Goose and Eddie and taking long rides on the trails in the Wissahickon Valley.