Historically, our goals and interests have been traditionally diverse, trying to embrace a number subjects around the physiology of the insect. In general, research has focused on physiological processes regulated by hormones. Therefore, we have studied the biochemical and regulatory aspects of the hormones themselves (juvenile hormone, ecdysteroids and regulatory peptides), and also the processes dependent on them, like metamorphosis and vitellogenesis (especially in connexion with juvenile hormone and ecdysteroids), molting, oogenesis and chorion formation (in connexion with ecdysteroids) and food intake and growth (in connexion with peptides and proteins). [more].
The present research
The endocrine regulation of insect metamorphosis has been a long term theme of research and training in the Belles group, which started in the late 1970's. We are interested in the regulation of metamorphosis not only from a developmental point of view but also from an evolutionary perspective. As most information has been obtained in holometabolan species (mainly in the fly Drosophila melanogaster and the beetle Tribolium castaneum), we focus our research on the cockroach Blattella germanica, a phylogenetically basal species showing a gradual metamorphosis that might be close to the ancestral hemimetaboly. We aim at elucidating the mechanisms that regulate metamorphosis in B. germanica and then to compare them with those operating in holometabolan species. The idea is to infer the evolutionary history and the molecular mechanisms underlying the transition from hemimetaboly to holometaboly.
Insect metamorphosis is a complex process, and we concentrate on three main subjects:
- Qualitative metamorphic changes
- Transcription factors involved
- Small RNAs
- Complex networks
Lab website: Bellés Lab
Jesús Lozano , former IBE PhD student , wins the Societat Catalana de Biologia Award to Young Researcher
12th January 2018
Per què ens tornem rojos per vergonya?, Mètode, by Xavier Bellés, principal investigator of the IBE
Las mariposas tenían ‘trompa’ antes de que las flores existieran, with comments of Roger Vila, principal investigator of the IBE
On the publication of the book L'expressió de les emocions en l'home i en els animals, by Charles Darwin, translated by Xavier Bellés, principal investigator of the IBE: 30th September 2017, Cadena Ser. Conversation with Xavier Bellés on Charles Darwin.
On the outreach program "Barcelona International Youth Science Challenge (BIYSC)":
- 22nd July, 2016. La Vanguardia. "La Masia de la ciencia"