Teaching Fellow (Gateway2Medicine)
I graduated in 2004 Biology (Master degree) from the University of Rome. To obtain this degree, I conducted a research project entitled “Involvement of CB1 receptor in the opioid withdrawal response in guinea pig ileum. (Supervisor: Professor Pacifico Valeri). After my degree, I obtained a one-year grant, at the Hospital “Fatebenefratelli” of Rome, for "Research on the role of Ceruloplasmin in Alzheimer's desease" (Supervisor: Dr. Rosanna Squitti). In 2004, I started my PhD at the University of Rome and in 2006 I moved to Naples where, as visiting PhD student, I joined the “Endocannabinoid Research Group”, directed by Dr Vincenzo Di Marzo. I was awarded my Ph.D. in Pharmacology by the University of Rome “La Sapienza”, in 2007. My thesis was entitled “Cross-talk between GPCRs coupled to Gi/o and Gq/11 proteins in the opioid withdrawal response: the guinea pig ileum and the neuroblastoma SH-SY5Y cells as comparative experimental models”. In that project, I explored both the role of G protein coupled receptors in opioid withdrawal response in guinea pig ileum (interaction among opioid, adenosine, cannabinoid and orphanin neuronal systems) and the role of intracellular calcium in the mechanisms underlying the cross-talk between G-protein coupled receptors (i.e. opioid and cannabinoid systems). Additionally, whilst working for my Ph.D., I was also involved in a project that focused on the study of the involvement of the endocannabinoid system in the control of energy balance and fat mass, in both mouse and rat models. Most of this work was direected at the study of the brain areas involved in food intake (hypothalamus) and peripheral tissues (pancreas and adipose tissues). I have presented my research at international conferences (ICRS) and the most relevant results have been published as scientific peer-reviewed papers. In 2009, I moved to the University of Aberdeen, where as Research Fellow I joined the cannabinoid research group, in collaboration with Prof Ruth Ross adn Professor Roger G Pertwee. I am currently involved on the pharmacology characterization of new cannabinoid CB1/CB2receptors, exploring new pharmacological combination therapies for the treatment of prostate cancer. Furthermore, I am also interested to orphan BSR-3 receptors and its involvement in the control of food intake and to the identification of the role of intracellular calcium mobilization in the activation of certain transcriptional factors in the context of acute dependence induced by drugs of abuse.
External Memberships and Affiliations
Paper Co-evaluator at F1000 faculty (www.F1000biology.com)
Peer reviewer for:
- Pharmacological Research,
- Reviews in the Neurosciences,
- Journal of substance abuse and rehabilitation,
- American Journal of Biomedical and Life Sciences,
- Pharmacology, Biochemistry and Behaviour,
- American Journal of Biomedical and Life Sciences,
- Natural Product Research
Member of Cell Biology Journal Editorial Board, SciencePG, since 2014
Member of Gavin Journal Addiction Research and Therapy Editorial Board, Gavin Publisher, since 2015
Member of Nutrition And Food Science Journal, Scientific Literature, since 2016
Guest Associate Editor: Frontiers in Neuropharmacology (2013-14), Research topic “Addictive drugs targeting GPCRs: new cross-talk mechanisms” (8 papers edited).
Fellow of the Higher Education Academy, UK
International Cannabinoid Research Society (ICRS)
British Pharmacology Society, UK
Italian Pharmacology Society, ITA
Italian Physiology Society, ITA
Society for the Study of Addiction, UK
My primary research interests are:
1) the study of the mechanisms underlying the opioid withdrawal syndrome,
2) cannabinoid receptor pharmacology,
3) the pharmacological characterization of orphan receptors
4) Developing new treatments and diagnostics for Alzheimer’s disease
Currently, I am involved in a series of research projects, such as:
- “Pharmacological investigation of novel combination therapies in the treatment
of prostate cancer” in collaboration with Prof Roger G Pertwee and Dr Maria G Cascio
- "Allosteric modulation of nicotinic receptors in the mouse isolated vas deferens"
in collaboration with Prof Roger G Pertwee
- “A novel retinoid receptor with therapeutic potential”
in collaboration with Prof Peter McCaffery
- “The BSR-3 receptors and its involvement in the control of food intake"
in collaboaration with Dr Nimesh Mody
- “Identification of the role of intracellular calcium mobilization in the activation of certain
transcriptional factors in the context of acute dependence induced by drugs of abuse”
in collaboration with Dr Alasdair MacKenzie
- " Neuronal Functional cross-talks in Guinea Pig Ileum"
in collaboration with Prof Maura Palmery, Dr Steve Tucker and Dr Maria G Cascio
- " Co-administration effectiveness of a 5-HT1A receptor antagonist and a fish –oil
omega-3 fatty acid or an omega-3 ethanolamide in cancer"
in collaboration with Prof Roger G Pertwee, Prof Raphael Mechoulam and Dr Maria G Cascio
Prof Roger G Pertwee
Prof Maura Palmery
Research Funding and Grants
Friends of Anchor, Scotland, UK: “Involvement of CB1 and/or CB2 cannabinoid receptor in the anticancer effect of the dietarily available compound 3-3'-diindolylmethane (DIM)”
NHS Grampian Endowment Research Fund, Scotland, UK: “Would the co-administration of a 5-HT1A receptor antagonist and a fish –oil omega-3 fatty acid or an omega-3 ethanolamide be effective against cancer?”
SMMSN Go Abroad, Erasmus programme Co-ordinator
Tutor for the Acquired Deseases Theme on the SM2501 Reseach Skills for Medical Sciences course.Tutor for the following courses: Energy For Life (BI25M7), Science For Medicine (ME2017), Student selected Component I: Global health and Infection diseases (ME2511), Student Selected Module III: clinical effectiveness (ME4805), Introduction to Medical Sciences (SM1001).
Contributions made to the following undergraduate courses:
The Physiology of Human cells (BI20B2), Energy For Life (BI25M7), Advanced Molecules, Membranes and Cells (BM4004), Science for Medicine (ME2017), Introduction to Medical Sciences (SM1001), The Cell (SM1501), Epithelial Physiology (PY3803), Molecular Biology of the Gene (BI20M3), Foundation Skills for Medical Sciences (SM2001), Frontiers of Medical Sciences (SM3002)
Contributions made to the following postgraduate courses:
Basci Skills (MT5010), Drug Metabolism and Toxicology (MT5003), Molecular Pharmacology (MT5024), Small Molecule Drug Discovery (BT5010), Laboratory techniques (BT5902)
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