Daniele Piomelli

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Daniele Piomelli is an Italian-born American scientist. He studied neuroscience in New York City, with James H. Schwartz and Eric R. Kandel at Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons (PhD, 1983-1988) and later with Paul Greengard at the Rockefeller University (Post-doc, 1988-1990). Two of his mentors (Kandel and Greengard) received in 2000 the Nobel Prize for their contributions to medicine. After working at the INSERM in Paris (1990-1995) and at the Neurosciences Institute in La Jolla (1995-1998) with Nobel Prize winner Gerald Edelman, he joined the University of California Irvine School of Medicine, where he is now Louise Turner Arnold Chair in Neurosciences and Professor of Anatomy and Neurobiology, Pharmacology and Biological Chemistry. He is also founding director of the department of Drug Discovery and Development (D3) at the Istituto Italiano di Tecnologia in Genova, Italy.

Piomelli has made important contributions to the understanding of lipid mediator function in the brain and nervous system. He elucidated the biochemical pathways involved in the formation and deactivation of the lipid-derived endocannabinoidsanandamide[1] and 2-arachidonoylglycerol [2] – and uncovered various physiological roles played by these compounds.[3][4][5][6][7][8] Additionally, he described the functions of two lipid amides –palmitoylethanolamide (PEA) and oleoylethanolamide – in the control of pain [9] and feeding,[10][11][12] and identified the cellular receptors involved in such functions.[13][14] Collaborating with Italian chemists, Giorgio Tarzia (University of Urbino ‘Carlo Bo’) and Marco Mor (University of Parma), he developed the first systemically active inhibitors of the degradation of anandamide (Fatty Acid Amide Hydrolase inhibitors),[15][16] PEA (N-Acylethanolamide Acid Amidase inhibitors),[17] and ceramide (Acid Ceramidase inhibitors).[18]

Daniele Piomelli is scientific cofounder of Kadmus Pharmaceuticals and Thesan Pharmaceuticals.


  1. ^ Di Marzo V, Fontana A, Cadas H, Schinelli S, Cimino G, Schwartz JC, Piomelli D (1994). “Formation and inactivation of endogenous cannabinoid anandamide in central neurons”. Nature 372 (6507): 686-91. PMID 7990962.
  2. ^ Stella N, Schweitzer P, Piomelli, D (1997). “A second endogenous cannabinoid that modulates long-term potentiation”. Nature 388 (6644): 773-8. PMID 9285589.
  3. ^ Giuffrida A, Parsons LH, Kerr TM, Rodriguez de Fonseca F, Navarro M, Piomelli D (1999). “Dopamine activation of endogenous cannabinoid signaling in dorsal striatum”. Nature Neuroscience 2 (4): 358-63. PMID 10204543.
  4. ^ Calignano A, Katona I, Desarnaud F, Giuffrida A, La Rana G, Mackie K, Freund TF, Piomelli D (2000). “Bidirectional control of airway responsiveness by endogenous cannabinoids”. Nature 408 (6808): 96-101. PMID 11081515.
  5. ^ Hohmann AG, Suplita RL, Bolton NM, Neely MH, Fegley D, Mangieri R, Krey JF, Walker JM, Holmes PV, Crystal JD, Duranti A, Tontini A, Mor M, Tarzia G, Piomelli D (2005). “An endocannabinoid mechanism for stress-induced analgesia”. Nature 435 (7045): 1108-12. PMID 15973410.
  6. ^ Clapper JR, Moreno-Sanz G, Russo R, Guijarro A, Vacondio F, Duranti A, Tontini A, Sanchini S, Sciolino NR, Spradley JM, Hohmann AG, Calignano A, Mor M, Tarzia G, Piomelli D (2010). “Anandamide suppresses pain initiation through a peripheral endocannabinoid mechanism”. Nature Neuroscience 13 (10): 1265-70. PMID 20852626.
  7. ^ DiPatrizio NV, Astarita G, Schwartz GJ, Li X, Piomelli D (2011) “Endocannabinoid signal in the gut controls dietary fat intake”. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA 108 (31): 12904-8. PMID 21730161.
  8. ^ Jung KM, Sepers M, Henstridge CM, Lassalle O, Neuhofer D, Martin H, Ginger M, Frick A, DiPatrizio NV, Mackie K, Katona I, Piomellli D, Manzoni OJ (2013) “Uncoupling of the endocannabinoid signaling complex in a mouse model of fragile X syndrome”. Nature Communications 3 (1080). PMID 23011134.
  9. ^ Calignano A, La Rana G, Makriyannis A, Lin SY, Beltramo M, Piomelli D (1998) “Control of pain initiation by endogenous cannabinoids”. Nature 394 (6690): 277-81. PMID 9685157.
  10. ^ Rodriguez de Fonseca F, Navarro M, Gomez R, Escuredo L, Nava F, Fu J, Murillo-Rodriguez E, Giuffrida A, Lo Verme J, Gaetani S, Kathuria S, Gall C, Piomelli D (2001) “An anorexic lipid mediator regulated by feeding”. Nature 414 (6860): 209-12. PMID 11700558.
  11. ^ Fu J, Gaetani S, Oveisi F, Lo Verme J, Serrano A, Rodriguez de Fonseca F, Rosengarth A, Lueke H, Di Giacomo B, Tarzia G, Piomelli D (2003) “Oleoylethanolamide regulates feeding and body weight through activation of the nuclear receptor PPAR-alpha”. Nature 425 (6953): 90-3. PMID 12955147.
  12. ^ Schwartz GJ, Fu J, Astarita G, Li X, Gaetani S, Campolongo P, Cuomo V, Piomelli D (2008) “The lipid messenger OEA links dietary fat intake to satiety” Cell Metabolism 8 (4): 281-8. PMID 18840358.
  13. ^ Fu J, Gaetani S, Oveisi F, Lo Verme J, Serrano A, Rodriguez de Fonseca F, Rosengarth A, Lueke H, Di Giacomo B, Tarzia G, Piomelli D (2003) “Oleoylethanolamide regulates feeding and body weight through activation of the nuclear receptor PPAR-alpha”. Nature 425 (6953): 90-3. PMID 12955147.
  14. ^ Lo Verme J, Fu J, Astarita G, La Rana G, Russo R, Calignano A, Piomelli D (2005) “The nuclear receptor peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor-alpha mediates the anti-inflammatory actions of palmitoylethanolamide”. Molecular Pharmacology 67 (1): 15-9. PMID 15465922.
  15. ^ Kathuria S, Gaetani S, Fegley D, Valino F, Duranti A, Tontini A, Mor M, Tarzia G, La Rana G, Calignano A, Giustino A, Tattoli M, Palmery M, Cuomo V, Piomelli D (2003) “Modulation of anxiety through blockade of anandamide hydrolysis”. Nature Medicine 9 (1): 76-81. PMID 12461523.
  16. ^ Gobbi G, Bambico FR, Mangieri R, Bortolato M, Campolongo P, Solinas M, Cassano T, Morgese MG, Debonnel G, Duranti A, Tontini A, Tarzia G, Mor M, Trezza V, Goldberg SR, Cuomo V, Piomelli D (2006) “Antidepressant-like activity and modulation of brain monoaminergic transmission by blockade of anandamide hydrolysis”. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA 103 (7): 24665. PMID 16352709.
  17. ^ Solorzano C, Zhu C, Battista N, Astarita G, Lodola A, Rivara S, Mor M, Russo R, Maccarrone M, Antonietti F, Duranti A, Tontini A, Cuzzocrea S, Tarzia G, Piomelli D (2009) “Selective N-acylethanolamine-hydrolyzing acid amidase inhibition reveals a key role for endogenous palmitoylethanolamide in inflammation”. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA 106 (49): 20966-71. PMID 19926854.
  18. ^ Realini N, Solorzano C, Pagliuca C, Pizzirani D, Armirotti A, Luciani R, Costi MP, Bandiera T, Piomelli D (2013) “Discovery of highly potent acid ceramidase inhibitors with in vitro tumor chemosensitizing activity”. Science Reports 3:1035. PMID 23301156.

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