Maria Abbracchio

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Maria Pia Abbracchio
Maria Pia Abbracchio

Milan, Italy
Occupationresearch pharmacologist
Known foridentifying the purinergic receptor GPR17

Maria Pia Abbracchio is an Italian pharmacologist who researches the biochemical effect of drugs at the cellular level. She has conducted research all over the world and is one of the scientists Thomson Reuters has named as most cited scientists since 2006. She is known for her work with purinergic receptors and identification of GPR17. In 2014 she was awarded the Order of Merit of the Italian Republic for her individual scientific accomplishments.


Maria Pia Abbracchio was born in Milan and completed her initial education there. In 1979, she earned a master's degree in Pharmacy and then studied as a post-graduate from 1980 to 1981 at the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston. In 1984, she completed a specialization in toxicology from the University of Milan, a PhD in Experimental Medicine at Rome in 1988, and post-doctoral studies as an Honorary Research Fellow at the University College London from 1992 to 1993.[1]

In 1994, she worked with Professor Geoffrey Burnstock, the scientist who named purinergic receptors and then she became the founder of the Purine Club, a non-profit scientific association for international researchers studying the pathophysiology of purinergic transmission.[2] Since 2003, she has worked with an interdisciplinary group of scientists to improve scientific research at institutions both within Italy and abroad.[3] In 2006, Abbracchio presented findings at a symposium in Atlanta for the Society for Neuroscience which illustrates the approach of using biochemical compounds at the cellular level to inhibit brain damage after stroke. Her work has proven that G-protein-coupled receptors (GPCR)s play a role in controlling cellular behavior.[4] By combining research efforts from various scientific disciplines, scientists are looking at neurodegenerative diseases like Parkinson's, Alzheimer's, multiple sclerosis and even heart attacks and stroke to see how various drugs interact with GPCRs. One receptor identified early in her research by Abbracchio, called GPR17, has shown that it reacts with certain drugs to reduce brain inflammations and improve memory and learning abilities.[5]

Abbracchio is a full professor of pharmacology at the University of Milan and directs a team of 12 scientific researchers at the Research Observatory of the university.[1] She has authored or co-authored some 150 scientific papers[2] and since 2006 has been listed on the Thomson Reuters list of most cited researchers. In 2014, she was awarded the level of Commander in the Order of Merit of the Italian Republic by the President of Italy, Giorgio Napolitano.[3]


  1. ^ a b "Maria Pia Abbracchio-Biosketch" (PDF) (in Italian). Milan, Italy: Università degli studi di Milano. 2014. Retrieved 2 November 2015.
  2. ^ a b "Maria Pia Abbracchio" (in Italian). Milan, Italy: Scienza in Rete. 2015. Retrieved 3 November 2015.
  3. ^ a b "Il Presidente Napolitano nomina Maria Pia Abbracchio Commendatore all'Ordine del Merito per meriti scientifici" (in Italian). Genoa, Italy: l'Associazione Italiana Sclerosi Multipla. 21 July 2014. Retrieved 2 November 2015.
  4. ^ Dobbs, David (23 October 2006). "Controlling Cellular Gates Curbs Damage after Strokes". Scientific American. Retrieved 2 November 2015.
  5. ^ "Da un farmaco per la cura dell'asma: possibile cura demenza". Medica Live Magazine. Italian. 1 (9). October 2015. ISSN 2421-2180.

External links[edit]