Daniele Piomelli, PhD
Director, UCI Center for the Study of Cannabis
Louise Turner Arnold Chair in the Neurosciences
Professor, Anatomy & Neurobiology, Biological Chemistry and Pharmacology
My research is focused on understanding how endocannabinoid substances and other lipid-derived signaling molecules affect the function of the brain and other organs. More specifically, in the last few decades, we have investigated the biochemical pathways involved in the formation and deactivation of the endocannabinoid neurotransmitters, anandamide and 2-arachidonoylglycerol (2-AG), and has uncovered important physiological roles played by these molecules. We also studied another class of lipid messengers, the fatty-acid ethanolamides (FAEs) and ceramide, and identified the mechanism of action of these molecules. We have developed inhibitors of their degradation, whose potential therapeutic uses are currently under investigation. Moving forward, we plan to study the potential impacts of cannabinoids during lifespan, in particular regarding the persistent brain alteration caused by early-life exposure as well as its potential benefits for selected human disorders.