Daniele Piomelli

Picture of Daniele Piomelli
Distinguished Professor, Anatomy & Neurobiology
School of Medicine
Louise Turner Arnold Chair in Neurosciences
Joint Appointment, Biological Chemistry
School of Medicine
Joint Appointment, Pharmacology
School of Medicine
Director, Center for the Study of Cannabis
Ph.D., Columbia University, New York, 1988, Pharmacology
Pharm.D., University of Naples, Italy, 1982
Doctor of Medicine, honoris causa, Goethe University, Frankfurt, Germany, 2012
Phone: (949) 824-7080
Fax: (949) 824-6305
Email: piomelli@uci.edu
University of California, Irvine
Department of Anatomy & Neurobiology
Gillespie NRF 3101, 3216
Mail Code: 1275
Irvine, CA 92697
Research Interests
cellular pharmacology, neuropharmacology
Academic Distinctions
Jun 1988 National Alliance for Research on Schizophrenia and
Depression (NARSAD) Young Investigator Award
Jun 1990 National Alliance for Research on Schizophrenia and
Depression (NARSAD) Young Investigator Award
May 1999 National Alliance for Research on Schizophrenia and
Depression (NARSAD) Independent Investigator Award
May 2001 ad hoc member; NIH Centers Review Committee
May 2001 ad hoc member; NIH Program Projects Review Committee
Jun 2001 ad hoc member; NIAAA Board of Counselors
Jun 2001 Course Director; International School of Immunology,
“Ruggero Ceppellini”
Sep 2001 NIH Independent Investigator Award
May 2002 Grass Traveling Fellowship
Jul 2002 Chancellor Scholar; University of California, Irvine
Jul 2002 International Kemali Foundation Prize in Neurosciences
Oct 2003 Member of the NIDA Delegation to the Office of Drug Control
Policy (ONDCP)
May 2005 National Alliance for Research on Schizophrenia and Depression
(NARSAD) Distinguished Investigator Award
May 2007 Member of the National Advisory Council on Drug Abuse
Apr 2008 Chair, NIDA Scientific Director Review, Baltimore, MD
May 2009 National Alliance for Research on Schizophrenia and Depression
(NARSAD) Distinguished Investigator Award
Sep 2010 National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) Avant-Garde Award for
Innovative Medication Development Research
Sep 2012 European Lipid Science Award, European Federation of Lipid
Nov 2012 Honorary Medical Doctoral degree, Goethe University, Frankfurt,
Dec 2015 Fellow, American College of Neuropsychopharmacology
Sep 2017 The Mechoulam Award, The International Cannabinoid Research
Sep 2017 The Ester Fride Award for Basic Research, The International
Association for Cannabinoid Medicines
Research Abstract
Dr. Piomelli was trained in neuroscience and pharmacology. Research in his lab is focused on the function of lipid-derived messengers, with particular emphasis on the endogenous cannabinoids anandamide and 2-arachidonoylglycerol. Current research efforts converge on three areas: formation and deactivation of anandamide and 2-arachidonylglycerol; physiological roles of the endogenous cannabinoid system; development of therapeutic agents that target anandamide and 2-arachidonylglycerol metabolism.
Primary neural cell cultures and state-of-the-art analytical techniques such as liquid chromatography/mass-spectrometry are used to investigate formation and deactivation of anandamide and 2-arachidonoylglycerol in brain cells. Protein purification and cloning approaches are employed to characterize the molecular mechanisms underlying these processes. Cellular pharmacology and medicinal chemistry, in collaboration with leading international labs, are used to identify pharmacological agents that interfere with various aspects of endogenous cannabinoid function, and their therapeutic potential is explored in vitro and in vivo.
Short Biography
Daniele Piomelli studied pharmacology and neuroscience with James H. Schwartz and Eric Kandel at Columbia University (1983-1988), and with Paul Greengard at the Rockefeller University (1988-1990). In 2000, two of his mentors (Kandel and Greengard) were awarded the Nobel Prize for their contributions to physiology and medicine. After working at the INSERM in Paris (France) and at the Neurosciences Institute in San Diego, with Nobel Laureate Gerald Edelman, Daniele joined the University of California, Irvine, where he is now Louise Turner Arnold Chair in Neurosciences and Distinguished Professor of Anatomy and Neurobiology, Pharmacology and Biological Chemistry. Daniele is an author of >400 peer-reviewed articles in journals such as Nature, Science, Nature Medicine, PNAS and Nature Neuroscience, three full-length books, and 34 patents. He founded the department of drug discovery and development (D3) at the Italian Institute of Technology in Genoa (Italy), which he directed from 2007 to 2016, and three biopharmaceutical start-ups based on discoveries made in his lab. He is director of the UCI’s Center for the Study of Cannabis and Editor-in-Chief of Cannabis and Cannabinoid Research, the first peer-reviewed journal entirely dedicated to the study of cannabis, its derivatives, and their endogenous counterparts in the human body.
Selected Publications:

N. Stella, P. Schweitzer and D. Piomelli, 1997. A second endogenous cannabinoid that modulates long-term potentiation. Nature 388, 773-778.

M. Beltramo, N. Stella, A. Calignano, S.Y. Lin, A. Makryiannis and D. Piomelli, 1997. Functional role of high-affinity anandamide transport, as revealed by selective inhibition. Science 277, 1094-1097.

A. Calignano, G. La Rana, A. Giuffrida and D. Piomelli, 1998. Control of pain initiation by endogenous cannabinoids. Nature 394, 277-281.

A. Giuffrida, L. Parsons, T.M. Kerr, F. Rodríguez de Fonseca, M. Navarro and D. Piomelli, 1999. Dopamine activation of endogenous cannabinoid signaling in dorsal striatum. Nat Neurosci 2, 358-363.

D. Piomelli, M. Beltramo, S. Glasnapp, S.Y. Lin, A. Goutopoulos, Xiang-Qun Xie and A. Makriyannis, 1999. Structural determinants for recognition and translocation by the anandamide transporter. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 96, 5802-5807.

I. Katona, F. Désarnaud, A. Giuffrida, G. La Rana, K. Mackie, T.F. Freund and D. Piomelli, 2000. Bidirectional control of airway responsiveness by endogenous cannabinoids. Nature 408, 96-101.

F. Rodríguez de Fonseca, M. Navarro, R. Gómez, L. Escuredo, F. Nava, J. Fu, E. Murillo-Rodríguez, A. Giuffrida, J. LoVerme, S. Gaetani, S. Kathuria, C. Gall and D. Piomelli, 2001. An anorexic lipid mediator regulated by feeding. Nature 414, 209-212.

T. Dinh, D. Carpenter, F.M. Leslie, T.F. Freund, I. Katona, S.L. Sensi, S. Kathuria and D. Piomelli, 2002. Brain monoglyceride lipase participating in endocannabinoid inactivation. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 99, 10819-10824.

S. Kathuria, S. Gaetani, D. Fegley, F. Valiño, A. Duranti, A. Tontini, M. Mor, G. Tarzia, G. La Rana, A. Calignano, A. Giustino, M. Tattoli, M. Palmery, V. Cuomo and D. Piomelli, 2003. Modulation of anxiety through blockade of anandamide hydrolysis. Nat Med 9, 76-81.

T.F. Freund, I. Katona and D. Piomelli, 2003. The role of endogenous cannabinoids in synaptic signaling. Physiol Rev 83, 1017-1066.

J. Fu, S. Gaetani, F. Oveisi, J. LoVerme, A. Serrano, F. Rodríguez de Fonseca, A. Rosengarth, H. Luecke, B. Di Giacomo, G. Tarzia and D. Piomelli, 2003. Oleylethanolamide regulates feeding and body weight through activation of PPAR-?. Nature 425, 90-93.

D. Piomelli, 2003. The molecular logic of endocannabinoid signalling. Nat Rev Neurosci 4, 873-884.

D. Fegley, S. Kathuria, R. Mercier, C. Li, A. Goutopoulos, A. Makriyannis and D. Piomelli, 2004. Anandamide transport is independent of fatty-acid amide hydrolase activity and is blocked by the hydrolysis resistant inhibitor AM1172. Pro Natl Acad Sci U S A 101, 8756-8761.

A.G. Hohmann, R.L. Suplita II, N.M. Bolton, M.H. Neely, D. Fegley, R. Mangieri, J. Krey, J.M. Walker, P.V. Holmes, J.D. Crystal, A. Duranti, A. Tontini, M. Mor, G. Tarzia and D. Piomelli, 2005. An endocannabinoid mechanism for stress-induced analgesia. Nature 435, 1108-1112.

J. Makara, M. Mor, D. Fegley, S.I. Szabo, S. Kathuria, G. Astarita, A. Duranti, A. Tontini, G. Tarzia, S. Rivara, T. Freund and D. Piomelli, 2005. Selective inhibition of 2-AG hydrolysis enhances endocannabinoid signaling in hippocampus. Nat Neurosci 8, 1139-1141.

M.D. Van Sickle, M. Duncan, P. J. Kingsley, A. Mouihate, P. Urbani, K. Mackie, N. Stella, A. Makriyannis, D. Piomelli, J. S. Davison, L.J. Marnett, V. Di Marzo, Q.J. Pittman, K. D. Patel and K.A. Sharkey, 2005. Identification and Characterization of Brainstem Cannabinoid CB2 Receptors. Science 310, 329-332.

G. Gobbi, F.R. Bambico, R. Mangieri, M. Bortolato, P. Campolongo, M. Solinas, T. Cassano, M.G. Morgese, G. Debonnel, A. Duranti, A. Tontini, G. Tarzia, M. Mor, V. Trezza, S.R. Goldberg, V. Cuomo, and D. Piomelli, 2005. Antidepressant-like activity and modulation of brain monoaminergic transmission by blockade of anandamide hydrolysis. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 102, 18620-18625.

D. Piomelli, G. Astarita and R. Rapaka, 2007. A neuroscientist’s guide to lipidomics. Nat Rev Neurosci, 8, 743-754.

G.J. Schwartz, J. Fu, G. Astarita, X. Li, S. Gaetani, P. Campolongo, V. Cuomo and D. Piomelli, 2008. The lipid messenger OEA links dietary fat intake to satiety. Cell Metab 8, 281-288. PMCID: PMC2572640.

P. Campolongo, B. Roozendaal, V. Trezza, V. Cuomo, G. Astarita, J. Fu, J.L. McGaugh and D. Piomelli, 2009. Fat-induced satiety factor oleoylethanolamide enhances memory consolidation. Proc Natl Acad Sci U.S.A., 106, 8027-8031.
Piomelli D, Scalvini L, Fotio Y, Lodola A, Spadoni G, Tarzia G, Mor M. N-Acylethanolamine Acid Amidase (NAAA): Structure, Function, and Inhibition. J Med Chem. 2020 Jul 23;63(14):7475-7490.

Misto A, Provensi G, Vozella V, Passani MB, Piomelli D.Mast Cell-Derived Histamine Regulates Liver Ketogenesis via Oleoylethanolamide Signaling. Cell Metab. 2019 Jan 8;29(1):91-102.

Gorelik A, Gebai A, Illes K, Piomelli D, Nagar B.Molecular mechanism of activation of the immunoregulatory amidase NAAA. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2018 Oct 23;115(43):E10032-E10040.

Wei D, Allsop S, Tye K, Piomelli D. Endocannabinoid Signaling in the Control of Social Behavior.Trends Neurosci. 2017 Jul;40(7):385-396.

Sasso O, Pontis S, Armirotti A, Cardinali G, Kovacs D, Migliore M, Summa M, Moreno-Sanz G, Picardo M, Piomelli D.Endogenous N-acyl taurines regulate skin wound healing. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2016 Jul 26;113(30):E4397-406.

Migliore M Dr, Pontis S Dr, Fuentes de Arriba AL, Realini N, Torrente E, Armirotti A, Romeo E, Di Martino S, Russo D, Pizzirani D, Summa M, Lanfranco M, Ottonello G, Busquet P, Jung KM, Garcia-Guzman M, Heim R, Scarpelli R, Piomelli D. Second-Generation Non-Covalent NAAA Inhibitors are Protective in a Model of Multiple Sclerosis. Angew Chem Int Ed Engl. 2016 Sep 5;55(37):11193-11197.

Wei D, Lee D, Cox CD, Karsten CA, Peñagarikano O, Geschwind DH, Gall CM, Piomelli D. Endocannabinoid signaling mediates oxytocin-driven social reward.Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2015 Nov 10;112(45):14084-9.

Dotsey EY, Jung KM, Basit A, Wei D, Daglian J, Vacondio F, Armirotti A, Mor M, Piomelli D. Peroxide-Dependent MGL Sulfenylation Regulates 2-AG-Mediated Endocannabinoid Signaling in Brain Neurons.Chem Biol. 2015 May 21;22(5):619-28.

Magotti P, Bauer I, Igarashi M, Babagoli M, Marotta R, Piomelli D, Garau G.Structure of human N-acylphosphatidylethanolamine-hydrolyzing phospholipase D: regulation of fatty acid ethanolamide biosynthesis by bile acids. Structure. 2015 Mar 3;23(3):598-604

DiPatrizio NV, Piomelli D. Intestinal lipid-derived signals that sense dietary fat.J Clin Invest. 2015 Mar 2;125(3):891-8.

Pizzirani D, Bach A, Realini N, Armirotti A, Mengatto L, Bauer I, Girotto S, Pagliuca C, De Vivo M, Summa M, Ribeiro A, Piomelli D. Benzoxazolone carboxamides: potent and systemically active inhibitors of intracellular acid ceramidase.Angew Chem Int Ed Engl. 2015 Jan 7;54(2):485-9.

Jung KM, Clapper JR, Fu J, D'Agostino G, Guijarro A, Thongkham D, Avanesian A, Astarita G, DiPatrizio NV, Frontini A, Cinti S, Diano S, Piomelli D.2-arachidonoylglycerol signaling in forebrain regulates systemic energy metabolism. Cell Metab. 2012 Mar 7;15(3):299-310.

Jung KM, Sepers M, Henstridge CM, Lassalle O, Neuhofer D, Martin H, Ginger M, Frick A, DiPatrizio NV, Mackie K, Katona I, Piomelli D Uncoupling of the endocannabinoid signalling complex in a mouse model of fragile X syndrome.Nat Commun. 2012;3:1080.

Piomelli D, Sasso O. Peripheral gating of pain signals by endogenous lipid mediators.Nat Neurosci. 2014 Feb;17(2):164-74.

Piomelli D. A fatty gut feeling.Trends Endocrinol Metab. 2013 Jul;24(7):332-41.

Realini N, Solorzano C, Pagliuca C, Pizzirani D, Armirotti A, Luciani R, Costi MP, Bandiera T, Piomelli D. Discovery of highly potent acid ceramidase inhibitors with in vitro tumor chemosensitizing activity.Sci Rep. 2013;3:1035.

DiPatrizio NV, Piomelli D. The thrifty lipids: endocannabinoids and the neural control of energy conservation. Trends Neurosci. 2012 Jul;35(7):403-11

Fu J, Dipatrizio NV, Guijarro A, Schwartz GJ, Li X, Gaetani S, Astarita G, Piomelli D.Sympathetic activity controls fat-induced oleoylethanolamide signaling in small intestine. J Neurosci. 2011 Apr 13;31(15):5730-6.

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.Anandamide suppresses pain initiation through a peripheral endocannabinoid mechanism. Nat Neurosci. 2010 Oct;13(10):1265-70.
2017-2019 UCI Research Seed Funding, “Investing to Develop Center-Scale Multidisciplinary Convergence Research Programs” (P.I., D. Piomelli)
2017-2019 NIH-STTR- Anteana Therapeutics, Inc., 2R42DA033683; “Peripheral FAAH as a target for novel analgesics” (P.I., D. Piomelli)
2017-2018 Jackson Foundation for the Advancement of Military Med (Henry M), DOD Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences, HU0001-15-2-0067/3689; “Evaluation of the Safety and Pharmacokinetics of the FAAH Inhibitor URB597” (P.I., D. Piomelli)
2016-2018 NIA- R21AG052336: “A Protective role for 2-AG in age-dependent cognitive impairment”. (P.I., D. Piomelli)
2016-2018 NIDA-Cutting-Edge Basic Research Awards (CEBRA) 1R21DA041776; Lipidomics analysis of identified single neurons in the adult rodent brain. (P.I., D. Piomelli)
Professional Societies
Member, American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS)
Fellow, American College of Neuropsychopharmacology (ACNP)
Member, American Physiological Society (APS)
Member, American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biolology (ASBMB)
Member, American Society for Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics (ASPET)
Member, International Cannabinoid Research Society (ICRS)
Member, Society of Biological Psychiatry (SBP)
Member, Società Italiana di Farmacologia (SIF)
Member, Society for Neuroscience (SFN)
Graduate Programs
Cellular and Molecular Biosciences
Interdepartmental Neuroscience Program
Medicinal Chemistry and Pharmacology
Pharmacological Sciences
Research Centers
Center for the Study of Cannabis
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