Andrea Giuffrida, Ph. D.

Vice President for Research

Professor of Pharmacology

Ph.D., University of Catania (Italy)

Office: 210-567-4219



Research Interests

• cannabinoid • anandamide
• dopamine • Parkinson disease
• schizophrenia                     • dyskinesias

Research Activities

My laboratory is interested in the role played by the endocannabinoid system in regulating psychomotor functions. The endocannabinoids are a family of naturally occurring lipids that mimic the effects of marijuana by stimulating cannabinoid receptors and other ligands expressed in the brain areas that are critical for the regulation of motor behaviors. The endocannabinoids can also serve as an inhibitory feedback signal to counteract dopamine-induced motor activation. Our studies indicate that the endocannabinoid system may represent a new pharmacological target for the treatment of diseases characterized by dysregulation of dopamine transmission, such as Parkinson’s disease and schizophrenia.

We integrate biochemistry and behavioral pharmacology to study endocannabinoid transmission in animal models of neurological and psychiatric disorders. Our laboratory also investigates new harmacotherapies to alleviate levodopa-induced dyskinesias, a disabling motor complication experienced by Parkinsonian patients undergoing dopamine replacement treatment.

Accomplishments, Awards and Honors •

  • P. & R. Stevens Foundation – “Accelerating PD research: the Perry & Ruby Stevens Parkinson’s Disease center of Excellence” (PI) – Jul 2017-Jun 2022
  • W. & E. Owens Research Foundation – “Role of Traumatic brain injury in the development of Parkinson’s disease” (PI) – May 2017-June 2018
  • Max and Minnie Tomerlin Voelcker Fund Grant – “Biomedical Research Academy” (PI) – Jun 2015-May 2018
  • AAAS Fellow in Science and Technology Policy, NIH Office of Science Policy – Sep 2011-Aug 2012

Appointments, Boards, Committees and Memberships 

  • San Antonio Chamber of Commerce, Board of Advisors – Jan 2016-Present
  • Vice President for Research – May 2015-Present
  • Texas Society for Biomedical Research, Board of Directors – May 2015-Present
  • Texas Biomedical Research Institute, Board of Trustees – Jun 2014–Present
  • Texas Research & Technology Foundation, Board of Trustees – Jun 2014-Present
  • BioMedSA, Board of Directors – May 2014-Present
  • Director of Biomedical Research Development – UT Health San Antonio Office of the VP for Research – Oct 2012-Apr 2014

Lectures, Posters and Presentations •

  • ‘Medical uses of cannabinoids’ short course – Dept. of Molecular Neuroscience, Anahuac Mayab University, Merida, Mexico – March, 2017
  • ‘Research, Innovation and Impact: Developing an Institutional Research Strategy for the Future and for Implementation’ – Society of Research Administrators (SRA) International: Senior Executive Institute, Annual Meeting, San Antonio, TX – October, 2016
  • ‘Neurodegenerative diseases: from bench to bedside’ – 2016 Aging in Texas Conference, San Antonio, TX – July, 2016
  • Creating the future of Biomedical Research Enterprise: UTHSCSA Report – AAMC GRAND Spring Conference, Washington, DC – March, 2015
  • ‘The ABC’s of the endocannabinoid system’ – Child Neurology Society 43rd Annual Meeting, Columbus OH. – October, 2014
  • ‘Endocannabinoid-enhancing drugs reverse social withdrawal in the PCP rat model of schizophrenia’ – 4th Schizophrenia International Research Society Conference, Florence, Italy – April, 2014
  • ‘Endocannabinoid Transmission: Role in Neurodegeneration and Schizophrenia’ – 8th IBRO World Congress of Neuroscience, Florence, Italy – July, 2011

Selected Publications