Contact

Department

Pharmacology

Andrea Giuffrida, Ph.D.

Professor of Pharmacology

Personal Statement:

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 pharmacotherapies to alleviate levodopa-induced dyskinesias, a disabling motor complication experienced by Parkinsonian patients undergoing dopamine replacement treatment.


Education

Ph.D., University of Catania (Italy)

Awards & Accomplishments

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

Affiliations

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 – UTHSCSA Office of the VP for Research – Oct 2012-Apr 2014

Lab Members

Alex Martinez, Ph.D.  Postdoctoral Fellow

Gabriela Weiss
Senior Research Associate
Laura Talley-Watts, Ph.D.  Adjunct Faculty

Publications

‘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
Seillier A., Giuffrida A. (2018) The cannabinoid transporter inhibitor OMDM-2 reduces social interaction: further evidence for transporter-mediated endocannabinoid release Neuropharmacology Mar 1;130: 1-9 PMID: 29169961
Seillier A., Giuffrida A. (2017) Anxiety does not contribute to social withdrawal in the sub-chronic PCP rat model of schizophrenia Behav Pharmacol. Oct; 28(7): 512-520 PMID: 28704273
Wang J., Giuffrida A. (2016) The development of medical devices in foreign markets Pharmaceutical Regulatory Affairs 5:2 DOI: 10.4172/2167-7689.1000167
Seillier, A., Aguillar, D.D. and Giuffrida, A. (2014) The dual FAAH/MAGL inhibitor JZL195 has enhanced effects on endocannabinoid transmission and motor behavior in rats as compared to those of the MAGL inhibitor JZL184. Pharmacol. Biochem. Behav. 124:153-159 PMID: 24911644
Seillier, A., Martinez, A. and Giuffrida, A. (2013) Phencyclidine-induced social withdrawal results from deficient stimulation of cannabinoid CB1 receptors. Neuropsychopharmacology 38:1816-1824 PMID: 23563893