Andrea Giuffrida, Ph.D.
Professor of Pharmacology
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.
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
Vice President for Strategic Industry Ventures – June 2021-Present San Antonio Chamber of Commerce, Board of Advisors – Jan 2016-Present Vice President for Research – May 2015-June 2021 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
‘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
Ventral hippocampal overexpression of Cannabinoid Receptor Interacting Protein 1 (CNRIP1) produces a schizophrenia-like phenotype in the rat.
Differential effects of Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol dosing on correlates of schizophrenia in the sub-chronic PCP rat model.