The NGF System and its interplay with endocannabinoid signalling, from peripheral sensory terminals to the brain: new targets for the development of next generation drugs for neuropathic pain

Via del Fosso Fiorano 64
00143 Rome

  • Institute Presentation

    The European Brain Research Institute (EBRI) is the Research Institute founded in 2005 by Nobel Prize Awardee Rita Levi-Montalcini, entirely dedicated to the study of the brain. EBRI is a recently launched interdisciplinary research center designed to spearhead Italian neuroscience investigating fundamental questions of the development and functional organization of the brain, and to showcase translational neuroscience with tangible output and patient benefit to ameliorate and possibly cure the most devastating brain diseases. Although quite young, EBRI has already established itself as a major attraction centre for brilliant young scientists from all over the world, specially targeting to attract as principal Investigators young scientists at their initial phase of independent scientific career. The current ISC is chaired by Moses Chao (the President of the US Society for Neurosciences) and includes scientists that have very made significant impact in modern neurosciences (Solomon Snyder, Lamberto Maffei, Graham Collingridge and others). Despite its young age, EBRI has already been able to secure a number of very competitive research grants, including an ERC grant, an FP7 project, two Alzheimers Association grants and two Young Investigator Alzheimer’s Association grants.

    EBRI is part of the Neuroscience campus enveloping Fondazione Santa Lucia, the Cell Biology and Neurobiology Institute (CNR), and two Telethon groups. EBRI currently provides flourishing environment to seven research groups whose scientific interest and endeavors encompass i) neurotrophin factors neurodegenerative disease and pain, ii) development of recombinant antibodies, iii) mitochondrial function in brain pathologies, iv) stem cells and adult neurogenesis, v)-vi) mechanism and pharmacology

  • Project Staff

    Mara D’Onofrio,

    MD and PhD, Head of the EBRI Genomics Facility

    Mara D’Onofrio work is focused on the molecular determinants of the neurodegenerative diseases, with main interest on understanding the link between the NGF/proNGF signaling/ imbalance and the development of the Alzheimer’s neurodegeneration. The Facility includes a PhD in Bioinformatics, Ivan Arisi, who is involved in the PAINCAGE project, a PhD in genomics, a young researcher and a bachelor student.

    Silvia Marinelli,

    PhD, Head of the “physiopathology and endocannabinoids laboratory”

    Silvia Marinelli has several years of expertise in using correlated electrophysiology and neuroanatomy to interrogate neuronal circuits, particularly the 31 molecular control of synaptic signaling and plasticity. Her present work concerns the role of cannabinoid and vanilloid receptors, and endocannabinoid signals in the central mechanism of neuropathic pain. The Marinelli group presently consists of young postdoctoral fellows (2x), PhD students (2x) and a bachelor student. Her approach is supported by several patch-clamp rigs with integrated video microscopy, and platforms for quantitative morphology (including circuit reconstructions) and stereology.

    Flaminia Pavone,

    Head of Neuroscience and Pain Laboratory of the CNR, Cell Biology and Neurobiology Institute.

    Flaminia Pavone is a long-standing collaborator of EBRI and SNS. The research activity is directed at understanding the neural mechanisms involved in pain transmission and control, in physiological and pathological conditions. In particular, attention is manly focused on neurobiology of the onset and development of neuropathic pain. The experimental approach is based on behavioral evaluation of responses to painful and nonpainful stimuli as well as to pharmacological treatments in animal models of neuropathic pain. Pain-related responses are correlated to motor and functional recovery and to immunohistochemical studies of structural changes, at peripheral and central levels, of molecules implicated in neuroinflammatory processes related to nerve degenerative and regenerative phenomena.