Di Marzo Vincenzo

Di Marzo Vincenzo

    • Researchers
  • 11 Maggio 2015
  • 6401


Profile: Research Director

Office location: Naples

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Work phone #: 081 8675018

Lab phone #: 081 8675191


Dr. Vincenzo Di Marzo is a Research Director at the Institute of Biomolecular Chemistry of the National Research Council (ICB-CNR) in Pozzuoli, Naples, Italy, coordinator of the Endocannabinoid Research Group in the Naples region, and an Adjunct Associate Professor in the Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology at the Medical College of Virginia at Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond. He was appointed Honorary Professor at Buckingham University, UK, in December 2012. He has qualified as Full Professor in Pharmacology in January 2014. He is Director of ICB-CNR since June 2014. 

Dr. Di Marzo was awarded a ChemD from the University of Naples in 1983, and a PhD in Biochemistry and molecular pharmacology from Imperial College in London in 1988. He also completed postdoctoral studies in lipid biochemistry and natural product chemistry at ICB-CNR in 1990.

Dr. Di Marzo is co-author of more than 590 articles published in peer-reviewed journals, including several reviews on endocannabinoids. In addition, he is, or has been, on the editorial board of Prostaglandins, Leukotrienes, and Essential Fatty Acids; Critical Reviews in Neurobiology; Recent Patents in CNS Drug Discovery; CNS & Neurological Disorders-Drug Targets; The Open Medicinal Chemistry Journal; Lipids in Health and Disease; The Open Drug Discovery Journal; The British Journal of Pharmacology. He is Editor-in-Chief of Recent Patents on CNS Drug Discovery.

In December 2010 he was Top Scientist in the field of Pharmacology and Toxicology according to Thomson Reuters (www.timeshighereducation.co.uk/story.asp?storycode=414533), and 2nd in Europe in June 2013 in Pharmacology and Pharmacy, as well as 7th in Europe in Basic Neurosciences in January 2010 (http://www.labtimes.org/labtimes/ranking/2013_05/index2.lasso).

In January 2014 he was described amonmg the 400 most influential scientists in biomedicine by Boyack et al. Eur J Clin Invest., vol. 43, pagg. 1339-1365. In June 2014 he was listed among the 3215 Highly Cited Researchers (top 1% in the world) in all scientific disciplines and with only 51 other Italian scientists, according to Thomson Reuters (http://www.highlycited.com/). 

Dr. Di Marzo has been the recipient of numerous research grants, including a Human Frontier Science Program research grant to study the biosynthesis, metabolism, and structure-activity relationships of anandamide; an INTAS research grant to study the immunomodulatory role of endocannabinoids; and a 3-year research grant from the VolkswagenStiftung in Germany. He has served as President of the International Cannabinoid Research Society (ICRS) between 2004 and 2005. Since December 2005 he is member of the board of the International Chair of Cardiometabolic Risk of Laval. In June 2006 he was awarded a Merkator Fellowship for Foreign Scientists by the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinshaft to visit Germany for 6 months and establish collaborations with German scientists. In June 2007, he was awarded by the ICRS the Mechoulam Award for “his outstanding contributions to cannabinoid research”. In June 2012 he was awarded the Luigi Tartufari award for Chemistry from the Italian Academy of Sciences (Accademia dei Lincei). In September 2013 he was awarded the “Ester Fride Award for Basic Science” from the International Association for Cannabinoid Medicines. In October 2014 he was awarded the International Award “Guido Dorso” for Research.



Dr. Di Marzo’s research activity focuses on the study of bioactive lipids derived from long chain fatty acids, the regulation of their biosynthesis, metabolism and pharmacological activity under physiological and pathological conditions, and the development of new terapies from this knowledge. In particolar, he invented the names “endocannabinoids” and “endovanilloids” and contributed to the:

  • Discovery of the biosynthetic and metabolic pathways of the endocannabinoids and of some endocannabinoid-like molecules
  • Development of selective inhibitors of endocannabinoid inactivation and biosynthesis
  • Study of the regulation of endocannabinoid levels in tissues under physiological and pathological conditions and development of profiling techniques for endocannabinoid and endocannabinoid-like molecules
  • Study of the role of the endocannabinoid system in the regulation of food intake and metabolism
  • Discovery of the anti-tumor actions of endocannabinoids
  • Discovery of the first endovanilloids
  • Discovery of the relationships between endocannabinoids and endovanilloids
  • Discovery of the role of TRPV1 channels in the brain in the control of pain, anxiety and synaptic plasticity
  • Development of dual target drugs with high efficacy and safety in experimental models of chronic pain and anxiety
  • Discovery of the role of the endocannabinoid system in skeletal muscle differentiation

Major publications

  1.  “Vanilloid receptors on sensory nerves mediate the vasodilator action of the endocannabinoid anandamide”, P.M. Zygmunt, J. Petersson, D.A. Andersson, H. Chuang, M. Sorgard, V. Di Marzo, D. Julius and E.D. Hogestatt (1999), Nature, 400, 452-457. 1214 citazioni
  2. "Formation and inactivation of endogenous cannabinoid anandamide in central neurons", V. Di Marzo, A. Fontana, H. Cadas, S. Schinelli, G. Cimino, J.-C. Schwartz and D. Piomelli, (1994), Nature, 372, 686-691. 973 citazioni.
  3. “Leptin-Regulated Endocannabinoids Are Involved in Maintaining Food Intake” V. Di Marzo, S.K. Goparaju, L. Wang, J. Liu, S. Bátkai, Z. Járai, F. Fezza, G. Miura, R. Palmiter, T. Sugiura and G. Kunos, (2001) Nature, 410, 822-825. 865 citazioni
  4. “An endogenous capsaicin-like substance with high potency at recombinant and native vanilloid VR1 receptors”. S.M. Huang, T. Bisogno, M. Trevisani, A. Al-Hayani, L. De Petrocellis, F. Fezza, M. Tognetto, J.F. Krey, T.J. Petros, C.J. Chu, J.D. Miller, S.N. Davies, P. Geppetti, J.M. Walker and V. Di Marzo, (2002), Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA, 99, 8400-8405. 520 citazioni
  5. The endogenous cannabinoid anandamide inhibits human breast cancer cell proliferation” L. De Petrocellis, D. Melck, A. Palmisano, T. Bisogno, C. Laezza, M. Bifulco and V. Di Marzo, (1998) Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA, 95, 8375-8380. 228 citazioni
  6. “Anandamide acts as an intracellular messenger amplifying Ca2+ influx via TRPV1 channels” (2005) M. van der Stelt, M. Trevisani, L. De Petrocellis, V. Vellani, A. Schiano Moriello, B. Campi, P. McNaughton, P. Geppetti and V. Di Marzo, EMBO J., 24, 3026-3037. 128 citazioni
  7. “Anandamide and diet: inclusion of dietary arachidonate and docosahexaenoate leads to increased brain levels of the corresponding N-acyl ethanolamines in piglets”, A. Berger, G. Crozier, T. Bisogno, P. Cavaliere, S. Innis and V. Di Marzo, (2001) Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA, 98, 6402-6406. 113 citazioni
  8. “Obesity-driven synaptic remodeling affects endocannabinoid control of orexinergic neurons.” Cristino L, Busetto G, Imperatore R, Ferrandino I, Palomba L, Silvestri C, Petrosino S, Orlando P, Bentivoglio M, Mackie K, Di Marzo V. (2013) Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 110(24):E2229-38
  9. “Neural precursor cells induce cell death of high-grade astrocytomas through stimulation of TRPV1.” Stock K, Kumar J, Synowitz M, Petrosino S, Imperatore R, Smith ES, Wend P, Purfürst B, Nuber UA, Gurok U, Matyash V, Wälzlein JH, Chirasani SR, Dittmar G, Cravatt BF, Momma S, Lewin GR, Ligresti A, De Petrocellis L, Cristino L, Di Marzo V, Kettenmann H, Glass R. (2012) Nat Med. 18(8): 1232-1238.
  10. "The endocannabinoid 2-AG controls skeletal muscle cell differentiation via CB1 receptor-dependent inhibition of Kv7 channels".Iannotti FA, Silvestri C, Mazzarella E, Martella A, Calvigioni D, Piscitelli F, Ambrosino P, Petrosino S, Czifra G, Bíró T, Harkany T, Taglialatela M, Di Marzo V. (2014) Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A.111(24):E2472-81