Both of his mentors received in 2000 the Nobel Prize for their contributions to medicine.
After working at the INSERM in Paris (France) and at the Neurosciences Institute in San Diego (CA), with Nobel Prize-winner Gerald Edelman, Dr. Piomelli joined the University of California, Irvine, where he is Professor of Pharmacology and Louise Turner Arnold Chair in the Neurosciences.
Dr. Piomelli has a long-standing interest in neuropharmacology, an area in which he has made three contributions. First, he established the role of arachidonic acid as an intracellular second messenger and revealed the molecular mechanisms by which this compound regulates neural activity. Second, he elucidated the pathways involved in the formation and deactivation of brain cannabis-like substances, and uncovered physiological functions and potential pharmacological uses of these compounds. Lastly, he discovered the role of the natural lipids oleoylethanolamide (OEA) and palmitoylethanolamide (PEA) in the control of satiety and energy balance, and identified the cellular receptor for these compounds.
Dr. Piomelli is an author in more than 250 papers in journals such as Nature, Science, Nature Medicine and Nature Neuroscience, more than 20 patents and three full-length books. He has received several awards and honors, including the Dargut and Milena Kemali Prize in Neuroscience and the National Alliance for Research on Depression and Schizophrenia (NARSAD) Distinguished Investigator Award. He cofounded the pharmaceutical start-up, Kadmus, which has brought to the clinic new classes of molecules discovered in his lab.