Paolo Follesa Professor of Pharmacology
Book Chapters: 7
Professor Paolo Follesa took his degree in Biological Sciences with Full Marks in 1991 at the University of Cagliari in Italy. From 1991 to 1995 performed his research studies in the United States of America at Georgetown University in Washington D.C. and at the University of Texas HSCSA in San Antonio. In December 1995 came back in Italy, and since then he perform his research activity at the University of Cagliari in the Department of Experimental Biology, section of Neuroscience, now called Di.S.V.A. In 1998 he has his first permanent position as laboratory technician, in 2001 won a competitive examination for the position of researcher and in 2002 won a competitive examination for the position of Associate Professor of Pharmacology and become a member of the Faculty of Science at the University of Cagliari in Italy.
Since many years Prof. Follesa works in the field of neuropharmacology in particular with studies concerning neuronal plasticity in the field of alcohol, benzodiazepines, growth factors and neuro-stimulation. His first studies were aimed to understand the role played by neurotrophic factors in regulating the molecular mechanisms involved in the neuronal plasticity. At the beginning of his career in the '90, studies performed by Paolo Follesa demonstrated that it is possible to pharmacologically stimulate the gene expression of neurotrophic factors in the rat central nervous system by using different drugs such as beta-adrenergic receptor agonists, steroids and glutamate receptor antagonists. These studies demonstrated that the pharmacological induction of neurotrophic factors synthesis was able to ameliorate the functional recovery of animals with spinal cord injury. Subsequently, the interest of his research group was aimed to study the neuronal plasticity mediated by the GABAergic neurotransmission, which is a crucial neurochemical factor in the control of mood and emotions, such as anxiety and stress. By using physiological and pharmacological "in vivo" experimental models and pharmacological models in primary neuronal cell cultures, these studies have demonstrated that neuroactive steroids are able to selectively modulate the gene expression of GABAA receptors. Consequently, physiological or pharmacological induced changes in the brain and plasma concentrations of these endogenous steroids are associated to the selective expression of specific genes that encode for the various subunits of the GABAA receptor complex. In the last years these topic have been studied in more detail by using other positive modulators of the GABAergic transmission such as benzodiazepines and ethanol. At present his research is focused on studying the mechanisms involved in the regulation of adult hippocampal neurogenesis/gliogenesis and the role of neurotrophic factors in mediating the effects therapeutic of antiepileptic and antidepressant drugs or other non pharmacological treatments such as vagus nerve stimulation (VNS) and trigrminal nerve stimulation (TNS). Prof. Follesa is author of more than 60 scientific peer reviewed papers published in international journals. He is also co-author of some chapters on pharmacology text books and some book chapters on the neuronal plasticity, mediated through the GABAergic transmission. Since 1991 he is member of the Society for Neuroscience. He his also member of the following scientific societies: Società Italiana di Farmacologia (SIF), Research Society on Alcoholism (RSoA), European College of Neuropsychopharmacology (ecnp).