Dipartimento di Scienze biomediche

Prof. Micaela Morelli
Academic Career

1976 Degree Biological Sciences with full credit
1978-81 Fellowship, Institute of Pharmacology, Univ. of Cagliari
1981-82 and 1986 Research Associate Department of Pharmacology, Univ. of Arizona, Tucson
1982-90 Researcher, Institute of Pharmacology, Univ. of Cagliari
From 1990 Full Professor of Pharmacology Univ. of Cagliari
From 1995 CNR Institute of Neuroscience
1997-2000 Chairman of the Dpt. of Toxicology, Univ. of Cagliari
From 2001 Center of Excellence for Neurobiology of Dependence
2015- Vice Rector for Research, University of Cagliari
Professional Experience
2001-2006 Elected member of the Italian Neuroscience Society Council
2004 to 2010 Councilor of the International Basal Ganglia Society (IBAGS)
2004-2014 Representative of the University of Cagliari in the Governing Council of the Bank of
Sardinia Foundation
2005-2010 Italian representative on the International Brain Research Organisation (IBRO)
2010-2016 Councillor of IBRO- PERC committee
2013-2016 Member of CEPR (Committee of Expert for Research Politics of MIUR)
2015- Elected President of the Italian Neuroscience Society
Organizing committee of congress
Basal Ganglia Society Meeting (Capo Boi, Italy, 1989); European Behavioral Pharmacological
Society (Italy, 1996); Joint Italian-Swedish Neuroscience Meeting (Ischia, Italy, 2005), Targeting
adenosine A2A receptors in Parkinson’s disease and other CNS disorders ( Boston, USA, 2006);
Basal Ganglia Society Meeting (The Netherland, 2007); 8th IBRO (Florence, Italy, 2011), Basal
Ganglia Society Meeting (Eilat, Israel, 2013), Dopamine 2013 (Alghero, Italy, 2013), SINS 2015
(Cagliari, Italy 2015).
Research Grants latest 7 years
2017-2020 Research grant PRIN of the MIUR
2012-2014 Research Grant from Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research
2012-2015 Research Grant from LR7 of Region of Sardinia
2011-2014 Polish Academy of Sciences, Krakow, funded by Italian-Polish Dpt. of Foreign Affairs
2011 Univ.Stellenbosch and Zulu-Natal (South Africa), funded by South African-Italian Dpt. of
Foreign Affairs (W.Daniels)
Evaluator panel for Academic positions
2008, 2013: NRF, Univ. of KwaZulu Natal and Stellenbosch, South Africa
2009 Department of Health & Human Services (NIH), USA
2009 Karolinska Institute, Stockholm, Sweden
Opponent for international PhD thesis
2008 Univ. of Stellembosch, Sud Africa; dr. Ilse-Sanet Pienaar
2008 Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm; dr. dr. X. Zhang
2008 CNRS, Univ. of Marseille; dr S. Lopez
2011 Univ. of Lund, Sweden, dr D. Rylander
2012 Univ. of Murcia, Spain, dr J. Enrique
2014 Univ. of Lund, Sweden, dr H. Iderberg
Research interests
The main subjects of investigation have been on the mechanism of action of drugs affecting
dopaminergic and adenosinergic transmission and their interaction in rodent models of Parkinson’s
disease. The research group has expertise in behavioral evaluation of motor dysfunctions and
biochemical markers of basal ganglia function. The experimental techniques utilized in the
laboratory, range from immunohistochemical evaluation of enzyme, proteins etc. (tyrosine
hydroxylase, DAT, GFAP, CD11b, Fos) and in situ hybridization for evaluation of mRNA for
early-genes, peptides, enzymes (zif-268, dynorphin, enkephalin, GAD67). The main scientific
accomplishments have been the identification of adenosine A2A receptor antagonists ability to
counteract motor and biochemical deficits in basal ganglia of parkinsonian rodents and to evidence
their neuroprotective effects.
Most recent findings have shown that amphetamine-related drugs produce dopamine neuron degeneration and stimulate glial activation, revealing a gender and age dependency of MDMA-induced neurotoxic effects.

Number of publications: 211; total citations 7900; h-index: 47

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