Chemical signaling among and within cells is crucial to the correct functioning of all living organisms, and its defects are at the basis of most diseases. One chemical signaling system that plays a fundamental role in mammalian physiology and pathology is the endocannabinoidome: an expanded version of the endocannabinoid system that was discovered from studies on cannabis psychoactive principle, THC. The endocannabinoidome is now emerging as also being able to communicate with, hence regulating and being regulated by, another complex system: the gut microbiome. Through its billions of microorganisms living in symbiosis with their host, and their armamentarium of genes, proteins and small metabolites, the gut microbiome provides a much wider array of cellular communication possibilities, which, when disrupted, may however contribute to pathology. These two systems, and their reciprocal interactions, will be briefly described in my lecture.
Vincenzo Di Marzo is Canada Excellence Research Chair on the Microbiome-Endocannabinoidome Axis in Metabolic Health (CERC-MEND) at Laval University, Quebec, Canada (https://cerc-mend.chaire.ulaval.ca/en/home/), and associated Research Director at the Institute of Biomolecular Chemistry of the National Research Council (ICB-CNR) in Pozzuoli, Italy (https://www.icb.cnr.it/personale/dipendenti/pozzuoli/).
He is also the coordinator of the Endocannabinoid Research Group in the Naples region, and the director of the Joint International Research Unit between the Italian National Research Council and Université Laval, for Chemical and Biomolecular Research on the Microbiome and its impact on Metabolic Health and Nutrition. He holds a ChemD from the University of Naples in 1983, and a PhD in Biochemistry from Imperial College in London in 1988. He is co-author of about 750 articles published in peer-reviewed journals. 750 articles published in peer-reviewed journals.