Luigia Cristino

Senior Research Scientist
National Research Council (CNR) of Italy - Institute of Biomolecular Chemistry of Pozzuoli

Luigia Cristino is a senior research scientist at the National Research Council (CNR) of Italy, Institute of Biomolecular Chemistry of Pozzuoli. She earned a Doctor of Biology and Ph.D. degrees at the University “Federico II” of Naples, Italy. The overarching goal of her research is to study the impact of highly palatable and caloric foods, which are typical in the human Western diet, on the gut-brain axis and brain functioning (neurogenesis, aging, memory, and energy homeostasis) with the recent main focus on the effects of gut microbiota-derived (endo)cannabinoids and (endo)cannabinoid-related metabolites on synaptic plasticity. Her studies on the fundamental mechanisms of endocannabinoid-mediated regulation of energy homeostasis in the brain have introduced and developed the concept of “fat addiction” by demonstrating a functional cross-talk between the endocannabinoid 2-arachidonoyl-glycerol (2-AG) and the neuropeptide orexin, which underlies the feed-forward mechanism of dopamine release in genetic- and diet-induced obesity in mice. She also described a 2-AG-mediated hypothalamic molecular pathway linking severe obesity to the onset of memory impairment and neurodegeneration in the hippocampus. Her studies have been published in high-impact journals, including Molecular Metabolism (PMID: 36977433), Nature Communications (PMID: 34675233; PMID: 34108486), Nature Review Neurology (PMID: 31831863); PNAS (PMID: 27071101; PMID: 3630288) and her research program has been continuously supported by national and international agencies (Italian agency for research: PON2019 «R&I» IDF_SHARID; PRIN2022-PNRR n.P20222NASC; PRIN2017 n. M42834_002; PRIN2014 n. 928EEX4_003; CNR – AGENCY 2000; HORIZON 2020/Marie Curie Action INCIPIT; IBRO International Brain Research Organization; Canada Sentinelle Nord “Program Chronoconnectivity”; UMI-MicroMeNu), and by pharmaceutical companies (Plantex and GW Pharmaceuticals). She is mentor and supervisor of the international Ph.D. curricula in Neuroscience and Biomolecular and Health Sciences in collaboration with the Doctoral Schools at the University of Verona, University of Naples “Federico II”, and “Luigi Vanvitelli”, University of Urbino “Carlo Bo”. She is a member of the Scientific Committee of the Joint International Research Unit on Chemical and Biomolecular Studies on the Microbiome and its Impact on Metabolic Health and Nutrition, between Université Laval and the CNR.

Link for complete publications on Scopus website – AuthorId=6506988838.