Oreste Gualillo

University of Santiago de CompostelaSpain

As an undergraduate and member of the Faculty of Pharmacy of University of Naples “Federico II”, Italy (Course of Study in Pharmaceutical Chemistry and Technologies), I performed a research project for my first honor degree thesis (Interferences between pituitary hormones and inflammatory process) in the laboratory of Professor R. Di Carlo. Upon graduation, and as recipient of a fellowship from Italian Ministry of Research and University, I joined the laboratory of Professor Paul A. Kelly at INSERM U344 in Paris (France) where I have been involved in researches aimed to define signal trasduction pathway/s of prolactin receptor. While performing research for my PhD thesis on “Pituitary hormones, immunity and inflammation”, I developed techniques and strategies for analyzing cell specific response to inflammatory factors, which are still widely used in the field. In 1998, I was invited as Visiting Professor at Santiago de Compostela University and next I have been awarded with a two-years post-doctoral Marie Curie contract funded by the Research Directorate of European Commission and I permanently moved to Spain at University of Santiago de Compostela where I joined, up to the end of 2000, the Department of Physiology and the Laboratory of Molecular and Cellular Endocrinology under the supervision of Professor Carlos Dieguez and Professor Felipe F. Casanueva respectively. In this period I was principal investigator in one project aimed to define the signal transduction pathways evoked by leptin, the forerunner of a new superfamily of factors synthesized by adipocytes and called adipokines. In addition to my own project, I was also involved in a research project aimed to define the role of ghrelin (a novel identified gastric peptide involved in the control of energy homeostases) in several physio-pathological states. In 2001, I was appointed as Staff Researcher by the Spanish Ministry of Health and I moved to the Santiago University Clinical Hospital where I have established the NEIRID Lab, the Laboratory of NeuroEndocrine Interactions in Rheumatology and Inflammatory Diseases. In the last years, my research was focused on defining the molecular and cellular mechanisms by which adipokines modulates inflammatory response and cartilage homeostases in joint diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and osteoarthritis (OA). Our recent work has uncovered new roles of molecules, such as adipokines, not previously known to act in cartilage in the regulation of chondrocyte inflammatory response and in inflammatory and autoimmune diseases such as RA and OA. One of our major contributions has been to define how leptin works in synergy with interleukin-1 and interferon-gamma in the induction of nitric oxide synthase type 2 in chondrocytes. Current investigations focus on defining the role of other recent identified adipokines in RA and OA.

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