DHC 2024 - Health Science Sector

Bruxelles Woluwe

The Louvain Drug Research Institute (LDRI) and the Faculty of Pharmacy and Biomedical Sciences (FASB) are the proud sponsors of the Doctor Honoris Causa bestowed this year by the Health Sciences Sector to Prof. Vincenzo Di Marzo.

See the NEWS and the photos.

Prof. Vincenzo Di Marzo is Canada Excellence Research Chair on the Microbiome-Endocannabinoidome Axis in Metabolic Health (CERC-MEND) at Université Laval (Quebec, Canada) and Research Director at the Institute of Biomolecular Chemistry of the National Research Council (ICB-CNR) in Pozzuoli (Italy).

Prof. Di Marzo 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 more than 900 articles published in peer-reviewed journals and he is consistently listed among the Highly Cited Researchers (top 1% in the world) in all scientific disciplines.

Prof. Di Marzo received several awards during his career, and in November 2018 he was elected member of the Italian “Accademia dei Lincei”, the oldest academy of the sciences in the world. In 2024, he was elected foreign member of The Royal Academy of Medicine of Belgium.

Prof. Di Marzo’s research activity has been dedicated to the understanding of the mechanisms of chemical communication between cells. He rapidly became interested in the study of the biology of the chemical signals that act in our body on the same receptors as Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the main psychotropic component of marijuana. These molecules, that he named endocannabinoids, have a crucial pleiotropic function as pro-homeostatic mediators, notably by regulating other signaling systems in our organism.

Prof. Di Marzo largely contributed to put forth the role of the endocannabinoids as important endogenous signaling molecules in the context of metabolism, pain, cancer and many other physiological and pathological processes. Other contributions to the field include the development of the first pharmacological tools to interact with endocannabinoid metabolism and quantitative methods to investigate the regulation of endocannabinoid levels in health and disease.

Nowadays, as director of the Joint International Unit for the Study of the Microbiome, between the CNR and the Université Laval (www.umilaval.cnr.it), he coordinates experiments on the interactions between the intestinal microbiome and endocannabinoids.