Lorenzo Leggio, M.D., Ph.D., M.Sc. - Principal Investigators - The Intramural Research Program of the National Institute on Drug Abuse

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Lorenzo Leggio, M.D., Ph.D., M.Sc.


251 Bayview Blvd,
Suite 200, Room 01A840
Baltimore, MD 21224

NIDA Phone: 443-740-2293

NIAAA Phone: 301-435-9398




Lab: CPNResearch@mail.nih.gov

Lorenzo Leggio, M.D., Ph.D., M.Sc.

Chief, Clinical Psychoneuroendocrinology and Neuropsychopharmacology Section

Associate Director for Clinical Research, Medications Development Program

Postdoctoral training , Psychiatry and Human Behavior, Center for Alcohol and Addiction Studies, Brown University, Providence, RI, USA

Internal Medicine – Residency training, Department of Internal Medicine, A. Gemelli Hospital, Catholic University of Rome

Ph.D. - Physiopathology of Nutrition and Metabolism, Catholic University of Rome

M.Sc. – Alcohol Addiction, University of Florence

M.D.  - Medical School, Catholic University of Rome


Dr. Leggio's CPN laboratory conducts clinical and translational inpatient and outpatient studies to identify possible novel medications for addiction. His group uses a combination of state-of-the-art and novel bio behavioral and pharmacological procedures performed under well-controlled human laboratory conditions. Imaging brain techniques, such as fMRI and PET, are also employed. Dr. Leggio and his team are particularly interested in the role of the gut-liver-brain axis in alcohol-seeking behaviors. Specifically, the CPN laboratory is currently investigating the potential role of feeding-related pathways, such as ghrelin, leptin, oxytocin and GLP-1, as possible new neuropharmacological targets for the treatment of alcohol use disorder. We have recently expanded our research looking at the role of the gut microbiota in heavy drinkers with a special emphasis on the relationships between alcohol-related seeking behaviors and the microbiota-gut-brain axis. Future research includes work on the effects of bariatric surgery on alcohol-related seeking behaviors. Both preclinical and human approaches are under development to shed light on the possible role of these pathways in alcohol use disorder.

CPN is jointly funded by the NIAAA Division of Intramural Clinical and Biological Research and the NIDA Intramural Research Program. Additional research support is provided by the Peter G. Dodge Foundation (PGDF; microbiome-gut-brain project). Furthermore, in collaboration with the University of Rhode Island (URI), the CPN laboratory is conducting an NIH-Academia-Industry collaborative project on the role of ghrelin receptor antagonism in alcohol use disorder.

Selected Publications:

More about Dr. Leggio

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The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), is part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the principal biomedical and behavioral research agency of the United States Government. NIH is a component of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

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