Gianluigi Tanda, Ph.D., Deputy Director, Medication Development Program - The Intramural Research Program of the National Institute on Drug Abuse

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Principal Investigators

Sergi Ferré, M.D., Ph.D., Senior Investigator


Triad Technology Center
333 Cassell Dr.
Room 1120
Baltimore, MD 21224

Phone: 443-740-2580

Gianluigi Tanda, Ph.D.

Deputy Director, Medication Development Program

University Diploma as Doctor in Pharmacy, and National Board Certification as Professional Pharmacist, University of Cagliari, Italy. Doctoral thesis title: “Pharmacological profile of dopamine receptor agonists as studied by brain dialysis in behaving rats”. Thesis advisor: Prof. G. DiChiara

Diploma of Doctoral Specialization in Toxicology, School of Toxicology, University of Cagliari, Italy; Summa cum Laude. Doctoral thesis title: “On the preferential release of dopamine in the nucleus accumbens by amphetamine: further evidence obtained by vertically implanted concentric dialysis probes”. Thesis advisor: Prof. G. DiChiara


Past research at the University of Cagliari, Italy, has been focusing on interactions among brain amine systems in psychiatric diseases, depression, schizophrenia, and addictions.
In collaboration with Prof. DiChiara and Prof. Pontieri, we have been the first to characterize the pharmacological effects of drugs of abuse in the shell and core of the Nucleus Accumbens.
After moving to NIDA/IRP, NIH, in collaboration with Dr. Steven Goldberg we have also been the first to provide clear preclinical demonstration that THC maintains drug-taking behavior in squirrel monkeys at doses comparable to those smoked by humans. This finding demonstrated that THC is a reinforcer, and that it has abuse potential like that of nicotine, cocaine and heroin. This discovery facilitated studies of the neurobiology underlying marijuana and cannabinoid abuse, including the complex pharmacology of the endogenous cannabinoid system and its relationship with systems underlying nicotine dependence.

Our current research is focused on understanding neurochemical, behavioral and molecular differences among typical and atypical blockers of the membrane dopamine transporter that can lead to pharmcaotherapeutics for the treatment of cocaine and other psychostimulant use disorders.

We are currently characterizing the neuro-electrochemistry and behavioral effects of modafinil, its enantiomenrs and several newly synthetized structural analogs of modafinil, alone and in combination with abused psychostimulants like cocaine and methamphetamine. Our goal is to find potential medications for psychostimulant

Selected Publications:

View more publications at PubMed.

About Dr. Ferré's...

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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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