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Marco Bortolato

Marco Bortolato

Associate Professor

Associate Professor, Pharmacology and Toxicology


Office: 3916 L.S. Skaggs Research Building


  • M.D. University of Cagliari, Italy
  • Ph.D. Pharmacology, University of Cagliari, Italy
  • Specialization in Neurology University of Cagliari, Italy

Research Interests

My research is primarily focused on the characterization of the biological bases of neurodevelopmental disorders through the employment of behavioral tests in animal models. In particular, my key scientific interest is the identification of the mechanisms of interaction between lipid mediators (including neuroactive steroids and endocannabinoids) and key brain neurotransmitters, such as dopamine and serotonin. To this end, we employ a broad array of behavioral, biochemical and molecular biological techniques, as well as stereotactic surgery and HPLC.

The long-term goal of this research is the development of novel therapeutic agents for the treatment of pathological aggression, autism-spectrum disorder, Tourette syndrome, schizophrenia and impulse-control disorders (such as pathological gambling).

My laboratory is currently involved in two major translational research projects. The first target of our investigations is the characterization of the molecular substrates of gene x environment interactions in impulsive aggression. The second aim of our research is the development of novel steroid- and cannabinoid-based tools for the therapy of impulse-control disorders, Tourette syndrome, autism and schizophrenia. Both projects involve multiple collaborations with several basic and clinical scientists in US, Canada, Italy, France and Germany.

Marco Bortolato Lab - Graduate Students

Karen Odeh

Pharmacology and Toxicology PhD Program

Undergraduate School: University of Pavia, Italy (MS); University of Eastern Piedmont, Italy (BS)


Easton Van Luik, a pharmacology and toxicology graduate student wearing a black shirt

Easton Van Luik

Pharmacology and Toxicology PhD Program

Undergraduate School: Utah Valley University (BS Behavioral Science) 


Marco Bortolato Lab - Postdoctoral Researchers

Marco Orru, PhD

Office:  25 & 26 Skaggs Hall