The Power List 2020 – R&D Trailblazers
Professor of Psychological and Brain Sciences and Director of Science, Technology, and Research Scholars, Indiana University, Bloomington, USA
Motivation: To know more about how the cannabinoid system functions in the body and how we can harness that for public health. It is important that we understand that drugs, even those from plants, can both help and harm.
Proud moment: Every time I watch my students have a flash of insight in the lab or communicate their discoveries with the world. Having someone greet me at a conference with “Wow, your student gave a great talk” – that’s something I cherish.
Unanswered question: We recently shed light on how CBD is involved in the regulation of a lipid enzyme, NAPE-PLD, that impacts on a wide range of lipids within and outside the endogenous cannabinoids. What this means for cellular communication and potential therapeutic outcomes are the next big questions.
Another emerging set of questions center on how cannabinoids interact with astrocytes in the human brain. Understanding the connection between astrocyte neurobiology and cannabinoid pharmacology will lead us in directions that we have yet to imagine.