Marco Bortolato

Associate Professor
Primary office:

  • 2000 – M.D., University of Cagliari, Italy
  • 2004 - Ph.D., Pharmacology, University of Cagliari, Italy
  • 2004-2006 Postdoctoral Fellow, Depts. of Psychiatry and Pharmacology, University of California Irvine, USA
  • 2006-2008 Postdoctoral Fellow, Dept. of Neurology, University of Cagliari, Italy
  • 2007-2009 Senior Research Scientist, Dept. of Pharmacology and Pharmaceutical Sciences, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, USA
  • 2009 – Clinical Board License, Neuropathophysiology, University of Cagliari, Italy
  • 2009-2012 Research Assistant Professor, Dept. of Pharmacology and Pharmaceutical Sciences, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, USA
  • 2012 Assistant Professor, Dept. of Pharmacology and Toxicology, School of Pharmacy, University of Kansas, Lawrence (KS), USA


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 techniques, as well as electroencephalography, 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 and schizophrenia. In particular, we have discovered the antipsychotic efficacy of neurosteroid-based therapies in patients affected by schizophrenia, Tourette syndrome and impulse-control disorders. Both projects involve multiple collaborations with several basic and clinical scientists in US, Canada, Italy, Germany, Croatia and Malta.

2nd among all schools of pharmacy in National Institutes of Health funding
Brings more than $20 million in external funding into the state each year
7 of 19 cancer drugs formulated through the National Cancer Institute were developed at the KU School of Pharmacy
3,000 free flu shots given to needy Kansans during the past 5 years
4,000 living alumni, 63 percent of them living and working in Kansas
KU pharmacists practice in 95 of Kansas’ 105 counties
20th among public schools of pharmacy.
—U.S. News & World Report
$20.2 million NIH research grant earned by Distinguished Professor Jeff Aubé was 2nd largest in Kansas history
100 percent placement after graduation for KU Pharm.D. students
Established in 1885 as the 1st professional program at KU
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