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Pietro De Camilli, MD

John Klingenstein Professor of Neuroscience and Professor of Cell Biology; Investigator, Howard Hughes Medical Institute; Director, Kavli Institute for Neuroscience and Program in Cellular Neuroscience, Neurodegeneration and Repair (CNNR)



A native of Italy, De Camilli studied at the Liceo Manzoni in Milan, earned his M.D. degree from the University of Milano in 1972 and obtained a postgraduate degree in medical endocrinology from the University of Pavia in Italy. He was a postdoctoral fellow (1978-79) with Paul Greengard in the Department of Pharmacology at Yale, and subsequently an assistant professor in the Yale Section of Cell Biology. Following a return of a few years to Milan, he moved back to Yale in the late 1980s, where he is now John Klingenstein Professor of Neuroscience. He became an Investigator in the Howard Hughes Medical Institute in 1992. From 1997 to 2000 he served as Chair of the Department of Cell Biology and since 2005 he is Founding Director of the Yale Program in Cellular Neuroscience, Neurodegeneration and Repair (CNNR). He served as Chair of the Department of Neuroscience from 2015 to 2021, and has been the Director of the Kavli Institute for Neuroscience since 2015.

The De Camilli lab is interested in the cell biology of neuronal synapses. His studies on synaptic vesicle dynamics have contributed to the general fields of exocytosis and endocytosis. His research has provided insight into mechanisms of membrane fission and has revealed ways through which membrane-associated proteins can generate, sense and stabilize lipid bilayer curvature. His discovery and characterization of the role of phosphoinositide metabolism in the control of endocytosis have broad implications in the fields of phospholipid signaling and of membrane traffic. Building on this work, he has recently become interested in the role of membrane contact sites in the control of the homeostasis of bilayer lipids. His studies of synapses have also contributed to the elucidation of pathogenetic mechanisms of human diseases.

Education & Training

  • MD
    University of Milan (1972)


  • Advisory Council, Aligning Science Across Parkinson's
    Santa Monica, United States (2017-2019)
  • President, American Society of Cell Biology
    Bethesda, United States 2017
  • Scientific Advisory Board, Jane Coffin Childs Memorial Fund for Medical Research
    New Haven, United States (2013-2016)
  • Italian Scholarship Advisory Committee, Armenise-Harvard Foundation
    Rome, Italy (2013-2016)
  • Chair of Section 24 of National Academy of Sciences
    Washington, United States (2009-2012)
  • Scientific Advisory Board; Göttingen Graduate School for Neurosciences, Biophysics, and Molecular Biosciences
    Gottingen, Germany (2008-2016)
  • Italian Scholarship Advisory Committee, Armenise-Harvard Foundation
    Armeno, Italy (2006-2009)
  • Scientific Advisory Board, Telethon Foundation
    Milan, Italy (2005-2011)
  • Scholars Awards Committee, Mcknight Endowment Fund for Neuroscience
    Minneapolis, United States (2004-2009)
  • NIH Study Section SYN (formerly MCDN1)
    Washington, United States (2001-2006)
    Chair, 2005-2006
  • Scientific Advisory Board, The Pew Scholars Program in Biological Sciences
    Philadelphia, United States (1997-2004)

Honors & Recognition

AwardAwarding OrganizationDate
E.B.Wilson MedalAmerican Society for Cell Biology2021
Ernst Jung Gold Medal for MedicineJung Foundation for Science and Research (Jung-Stiftung)2019
Julius Axelrod PrizeSociety for Neuroscience (SfN)2015
Elected Foreign MemberAccademia Nazionale dei Lincei2013
FellowAmerican Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS)2012
Elected MemberInstitute of Medicine2005
Elected MemberAmerican Academy of Arts & Sciences2001
Elected MemberNational Academy of Sciences2001
Elected MemberEMBO1987

Professional Service

Yale University School of MedicineChair of the Department of Neuroscience2015 - 2021
Kavli Institute for NeuroscienceDirector2015 - Present
Yale Program for Cellular Neuroscience, Neurodegeneration and Repair (CNNR)Director2005 - Present
Yale University School of MedicinesChair of the Department of Cell Biology1997 - 2000

Departments & Organizations