Dr. Pietro De Camilli, newly named as the inaugural John Klingenstein Professor of Neuroscience, focuses his research on the cell biology of neuronal synapses.
De Camilli explores the fundamental aspects of the function of cells of the nervous system, with emphasis on synaptic transmission, the process through which neurons exchange signals with each other. His studies have provided critical new insights into the molecular events underlying the release of neurotransmitters from nerve cells. More generally, they have advanced knowledge of the mechanisms through which all cells secrete substances, take up material from the external environment, and traffic it to appropriate intracellular destinations. His laboratory also investigates the impact of dysfunction of these processes in diseases of the nervous system, including genetic and neurodegenerative conditions.
A native of Italy, De Camilli studied at the Liceo Manzoni in Milan, earned his M.D. degree from the University of Milano, and obtained a postgraduate degree in medical endocrinology from the University of Pavia. He was a postdoctoral fellow in the Department of Pharmacology at Yale and subsequently an assistant professor in the Yale Section of Cell Biology. Following a sojourn in Milan, he returned to Yale in the late 1980s; prior to his appointment as the Klingenstein Professor, he was the Eugene Higgins Professor of Cell Biology and Neurobiology. He became an investigator in the Howard Hughes Medical Institute in 1992. He has 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.
De Camilli has contributed numerous articles to professional journals. He is an elected member of the Accademia Nazionale dei Lincei, the European Molecular Biology Organization, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and the National Academy of Sciences. He is a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.
The Klingenstein Family established the John Klingenstein Professorship to honor John Klingenstein ’50 and his longstanding contributions to medicine and to neuroscience.