Monica Di Luca (University of Milan)

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Monica Di Luca - Professor of pharmacology - received the title of Honoris Causa on the 15th October 2019.

Photo : Monica Di Luca © Thi Xuan Huong Nguyen
Monica Di Luca © Thi Xuan Huong Nguyen

Monica Di Luca is internationally renowned for her research in neuroscience at both a fundamental level and also for preclinical developments.

Research, collaboration, distinctions

Monica Di Luca holds a double PhD; in Pharmacy from the University of Milan, and in Medical Science from Utrecht University. Since 1995, she is a professor at the University of Milan, where she leads a research laboratory focused on the pharmacology of neurodegeneration. She has fostered a vibrant Neuroscience community in Milan, through the creation of the NeuroNest Centre of Neuroscience.

Monica Di Luca is the author of more than 180 articles published in peer reviewed journals. She is a member of the European Molecular Biology Organisation (EMBO) and has received major international distinctions and awards. Monica Di Luca’s primary research interest relates to neuronal plasticity both in physiological and pathological conditions. Her research group has significantly contributed to understanding the molecular mechanisms regulating the molecular and structural dynamics of glutamatergic synapses. These findings open new avenues that help to identify novel molecules targeting early synaptic dysfunction for pharmacological interventions in the still unresolved context of neurodegenerative disease treatment.

A preeminent trait of Monica Di Luca’s career is her strong involvement in establishing and steering collaborative networks with scientists and clinicians collaborating on societal challenges. From 2010 to 2012 she was the Chair for Europe of International Brain Research Organisation (IBRO); from 2014 to 2016 she was President of the Federation of European Neuroscience Societies (FENS); from 2014 to 2018 she served as Vice Rector of the University of Milan for International Affairs. At present, Monica Di Luca is the President of the European Brain Council (EBC), a non-profit organisation that brings together scientific societies, patient organisations, professional societies and industry partners. The main mission of EBC is to promote brain research in order to improve the lives of the estimated 179 million Europeans living with brain conditions.

The collaboration between Monica Di Luca and Bordeaux is long-standing. The Bordeaux Neurocampus has participated in consortia funded by different programmes of the European Commission, of which she has been a leading figure. As president of FENS, Monica Di Luca supported the creation of the Bordeaux School of Neuroscience by promoting Bordeaux as a major centre for the training activities of the prestigious CAJAL Training Programme. 

The DHC for Prof. Di Luca was proposed by Dr. Nathalie Sans, INSERM Senior Researcher, director of the Bordeaux Neurocampus Department and Dr. Christophe Mulle, CNRS Senior Researcher, director of the Bordeaux Neurocampus Graduate Programme, director of the Bordeaux School of Neuroscience.