Pioneer Pride

Emmanuel Onaivi

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Emmanuel Onaivi, a professor of biology, is a neurobiologist and pharmacist whose area of research and specialization involves the study of cannabinoid brain receptors and their role in addiction and other neurological mechanisms and disorders. 

He was recently awarded a three-year, $350,000 grant from the National Institutes of Health, National Institute of Drug Abuse, to study the behavioral effects of specific cell membrane receptors in the brain called CB2 cannabinoids. This latest phase of his research focuses on the connection between cannabinoid receptors and behavioral effects such as motor function and emotionality His findings will provide a deeper insight into potential therapeutic drugs for pain, and autoimmune, mental, and neurodegenerative disorders.

A specific aim of the project is to engage William Paterson University students in biomedical research. Onaivi regularly includes both undergraduate and graduate students in his cutting-edge research. In 2004, Onaivi and several William Paterson undergraduate students represented New Jersey at a showcase of undergraduate research before the U.S. Congress in Washington, D.C.

A member of the William Paterson faculty since 2000, Onaivi was recently nominated as an associate editor of the Journal of Drug and Alcohol Research and is the newsletter editor of the international Drug abuse Research Society. His research has been published in the Journal of Psychopharmacology and Current Neuropharmacology, and he is the co-editor of “Endocannabinoids: the Brain and Body’s Marijuana and Beyond.”  A graduate of the University of Benin, Nigeria, Onaivi earned master’s and doctoral degrees from the University of Bradford, England.