Stefano Comai


Department of Pharmaceutical and Pharmacological Sciences, University of Padova
Largo Meneghetti 2, 35131 Padova - Italy
Position: Assistant Professor of Pharmacology (Tenure track)

Office +39 049 827 5098



  Short CV

Assistant Professor of Pharmacology (tenure track)
University of Padova, Padova, Italy

Adjunct Professor
Department of Psychiatry
McGill University, Montreal, Canada

Project Leader
Division of Neuroscience
IRCSS San Raffael Hospital, Milan, IRCSS San Raffaele Hospital, Milano, Italy

2007-2009 Post-doctoral Fellow, Dept. of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Padova, Italy (Prof. C.V.L. Costa)
2009- June 2015 Post-doctoral Fellow, Dept of Psychiatry, McGill University, Montreal, Canada (Prof. G. Gobbi)
October 2015-September 2020 Assistant Professor of Pharmacology, San Raffaele Institute and Vita-Salute University,
Milan, Italy

2004 PhD Fellowship (Ministry of University and Scientific Research, Italy)
2007 Postdoctoral Fellowship, University of Padova, Padova, Italy
2008 Italian Chemistry Society-Mass Spectrometry Division, GlaxoSmithKline. Award to participate at the 5th MS
Pharmaday, Verona, Italy, October 27-29.
2009-2011 McGill University Health Center, McGill University, Montreal, Canada, Postdoctoral Fellowship
2015 2015 American Society of Clinical Psychopharmacology New Investigator Award
2017 Young Investigator Best Poster Award, 2017 World Federation of Biological Psychiatry Meeting in Copenhagen
2017 Brain & Behavior Research Foundation. NARSAD Young Investigator Grant
2018 Canadian Institute of Health Research, Early Career Researcher (ECR) Observer, Project Grant: Fall 2018

2016-to date American Society of Clinical Psychopharmacology (ASCP), Early Career Committee member
2019-to date International Society for Tryptophan Research (ISTRY), Executive Committee member
2020- to date American Society of Clinical Psychopharmacology (ASCP), Technology Task Force member

2010-now: Ministry of Health (Italy government), Grant Reviewer
2014: Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research: Grant reviewer
2014-now: Italian Ministry for Education, University and Research (MIUR): Grant reviewer
2017-now: University of Foggia, Italy. Intramural grants reviewer
2020-2021: European Union: ERA PerMed Joint Call; Grant Reviewer
2020 Austrian Science Fund (FWF), Programme Clinical Research (KLIF) 2020; Grant reviewer

2018-to date Editorial board member of Current Psychopharmacology
2019-to date Associate Editor, Frontiers in Pharmacology, Neuropharmacology section
2020-to date Editorial board member of Journal of Pineal Research (IF: 14.3)

Author of 83 publications (26 since 2019) in international peer-reviewed journals among which some with high impact including Nature Communications, PNAS, Neuropsychopharmacology, Journal of Pineal Research and Pharmacological Reviews.

Moreover, he co-authored more than 60 abstracts at national and international conferences.
H-index: 28, tot number of citations: 2039 (Scopus; March 25, 2022)



Stefano Comai in Syllabus

  Office hours

upon appointment, via telephone call or e-mail

  Availability for Thesis Projects


- Studio preclinico di composti che agiscono selettivamente sui recettori della melatonina come nuovi possibili farmaci per il trattamento di disturbi pasichiatrici quali depressione, ansia, autismo.

- Studio della possibile attività terapeutica di alcuni psichedelici per il trattamento di malattie neurologiche quali ictus.

-Studio del coinvolgimento della via serotonina/melatonina e chinurenina nella neurobiologia e psicofarmacologia di disturbi pasichiatrici quali depressione, ansia, autismo e schizofrenia.

  Scientific Activities

The major aim of my research is devoted to the study of the serotonin and melatonin systems that share the same precursor, the amino acid tryptophan, to determine the extent to which these metabolically connected systems are involved in the etiology and treatment of mood disorders, Moreover, during the past 5 years, I am starting to expand my interests to other possible psychopharmacological targets (e.g. the endocannabinoid system) and therapies (the transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) and low-dose psychedelics) for mood disorders. The ultimate goal is to increase our understanding of the neurobiological/pathophysiological mechanisms of mood disorders, and with this novel knowledge to develop new pharmacologically psychoactive compounds. Moreover, in the view of a personalized medicine approach of psychiatric disorders, I also aim to implement a series of biomarkers of disease and of treatment response.

  Technical expertise

Drug discovery

Preclinical studies

Behavioral pharmacology

In-vivo electrophysiology


  Positions available

2 tesisti


total number of publications in peer-review journals: 83 (Scopus, 18/04/2022)

total Impact Factor: 375.054; average IF/paper: 4.808,

total number of citations: 2058 (Scopus, 18/04/2022)

H index: 28 (Scopus, 16/04/2022)


Relevant Publications:


De Gregorio D, Inserra A, Enns JP, Markopoulos A, Pileggi M, El Rahimy Y, Lopez-Canul M, Comai S, Gobbi G. Repeated lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD) reverses stress-induced anxiety-like behavior, cortical synaptogenesis deficits and serotonergic neurotransmission decline. Neuropsychopharmacology. 2022 In press

Moderie C, Nuñez N, Fielding A, Comai S, Gobbi G. Sex differences in responses to antidepressant augmentations in treatment-resistant depression. Int J Neuropsychopharmacol. 2022 Feb 15:pyac017.

Moderie C, Nuñez N, Comai S, Saint-Laurent M, Fielding A, Low N, Gobbi G. Distinct Effects of Antidepressants in Association With Mood Stabilizers and/or Antipsychotics in Unipolar and Bipolar Depression. J Clin Psychopharmacol. 2022 Mar-Apr 01;42(2):118-124.

Comai S, Fuamba Y, Rivolta MC, Gobbi G. Lifetime Cannabis Use Disorder Is Not Associated With Lifetime Impulsive Behavior and Severe Violence in Patients With Schizophrenia Spectrum Disorders From a High-Security Hospital. J Clin Psychopharmacol. 2021 Nov-Dec 01;41(6):623-628.

De Gregorio D, Popic J, Enns JP, Inserra A, Skalecka A, Markopoulos A, Posa L, Lopez-Canul M, Qianzi H, Lafferty CK, Britt JP, Comai S, Aguilar-Valles A, Sonenberg N, Gobbi G. Lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD) promotes social behavior through mTORC1 in the excitatory neurotransmission. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2021 Feb 2;118(5):e2020705118.

Tassan Mazzocco M, Guarnieri FC, Monzani E, Benfenati F, Valtorta F, Comai S. Dysfunction of the serotonergic system in the brain of synapsin triple knockout mice is associated with behavioral abnormalities resembling synapsin-related human pathologies. Prog Neuropsychopharmacol Biol Psychiatry. 2021 Mar 8;105:110135.

Cambiaghi M, Buffelli M, Masin L, Valtorta F, Comai S. Transcranial direct current stimulation of the mouse prefrontal cortex modulates serotonergic neural activity of the dorsal raphe nucleus. Brain Stimul. 2020 May-Jun;13(3):548-550.

Poletti S, Melloni E, Aggio V, Colombo C, Valtorta F, Benedetti F, Comai S. Grey and white matter structure associates with the activation of the tryptophan to kynurenine pathway in bipolar disorder. J Affect Disord. 2019 Dec 1;259:404-412.

López-Canul M, Min SH, Posa L, De Gregorio D, Bedini A, Spadoni G, Gobbi G, Comai S. Melatonin MT1 and MT2 Receptors Exhibit Distinct Effects in the Modulation of Body Temperature across the Light/Dark Cycle. Int J Mol Sci. 2019 May 17;20(10):2452.

Gobbi G, Ghabrash MF, Nuñez N, Tabaka J, Di Sante J, Saint-Laurent M, Vida S, Kolivakis T, Low N, Cervantes P, Booij L, Comai S. Antidepressant combination versus antidepressants plus second-generation antipsychotic augmentation in treatment-resistant unipolar depression. Int Clin Psychopharmacol. 2018 Jan;33(1):34-43.

Comai S, Ochoa-Sanchez R, Dominguez-Lopez S, Bambico FR, Gobbi G. Melancholic-Like behaviors and circadian neurobiological abnormalities in melatonin MT1 receptor knockout mice. Int J Neuropsychopharmacol. 2015 Jan 31;18(3):pyu075.

Comai S, Ochoa-Sanchez R, Gobbi G. Sleep-wake characterization of double MT₁/MT₂ receptor knockout mice and comparison with MT₁ and MT₂ receptor knockout mice. Behav Brain Res. 2013 Apr 15;243:231-8.

Ochoa-Sanchez R*, Comai S*, Lacoste B, Bambico FR, Dominguez-Lopez S, Spadoni G, Rivara S, Bedini A, Angeloni D, Fraschini F, Mor M, Tarzia G, Descarries L, Gobbi G. Promotion of non-rapid eye movement sleep and activation of reticular thalamic neurons by a novel MT2 melatonin receptor ligand. J Neurosci. 2011 Dec 14;31(50):18439-52. * equal contribution

Comai S, Cavalletto L, Chemello L, Bernardinello E, Ragazzi E, Costa CV, Bertazzo A. Effects of PEG-interferon alpha plus ribavirin on tryptophan metabolism in patients with chronic hepatitis C. Pharmacol Res. 2011 Jan;63(1):85-92.

  Complete list of publications

Stefano Comai in Padua Research Archive IRIS (Institutional Research Information System) 

  Research projects and Funds

2020 – 2025 Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR). Role: Co-Investigator.

                        Title of the project: Lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD) and social behavior. A translational study.

                        Principal Applicant: Prof. Gabriella Gobbi. Co-investigators: Francis Rodriguez Bambico; Nahum Sonenberg, Marco Leyton, Katrin Preller.

                     Title of the project:784,000 Canadian Dollar.

2021-2024         Italian Ministry of Health. Role: Principal Investigator.

                        Title of the project: The clock is ticking on schizophrenia: a translational study integrating phenotypic, genomic, microbiome and biomolecular data to overcome disability.

                        Total funded: 450,000 Euro.

2022-2015         Department of Pharmaceutical and Pharmacological Sciences, University of Padova. PRID-J projects. ROle: Principal Investigator

                        Title of the project: Development of novel selective melatonin receptors ligands for autism spectrum disorder.

                         Total funded: 20,000 Euro.

2018-2021         Brain & Behavior Research Foundation. NARSAD Young Investigator Grant 2017. Role: Principal Investigator.

                        Title of the project: Melatonin MT1 receptor and bipolar disorder: from target validation to psychopharmacological implications.

                        Total funded: 65,000 US Dollar.


                        Title of the project: Novel First-In-Class Melatonin MT2 Receptor Agonist for Neuropathic Pain: Investigational New Drug (IND) - Enabling Studies.

                        Project Coordinator: Prof. Gabriella Gobbi, McGill University, Montreal, Canada.

                        Total funded: 1,450,000 Canadian Dollar.

2018-2021         Ministère de l’Économie, de la Science et de l’Innovation (MESI), gouvernement du Québec. Soutien à des initiatives internationales de recherche et d’innovation (PSR-SIIRI).

                     Role: Co-PI. Title of the project: Propriété pharmacologique du cannabidiol dans la doleur neuropathique et symptômes anxieux-dépressifs associés: étude préclinique et clinique.

                          Project Coordinator: Prof. Gabriella Gobbi, McGill University, Montreal, Canada. Total funds requested: 250,000 CAN Dollar. Duration: 3 years.

2018-2019         Quebec Network on Suicide, Mood Disorders and Related Disorders. Role: Co-PI.

                       Title of the project: Assessing the relationship between low LDL/Cholesterol, endocannabinoids, and psychosocial intervention in patients with mood disorders: An evaluation of outcomes.

                       Project Coordinator: Prof. Gabriella Gobbi, McGill University, Montreal, Canada.

                       Total funded: 10,000 CAN Dollar.