Newswise — For more than 30 years as a researcher at INSERM – the French equivalent of the National Institutes of Health – and with the UCI School of Medicine, Emiliana Borrelli, has earned international recognition for her studies on the neurotransmitter dopamine and its role in brain diseases, movement disorders and addiction.

And this fall, the Chancellor’s professor in the microbiology & molecular genetics, received her greatest honors yet.

In October, she was awarded the title of Knight in the Order of the “Légion d’Honneur,” the most prestigious civilian honor given by the French government, during a ceremony held at the residence of Consul General of France in Los Angeles, where she was praised for her remarkable career and outstanding contribution to reinforcing the scientific partnerships between France and the U.S.

Jean-Marc Egly, INSERM research director, member of the French Académie des Sciences and officer of the order of the Legion d’Honneur, presided over the ceremony. Dr. Howard Federoff, UCI vice chancellor of health affairs, was also in attendance. Borrelli is among a very restricted circle of scientist to hold this title, and the only one at UCI.

And in November, Borrelli received the prestigious Golgi Medal Award in Neuroscience from the Golgi Foundation at a ceremony in Brescia, Italy. Camillo Golgi was a native of Brescia. The prize was established in 2006 to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the Nobel Prize awarded to Camillo Golgi together with Santiago Ramon y Cajal, in recognition of their work on the structure of the nervous system. The Golgi award is attributed once a year to a neuroscientist and to an institution active in public health. It is considered one of the top honors in the neurosciences.

The Golgi Foundation cited Borrelli for making major contributions to the “understanding of dopamine mediated effects through the generation of animal models that allowed the study of the mechanisms underlying dopamine involvement in neurological and psychiatric disorders, such as Parkinson’s disease, Schizophrenia and addiction”

Borrelli received her doctorate in neurobiology and neurosciences from the Federico II University in Naples in 1979. After working as an INSERM researcher, she joined UCI in 2006. Since 2008, she has lead the bilateral INSERM-UCI Research Unit, the only one of its kind outside Europe. She is also a member of UCI’s Center for Epigenetics & Metabolism.