Marco Pravetoni, PhD

Associate Professor, Department of Pharmacology

Marco Pravetoni

Contact Info

Office Phone 612-625-6243

Office Address:
3-108 Nils Hasselmo Hall
312 Church St SE
Minneapolis, MN 55455

Lab Address:
3-240 Nils Hasselmo Hall
312 Church St SE
Minneapolis, MN 55455

PhD, University of Minnesota


Dr. Marco Pravetoni’s laboratory focuses on the development of vaccines, monoclonal antibodies, and small molecules to treat drug use disorders and reduce fatal overdoses, immunological mechanisms underlying vaccine and antibody efficacy against drugs of abuse, and rational strategies to enhance efficacy of antibody-based therapies against drugs of abuse and other targets. Our unique multidisciplinary research program integrates rational vaccine design, monoclonal antibodies, medicinal chemistry, immunomodulators, formulation/delivery platforms, pre-clinical models of opioid expsoure, PK/PD models, analysis of B and T cell lymphocyte repertoire in pre-clinical and clinical samples, GLP/GMP studies to support regulatory approval and clinical evaluation, and ad hoc industry collaborations. Our team is currently leading a Phase I clinical trial of vaccines targeting opioids. Strategies and platforms are currently applied to development of vaccines or antibodies to counteract fentanyl, fentanyl analogs, as well as other chemical threats.


Research Summary/Interests

Research in the Pravetoni laboratory focuses on the development and translation of novel therapies for drug use disorders and fatal overdose. Our NIH-funded research program focuses on vaccines and antibody-based strategies to counteract opioid use disorders, toxicity and lethality from heroin, oxycodone, fentanyl and its analogs. Our efforts cover the entire spectrum of vaccine and antibody development including discovery, early- and late-stage development, IND-supporting studies, and Phase I clinical evaluation. These strategies can extend to emerging pathogens, agents of biological or chemical warfare, and other unmet medical challenges. Because of our interest in translation and commercialization of novel therapies, our team interacts with biotech, pharma, contractors, regulators, intellectual property and marketing experts. Our group provides an engaging environment for scientists and trainees interested in entrepreneurial activities, translation, product development, and commercialization of biologics or other novel therapies.


View list of publications

Selected publications

  • Laudenbach M, Tucker AM, Runyon SP, Carroll FI, and Pravetoni M. 2015. The frequency of early-activated hapten-specific B cell subsets correlates with efficacy of vaccines for nicotine dependence. Vaccine. Nov 17;33(46):6332-9
  • Laudenbach M, Baruffaldi F, Vervacke J, Distefano M, Titcombe P, Mueller DL, Tubo NJ, Griffith TS and Pravetoni M. 2015. Frequency of the naïve and activated hapten-specific B cell populations dictates conjugate vaccine efficacy against oxycodone. J. Immunol. Jun 15;194(12):5926-36. 
  • Kotecki L, Hearing M, McCall N, Fernandez de Velasco EM, Pravetoni M, Arora D, Victoria N, Munoz M, Xia Z, Slesinger P, Weaver CD, and Wickman K. 2015. GIRK channels modulate opioid-induced motor activity in a cell type- and subunit-dependent manner". J Neurosci. May 6;35(18):7131-42.
  • M Pravetoni, PR Pentel, DN Potter, EH Chartoff, L Tally, and MG Lesage .2014. Effects of an oxycodone conjugate vaccine on oxycodone self-administration and oxycodone-induced brain gene expression in rats. PLoS One. Jul 15;9(7):e101807
  • Pravetoni M, Vervacke J, Distefano M, Tucker AM, Laundenbach M and Pentel PR. 2014. Effect of clinically-approved carriers and adjuvants on the pre-clinical efficacy of a vaccine against oxycodone in mice and rats. PLoS One. 2014 May 5;9(5):e96547.
  • Taylor JJ, Laudenbach M, Tucker AM, Jenkins MK and Pravetoni M. 2014. Naïve B cells are biomarkers of vaccine efficacy against drugs of abuse. J. Immunological Methods, Mar; 405:74-86.