Faculty and Staff

Emmanuel S Onaivi

Professor • Department of Biology

Dr. Emmanuel S. Onaivi is Professor in the department of Biology at William Paterson University (WPU) in New Jersey, a Fulbright scholar and a Guest Scientist at the National Institute on Drug Abuse a part of NIH in Baltimore, MD. His research interests include the molecular biology of drug abuse and teaches Neural Basis of Behavior, Pharmacology, Bioseminar, and Anatomy and Physiology. Professor Onaivi teaches cannabis as medicine in the Pharmacology course. He has authored and co-authored many papers and edited three books on cannabis including the Biology of Marijuana; Endocannabinoids: The brain and body’s marijuana and beyond; and Marijuana and cannabinoid research methods and protocols. Professor Onaivi’s pioneering research on cannabis, its constituent cannabinoids and the natural cannabis compounds produced by the human body called endocannabinoids led to:
•Cloning of CB1 cannabinoid receptors in mice
•The discovery and identification of functional neuronal CB2 cannabinoid receptors (CB2Rs)
•Ethnic and gender differences in cannabinoid receptors
•Creation and generation of cell type specific CB2R conditional knockout mice for which William Paterson University, Dr. Onaivi and his collaborator Dr. Liu have obtained a global patent https://patents.google.com/patent/WO2016137966A1/en
•Demonstration of the interaction between cannabinoid receptors and vanilloid receptors as a basis of why some like it hot and spicy and others do not. This research was competitively selected, and presented on Capitol Hill in Washington DC to show case Undergraduate student research.

Professor Onaivi was the recipient of William Paterson University Award for Excellence in Scholarship and creative expression in 2007, 2015 and 2021. The National Institute of Health funded his research titled Behavioral effects of CB2 receptors. He has supervised Doctoral, Pre- and Postdoctoral fellows, Masters and Undergraduate student research. He is a member of the society for Neuroscience, and the editor for the International Drug abuse Research Society Newsletter and an associate editor for Journal of Drug and Alcohol Research.

Professional Interests

Behavioral Neuroscience and molecular basis of drug addiction.  Endocannabinoid system and cannabis research.


PhD Neuropharmacology, University of Bradford Bradford, England

BS Pharmacy, University of Benin Benin-City, Nigeria

MS Pharmacology, University of Bradford Bradford, England


Pharmacy and Neuropharmacology

Notable Courses Taught

Fall 2022 Bio 4220-01 (Lecture). Human Physiology.
Fall 2022 Bio 1140-01, and 02. Applied Anatomy and Physiology lecture
Spring 2023 Bio 4800-61 (Lecture). Bioseminar
Spring 2023 Bio 1140-01, and 02. Applied Anatomy and Physiology lecture

Fall 2018 Bio 1140-01-02 (Lecture). Applied Anatomy and Physiology
Bio 1140-01, (Lab).
Bio 5600/4600 Pharmacology (Undergraduates and Graduate students)

Spring 2019Bio 1140-01, and 02. Applied Anatomy and Physiology lecture
Bio 5360-60 Neural Basis of Behavior (Undergrads and Graduate students)
Bio 4990-03 (Graduate Independent Study) - Graduate student.
Bio 4990-05 (Graduate Independent Study) - Graduate student.
Bio 4990-07 (Graduate Independent Study) - Graduate student.
Bio 536-60 Neural Basis of Behavior. Graduate students and upper level elective for undergraduate students

4047 Hennings Science East

By appointment