Susan Amara, Ph.D.

Senior Investigator

Laboratory of Molecular and Cellular Neurobiology (LMCN)

NIMH

Scientific Director

NIMH

John Edward Porter Neuroscience Research Center (Building 35A), Room GE414
35A Convent Drive
Bethesda, MD 20892

301-496-3501

susan.amara@nih.gov

Research Topics

Work in Dr. Amara’s laboratory has examined the impact of psychostimulant and antidepressant drugs on the signaling properties, physiology and acute regulation of biogenic amine transporters. Her group has also addressed the structure, function and physiology of glutamate transporters. This work has demonstrated that transporters can serve dual functions as transporters and as substrate-gated ion channels, revealing additional mechanisms by which carriers regulate neuronal excitability. Dr. Amara’s laboratory continues to investigate:

  1. Regulation of transporter function and trafficking by amphetamines
  2. Structure-function relationships in excitatory amino acid transporters (EAATs)
  3. Modulation of dopamine transporters (DAT) by GPCRs
  4. Genetics and functional analyses of human trace amine receptors

Biography

Dr. Amara is currently the Scientific Director of the Intramural Research Program at the National Institute of Mental Health. Work in her laboratory has focused on the structure, function, and cellular physiology of neurotransmitter transporters, including glutamate transporters as well as the biogenic amine transporters, major targets for psychostimulant drugs and antidepressants. She received a BS from Stanford University, a PhD in Physiology and Pharmacology from the University of California, San Diego and has previously held faculty positions at Yale University School of Medicine, at the Vollum Institute in Portland Oregon and as a Howard Hughes Medical Institute Investigator at Yale and in Oregon. Prior to moving to NIH she served as the Thomas Detre Chair of Neurobiology and Distinguished Professor at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine. She is a member of the National Academy of Sciences (2004), a fellow of the AAAS (2007) and a past-President of the Society for Neuroscience (2011).

Selected Publications

  1. Cheng MH, Torres-Salazar D, Gonzalez-Suarez AD, Amara SG, Bahar I. Substrate transport and anion permeation proceed through distinct pathways in glutamate transporters. Elife. 2017;6.

  2. Divito CB, Borowski JE, Glasgow NG, Gonzalez-Suarez AD, Torres-Salazar D, Johnson JW, Amara SG. Glial and Neuronal Glutamate Transporters Differ in the Na<sup>+</sup> Requirements for Activation of the Substrate-Independent Anion Conductance. Front Mol Neurosci. 2017;10:150.

  3. Hong WC, Yano H, Hiranita T, Chin FT, McCurdy CR, Su TP, Amara SG, Katz JL. The sigma-1 receptor modulates dopamine transporter conformation and cocaine binding and may thereby potentiate cocaine self-administration in rats. J Biol Chem. 2017;292(27):11250-11261.

  4. Insel PA, Amara SG, Blaschke TF, Meyer UA. Introduction to the Theme "New Methods and Novel Therapeutic Approaches in Pharmacology and Toxicology". Annu Rev Pharmacol Toxicol. 2017;57:13-17.

  5. Li MH, Underhill SM, Reed C, Phillips TJ, Amara SG, Ingram SL. Amphetamine and Methamphetamine Increase NMDAR-GluN2B Synaptic Currents in Midbrain Dopamine Neurons. Neuropsychopharmacology. 2017;42(7):1539-1547.


This page was last updated on August 24th, 2017