Susan Amara, Ph.D.
Laboratory of Molecular and Cellular Neurobiology (LMCN)
John Edward Porter Neuroscience Research Center (Building 35A), Room GE-414
35A Convent Drive
Bethesda, MD 20892
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:
- Regulation of transporter function and trafficking by amphetamines
- Structure-function relationships in excitatory amino acid transporters (EAATs)
- Modulation of dopamine transporters (DAT) by GPCRs
- Genetics and functional analyses of human trace amine receptors
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).
Underhill SM, Amara SG. Acetylcholine Receptor Stimulation Activates Protein Kinase C Mediated Internalization of the Dopamine Transporter. Front Cell Neurosci. 2021;15:662216.
Underhill SM, Hullihen PD, Chen J, Fenollar-Ferrer C, Rizzo MA, Ingram SL, Amara SG. Amphetamines signal through intracellular TAAR1 receptors coupled to Gα13 and GαS in discrete subcellular domains. Mol Psychiatry. 2021;26(4):1208-1223.
Underhill SM, Ingram SL, Ahmari SE, Veenstra-VanderWeele J, Amara SG. Neuronal excitatory amino acid transporter EAAT3: Emerging functions in health and disease. Neurochem Int. 2019;123:69-76.
Costa M, Blaschke TF, Amara SG, Meyer UA, Insel PA. Introduction to the Theme "Old and New Toxicology: Interfaces with Pharmacology". Annu Rev Pharmacol Toxicol. 2021;61:1-7.
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.
Related Scientific Focus Areas
Social and Behavioral Sciences
This page was last updated on August 30th, 2021