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January 2011

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Susan Amara to present distinguished lecture

By Eddy Ball
January 2011

Susan Amara, Ph.D.

Upcoming Distinguished Lecturer Susan Amara (Photo courtesy of Susan Amara)

The NIEHS 2010-2011 Distinguished Lecture Series returns to the fascinating world of neuroscience with its next talk Jan. 11 by neurobiologist Susan Amara, Ph.D., on "The Ins and Outs of Neurotransmitter Transporters."

Amara is Thomas Detre Professor and chair of the Department of Neurobiology at the University of Pittsburgh, as well as co-director of the Center for Neuroscience there. She is currently the president of the Society for Neuroscience.

A Howard Hughes Medical Institute alumni investigator, Amara has received many honors for her work, including the John Jacob Abel Award from the American Society of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics and a McKnight Neuroscience Investigator Award. She received a 1997 MERIT Award from the National Institute on Drug Abuse, and she was elected to the National Academy of Sciences in 2004.

Amara lists her major research interests as the structure, regulation, and cellular physiology of two families of sodium-dependent neurotransmitter transporters - the biogenic amine and the excitatory amino acid carriers. The dopamine, norepinephrine, and serotonin transporters are well-established targets for addictive drugs including cocaine and amphetamines, as well as for therapeutic antidepressants.

Her lab uses molecular genetic, electrophysiological, and cell biological approaches to explore the relationships between neurotransmitter transporter structure, substrate transport, inhibitor binding, and ion permeation.

NIEHS Ion Channel Physiology Group Principal Investigator Jerrel Yakel, Ph.D., will host the talk, which begins at 11:00 a.m. in Rodbell Auditorium.

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