Susan G. Amara

National Institutes of Health

Primary Section: 23, Physiology and Pharmacology
Secondary Section: 24, Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience
Membership Type:
Member (elected 2004)

Research Interests

Research in our laboratory focuses on neurotransmitter transporters, the plasma membrane proteins that limit the actions of neurotransmitters following their release from neurons. These carrier proteins catalyze the inward movement of neurotransmitter molecules and have a profound impact on the extent of receptor activation that occurs during neuronal signaling. We have also shown that these transporters can possess a substrate-dependent ion channel-like activity, a property that allows them to regulate neuronal excitability and serve as sensors of extracellular neurotransmitter concentrations. Neurotransmitter transporters are also well-established targets for addictive drugs, including cocaine and amphetamines, for the class of therapeutic antidepressants known as reuptake inhibitors, and for methylphenidate, which is used to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorders. Our major efforts use molecular genetic, electrophysiological and cell biological approaches to explore the relationships between neurotransmitter transporter structure, substrate transport, drug action and ion permeation.

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