Department of Neuroscience
Sammanda Ramamoorthy, Ph.D.
BS, Biology, 1983, University of Madras, India
Ph.D., Neurochemistry/Biochemistry, 1990, India
Studies in the Ramamoorthy laboratory are aimed at understanding the contribution of neurotransmitter transporters to CNS function, and more specifically, directed toward understanding the role of monoamines such as dopamine, serotonin and norepinephrine
transporters (DAT, SERT and NET) in normal neurotransmission and in relevance to mental illness, drug abuse, aging and neurodegenerative diseases. The monoamine transporters by clearing the released neurotransmitter back into neuronal terminals and are molecular targets for addictive drugs including cocaine, amphetamines and MDMA (ecstasy) as well as important therapeutic antidepressants.
Since the cloning of the human serotonin transporter, the major goal of the laboratory is to understand thoroughly the molecular basis of serotonin transporter regulation. By combining molecular, immunological and biochemical approaches, continuing studies in the laboratory seek to identify signals and dissecting cis/trans signaling pathways that participate in the dynamic process of transporters regulatory pathways in more detail. For example transporter phosphorylation, trafficking, protein-protein interactions will be studied at the level of transcriptomics, proteomics and lipomics.
The final goal is to relate studies of molecules from cells to native tissues and intact animals and to define the mechanisms of normal and abnormal regulation of these neurotransmitter transporters in normal and pathological neurotransmission. Outcome of these studies will provide macroscopic visions and microscopic details of neurotransmitter transporters in both CNS and PNS in: healthy/normal conditions, mental illness, drug abuse, aging and neurodegenerative diseases. These studies would also open up possibilities for developing new therapeutic strategies towards mental illness, drug abuse and other and neurological diseases.