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NIMH Scientific Director Susan Amara Selected as AAAS President-Elect

Dr. Amara will serve as President-Elect of the American Association of the Advancement of Science (AAAS) beginning in February 2020

Institute Update

Susan Amara, Ph.D.Susan Amara, Ph.D., scientific director of the Intramural Research Program at the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), has been selected to serve as president-elect of the American Association of the Advancement of Science (AAAS).

Dr. Amara’s one-year term as president-elect will begin on February 17, 2020 at the conclusion of the 2020 AAAS Annual Meeting in Seattle, Wash. After serving for one year as president-elect, Dr. Amara will become AAAS president in February 2021 and chair of the AAAS Board of Directors in February 2022.

In her role at NIMH, Dr. Amara provides scientific, programmatic, and administrative leadership for the NIMH Division of Intramural Research Programs; promotes an environment conducive to productive research; and coordinates activities, establishes priorities, and analyzes and evaluates progress.

She is also a principal investigator and chief of the NIMH Laboratory of Molecular and Cellular Neurobiology (LMCN). Dr. Amara and the researchers in her laboratory have examined the impact of psychostimulant and antidepressant drugs on the signaling properties, physiology, and acute regulation of biogenic amine transporters. They have also addressed the structure, function, and physiology of glutamate transporters.

Dr. Amara received her B.S. in Biological Sciences from Stanford University and her Ph.D. in Physiology and Pharmacology from the University of California, San Diego. Before joining NIMH in 2013, she held faculty positions at Yale University School of Medicine and the Vollum Institute in Portland, Oregon. She was a Howard Hughes Medical Institute Investigator at each of these institutions. Additionally, she was the Thomas Detre Professor of Neurobiology and Distinguished Professor at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine.

Throughout her career, Dr. Amara has received numerous accolades. She is a recipient of the George Herbert Hitchings Award for innovative methods in drug discovery from the Burroughs Wellcome Fund, the Young Investigator Award from the Society for Neuroscience, the John Jacob Abel Young Investigator Award from the American Society of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics (ASPET), a McKnight Neuroscience Investigator Award, a Method to Extend Research in Time (MERIT) Award from NIDA, a National Alliance for Research on Schizophrenia & Depression  (NARSAD) Distinguished Investigator Award, the Julius Axelrod Award from the Catecholamine Society (ASPET) and the Julius Axelrod Prize from the Society for Neuroscience (SfN). In addition, she has had twenty U.S. patents issued on technology from her laboratory.