Joined the Scientific Council in 2010
Scientific Director, Division of Intramural Research Program (DIRP)
National Institute of Mental Health
Dr. Amara’s research has primarily focused on the molecular and cellular biology of neurotransmitter transporters — proteins on neurons that regulate and recycle brain chemical messengers, such as dopamine, norepinephrine, serotonin and glutamate. Such transporter proteins are targets for addictive drugs and for medications that treat mental disorders such as depression and ADHD. They play key roles in neuronal communication, memory and learning.
Dr. Amara received a B.S. in Biological Sciences from Stanford University and a Ph.D. in Physiology and Pharmacology from the University of California, San Diego. Prior to joining the NIMH, Dr. Amara most recently served as the Thomas Detre Professor and Chair of the Department of Neurobiology at University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine and Co-Director of the Center for Neuroscience at the University of Pittsburgh in Pennsylvania. She has previously served as senior scientist and Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI) Investigator at the Vollum Institute and Professor of Cell and Developmental Biology and of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology at the Oregon Health & Science University in Portland.
NARSAD Grants: Distinguished Investigator 2006