Sammanda Ramamoorthy, Ph.D.


Sammanda Ramamoorthy, Ph.D.

Department: Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology

Phone: (804) 828-8407

Fax: (804) 827-0377


Robert Blackwell Smith Building, Room 758A
410 North Clay Street
Box 980613
Richmond, Virginia 23298


  • University of Madras, India

Research interests

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 mediate reuptake of released amines from the synapse, and thus the activity of amine transporters is of crucial importance in the regulation of aminergic neurotransmission. Medications utilized in the treatment of depression, ADHD, OCD and other psychiatric disorders exhibit high affinity for amine transporters. Furthermore, amine transporters are molecular targets for psychostimulants/addictive drugs including cocaine, amphetamines, MDMA (ecstasy) and bath salts.

Since the cloning of the human serotonin transporter in 1993, the primary goal of the laboratory is to understand the molecular basis of transporter regulation thoroughly. 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 transporter regulatory pathways in more detail. For example transporter phosphorylation, trafficking, protein-protein interactions, and stability will be studied at the level of transcriptomics, interactomics, proteomics, and lipidomics.

While probing the regulatory mechanisms of amine transporters with increasingly higher resolution, our current efforts are focused in answering these questions: (i) Is the scientific knowledge gained in in-vitro model systems similar and applicable to native systems? (ii) How to translate this knowledge into complex behaviors at a system level? and (iii) Are the dysfunctions in regulatory modules causative factors in altered behavior and in the pathophysiology of the brain? Our laboratory approaches these unanswered questions, with multi-faceted disciplines including neuro – molecular – biochemical – behavioral – and systems/integrated pharmacology utilizing animal models of depression, addiction, and aging, as well as using newly generated transgenic knock-in animal models.

Dr. Ramamoorthy’s laboratory is not only dedicated to helping answer questions in the neurobiology of monoamine transporters but also committed to training students, fellows and laboratory personnel with new techniques and scientific principles and questions with the hope to motivate and inspire students, fellows, and colleagues.

Selected publications

Modulation of serotonin transporter function by kappa-opioid receptor ligands.  Sundaramurthy S, Annamalai B, Samuvel DJ, Shippenberg TS, Jayanthi LD, Ramamoorthy S.  Neuropharmacology. 2017; 113(Pt A):281-292. NIHMSID: NIHMS824827   PubMed [journal] PMID:27743931 PMCID: PMC5148672

Differential effects of aprepitant, a clinically used neurokinin-1 receptor antagonist on the expression of conditioned psychostimulant versus opioid reward.  Mannangatti P, Sundaramurthy S, Ramamoorthy S, Jayanthi LD.  Psychopharmacology. 2017; 234(4):695-705. NIHMSID: NIHMS839111  PubMed [journal]  PMID:28013351 PMCID:PMC5266628

Akt-mediated regulation of antidepressant-sensitive serotonin transporter function, cell-surface expression, and phosphorylation.  Rajamanickam J, Annamalai B, Rahbek-Clemmensen T, Sundaramurthy S, Gether U, Jayanthi LD, Ramamoorthy S.   The Biochemical journal. 2015; 468(1):177-90.  PubMed [journal] PMID:25761794

A Role for p38 Mitogen-activated Protein Kinase-mediated Threonine 30-dependent Norepinephrine Transporter Regulation in Cocaine Sensitization and Conditioned Place Preference.  Mannangatti P, Narasimha Naidu K, Damaj MI, Ramamoorthy S, Jayanthi LD.  The Journal of biological chemistry. 2015; 290(17):10814-27.  PubMed [journal]  PMID:25724654 PMCID:PMC4409246

Salvinorin A regulates dopamine transporter function via a kappa opioid receptor and ERK1/2-dependent mechanism.  Kivell B, Uzelac Z, Sundaramurthy S, Rajamanickam J, Ewald A, Chefer V, Jaligam V, Bolan E, Simonson B, Annamalai B, Mannangatti P, Prisinzano TE, Gomes I, Devi LA, Jayanthi LD, Sitte HH, Ramamoorthy S, Shippenberg TS.Neuropharmacology. 2014; 86:228-40. NIHMSID: NIHMS619509  PubMed [journal] PMID:25107591 PMCID: PMC4188751

Prefrontal cortical kappa-opioid receptor modulation of local neurotransmission and conditioned place aversion.  Tejeda HA, Counotte DS, Oh E, Ramamoorthy S, Schultz-Kuszak KN, Bäckman CM, Chefer V, O'Donnell P, Shippenberg TS.  Neuropsychopharmacology: official publication of the American College of Neuropsychopharmacology. 2013; 38(9):1770-9.  PubMed [journal] PMID: 23542927.  PMCID: PMC3717537

Regulation of monoamine transporters: Role of transporter phosphorylation Ramamoorthy S, Shippenberg TS, Jayanthi LD.  Pharmacology & Therapeutics. 2011; 129(2):220-38. NIHMSID: NIHMS252729  PubMed [journal] PMID: 20951731  PMCID: PMC3031138

Back to Listing