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Steven Mennerick, PhD

Current Position
Professor of Psychiatry

University Roles
Vice Chair for Research, Psychiatry
Scientific Director, Taylor Family Institute for Innovative Psychiatric Research
Co-Chair, DBBS Curriculum Task Force
WUSM Teaching Support Task Force

Education and Training
PhD, Neurosciences, Washington University
postdoctoral, SUNY Stony Brook

Major Awards
Klingenstein Award in the Neurosciences
NARSAD Young Investigator Award
Graduate Student Mentorship Award


Areas of Research Interests
The broad aim of my research is to understand control of neuronal excitation and inhibition by neurotransmitters in the central nervous system. This is an important goal because neurotransmitter actions can be double-edged, underlying normal neurotransmission on the one hand and underlying dysfunction and neurotoxicity on the other. In one project we are exploring the cellular and synaptic responses to powerful neuromodulators that affect inhibition and excitation. These molecules may modulate normal and abnormal brain function endogenously but also represent targets for novel therapeutic approaches. Another project investigates the effect that astrocytes, a class of glial cell, have on neuronal development and function. Finally, we have been engineering a biosensor for the neurotransmitter dopamine, allowing us a unique perspective on the control of dopamine release. For our studies we use electrophysiological, molecular, and imaging techniques applied to simple culture preparations, to heterologous expression systems, and to intact brain slices.

More articles and abstracts at the National Library of Medicine

Key Publications
Sobieski C, Jiang X, Crawford DC, Mennerick S, (2015 Aug).Loss of Local Astrocyte Support Disrupts Action Potential Propagation and Glutamate Release Synchrony from Unmyelinated Hippocampal Axon Terminals In Vitro.J. Neurosci.. 35(31): 11105-17.  Full Article ->

Kress GJ, Shu HJ, Yu A, Taylor A, Benz A, Harmon S, Mennerick S, (2014 Aug).Fast phasic release properties of dopamine studied with a channel biosensor.J. Neurosci.. 34(35): 11792-802.  Full Article ->

Sun MY, Izumi Y, Benz A, Zorumski CF, Mennerick S, (2016 Mar).Endogenous 24S-hydroxycholesterol modulates NMDAR-mediated function in hippocampal slices.J. Neurophysiol.. 115(3): 1263-72.  Full Article ->

Zorumski CF, Mennerick S (2013 Jul). Neurosteroids as therapeutic leads in psychiatry. JAMA Psychiatry. 70(7): 659-60.  Full Article ->

Emnett CM, Eisenman LN, Taylor AM, Izumi Y, Zorumski CF, Mennerick S (2013 Dec). Indistinguishable synaptic pharmacodynamics of the N-methyl-D-aspartate receptor channel blockers memantine and ketamine. Mol Pharmacol. 84(6): 935-47.  Full Article ->

Paul SM, Doherty JJ, Robichaud AJ, Belfort GM, Chow BY, Hammond RS, Crawford DC, Linsenbardt AJ, Shu HJ, Izumi Y, Mennerick SJ, Zorumski CF (2013 Oct 30). The major brain cholesterol metabolite 24(S)-hydroxycholesterol is a potent allosteric modulator of N-methyl-D-aspartate receptors. J Neurosci. 33(44): 17290-300.  Full Article ->

Funded Research Projects
NIMH(Key Personnel):Oxysterols and NMDAR Function
Sage Therapeutics(PI):In Vitro for NMDA Receptor Encephalitis
NIDA(Key Personnel):Biomedical Research Training in Drug Abuse
NIMH(PI):Neurosteroids and Anxiety Related Network Function
NIMH(PI):Control of Synaptic Glutamate Release