Susan R George, MD, FRCPC, FACP

Molecular Pharmacology of Neurotransmitter Receptors in Brain and Role in Drug Addiction

The mechanisms of reward in brain are intimately linked to the function of certain transmitter systems, such as the dopamine, opioid and serotonin neuronal systems.

We are particularly interested in the G protein coupled receptors for these neurotransmitters, each of which exists as families of closely related proteins.

The research focuses on the regulation of receptor gene expression, receptor function and second messenger coupling, structure-activity relationships, and brain distribution of the receptors and mRNA. We are also studying the commonalities of how diverse substances such as alcohol, nicotine, opiates, cocaine, etc. exert their effects through dopamine and opioid mechanisms.

The genetic alterations of these systems present in animal models and patient populations that show vulnerability to addictive behaviour will be characterized, to test the hypothesis that biochemical/genetic factors involving these neurotransmitter systems may predispose to substance abuse.

We are also searching for novel human receptor genes that are expressed in brain, and devising strategies whereby our knowledge of the structural conformation of the receptors may aid in the design of novel compounds to target these receptors pharmacologically.
Front Pharmacol. 2017;8:924
Hasbi A, Perreault ML, Shen MYF, Fan T, Nguyen T, Alijaniaram M, Banasikowski TJ, Grace AA, O'Dowd BF, Fletcher PJ, George SR
Psychoneuroendocrinology. 2016 Dec 01;76:192-196
Payer D, Williams B, Mansouri E, Stevanovski S, Nakajima S, Le Foll B, Kish S, Houle S, Mizrahi R, George SR, George TP, Boileau I
Brain Struct Funct. 2016 Sep 9;
Rico AJ, Dopeso-Reyes IG, Martínez-Pinilla E, Sucunza D, Pignataro D, Roda E, Marín-Ramos D, Labandeira-García JL, George SR, Franco R, Lanciego JL
Eur Neuropsychopharmacol. 2016 Jul 29;
Perreault ML, Hasbi A, Shen MY, Fan T, Navarro G, Fletcher PJ, Franco R, Lanciego JL, George SR
Behav Brain Res. 2016 Apr 28;
Huroy S, Kanawaty A, Magomedova L, Cummins CL, George SR, van der Kooy D, Henderson JT
Eur Neuropsychopharmacol. 2015 Sep 18;
Shen MY, Perreault ML, Bambico FR, Jones-Tabah J, Cheung M, Fan T, Nobrega JN, George SR
Behav Brain Res. 2015 Sep 22;
Huroy S, Kanawaty A, Magomedova L, Cummins CL, George SR, van der Kooy D, Henderson JT
Genet Med. 2015 Jan 8;
Fung WL, Butcher NJ, Costain G, Andrade DM, Boot E, Chow EW, Chung B, Cytrynbaum C, Faghfoury H, Fishman L, García-Miñaúr S, George S, Lang AE, Repetto G, Shugar A, Silversides C, Swillen A, van Amelsvoort T, McDonald-McGinn DM, Bassett AS