Susan Dymecki, M.D., Ph.D.

Susan Dymecki, M.D., Ph.D.

Dymecki, a professor in the Department of Genetics at Harvard Medical School, has pioneered genetic tools to subtype brain cells by molecular identity, and probe each subtype’s function, location, circuit connections, and origin – as illustrated in her discoveries in the brain serotonergic system. Dymecki has identified numerous subtypes of serotonergic neurons – previously unimagined – and uncovered their network nodes and discrete functions, from respiratory to affective. Elucidating this heterogeneity brings critical insight into serotonin involvement in such diverse disorders as autism, SIDS, and depression, providing novel ways to conceptualize and potentially attack these intractable disorders. From this work the Dymecki lab seeks to develop biomarkers for and countermeasures against serotonin-based neurobehavioral vulnerabilities (e.g. isolation- and stress-induced conditions of depression, PTSD, anxiety, hostility, impulsivity) that could be life- and mission-threatening in space.


Okaty B.W., Freret M.E., Rood B.D., Brust R.D., Hennessy M.L., deBairos D., Kim J.C., Cook M.N., Dymecki S.M. Multi-Scale Molecular Deconstruction of the Serotonin Neuron System. Neuron, 2015 Nov 18;88(4): 774-91. PMID: 26549332

Niederkofler V, Asher TE, Dymecki SM. Functional Interplay between Dopaminergic and Serotonergic Neuronal Systems during Development and Adulthood. ACS Chem Neurosci, 2015 July 15;6(7): 1055-70. PMID: 25747116

Brust R.D., Corcoran A.E., Richerson G.B, Nattie E., Dymecki S.M. Functional and Developmental Identification of a Molecular Subtype of Brain Serotonergic Neuron Specialized to Regulate Breathing Dynamics. Cell Reports, 2014. PMCID: PMC4351711

Ray R.S., Corcoran A.E., Brust R.D., Kim J.C., Richerson G.B., Nattie E. and Dymecki S.M. Impaired Respiratory and Body Temperature Control Upon Acute Serotonergic Neuron Inhibition. Science. 2011 July 29;333(6042):637-642. PMCID: PMC3729433

Jensen P., Farago A.F., Awatramani R.B., Scott M.M., Deneris E.S., Dymecki S.M. Redefining the serotonergic system by genetic lineage. Nature Neuroscience 2008 11(4):417-9. PMCID: PMC2897136