Steven Mennerick, PhD

Vice Chair for Research, Interim Associate Dean, DBBS

Washington University in St. Louis (WU)

We study chemical excitation and inhibition by neurotransmitters in the central nervous system. Most recently we have been interested in natural steroid-like compounds made in the brain and periphery that modulate excitation and/or inhibition directly by pharmacological action on neurotransmitter receptors. We want to understand these compounds’ endogenous role in signaling as well as their therapeutic potential. The therapeutic potential has been highlighted by FDA approval of a steroid (brexanolone) in psychiatric indications. Our studies include understanding molecular and circuit targets using electrophysiology and imaging, including both in vitro and in vivo techniques in animals. The hope is to identify functional identifiers of beneficial action to refine the specificity of new compounds.