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Susan Jones PhD

University Lecturer
Tel: +44 (0)1223 333795, Fax: +44 (0)1223 333786, E-mail:

Reseach interests
The overall aim of our research is to investigate the properties of neurotransmitter receptors and their functional and dysfunctional effects in brain regions relevant to neurological and psychiatric diseases. We have had a long-standing interest in glutamate and dopamine in midbrain nuclei. The substantia nigra is an important midbrain nucleus that forms part of the basal ganglia circuitry in the brain. In Parkinson's disease, a progressive neurological disorder, there is a loss of dopaminergic neurones in the substantia nigra. We study the properties and regulation of NMDA glutamate receptors in dopaminergic versus non-dopaminergic neurones of the substantia nigra. NMDA receptors are activated by a combination of glutamate binding and membrane depolarization and allow Ca2+ ions into neurones; as a result, NMDA receptors have important neuronal functions, such as neuronal development and plasticity. However, NMDA receptors are also associated with cell death under pathophysiological conditions.

We are interested in other ion channels and receptors that contribute to the characteristic firing properties of neurones in the substantia nigra and in other brain regions, including pre-cerebellar neurones arising from the lateral reticular nucleus.

We use cellular neurophysiology and pharmacology to identify the properties of functional receptors and imaging approaches to visualise filled neurones and/or immunolabelled proteins.

Current colleagues and sponsors
Jenny Brown (HHMI-funded Cambridge-Janelia Graduate Scholar)
Dr Angie Wild (Postdoctoral Research Associate funded by The Wellcome Trust & The Isaac Newton trust)

Former colleagues:
Shona Brothwell MB PhD
Helen Gibson PhD
James Hallett PhD
Louise O’Neill CPGS
Marc Smith
Francisco Suárez PhD
Wei Xu MB PhD

Former Jones Lab Part II students:
Engin Akyol
Shiraz Badurdeen
Joy Barber
Helen Barron
Anton Burdakov
Julia Heckenast

Isabel Huang-Doran
Becky Jordan
Victor Kung
Rachel Newby
Iannish Sadien
Natasha Wear

(Jones lab photo gallery)

Current Collaborators
Dr Steve Edgley, University of Cambridge
Dr Alasdair Gibb, University College London

A.R. Wild, E. Akyol, S.L.C. Brothwell, P. Kimkool, J.N. Skepper, A.J. Gibb and S. Jones (2013). Memantine block depends on agonist presentation at the NMDA receptor in substantia nigra pars compacta dopamine neurones. Neuropharmacology (In Press)

W. Xu, S. Jones and S.A. Edgley (2013). Event time representation in cerebellar mossy fibres arising from the lateral reticular nucleus. Journal of Physiology 591:1045-1062.

Dopamine-glutamate interactions in the basal ganglia. Ed: S Jones 2011. Frontiers in Neuroscience series, Taylor & Francis / CRC Press.

Suárez, Q. Zhao, D.T. Monaghan, D.E. Jane, S. Jones, A.J. Gibb (2010). Functional heterogeneity of NMDA receptors in rat substantia nigra pars compacta and reticulata neurones. Eur J Neurosci. 32,359-367.

D. Glynn, H.E. Gibson, M.K. Harte, K. Reim, S. Jones, G.P. Reynolds and A.J. Morton (2010). Clorgyline-mediated reversal of neurological deficits in a Complexin 2 knockout mouse. Hum Mol Genet. 19, 3402-3412. H.E. Gibson and S. Jones. Memory and long-term depression. In: Encyclopedia of Psychopharmacology Ed: I.P. Stolerman 2010, Springer.

S.L.C. Brothwell, J.L. Barber, D.T. Monaghan, D.E. Jane, A.J. Gibb and S. Jones (2008). NR2B- and NR2D-containing synaptic NMDA receptors in developing rat substantia nigra pars compacta dopaminergic neurones. Journal of Physiology 586, 739-750.

See also 'Perspective' by D.Wyllie: '2B or 2B and 2D? That is the question' J. Physiology 586, 693.

O.V. Poisik, J. Shen, S. Jones and J.L. Yakel (2008). Functional α7-containing Nicotinic Acetylcholine Receptors Localize to Cell Bodies and Proximal Dendrites in the Rat Substantia Nigra pars Reticulata Journal of Physiology 586, 1365-1378.

V.W.S. Kung, R. Hassam, A.J. Morton and S. Jones (2007). Dopamine-dependent long term potentiation in the dorsal striatum is reduced in the R6/2 mouse model of Huntington's disease. Neuroscience 146, 1571-1580.

Jones, S. and Gibb, A.J. (2005). Functional NR2B- and NR2D-containing NMDA receptor channels in rat substantia nigra dopaminergic neurons. J. Physiology 569, 209-221.

Gibson, H.E., Reim, K., Brose N., Morton, A.J. and Jones, S. (2005). A similar impairment in CA3 mossy fibre LTP in the R6/2 mouse model of Huntington's disease and in the complexin II knockout mouse. Eur. J. Neuroscience 22, 1701-1712.

Jones, S. and Bonci, A. (2005). Synaptic plasticity and drug addiction. Curr. Opinion Pharmacol. 5, 20-25.