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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 understand neurotransmitter receptors and their functional and dysfunctional effects in brain regions affected by neurological and psychiatric disorders. We have had a long-standing interest in glutamate and dopamine in the substantia nigra, part of the basal ganglia circuitry in the brain. In Parkinson’s disease, dopaminergic neurones in the substantia nigra progressively degenerate, the cause of which is unknown. We study the properties and regulation of NMDA glutamate receptors in 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 functions, such as neuronal development, plasticity and survival. However, NMDA receptors are also associated with cell death, and may contribute to neuronal degeneration under pathophysiological conditions.

We are also interested in other ion channels and receptors that contribute to 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
Paul Morris (BBSRC-DTP funded PhD student) 

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

(Jones lab photo gallery)

A.R. Wild, S. Jones and A.J. Gibb (2014). Activity-dependent regulation of NMDA receptors in substantia nigra dopaminergic neurones. J Physiol 592:653–668.

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 73: 138-146.

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.

F. 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.