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Department of Physiology, Development and Neuroscience



Sue's love of ion channels and their modulation started during her degree in Pharmacology at King's College London and continued during her PhD in the lab of Professor David Brown at University College London, where she identified G proteins involved in the modulation of M-type K+ currents. She moved from voltage gated ion channels to ligand gated ion channels during her postdoctoral work, first with Dr Jerry Yakel at NIEHS, where she studied nicotinic AChRs and 5HT3Rs, and then with Dr Julie Kauer at Duke University, where she studied modulation and plasticity at excitatory synapses. Since moving to Cambridge in 2001 she has focussed on the properties and modulation of glutamate receptors, particularly the NMDA receptor.


NMDA receptors and synaptic control of dopamine neurons in the substantia nigra pars compacta

Substantia nigra dopamine neurons form part of the basal ganglia circuit, which is needed for motivated voluntary movement control. Degeneration of dopamine neurons is a characteristic feature of Parkinson’s disease. We study glutamatergic synapses onto dopamine neurons, with a particular interest in NMDA glutamate receptors: how they are regulated, and the balance between physiological and pathological NMDA receptor activity. This work has been funded by the BBSRC, Parkinson’s UK, the Wellcome Trust and the Isaac Newton Trust.


Key publications: 

Morris PG, Mishina M, Jones S (2018), Altered synaptic and extrasynaptic NMDA receptor properties in substantia nigra dopaminergic neurons from mice lacking the GluN2D subunit, Frontiers in Cellular Neuroscience, In Press                 

Zhao J, Baudry M, Jones S (2018), Calpain inhibition reduces NMDA receptor rundown in rat substantia nigra dopamine neurons, Neuropharmacology, 137:221-229

Wild AR, Bollands M, Morris PG, Jones S, (2015), Mechanisms regulating spill-over of synaptic glutamate to extrasynaptic NMDA receptors in mouse substantia nigra dopaminergic neurons, European Journal of Neuroscience, 42:2633-2643

Wild AR, Jones S, Gibb AJ, (2014), Activity dependent regulation of NMDA receptors in substantia nigra dopaminergic neurones, J Physiology, 592.4:653–668

Wild AR, Akyol E, Brothwell SLC, Kimkool P, Skepper JN, Gibb AJ, Jones S, (2013), Memantine block depends on agonist presentation at the NMDA receptor in substantia nigra pars compacta dopamine neurones, Neuropharmacology, 73:138-146

Brothwell SLC , Barber JL, Monaghan DT, Jane DE, Gibb AJ, Jones S, (2008), NR2B- and NR2D-containing synaptic NMDA receptors in developing rat substantia nigra pars compacta dopaminergic neurones, J Physiology, 586:739-750

Teaching and Supervisions


Part II Modules P1, N2, N9

Part IB NST Neurobiology and MVST Neurobiology of Human Behaviour

Part IA MVST Functional Architecture of the Body

Research supervision: 



University Senior Lecturer
Picture of Dr Sue  Jones

Contact Details

+44 (0) 1223 333795
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