SOM researcher receives NIH grant to continue study of depression

Wang John
John Wang, M.D., Ph.D.

John Wang, M.D., Ph.D., endowed chair and professor of anesthesiology, received a grant from the National Institute of Mental Health of the National Institutes of Health to continue his ongoing research that could one day lead to novel pharmacotherapies and the treatments of some symptoms of depression.

The grant of more than $1.8 million extends five years to continue his study of Molecular Regulation of Metabotropic Glutamate Receptors in Striatal Neurons. Wang began his study of drug addiction aiming to unravel brain mechanisms for enduring drug seeking behavior. Recently, he expanded his interest into another neuropsychiatric disorder, depression. The new grant will enable his research team to investigate the participation of glutamatergic transmission in the pathogenesis of depression.

Wang, who joined the School of medicine in 2004 as the Westport Anesthesia/Missouri Endowed Chair in Anesthesia research, has focused much of his research career on the role a chemical neurotransmitter located in the brain known as glutamate plays in various mental illnesses, including depression and drug addiction.

The current study seeks to define the role of glutamate and its receptors in the molecular development and the symptoms of depression and advance the understanding of how the glutamate receptors are regulated.