Susan Dymecki, 1998
Who she is
Dr. Dymecki received her BSE and MSE from the University of Pennsylvania, and her MD and PhD from Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. After completing doctoral studies, Susan began independent work as a Helen Hay Whitney Fellow and John Merck Scholar at the Carnegie Institution of Washington, Department of Embryology where she developed genetic approaches in mice to study the deployment and function of embryonic cell lineages as means to examine mammalian nervous system development.
She joined the faculty of Harvard Medical School in 1998, at which time she was awarded an Armenise Junior Faculty Grant. Dr. Dymecki went on to become a Rita Allen Foundation Scholar in 1999, earned the HMS Morgan-Zinsser Teaching Faculty Fellowship Award and the Gulf Oil Outstanding Achievement in Biomedical Science Award, received the Biological and Biomedical Sciences (BBS) Ph.D. Program mentoring award in 2004, served BBS as Associate Director from 2004-2011, and since 2014, as director.
What she does
Susan Dymecki’s lab has pioneered transgenic tools to subtype neurons by molecular identity, and probe each subtype’s function, location, connectivity, and origin – as illustrated in her discoveries in the brain serotonergic system.
Dymecki has identified numerous subtypes of serotonergic neurons – previously unimagined – and uncovered their network nodes and discrete functions, from respiratory to affective. Elucidating this heterogeneity brings critical insight into serotonin involvement in such diverse disorders as autism, SIDS, and depression, providing novel ways to conceptualize and potentially attack these intractable disorders.