Thathiah Laboratory

Amantha Thathiah, PhD

Amantha Thathiah, PhD

Assistant Professor of Neurobiology
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The aim of my research is to study the cellular and molecular pathways involved in the pathogenesis of Alzheimer’s disease (AD). More specifically, my focus is to understand how G protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs) and β-arrestins regulate the amyloid pathway, synaptic plasticity and cognition, and to determine how to therapeutically modulate GPCR/β-arrestin-biased signaling in AD and other neurological disorders. I hypothesize that the β-arrestins provide a putative basis to understand the link between GPCRs and Aβ generation through regulation of the γ-secretase complex and will provide insight into the pathophysiology of GPCR dysfunction in AD and a novel therapeutic avenue for intervention in AD. Consequently, I have adopted two approaches to address my research questions: (1) a focused approach aimed at understanding the molecular, cellular and physiological role of GPR3 and β-arrestin 2 in synaptic function and cognition and regulation of γ-secretase activity, Aβ accumulation and Aβ-mediated synaptotoxicity and (2) a broad approach aimed at attaining a more extensive understanding of the GPCR/β-arrestin network in the brain and in regulation of Aβ generation and the γ-secretase complex under physiological and pathophysiological conditions. By integrating mouse genetics with cellular and biochemical techniques, electrophysiology and behavioral studies, and optogenetic tools, I hope to achieve a greater understanding of the mechanism(s) regulating GPCR and β-arrestin synaptic function and cognition in AD.


B.Sc. Biology Baylor University 1998
Ph.D. Cell Biology University of Texas Health Science Center 2004
Postdoctoral Fellow Neuroscience KU Leuven/VIB Center for the Biology of Disease 2009

Positions Held

Staff Scientist KU Leuven/VIB Center for the Biology of Disease 2009-2015
Assistant Professor KU Leuven 2012-2015
Assistant Professor University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine 2016-present

Honors and awards

2011 Cornelli Young Investigator Award for research in Alzheimer’s Disease
2011 Memory Loss in Alzheimer’s Disease (MEMOSAD) Award

Selected Publications

Huang Y, Skwarek-Maruszewska A, Horré K, Vandewyer E, Wolfs L, Snellinx A, Saito T, Radaelli E, Corthout N, Colombelli J, Lo AC, Van Aerschot L, Callaerts-Vegh Z, Trabzuni D, Bossers K, Verhaagen J, Ryten M, Munck S, D'Hooge R, Swaab DF, Hardy J, Saido TC, De Strooper B, Thathiah A. Loss of GPR3 reduces the amyloid plaque burden and improves memory in Alzheimer's disease mouse models. Sci. Transl. Med. 2015; 7:309ra164.

Huang Y, Thathiah A. Regulation of neuronal communication by G protein-coupled receptors. FEBS Lett. 2015; 589:1607-19.

Thathiah A, Horré K, Snellinx A, Vandewyer E, Huang Y, Ciesielska M, De Kloe G, Munck S, De Strooper B. β-arrestin 2 regulates Aβ generation and γ-secretase activity in Alzheimer's disease.Nat. Med. 2013; 19:43-9.

Thathiah A, De Strooper B. The role of G protein-coupled receptors in the pathology of Alzheimer's disease. Nat. Rev. Neurosci. 2011; 12:73-87.

Thathiah A, De Strooper B. G protein-coupled receptors, cholinergic dysfunction, and Abeta toxicity in Alzheimer's disease. Sci. Signal. 2009; 2:re8.

Thathiah A, Spittaels K, Hoffmann M, Staes M, Cohen A, Horré K, Vanbrabant M, Coun F, Baekelandt V, Delacourte A, Fischer DF, Pollet D, De Strooper B, Merchiers P. The orphan G protein-coupled receptor 3 modulates amyloid-beta peptide generation in neurons. Science 2009; 323:946-51.

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