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Gyorgy Lonart , PhD

    • Title:
    • Associate Professor

    • Role:
    • Faculty

    • Faculty Appointments:
    • Additional Certifications:
    • Focus Areas:
    • Office Location:
    • Lewis Hall

    • Undergraduate Education:
    • Graduate Education:
    • PhD  (Physiology)  1988  University of Budapest

    • Postdoctoral Education:
    • Neurochemistry training, University of Pittsburgh,  1988 - 1990


      Pharmacology training, University of Texas Medical Branch,  1990 - 1992

    • Medical Education:
    • Residency:
    • Fellowship(s):
    • Board Certification(s):
    • Affiliation(s):
    • Research Interests:
    • Neurological and psychiatric illnesses affect more than 50 million Americans annually, and up to one billion people around the world. These numbers underscore the importance of advancing our understanding of the human brain in health and disease.


      My laboratory’s focus is synaptic transmission and mapping synaptic networks involved in fear, learning and sleep regulation. Pharmacological, physiological, and microscopic studies have made seminal contributions to our field, however the intracellular mechanisms that regulate neurotransmission remained mostly unknown until recently. Prior to becoming an EVMS faculty, I worked in the laboratory of T. C. Südhof, Nobel Prize in Medicine, 2013, to investigate the molecular mechanisms of neurotransmitter release. We have demonstrated that SNARE protein assembly-disassembly is dynamic, and that it is regulated by protein kinase C for many neurotransmitter types.


      Assembly of a tripartite core complex from three SNARE protein is required for synaptic vesicle fusion. Our findings support the idea that core complex assembly represents an important point of regulation in neurotransmitter secretion and that presynaptic plasticity can operate at the step of prefusion by regulating the size of the readily releasable pool. In another series of studies, we found that Rab3 interacting molecule 1 alpha (RIM1α) is a target for protein kinase A.  As an independent investigator, I extended these studies to downstream effectors of phospho-RIM1α and to another kinase, ERK, a kinase that is also important for presynaptic plasticity, likely mechanism of learning and memory.


      To evaluate the role of synaptic mechanisms in learning and memory we have adopted/developed behavioral techniques and collaborated with Dr. Sanford’s sleep laboratory to assess the connection of these mechanisms to sleep. We have also successfully collaborated with Dr. Britten’s lab to evaluate radiation induced changes in neurotransmission and cognitive performance. Recent additions to our technical arsenal are the CLARITY technique (see image), allowing the imaging of intact brains, and optogenetics, that facilitates functional and microscopic mapping of neuronal networks. 



    • Primary Specialty:
    • Hospital:
    • Courses Taught:
    • Medical courses:

      Histology (Course director)


      Organ System Function


      Graduate courses:

      Concepts in Research Design (Course director)

      Essentials of Physiology

      Advanced Cell Biology

      Cell Structure and Function



    • Current Projects:
    • Ongoing Research Support


      NIMH  Lonart & Sanford (MPI)     9/6/2014 to 8/30/2016

      Title: Role of amygdalar inputs to locus coeruleus in sleep regulation.

      Role: Principal Investigator.


      NIMH  L.D. Sanford   (PI)      9/26/2013 to 7/31/2018

      Title: Limbic modulation of stress-induced alterations in sleep.

      Role Co-Inv.


      NASA  R.A. Britten (PI)      2/27/2014 to 2/26/2018

      Title: Changes in Neuroproteome Associated with HZE-induced Impairment of Cognition

      Role: Consultant    


      W&M/EVMS Collaborative Grant Program 2015

      PI: Sanford

      Title: Neurobiological substrate of anxiety disorders

      Role: Co-Inv.



      Awards (selected)


      Irish and Hungarian Academy of Sciences Scholarship Award



      Mentored Research Career Award from NIMH





    • Bio:
    • Associate Professor,  Eastern Virginia Medical School,  2006 - present


      Assistant Professor,  Eastern Virginia Medical School,  2011 - 2006


      Assistant Professor (Research Track), University of Texas Southwestern Medical School, Dallas,  1999 - 2000


      Instructor, University of Texas Southwestern Medical School, Dallas,  1996 - 1999


      Instructor, University of Texas Medical Branch, Galveston,  1992 - 1996

Selected Publications


Lonart, G., Südhof, T.C. (2000) Assembly of SNARE core complexes prior to neurotransmitter release sets the readily releasable pool of synaptic vesicles.   J Biol Chem.275:27703-7.


Lonart, G., Schoch, S., Kaeser, P.S., Larkin, C.J., Südhof, T.C., Linden, D.J. (2003) Phosphorylation of RIM1alpha by PKA triggers presynaptic long-term potentiation at cerebellar parallel fiber synapses.   Cell. 115:49-60.


Simsek-Duran, F., Linden, D.J., Lonart, G. (2004) Adapter protein 14-3-3 is required for a presynaptic form of LTP in the cerebellum.   Nat Neurosci. 7:1296-8.


Simsek-Duran, F., Lonart, G. (2008) The role of RIM1alpha in BDNF-enhanced glutamate release.   Neuropharmacology. 55:27-34.


Liu, X., Lonart, G., Sanford, L.D. (2007) Transient fear-induced alterations in evoked release of norepinephrine and GABA in amygdala slices.   Brain Res. 20:1142:46-53.


Britten RA, Davis LK, Jewell JS, Miller VD, Hadley MM, Sanford LD, Machida M, Lonart G. (2014)  Exposure to mission relevant doses of 1 GeV/Nucleon (56)Fe particles leads to impairment of attentional set-shifting performance in socially mature rats.  Radiat Res. 182:292-8


Complete List of Published Work in My Bibliography