Scripps Florida - The Scripps Research Institute Department of Neuroscience

Department of Neuroscience


Randy D. Blakely, Ph.D.

Randy Blakely

Professor, Department of Biomedical Sciences, Charles E. Schmidt College of Medicine, Florida Atlantic University
Executive Director, FAU Brain Institute

Adjunct Professor- Scripps Florida, Department of Neuroscience

PhD –The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine
Postdoctoral – HHMI/Yale University School of Medicine

FAU Brain Institute
5353 Parkside Drive
Jupiter, Florida 33458

Tel: 561-799-8100


Research Interests

Research in the Blakely lab centers on the genetics, regulation and brain disease association of neurotransmitter transporter proteins. These proteins are responsible for rapid clearance of neurotransmitters upon their release from presynaptic terminals. Transporters, such as the serotonin, dopamine and norepinephrine transporters are targets for major psychotropic drugs such as antidepressants, cocaine and amphetamine. We have identified the genes encoding transporter proteins in multiple species and have captured opportunities to study their expression, regulation and mutation in tractable model organisms (e.g. worms, flies and mice) as well as in humans. Our group has shown that heritable mutations that impact the expression, activity and regulation of neurotransmitter transporters impact risk for depression, ADHD, and autism, as well autonomic and neuromuscular disorders. Using mice engineered to express these mutations, we are seeking to understand how changes in transporter function and regulation impact signaling in the brain and behaviors. These animal models also serve as a platform to develop novel medications.

Selected Publications

Ramamoorthy, S. and Blakely, R.D. (1999). Phosphorylation and sequestration of serotonin transporters differentially modulated by psychostimulants. Science 285, 763-766.

Shannon, J.R., Flattem, N.L., Jordan, J., Jacob, G., Black, B.K, Biaggioni, I., Blakely, R.D., and Robertson, D. (2000). Orthostatic intolerance and tachycardia associated with norepinephrine transporter deficiency. New Engl J Med. 342, 541-549.

Nass, R., Hall, D.H., Miller, III,  D.M., and Blakely, R.D. (2002). Neurotoxin-induced degeneration of dopamine neurons in Caenorhabditis elegans. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 99, 3264-3269.

Thompson, B, Jessen, T., Henry, L., Field, J., Gamble, K., Gresch, P., Carneiro, A., Horton, R., Chisnell, P., McMahon, D., Daws, L., Blakely, R.D. (2011). Transgenic elimination of high-affinity antidepressant and cocaine sensitivity in the presynaptic serotonin transporter. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 108, 3785-3790.

Bonnin A., Goeden, N., Chen, K., Wilson, M.L., King, J., Shih, J.C., Blakely, R.D., Deneris, E.S., Levitt, P.R. (2011). A transient placental source of serotonin for the fetal forebrain. Nature 472, 347-350.

Veenstra-VanderWeele, J., Muller, C.L., Iwamoto, H., Sauer, J.E., Owens, W.A., Cohen, J., Shah, C.R., Mannangatti, P., Jessen, T., Thompson, B.J., Carneiro, A.M., Crawley, J.N., Bush, E.S., McMahon, D.G., Ramamoorthy, S., Daws, L.C., Sutcliffe, J.S., Blakely, R.D. (2012). Autism gene variant causes hyperserotonemia, serotonin receptor hypersensitivity, social impairment and repetitive behavior. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA. 109, 5469-5474.

Mergy, M.A., Gowrishankar, R., Gresch, P.J., Wheeler, C.A., Davis, G.L., Jessen, T.N., Wright, J., Stanwood, G.D., Blakely, R.D. (2014). The rare DAT variant Val559 perturbs DA neuron function, changes behavior and alters in vivo responses to psychostimulants. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 111, E4779-88.

Hardaway, A.J., Sturgeon, S.M., Snarrenberg, C.L., Li, Z., Xu, X.C.S., Bermingham, D. P., Odiase, P., Spencer, W.C., Miller III, D. M., Carvelli, L., Hardie, S.L., Blakely, R.D. (2015). Glial expression of the Caenorhabditis elegans gene Swip-10 supports glutamate dependent control of extrasynaptic dopamine signaling. J Neurosci. 35, 9409-9423.

Margolis, K.G, Li, Z., Stevanovic, K., Saurman, V., Israelyan, N., Veenstra-VanderWeele, J., Blakely, R.D., Gershon, M.D. (2016). Serotonin transporter variant drives preventable gastrointestinal abnormalities in development and function. J Clin Investigation. 126, 2221-35.

Nackenoff, A.G., Moussa-Tooks, A.B., McMeekin, A.M., Veenstra-VanderWeele, J., Blakely, R.D. (2016). Essential contributions of serotonin transporter inhibition to the acute and chronic actions of fluoxetine and citalopram in the SERT Met172 mouse. Neuropsychopharmacology 4, 1733-41.

Awards, Recognition, Appointments, and Honors

1977-1981 McGraw/Hill National Merit Scholar
1977-1981 John Gordon Stipe Scholar
1981 Macy Fellowship for Foreign Study
1981 Rhodes Scholarship Finalist 
1981 Rotary Scholar 
1981 Phi Beta Kappa
1982 Sigma Xi Research Award  
1990 Woodruff Neuroscience Investigator
1991-1994 Mallinckrodt Young Investigator Award
1992 Charles Judson Herrick Award, American Association of Anatomists
1995 Allan D. Bass Endowed Chair in Pharmacology
1996 Established Investigator Award, NARSAD
1999 Daniel H. Efron Award for Research, ACNP
2003 Charles R. Park Prize for Basic Research
2004-2014 MERIT Award, NIMH
2005 Distinguished Investigator Award, NARSAD
2005 Zenith Award, Alzheimer’s Association
2008 ASPET, Julius Axelrod Award
2008 ASPET-Astellas Award in Translational Pharmacology
2009 F. Peter Guengerich Award for Postdoctoral Mentoring
2009 Fellow, American Association for the Advancement of Science
2013 Chancellor’s Award for Research
2015 Delores C. Shockley Partnership Award for Minority Research Mentorship