Skip Navigation

Lonnie P. Wollmuth

Faculty Profile - Wollmuth
PhD, University of Washington

Centers for Molecular Medicine
Office: Room 334
Lab: Room 375
Phone: (631) 632-4186
Fax: (631) 632-6661

*Visit the Wollmuth website*



Lonnie Wollmuth attended Portland State University and received a B.A. degree in 1983 and an M.S. degree in 1988. In 1992 he earned a Ph.D. in Physiology and Biophysics from the University of Washington, Seattle working under Dr. Bertil Hille. From 1993 to 1998, Dr. Wollmuth was a Senior Fellow in the Division of Cell Physiology at the Max Planck Institute for Medical Research working with Professor Dr. Bert Sakmann and was a Human Frontier Science Program Fellow from 1993-1995 and an Alexander von Humboldt Fellow from 1996-1997. In 1998, Dr. Wollmuth joined the faculty in the Department of Neurobiology and Behavior at the State University of New York at Stony Brook as an Assistant Professor. In 1999-2002 he received an Alexandrine and Alexander Sinsheimer Scholars Award. He was promoted to Associate Professor with tenure in 2003 and Full Professor in 2009. He has served as Director of the Graduate Program in Neuroscience at Stony Brook since 2006. Professor Wollmuth is a member of the Center for Nervous System Disorders at Stony Brook University and is a member of the Society for Neuroscience and the Biophysical Society.

Research Interests/Expertise

Research in my laboratory addresses fundamental mechanisms underlying fast synaptic transmission in the brain, focusing on those synapses that use glutamate as a neurotransmitter. Synapses are specialized structures that control the flow of information between cells in the brain. Since glutamate is the major excitatory neurotransmitter in the human brain, synapses that use this neurotransmitter are fundamental to all brain functions and, when dysfunctional, are associated with numerous neurodevelopmental, neurologic, and psychiatric disorders. Glutamate receptors are ligand-gated ion channels that convert the chemical signal glutamate into an electrical and biochemical signal detected by the postsynaptic neuron. These receptors, notably the NMDA and AMPA receptor subtypes, display a variety of molecular and biophysical properties that contribute to their versatility and prominence in fast synaptic transmission. We are interested in the molecular, biophysical and physiological mechanisms of glutamate receptor function. This work extends from understanding the molecular structures of glutamate receptors and associated proteins to how the dynamics of glutamatergic synapses contribute to networks of interconnected neurons where we study these issues in the zebrafish retina and brain. We are also interested in dysfunction in glutamate receptor signaling that are associated with disease including disease-associated missense mutations and anti-NMDA receptor autoantibodies in lupus. Since we want to understand the details, our approach is molecular and cellular in orientation and highly quantitative.

  • Publications

    Publications (last 4 years)

    Amin, J. B.*, A. Gochman*, M. He, N. Certain, and L. P. Wollmuth (2021) NMDA receptors require multiple pre-opening gating steps for efficient synaptic activity. Neuron. 109: 488-501. doi: 10.1016/ j.neuron.2020.11.009. (PMCID: PMC7864875).    *Authors contributed equally.

    Baez, A., T. V. Brunt, G. Moody, L. P. Wollmuth, and H. Hsieh (2020) Voltage dependent allosteric modulation of IPSCs by benzodiazepines.  Brain Research. Jun 1;1736:146699. doi: 10.1016/j.brainres.2020.146699.

    Zoodsma, J. D.*, K. Chan*, A. A. Bhandiwad, D. Golann, G. Liu, S. Syed, A. Napoli, H. Burgess, H. Sirotkin‡, and L. P. Wollmuth‡. (2020) A model to study NMDA receptors in early nervous system development. The Journal of Neuroscience. 40:3631-3645. (PMCID: PMC7189761).    *Authors contributed equally.  ‡co-senior authors

    Chan, K.*, J. Nestor*, T. S. Huerta, N. Certain, G. Moody, C. Kowal, P. T. Huerta, B. T. Volpe, B. Diamond‡ and L. P. Wollmuth‡ (2020) Lupus autoantibodies act as positive allosteric modulators at GluN2A-containing NMDA receptors and impair spatial memory. Nature Communications, 11:1403(2020). (PMCID: PMC7075964).   *Authors contributed equally.  ‡co-senior authors.

    Vaithianathan, T, L. P. Wollmuth, D. Henry, D. Zenisek, and G. G. Matthews (2019) Tracking newly released synaptic vesicle proteins at the active zones of ribbon synapses. iScience. 10:10-23. (PMCID: PMC6598641).

    Esmenjaud, J.-B., D. Stroebel, K. Chan, T. Grand, M. David, L. P. Wollmuth, A. Taly, and P. Paoletti (2019) An inter-dimer allosteric switch controls NMDA receptor activity. EMBO Journal. 38:e99894. (PMCID: PMC6331725)

    Ferrer, C., H. Hsieh, and L. P. Wollmuth (2018) Input-specific maturation of NMDAR-mediated transmission onto parvalbumin-expressing interneurons in layers 2/3 of the visual cortex. The Journal of Neurophysiology. 120:3063-3076. (PMCID: PMC6337035)

    Amin, J, X. Leng, A. Gochman, H-X. Zhou, and L. P. Wollmuth (2018) A conserved glycine harboring disease-associated mutations permits NMDA receptor slow deactivation and high Ca2+ permeability.  Nature Communications. 9:3748(2018).  (PMCID: PMC6138751)

    Amin, J, C. L. Salussolia, K. Chan, M. C. Regan, J. Dai, H-X. Zhou, H. Furukawa, M. E. Bowen, and L. P. Wollmuth (2017) Divergent roles of a peripheral transmembrane segment in AMPA and NMDA receptors.  Journal of General Physiology.  149:661-680.  (PMCID: PMC5460951)



    Amin, J. B.*, G. Moody*, & L. P. Wollmuth (2021) From bedside-to-bench: What disease-associated variants are teaching us about the NMDA receptor. The Journal of Physiology. Invited review. 599(2):397-416. (PMCID: PMC7483363)  *Authors contributed equally.

    Wollmuth, L. P. (2019) Prying open a gate in glutamate receptor. Preview. The Journal of General Physiology. 151:396-399. (PMCID: PMC6445587)

    Hansen, K. B., F. Yi, R. E. Perzyk, H. Furukawa, Wollmuth, L. P., A. J. Gibb, and S. F. Traynelis (2018) Structure, function, and allosteric modulation of NMDA receptors.  The Journal of General Physiology.  150:1081-1105. (PMCID: PMC6080888)

    Amin, J. B. and L. P. Wollmuth (2018) A swiss army knife for targeting receptors. Insight article.  eLife. 24:7 (PMCID: PMC5967861)

    Wollmuth, L. P. (2018) Ion permeation in ionotropic glutamate receptors: Still dynamic after all these years.  Current Opinion Physiology.  2: 36-41.  (PMCID: PMC5875445)

    H-X. Zhou, and L. P. Wollmuth (2017) Advancing NMDA receptor physiology by integrating multiple approaches. Trends in Neuroscience. 40(3): 129-137.  (PMCID: PMC4457189)

    Pubmed Linked Publications

  • Honors, Awards & Leadership

    Director, Graduate Program in Neuroscience, Stony Brook University (2006-2010)

    Study Section Member (2004-2006), NIH, Biophysics of Channels, Synapses, and Transporters (BCST)

    Study Section Member (2006-2008), NIH, Biophysics of Neural Systems (BPNS)

  • Laboratory Personnel

    Dr. Helen Hsieh – Clinical Assistant Professor, Department of Surgery
    Dr. Christina Joselevitch – Research Scientist, Department of Neurobiology & Behavior

    Graduate students:

    Gabriele Moody – Graduate student, Program in Molecular and Cellular Pharmacology
    Noele Certain – Graduate student, Program in Molecular and Cellular Pharmacology
    Miaomiao He – Graduate student, Program in Biochemistry and Structural Biology
    Jay Gupta – MSTP student, Program in Molecular and Cellular Pharmacology
    Joe Bennet – Master's student, Program in Molecular and Cellular Biology


    Diane Henry-Vanisko – Senior Research Support Specialist
    Donna Schmidt – Technician
    Trevor Van Brunt – Technician


    Michael Liu
    Angela Musco
    Emma Keegan
    William Khayo