Univ. Prof. Dr. Harald Sitte

E-mail: harald.sitte@meduniwien.ac.at

Medical University of Vienna
Center for Physiology and Pharmacology
Institute of Pharmacology
Währingerstr. 13a
1090 Vienna

Researcher's Profile

Research Interest:
Neurotransmitters transporters are located in presynaptic specializations. They inactivate neurotransmitter-mediated neurotransmission following exocytotic release by a simple reuptake mechanism. Recent crystallographic examination of bacterial homologs to mammalian neurotransmitter transporters provides a structural scaffold which supports transport by an alternative access mechanism. Monoamine transporters are a target of clinically relevant drugs: (i) antidepressants competitively block the reuptake of monoamines. Thereby, these compounds enhance the extracellular monoamine concentration which is relevant for clinical success. (ii) amphetamines and cathinones, which behave as substrates of the transporters, trigger non-exocytotic neurotransmitter release (efflux). The exact molecular mechanism of the psychostimulant action, however, still remains enigmatic.

Key Words: Psychopharmacology, Neutransmitter Transporters, Cocaine, Amphetamine and congeners, Addiction

1986 – 1995 Medical studies at the medical faculties of the Universities of Innsbruck and Vienna, Austria

Academic Positions:
1995 – 1997 Assistant Professor, Institute of Biochemical Pharmacology, University of Vienna, Medical Faculty, Vienna, Austria, Chair: Prof. Dr. O. Hornykiewicz.

1998 – 2001 Assistant Professor, Institute of Pharmacology, Univ. of Vienna, Medical Faculty, Vienna, Austria

2001 – 2010 Associate Professor, Center for Biomolecular Medicine and Pharmacology, Institute of Pharmacology, Medical University Vienna, Chair: Prof. Dr. M Freissmuth

2002 – 2003 Guest Scientist, The Panum Institute, University of Copenhagen, Denmark, Molecular Neuropharmacology Group, Head: Prof. Dr. Ulrik Gether

2010 – present Professor for Psychopharmacology, Center for Physiology and Pharmacology, Institute of Pharmacology, Medical University Vienna

Further Professional Activities:

Speaker of the Special Research Programme SFB35 funded by the Austrian Science Foundation/FWF (since 2008). Further information: http://sfb35.at/

Director of the Curriculum of Dentistry at the Medical University Vienna (2006 - 2011)


2007 Otto-Loewi-Prize, Austrian Neuroscience Organization

2007 Novartis-Prize for Medicine, Novartis Austria GmbH.

Activities and Positions within the Scientific Community (Memberships):

Austrian and German Societies for Pharmacology and Toxicology

Austrian and American Societies for Neuroscience

American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology

Reviewer for the following Journals:

(selection): J. Biol. Chem., J. Neurosci., J. Neurochem., Mol. Biol. Cell., Biological Psychiatry, Annals of Neurology, J. Fluorescence, Biophysical Journal.

Editorial Boards:

Neurochemical Research

Organization of Congresses:

Member of the Local Organizing Committee for the Joint Meeting of the International and European Societies for Neurochemistry, Innsbruck, July, 2004

Organizer, Annual Symposia of SFB35, Vienna, from 2008 onwards

Ongoing MolTag Research projects as Supervisor:

Marco NIELLO: Domain swapping in human monoamine transporters to decipher transport selectivity
Tina HOFMAIER: The Impact of Phosphatidylinositol-4,5-bisphosphate (PIP2) on Serotonin Transport Function
Felix MAYER: Characterization of mephedrone and its bioactive metabolites
Alex Neil MORLEY: A combined experimental and computational approach to investigate the structural effects of substrates, inhibitors and mutations on the conformation of the human dopamine transporter during the transport cycle
Kumaresan JAYAMARAN: Oligomerization of human dopamine transporter (hDAT)

Ongoing MolTag Research projects as Co-Supervisor:

Konstantina BAMPALI: Subtype selective targeting of GABA A receptors
Daniela CINTULOVA: Enantioselective Synthesis of Configurationally Stabilized Methcathinones for the Investigations of Monoamine Transporters
Dominik DREIER: Optically Switchable Serotonin Transporter Ligands
Eva HELLSBERG: Selectivity Profiling of the human Monoamine Transporters: Uptake Inhibitors vs. Substrate Releasers


Dominik DREIER: Optically Switchable Serotonin Transporter Ligands
Eva HELLSBERG: Selectivity Profiling of the human Monoamine Transporters: Uptake Inhibitors vs. Substrate Releasers

Completed MolTag Research projects as Supervisor:

Kusumika SAHA: LRET-based distance measurements in the mammalian glutamate transporter EAAC1; finished 02/2016
Thomas STEINKELLNER: Dopamine transporter function in CaMKII-mutant mice; finished 09/2014
Santosh K. VENKATESAN: LRET-based distance measurements in a bacterial homolog to mammalian glutamate transporter GltPh, finished 02/2016


Andreas JURIK: Comparative Modeling Studies for Profiling of the GABA Transporter System, finished 05/2015
Amir SEDDIK: Substrate Selectivity Profiling of Monoamine transporters, finished 07/2015