Harald Sontheimer, Ph.D.
I. D. Wilson Chair in the College of Science, Virginia Tech
Executive Director, School of Neuroscience, College of Science, Virginia Tech
Commonwealth Eminent Scholar in Cancer Research
Director, Center for Glial Biology in Health, Disease, and Cancer
Professor, Virginia Tech Carilion Research Institute
Dr. Harald Sontheimer researches the biology of glial cells, the brain's most abundant cell type. He is credited with making foundational discoveries on the functional properties of glial cells in the brain, including the localization and mechanisms of a range of receptors and ion channels that were previously thought to exist only on nerve cells.
Currently, Dr. Sontheimer studies the molecular structure and activity of glial cells in health, cancer, and other diseases. He and his research team work to understand the mechanisms underpinning the functions of glial cells, and how these functions may fault.
Dr. Sontheimer also currently serves on several councils and committees, including the Scientific Advisory Board "Cure Epilepsy", the Scientific Advisory Board for the MIT Press, the Society for Neurochemistry Program Committee, the American Brain Tumor Association Scientific Advisory Council, and the College of CSR Reviewers. He previously served on the Scientific Advisory Board for The Max Plank Society. He also served as an editorial board member, in various capacities, for the Journal of Neuroscience Letters, Glial, Jounal of Neuroscience Research, Glial-Neuronal Biology, NeuroReport.
For a full listing of Dr. Sontheimer's publications, visit PubMed.
Education and Training
- University of Heidelberg: PhD, Cell Biology and Biophysics
- University of Alabama at Birmingham
Professor, Department of Neurobiology
Director, Center for Glial Biology in Medicine
Director, Civitan International Research Center
Director, Cellular and Molecular Biology Graduate Program
- Yale University, School of Medicine
Assistant Professor, Department of Neurology and Neurobiology
Awards and Honors
- Distinguished Visiting Scholar, Virginia Tech Carilion Research Institute, 2011
- Dean's Award for Excellence in Mentorship, University of Alabama at Birmingham, 2010
- McNulty Civitan Scientist Award, 2004
- Member, American Association for the Advancement of Science
- Member, European Society for Neuroscience
- Member, German Zoological Society
- Member, New York Academy of Sciences
- Member, Society for Neuroscience
- Member, Society for Neurochemistry
- Member, Society for Developmental Neuroscience
- Robert SM, Buckingham SC, Campbell SL, Robel S, Holt KT, Ogunrinu-Babarinde T, Warren PP, White DM, Reid MA, Eschbacher JM, Berens ME, Lahti AC, Nabors LB, Sontheimer H. (2015). SLC7A11 expression is associated with seizures and predicts poor survival in patients with malignant glioma. Science Translational Medicine 7(289).
- Robel S, Buckingham SC, Boni JL, Campbell SL, Danbolt NC, Riedmann T, Sutor B, Sontheimer H. (2015). Reactive astrogliosis causes the development of spontaneous seizures. Journal of Neuroscience 35(8): 3330-45.
- Sontheimer HW. (2015). Diseases of the Nervous System. Elsevier.
- Campbell SL, Robel S, Cuddapah VA, Robert S, Buckingham SC, Kahle KT, Sontheimer H. (2015). GABAergic disinhibition and impaired KCC2 cotransporter activity underlie tumor-associated epilepsy. Glia 63(1): 23-36.
- Kimbrough IF*, Robel S*, Roberson E, Sontheimer H. (2015). Vascular amyloidosis impairs the gliovascular unit in the hAPPJ20 mouse model of Alzheimer disease. BRAIN.
- Seifert S, Sontheimer H. (2014). Bradykinin enhanced the invasion of malignant glioma into the brain parenchyma by inducing cells to undergo amoeboid migration. Journal of Physiology 592(22).
- Cuddapah VA, Robel S, Watkins S, Sontheimer H. (2014). A neurocentric perspective on glioma invasion. Nature Reviews in Neuroscience 15(7): 455-65.
- Robert SM, Sontheimer H. (2014). Glutamate transporters in the biology of malignant gliomas. Cellular and Molecular Life Sciences 71(10).
- Turner KL, Honasoge A, Robert SM, McFerrin MM, Sontheimer H. (2014). A proinvasive role for the Ca(2+)-activated K(+) channel KCa3.1 in malignant glioma. Glia.
- Watkins S, Robel S, Kimbrough IK, Robert SM, Ellis-Davies G, Sontheimer H. (2014). Disruption of astrocyte-vascular coupling and the blood-brain barrier by invading glioma cells. Nature Communications 5.