Harald Sontheimer


Office phone: 540-526-2229

Office location: R3019

Email address: sontheimer@vtc.vt.edu

Harald Sontheimer, Ph.D.

Professor and Commonwealth Eminent Scholar in Cancer Research, Fralin Biomedical Research Institute at VTC

Director, Center for Glial Biology in Health, Disease, and Cancer

I. D. Wilson Chair in the College of Science

Professor, Department of Surgery, School of Medicine

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

Previous Positions

  • 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