Ethan Block, Ph.D.

Ethan Block
Assistant Professor of Biology
Buhl - 008

Hometown:  Pittsburgh, PA
Joined Chatham:  2015


Biology, Neuroscience, Cell biology, Signal transduction, Membrane trafficking, Neurotransmitter transporters, Drug addiction, Epithelial wound healing, Cancer


Family, Ice hockey, Cooking


I fell in love with science as an undergraduate working in a molecular endocrinology laboratory, and I am pleased to be able to share my passion and expertise with Chatham science students. I am a cellular and molecular biologist with specific expertise in signal transduction, protein trafficking, and neuroscience. A common theme in my research career has been cell communication. As an undergraduate, I studied the endocrine regulation of growth hormone receptor; as a graduate student I studied intra- and extra-cellular signal transduction in the cornea; as a post-doc I studied a key aspect of neurotransmission. My current work focuses on the dopamine re-uptake transporter, a membrane protein that regulates neurotransmission by clearing dopamine from the synapse. Elucidating the cell signals that regulate transporter function may help to explain mechanisms of neurodegeneration and psychiatric disorders, such as drug addiction. Research in my laboratory will capitalize on recent discoveries that certain isoforms of protein kinase C regulate dopamine transporter endocytosis, and that the transporter displays brain-region specific patterns of distribution. In addition to collaborations at the University of Pittsburgh, I use basic biochemical and microscopic techniques to test hypotheses related to re-uptake transporter function that are relevant to psychiatric disorders, drug addiction, and neurodegenerative disease.

  • B.A., University of California (Santa Cruz, CA), 2001
  • Ph.D., University of Pittsburgh (Pittsburgh, PA), 2010
  • Jonas Salk Health Services Fellow, 2007
  • NRSA predoctoral fellow, National Eye Institute, 2008-2009
  • NRSA postdoctoral fellow, National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, 20011-2013
  • NRSA postdoctoral fellow, National Institute on Drug Abuse, 2014
  • Block, E. R., Nuttle, J., Balcita-Pedecino, J. J., Caltagarone, J., Watkins, S. C., Sesack, S. R., and Sorkin, A. (2015). Brain Region-Specific Trafficking of the Dopamine Transporter. Annual Meeting of the Society for Neuroscience (Chicago, IL), October 2015