Kevin L. Behar, PhD

Associate Professor of Psychiatry; Director, MRRC Neurometabolism Research Laboratory

Research Organizations

Bioimaging Sciences: Magnetic Resonance Research Center | Magnetic Resonance Spectroscopy

Diabetes Research Center

Psychiatry: Connecticut Mental Health Center

Research Summary

Glutamate and GABA are the major excitatory and inhibitory neurotransmitters in the central nervous system and together account for the majority of all of its neurons. Their synaptic actions are maintained through the operation of complex metabolic cycles between neurons and neighboring astroglia. Work in our laboratory is centered on deciphering the mechanism(s) linking glutamate and GABA neurotransmitter cycling to brain activity, and the role of glucose and alternate substrates (e.g., monocarboxylic acids) in this process. Our studies employ nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectroscopy with stable isotope labeling (13C, 15N) and kinetic modeling to study metabolic pathway fluxes in neurons and glia of the intact brain in vivo. This work is being applied to study the role of altered glucose and neurotransmitter metabolism in rodent models of diabetes, depression, and epilepsy. Our laboratory uses Magnetic Resonance Spectroscopy and Imaging (MRS/I) in conjunction with stable 13C-labeled substrates, which can be introduced into the bloodstream in rodents to ‘visualize’ the pathways of brain glucose and energy metabolism and the synthesis of the neurotransmitter amino acids glutamate (excitatory) and GABA (inhibitory).

Extensive Research Description

  • NMR studies to elucidate the role of glucose and alternate fuel substrates in support of brain activity and glutamate/GABA/glutamine cycling in diabetes and mood disorders.

  • NMR studies of GABA synthesis in the brain

Selected Publications

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Contact Info

Kevin L. Behar, PhD
Mailing Address
Magnetic Resonance Research CenterYale School of Medicine
MRRC-TAC, N151, PO Box 208043

New Haven, CT 06510-8043

Curriculum Vitae

MRRC

MRRC