Susan E. Leeman, PhD

Professor, Pharmacology & Experimental Therapeutics

Susan Leeman
72 E. Concord St Building A


Dr. Susan Leeman is a Professor in the Department of Pharmacology & Experimental Therapeutics, and the Director of the Neuropeptide Laboratory in the Pharmacology Department at the Boston University School of Medicine. Dr. Leeman has been a Member of the National Academy of Sciences since 1991.

Dr. Leeman’s research focuses on the two peptides, substance P (SP) and neurotensin, that were isolated and chemically defined in this laboratory. Previous projects that are currently underway relating to the biochemistry and pharmacology of SP include studies to determine the binding domains of SP with its receptor using photoactivatable derivatives of SP containing the photoreactive amino acid benzoylphenlalanine; studies to determine the binding domains of an antagonist of SP, CP 96,345 using a photoactivatable derivative of this compound; the characterization of calcium signals generated by administration of SP to CHO cells transfected with mRNA encoding the full-length SP receptor; the roles of SP in several models of inflammation in the gastrointestinal tract using non-peptide SP antagonists; a truncated form of the SP receptor and several mutant receptors. A new direction of research involves studies directed towards the chemical characterization and function of the carbohydrate moieties on the SP receptor.

Other Positions

  • Member, Evans Center for Interdisciplinary Biomedical Research, Boston University
  • Graduate Faculty (Primary Mentor of Grad Students), Boston University School of Medicine, Graduate Medical Sciences


  • Radcliffe College, PhD
  • Radcliffe College, MA
  • Goucher College, BA

Classes Taught

  • GMSPM843


  • Published on 10/7/2019

    Tsilioni I, Patel AB, Pantazopoulos H, Berretta S, Conti P, Leeman SE, Theoharides TC. IL-37 is increased in brains of children with autism spectrum disorder and inhibits human microglia stimulated by neurotensin. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2019 10 22; 116(43):21659-21665. PMID: 31591201.

    Read at: PubMed
  • Published on 11/1/2018

    Theoharides TC, Leeman SE. Effect of IL-33 on de novo synthesized mediators from human mast cells. J Allergy Clin Immunol. 2019 01; 143(1):451. PMID: 30390921.

    Read at: PubMed
  • Published on 9/19/2018

    Taracanova A, Tsilioni I, Conti P, Norwitz ER, Leeman SE, Theoharides TC. Substance P and IL-33 administered together stimulate a marked secretion of IL-1ß from human mast cells, inhibited by methoxyluteolin. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2018 10 02; 115(40):E9381-E9390. PMID: 30232261.

    Read at: PubMed
  • Published on 6/27/2018

    Douglas SD, Leeman SE. Is substance P a nasal epithelial neuropeptide? J Allergy Clin Immunol. 2018 11; 142(5):1677. PMID: 29958676.

    Read at: PubMed
  • Published on 11/6/2017

    Theoharides TC, Taracanova A, Tsilioni I, Conti P, Leeman SE. Reply to Fattori et al.: Action of SP and IL-33 on mast cells. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2017 11 21; 114(47):E10036. PMID: 29109296.

    Read at: PubMed
  • Published on 5/1/2017

    Taracanova A, Alevizos M, Karagkouni A, Weng Z, Norwitz E, Conti P, Leeman SE, Theoharides TC. SP and IL-33 together markedly enhance TNF synthesis and secretion from human mast cells mediated by the interaction of their receptors. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2017 05 16; 114(20):E4002-E4009. PMID: 28461492.

    Read at: PubMed
  • Published on 9/23/2016

    Patel AB, Tsilioni I, Leeman SE, Theoharides TC. Neurotensin stimulates sortilin and mTOR in human microglia inhibitable by methoxyluteolin, a potential therapeutic target for autism. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2016 Nov 08; 113(45):E7049-E7058. PMID: 27663735.

    Read at: PubMed
  • Published on 12/9/2013

    Yuan H, Zelka S, Burkatovskaya M, Gupte R, Leeman SE, Amar S. Pivotal role of NOD2 in inflammatory processes affecting atherosclerosis and periodontal bone loss. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2013 Dec 24; 110(52):E5059-68. PMID: 24324141.

    Read at: PubMed
  • Published on 11/11/2013

    Burke RM, Norman TA, Haydar TF, Slack BE, Leeman SE, Blusztajn JK, Mellott TJ. BMP9 ameliorates amyloidosis and the cholinergic defect in a mouse model of Alzheimer's disease. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2013 Nov 26; 110(48):19567-72. PMID: 24218590.

    Read at: PubMed
  • Published on 8/5/2013

    Amar S, Leeman S. Periodontal innate immune mechanisms relevant to obesity. Mol Oral Microbiol. 2013 Oct; 28(5):331-41. PMID: 23911141.

    Read at: PubMed

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