Lakshmi A Devi, PhD
img_Lakshmi A Devi
PROFESSOR | Pharmacological Sciences
PROFESSOR | Neuroscience
PROFESSOR | Psychiatry
Research Topics
Addiction, Enzymology, Hormones, Neural Networks, Neuropeptides, Opioid/Cannabinoid Receptors, Post-Transcriptional Processing, Protein Trafficking & Sorting, Proteomics, Signal Transduction
Multi-Disciplinary Training Area
Disease Mechanisms and Therapeutics (DMT), Neuroscience [NEU]
1.  Opioid receptor dimerization, pharmacology, and signaling

2.  Neuroendocrine peptide biosynthesis and processing

3.  Neuroproteomics of the synapse and opiate addiction

One of the research projects in the Devi Laboratory is focused on exploring the molecular mechanisms and the functional implications of opioid receptor dimerization. Opioid receptors are G protein-coupled receptors that are activated by opiate drugs such as morphine and heroin. Recently, we discovered that opioid receptors associate with each other and with other members of the G protein-coupled receptor family. This leads to changes in the pharmacological and signaling properties of the receptors, including ligand affinity, potency, and receptor trafficking. Thus, receptor-receptor interactions represent a novel mechanism for modulating opioid receptor function. We are currently investigating the physiological relevance of dimerization, as well as screening for drugs that target receptor heterodimers. Another research project is directed toward understanding the regulation of neuroendocrine peptide biosynthesis. Most neuroendocrine peptides, including opioid peptides, are synthesized from precursor proteins. Post-translational processing of these precursors is a key step in the production of biologically active peptides. We are studying the regulation of endopeptidases and exopeptidases involved in the biosynthesis of neuroendocrine peptides. In addition, using transgenic animals lacking processing enzymes, we are isolating and identifying novel neuropeptides. Studies to characterize the function of these peptides and their receptors are currently underway. The most recent project in the laboratory involves the use of cutting-edge neuroproteomic and neuropeptidomic techniques to study opiate addiction. Although chronic opiate use is known to produce long-lasting neural adaptations, the mechanisms underlying these changes are not well understood. We are using modern proteomic techniques (such as two-dimensional gel electrophoresis, differential isotopic labeling, and MS/MS sequencing) to analyze morphine-induced changes in the levels of synaptic proteins and neuropeptides. This approach will serve as a starting point to elucidating the molecular mechanisms underlying opiate addiction, as proteins/peptides that are altered by morphine treatment are likely to be involved in opiate-induced plasticity.

MSc, University of Mysore

PhD, University of Windsor

Postdoctoral Fellowship, Addiction Research Foundation

Postdoctoral Fellowship, Vollum Institute

Physicians and scientists on the faculty of the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai often interact with pharmaceutical, device and biotechnology companies to improve patient care, develop new therapies and achieve scientific breakthroughs. In order to promote an ethical and transparent environment for conducting research, providing clinical care and teaching, Mount Sinai requires that salaried faculty inform the School of their relationships with such companies.

Dr. Devi did not report having any of the following types of financial relationships with industry during 2022 and/or 2023: consulting, scientific advisory board, industry-sponsored lectures, service on Board of Directors, participation on industry-sponsored committees, equity ownership valued at greater than 5% of a publicly traded company or any value in a privately held company. Please note that this information may differ from information posted on corporate sites due to timing or classification differences.

Mount Sinai's faculty policies relating to faculty collaboration with industry are posted on our website. Patients may wish to ask their physician about the activities they perform for companies.