Amar Sahay

Principal Faculty, Harvard Stem Cell Institute
Associate Member, Broad Institute of MIT
Assistant Professor, Center for Regenerative Medicine

Massachusetts General Hospital
Richard B. Simches Research Center
185 Cambridge Street
Boston, MA 02114
Phone: 617-643-4371 (office), 617-724-4978 (lab)

Dr. Sahay is an Assistant Professor at the Center for Regenerative Medicine and the Department of Psychiatry at Massachusetts General Hospital, Harvard Medical School. He is also principal faculty of the Harvard Stem Cell Institute of Harvard University. The focus of Dr. Sahay’s research interests lies in understanding how stem cells in the adult brain may be harnessed to improve cognition and mood and how alterations in neural circuits contribute to the development of psychiatric disorders. The incidence and complexity of mental illnesses and cognitive impairments associated with ageing and Alzheimer’s disease underscores the need to develop novel treatments. The mission of the Sahay Lab is to generate fundamental insights into the role of adult hippocampal neurogenesis, the process by which neural stem cells generate dentate granule neurons throughout life, in hippocampal functions in encoding, memory processing and modulation of mood. By integrating cellular, circuit, systems and behavioral interrogation of adult hippocampal neurogenesis, we aspire to rejuvenate and re-engineer hippocampal circuitry to optimize circuit performance and memory processing. We predict that this strategy will impact diseases such as PTSD, Alzheimer’s disease and age-related cognitive decline.

Learn more about the Sahay Lab.

Select Publications:

  • Amar Sahay*, Kimberly N. Scobie, Alexis S. Hill, Colin M. O'Carroll, Mazen A. Kheirbek, Nesha S. Burghardt, André A. Fenton, Alex Dranovsky and René Hen* (2011). Nature, April 28; 472 (7344): 466-70. * Co-corresponding author.  Covered in Leading edge, Cell 145, May 13, 2011.  Increasing adult hippocampal neurogenesis is sufficient to improve pattern separation.
  • Amar Sahay, Donald A. Wilson and René Hen (2011), Perspective, Special Issue: Reviews on stem cells and adult neurogenesis, Neuron, May 26, 70 (4), 582-588.  Pattern separation: A common function for new neurons in hippocampus and olfactory Bulb.
  • Kimberly N. Scobie, Benjamin J. Hall, Scott A. Wilke, Kristen C. Klemenhagen, Yoshiaki Fujii-Kuriyama, Anirvan Ghosh, René Hen and Amar Sahay (2009). The Journal of Neuroscience August 5; 29(31): 9875-9887.  Krüppel-like factor 9 (Klf-9) is necessary for late-phase neuronal maturation in the developing dentate gyrus and during adult hippocampal neurogenesis (Cover Image)
  • Amar Sahay* and René Hen (2007), Focus on Emotion and Disorders of Emotion issue.  Nature Neuroscience 10(9):1110-1115. * Co-corresponding author. Adult hippocampal neurogenesis in depression
  • Amar Sahay, René Hen and Ronald S. Duman (2007). Adult Neurogenesis Cold Spring Harbor Monographs.  Chapter: Hippocampal neurogenesis: Depression and Antidepressant responses.
  • Amar Sahay *, Chong-Hyun Kim *, Edward Cho, Jehuda Sepkuty, Richard L. Huganir, David D. Ginty and Alex L. Kolodkin (2005). The Journal of Neuroscience Apr 6; 25(14): 3613-20.  Secreted semaphorins modulate synaptic transmission in the adult hippocampus (* equal contribution)
  • Amar Sahay, Mark E. Molliver, David D. Ginty and Alex L. Kolodkin (2003). The Journal of Neuroscience Jul 30; 23(17): 6671-80.  Semaphorin 3F is critical for development of limbic system circuitry and is required in neurons for selective CNS axon guidance events.

See a complete list of Dr. Sahay's publications


Lab manager
Sally Levinson, BS (PhD program in Neuroscience at NYU, 2013-)
Tomer Langberg, BS (2013- )

Research fellows
Nannan Guo, PhD (Fudan University)
Kathleen McAvoy, PhD (University of Rochester)
Antoine Besnard, PhD (INSERM/CNRS/UPMC, Paris)

Graduate students
Tara Raam (Program in Neuroscience)
Hugo Vega-Ramirez (Program in Neuroscience)

Undergraduate students
Shannen Kim (Harvard)
Melissa Boldridge (Harvard)
Sekinat Jumai Yusuf (Harvard)

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