Photo of Matt Whorton, Ph.D.

Matt Whorton Ph.D.

  •      (503) 494-4927
    • Assistant Professor Vollum Institute
    • Assistant Scientist Vollum Institute
    • Neuroscience Graduate Program School of Medicine
    • Biochemistry and Molecular Biology Graduate Program School of Medicine
    • Program in Molecular and Cellular Biosciences School of Medicine

Matt Whorton, Ph.D., is an assistant scientist at the Vollum Institute. He graduated from Duke University in 2001 with a B.S. in Biology, and went on to obtain a Ph.D. in Pharmacology from the University of Michigan in 2008. He  did postdoctoral research at Rockefeller University before joining the Vollum in 2013.
The Whorton Lab is interested in understanding detailed mechanisms of how membrane proteins—ion channels, transporters, and receptors—function. Cells have developed many ways to get nutrients, ions, and signaling information across the barrier of the lipid membrane. This places membrane proteins as central players in many physiological processes and makes them important drug targets.

Areas of interest

  • x-ray crystallography
  • ion channels and transporters
  • structural biology
  • signal transduction
  • membrane proteins
  • electrophysiology


  • B.S., Duke University, Durham North Carolina 2001
  • Ph.D., University of Michigan, Ann Arbor Michigan 2008

Honors and awards

  • American Asthma Foundation Scholar Award (2016)


  • Whorton MR, MacKinnon R. (2013) X-ray structure of the mammalian GIRK2-Gβγ G protein complex. Nature 498:190-197.

  • Wang W, Whorton MR, MacKinnon R. (2014) Quantitative analysis of mammalian GIRK2 channel regulation by G proteins, the signaling lipid PIP2 and Na+ in a reconstituted system. Elife e03671.

  • Whorton M. (2014) Structural biology: Calcium-activated proteins visualized. (News & Views) Nature 516:176-178.

  • Martin GM, Yoshioka C, Rex EA, Fay JF, Xie Q, Whorton MR, Chen JZ, Shyng SL. (2017) Cryo-EM structure of the ATP-sensitive potassium channel illuminates mechanisms of assembly and gating. Elife e24149.

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