Francis Valiyaveetil, PhD

Francis 08
Assistant Professor of Physiology & Pharmacology

Primary Affiliation

SOM-Physiology & Pharmacology Department

Program Affiliation

Neuroscience Graduate Program
Physiology & Pharmacology Program in Molecular & Cellular Biosciences



Background & Education


M.Sc.  1992                  Indian Institute of Technology-Mumbai

Ph.D.   1999                University of Wisconsin-Madison (Dr. Robert Fillingame, Advisor)

Postdoctoral    2005  The Rockefeller University (Dr. Roderick MacKinnon & Dr. Tom Muir, Advisors)

Honors & Achievements:

1992                Silver Medal, IIT-Mumbai

1992                Cremer Research Fellowship

2007                Pew Scholar Award

Research Sumamry

We study potassium channels, which are integral membrane proteins that catalyze the selective conduction of K+ ions across biological membranes. While a great deal of research has been focused on these channels, fundamental questions regarding the mechanism of ionic selectivity and gating remain. We have developed a unique combination of methods to address these questions. Our methods include the use of chemical synthesis to introduce precise chemical changes in the channels, x-ray crystallography to determine the structural effects and electrophysiology to determine the functional effects of these changes. Using this multidisciplinary approach we hope to explain the mechanism of ion selectivity and channel gating.

Recent Publications

1)Focke, P. J., and Valiyaveetil, F. I. (2010) Studies of ion channels using expressed protein ligation.  Curr Opin Chem Biol. 14, 797-802

2)Linn, K. M., Derebe, M. G., Jiang, Y., and Valiyaveetil, F. I. (2010) Semisynthesis of NaK, a Na+ and K+ conducting ion channel.  Biochemistry 49, 4450-6. 

3)Komarov, A. G., Linn, K. M., Devereaux, J. J., and Valiyaveetil, F. I. (2009) Modular strategy for the semisynthesis of a K+ channel: investigating interactions of the pore helix.  ACS Chem Biol. 4, 1029-38. 

4) Valiyaveetil, F. I., Leonetti, M, Muir, T. W., MacKinnon, R. (2006) Ion selectivity in a semisynthetic K+ channel locked in the conductive conformation.  Science 314, 1004-7.

5)Valiyaveetil, F. I., Sekedat, M., MacKinnon, R., Muir, T. W. (2006) Structural and functional consequences of an amide-to-ester substitution in the selectivity filter of a potassium channel.  J. Am. Chem. Soc. 128, 11591-9.


We have openings for graduate students and postdoctoral associates

Potential graduate students should apply to the Program in Molecular and Cellular Biology or the Neurosciences Graduate Program.

Postdoctoral positions are available for recent Ph.Ds interested in applying unnatural amino acid mutagenesis for investigating ion channels and transporters.  Experience in electrophysiology, protein crystallography or peptide/synthetic chemistry desired.  Email your CV and contact information for references to Dr. Valiyaveetil.