Gouaux Lab: Members
Thorsten Althoff email
Thorsten studied Biomedical Sciences (Humanbiologie) in Marburg, Germany with a focus on molecular biology/genetics and cell biology. He earned his Diploma in 2006 for his work on Na+/D-glucose cotransporters in early vertebrates conducted under the guidance of Rolf Kinne at the Max-Planck-Institut für Molekulare Physiologie in Dortmund. Afterwards he switched to study the structural biology of membrane proteins and joined the group of Werner Kühlbrandt at the Max-Planck-Institut für Biophysik in Frankfurt am Main, Germany. Here he studied the structure of a mitochondrial respiratory chain supercomplex by electron cryo-microscopy. After receiving his PhD in Biochemistry in 2011, he continued to work on a new method for lipid reconstitution of membrane proteins. Thorsten joined the Gouaux lab in 2012 to investigate the structure and function of ligand-gated ion channels by X-ray crystallography and other biophysical assays.
Lei Chen email
Lei graduated from Tsinghua University, China, with a BA in Biology in 2005. From 2005 to 2010 he continued his PhD studies at Tsinghua University, where he worked on the regulatory mechanism of AMPK, an important heterotrimeric protein kinase. Lei joined the Gouaux lab in October 2010 and is focusing his research on the mechanism of ligand gated ion channels.
Derek Claxton email
Derek received a BS degree in chemistry from the University of Alabama in Huntsville in 2004. While an undergraduate, he studied the structure of an E2 enzyme involved in the poly-ubiquitination cascade at the university’s Laboratory for Structural Biology. Afterwards, Derek pursued a PhD in the Department of Molecular Physiology and Biophysics at Vanderbilt University. Under the guidance of Hassane S. Mchaourab, Derek employed EPR spectroscopy to study the structure and dynamics of LeuT, a bacterial homolog for human neurotransmitter transporters. Derek joined the Gouaux laboratory in 2011 to investigate the structure of ligand-gated ion channels by x-ray crystallography.
Jonathan Coleman email
Jonathan studied Biochemistry at the University of British Columbia (UBC), Canada earning a BS degree in 2007. As an undergraduate student, he explored the mechanism of protein secretion through the Sec translocon. Jonathan earned his PhD in 2013 at UBC as a student in the lab of Dr. Robert Molday investigating the membrane biology of photoreceptors. His thesis examined an aminophospholipid transporting P4-ATPase and provided valuable insights into the transport mechanism and function in neuronal biology. Jonathan joined Eric Gouaux’s lab in early 2013 and is interested in the structure and pharmacology of neurotransmitter transporters.
Juan Du email
In 2003, Juan began her studies in Chemistry at the University of Göttingen (Germany) and she received her Diploma in 2008. She earned her PhD in 2011 from the University of Freiburg (Germany). During her PhD studies, Juan focused on structural and functional studies of membrane proteins in prokaryotic systems and also on a bifunctional enzyme fructose-1,6-bisphosphate aldolase/phosphatase in gluconeogenesis. Juan joined the Gouaux lab in 2012 to work on neurotransmitter receptors using x-ray crystallography.
Katharina Dürr email
Katharina studied Biochemistry in Frankfurt am Main, Germany, and received her Diploma in 2003. After investigating the molecular mechanisms of apoptosis resistance in pancreatic cancer for one year at the University Childrens’ Hospital in Ulm, she returned to Frankfurt and started her PhD work at the Max-Planck-Institute for Biophysics. In 2006, she followed her thesis advisor to the Technical University of Berlin, where she completed her thesis in 2009. The focus of her graduate research was on oligomeric P-type ATPases like the Na,K-ATPase and the gastric H,K-ATPase. In 2010, she joined the Gouaux lab to study ionotropic neuroreceptors using a combination of x-ray crystallography and electrophysiology.
April Goehring email
Senior Research Associate
April Goehring earned a BA in Biochemistry from the University of Colorado-Boulder in 1993, and as an undergraduate participated in projects to characterize the regulation of MAP kinase kinase. In her graduate research, April’s work focused on the identification and characterization of proteins in yeast involved in polarized cell growth. She was granted a PhD in Biochemistry in 2002 from the University of Oregon. Her postdoctoral training was carried out at the Vollum Institute where she studied anchored PKA signal transduction. Since joining the Gouaux lab in 2008, she has spent her time studying the molecular mechanisms of neurotransmitter transporters and receptors.
Chia-Hsueh Lee email
Chia-Hsueh earned his BS and MS from National Taiwan University. While an undergraduate, he studied the role of Na+/Ca2+ exchanger in intracellular Ca2+ dynamics. He then focused on the effect of permeant ions on Mg2+ block of NMDA receptors. In 2010, Chia-Hsueh joined the Gouaux lab as a PhD student.
Wei Lu email
After receiving his Diploma in biology from the University of Göttingen, Germany, Wei pursued his PhD studies at the University of Freiburg, in Professor Oliver Einsle's laboratory, where he studied the structures and gating mechanism of the formate channel FocA and nitrite channel NirC by X-ray crystallography and planar lipid bilayer electrophysiology. He joined the Gouaux lab in 2012 and his current research focuses on the structural and functional characterization of ligand-gated ion channels.
Steven Mansoor email
Steve graduated from Reed College in 1997 with a BA in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology before matriculating into the MD/PhD program at Oregon Health & Science University in 1999. For his PhD dissertation, he developed fluorescence techniques to study membrane protein structure and conformational changes, with a focus on understanding the dynamics of G-protein coupled receptor activation. Currently, Steve is a clinical fellow in the Department of Cardiovascular Medicine at OHSU and has joined the Gouaux lab to investigate the structure/function of purinergic receptors.
Jennifer Michel email
Senior Research Associate
BS, Denison University, 1995
PhD, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, 2000
It was in the Chemistry Department of Denison University in Granville, OH, that Jennifer Michel found herself in her first research endeavor of synthesizing buckminsterfullerenes, or buckyballs. Taken with research but not completely convinced that chemistry was her calling, she completed her undergraduate degree in Biology. She spent her graduate training in sunny Chapel Hill where she focused on eukaryotic cell cycle regulation by ubiquitin-mediated proteolysis using mammalian and yeast model systems. Her postdoctoral training was carried out at the Vollum Institute where she studied anchored PKA signal transduction using a mouse model system. A happy and content resident of the Pacific Northwest, she now researches the molecular mechanisms of neurotransmitter receptor function in the Gouaux lab.
Aravind Penmatsa email
Aravind received a Bachelor’s degree in Pharmaceutical Sciences from Osmania University, India in 2003. He joined the Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology (CCMB), Hyderabad, India for a PhD program in Biophysics and Structural Biology, as a joint student in the labs of Dr. Yogendra Sharma and Dr. Rajan Sankaranarayanan. His thesis work during the years 2004–2009 dealt with the ion-binding properties and structures of βγ-crystallins and neuronal calcium sensors. His work with multiple crystal structures of calcium-bound βγ-crystallins corroborated the presence of a universal motif for calcium-binding in this superfamily of proteins. He joined Eric Gouaux’s lab in early 2010 and will be working towards understanding the structure and pharmacology of biogenic amine transporters.
Natalie Sheldon email
Natalie was born and raised in Oregon and earned a BS in Biology from Hope College in Holland, MI. While earning her degree she worked on the transporter system xc- in Leah Chase’s lab. After graduation in 2006 she joined the Gouaux lab, and her primary role has been to do support work for the entire lab. Natalie also does the purchasing for the lab and tries her hardest to maintain some organization and cleanliness around the lab.
Xianqiang Song email
Xianqiang received his BS degree in Biotechnology from the University of Electronic Science and Technology of China in 2008. He earned his PhD degree in 2013 at the Institute of Biophysics, Chinese Academy of Sciences, where he studied the structures and regulating mechanisms of the innate immune signal transducer STING and the integrin activator talin by X-ray crystallography. Xianqiang joined the Gouaux lab in January 2014 to investigate the structural and functional properties of neurotransmitter receptors.
Kevin Wang email
Kevin graduated from U.C. Berkeley with a BA in Molecular Biology and then pursued his PhD with Tania Baker and Bob Sauer at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. His graduate studies focused on the mechanisms of substrate recognition by the ClpAP bacterial protease and the ClpS adaptor. Kevin joined the Gouaux lab in 2010 to work on the structure and function of neurotransmitter transporters.