Gouaux Lab: Members

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Lei ChenLei 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.


Shanshuang Chen, PhDShanshuang Chen email

Shanshuang received a BA degree from Zhejiang University, China. In 2008, he started his graduate studies under the supervision of Dr. Jue Chen in Purdue University, Indiana, with a research focus on structural and functional investigation of carbon catabolite repression, in particular the inhibition of E. coli maltose transporter by a central regulatory protein known as EIIAGlc. After receiving his PhD in 2013, he continued as a postdoc for one year in the same lab. In 2014, he relocated with the Chen lab to the Rockefeller University, New York, and left shortly afterwards to join the Gouaux Lab. His current research aims to understand the working mechanisms of ionotropic neurotransmitter receptors using a combination of structural and functional approaches.


Sandipan Chowdhury, PhDSandipan Chowdhury email

Sandipan graduated from the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Kharagpur, India in 2008 with bachelors and masters degrees in Biotechnology and Biochemical Engineering. In 2014 he received his PhD in Biophysics from the University of Wisconsin–Madison. In his doctoral research he used a combination of theoretical, computational and electrophysiological approaches to study the thermodynamics of voltage dependent gating of ion channels. In addition, through the de novo design of a temperature modulated ion channel, his research postulated a molecular framework to understand gating mechanisms of naturally occurring temperature gated channels. Sandipan joined the Gouaux laboratory in the summer of 2014 to study structural mechanisms of ligand dependent gating of neurotransmitter receptors.


Jonathan ColemanJonathan 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 DuJuan 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 DuerrKatharina 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 GoehringApril 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 LeeChia-Hsueh Lee email
Graduate Student

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 LuWei Lü 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.


Steve MansoorSteven 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.


Vikas NavratnaVikas Navratna email

Vikas graduated from Osmania University, India, with a bachelor's degree in Biotechnology in 2005 and master's degree in Biochemistry in 2007. He then joined the Molecular Biophysics Unit (MBU) of the Indian Institute of Science (IISc), Bangalore, India, for a PhD program in Structural Biology and Biochemistry. His research work in Prof. B. Gopal's laboratory comprised structural and biochemical characterization of proteins involved in peptidoglycan synthesis, antibiotic resistance and essential amino acid metabolism in gram-positive bacteria. He received his PhD in 2014 and continued working at IISc as a Research Associate. He studied RNA degradosome machinery of gram-positive bacteria briefly, before joining the Gouaux laboratory in February of 2015 to research the structural and mechanistic aspects of neurotransmitter transporters.


Wout OosterheertWout Oosterheert email
Master Student

Wout studied Chemistry at Utrecht University, the Netherlands and received his Bachelor's degree cum laude in 2013. He then continued at Utrecht University as a Master student in Molecular and Cellular Life Sciences. As a part of his Master's curriculum, Wout joined the Gouaux lab in February 2015 for a period of six months as a student intern to learn about membrane proteins. Specifically, he will investigate the structural mechanisms of purinergic receptors.


Aravind PenmatsaAravind 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 SheldonNatalie Sheldon email
Lab Manager

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 SongXianqiang 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.


Shujia Zhu, PhDShujia Zhu email

Shujia received an MS degree in neuroscience from East China Normal University in 2009. She then pursued her research in the structure-and-function study of the NMDA receptors at the École Normale Supérieure de Paris under the supervision of Dr. Pierre Paoletti. In 2013, Shujia received the highest academic distinction (“Très honorable”) from the Université Pierre-et-Marie-Curie (France) for her PhD thesis. She joined the Gouaux lab in the summer of 2014 and is currently investigating the key neuronal receptors using cutting-edge technologies combining X-ray crystallography and electron microscopy.


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