The Vollum comprises a vibrant and diverse scientific community focused on understanding fundamental biological mechanisms. Learn about our faculty & labs
The Vollum Institute is a privately endowed research institute at Oregon Health & Science University dedicated to basic research that will lead to new treatments for neurological and psychiatric diseases. Vollum scientists have broad-ranging interests that coalesce around molecular neurobiology and cellular physiology. Their work has transformed the field of neuroscience and, in particular, have provided important advances in the study of synaptic transmission, neuronal development, neurotransmitter transporters, ion channels and the neurobiology of disease.
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The Vollum welcomes Skyler Jackman
The Vollum Institute extends a warm welcome to assistant scientist Skyler Jackman, Ph.D. who arrived in early November. His research is centered on understanding how the brain uses short-term synaptic plasticity to perform the neural computations that underlie cognition. One goal of his lab is to identify the presynaptic calcium sensors that drive most forms of short-term plasticity. Dr. Jackman joins us from Harvard Medical School in Boston, where he was a postdoctoral fellow in the lab of Wade Regehr.
Kelly Monk named co-director of the Vollum
The Vollum Institute is pleased to announce that senior scientist Kelly Monk, Ph.D., will serve as the new co-director of the Vollum Institute. Before joining the Vollum in June 2017, Monk was an associate professor in the Department of Developmental Biology at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis.
Monk is an internationally recognized leader in the study of neuron-glia signaling and cell-cell interactions, in particular myelination. Myelin sheaths allow for rapid signal propagation along nerves, support long-term nerve health, and dynamically change to fine tune neuronal firing over long distances in the nervous system. How these sheaths form and undergo plastic changes had remained a mystery, despite the fact that changes in myelination underlie devastating neurological diseases like multiple sclerosis. Monk was instrumental in establishing zebrafish as a new model for the study of glial cells. Through forward genetics, she identified new mechanisms that govern glial cell biology and neuron-glial interactions, and she discovered that that the adhesion class G protein-coupled receptor (GPCR) GPR126 is essential for myelination in mammals. Monk’s work on GPR126 and other adhesion GPCRs has defined new functions for this class of receptors in the nervous system during development and neural repair. Her impressive molecular-genetic analyses have led to the understanding of how this enigmatic class of receptors are activated, the nature of their ligands, the delineation of downstream signaling mechanisms, and have identified GPR126 as a potential therapeutic target to promote neural repair. Monk continues to leverage the powerful genetic approaches in zebrafish with synergistic studies in mouse to uncover additional new mechanisms that govern neuron-glial interactions in the healthy and diseased nervous system.
In addition to her scientific accomplishments, Monk has gained a reputation as an outstanding mentor to investigators just starting their careers as graduate students and postdoctoral fellows. In the coming years, she will play a leading role in the Neuroscience Graduate Program, initially working closely with Dr. Gary Westbrook. She will also develop new programs to help support the career development of Vollum postdoctoral fellows. The Vollum faculty are thrilled to have her here and are excited about the energy and enthusiasm she brings to our institute.