About our lab

The Gouaux lab seeks to understand the molecular basis for signal transduction at chemical synapses in the central nervous system and at sites of mechanical-electrical transduction (MET) in hair cells of the inner ear. We strive to not only elucidate molecular structures of the neurotransmitter receptors and transporters at synapses, but we also aim to elaborate the composition and molecular organization of the MET complex. We apply a host of structural and biophysical approaches, including single particle and tomographic cryo-electron microscopy, together with fluorescence microscopy methods, biochemical methods, patch clamp electrophysiology and molecular biological manipulations.

We are particularly excited about studying native signaling complexes derived from specific brain regions, as well as the MET complexes from the mouse cochlea and utricle. Ultimately, we use molecular structures and the organization of super-molecular complexes to develop mechanisms by which to understand, in atomic detail, the biochemical principles of signal transduction at synapses and of the conversion of mechanical forces to an electrical signal at hair cells. Our work thus provides fundamental insight into brain function — signaling at synapses — and hearing — the transduction of sound into a nerve impulse.

Employment Opportunities

Postdoctoral Fellow
If you are interested in working on our projects as a postdoctoral fellow, please send your CV and names of three references to Eric Gouaux
and assistant Rachel Courtney via email.

Graduate Student Program
Graduate students can enter the Gouaux lab via the Neuroscience Graduate Program.

Equity and inclusion are core values central to the Vollum Institute.
Read our Racial Equity Statement here.

Gouaux Lab news

Structures of the TMC-1 complex illuminate mechanosensory transduction 
Jeong, H., Clark, S., Goehring, A., Dehghani-Ghahnaviyeh, S., Rasouli, A., Tajkhorshid, E., Gouaux, E. (2022) Nature Oct;610: 796-803.

Architecture and assembly mechanism of native glycine receptors
Zhu H, Gouaux E. (2021) Nature Nov;599(7885):513-517.

Molecular mechanism of prestin electromotive signal amplification
Ge J*, Elferich J*, Dehghani-Ghahnaviyeh S, Zhao Z, Meadows M, von Gersdorff H, Tajkhorshid E, Gouaux E
Cell, 2021 Sep 2; 184(18):4669-4679.e13 (*contributed equally)
doi: 10.1016/j.cell.2021.07.034

Hippocampal AMPA receptor assemblies and mechanism of allosteric inhibition
Yu J*, Rao P*, Clark S, Mitra J, Ha T, Gouaux E
Nature, 2021 Jun; 594(7863):448-453 (*contributed equally)
doi: 10.1038/s41586-021-03540-0

Mechanism of gating and partial agonist action in the glycine receptor
Yu J*, Zhu H*, Lape R, Greiner T, Du J, Lü W, Sivilotti L, Gouaux E
Cell, 2021 Feb 18; 184(4):957–968.e21 (*contributed equally)
doi: 10.1016/j.cell.2021.01.026

See more of our publications