Headshot photo of Benjamin A. Barad, Ph.D. <span class="profile__pronouns"> (he/him)</span>

Benjamin A. Barad, Ph.D. (he/him)

  • Assistant Professor of Chemical Physiology and Biochemistry, School of Medicine


The Barad lab specializes in cellular cryo-electron tomography (CryoET), a microscopy technique that captures pristine three-dimensional snapshots of the cellular environment at unprecedented resolution without the need for chemical fixation or labeling, revealing membranes, filaments, and protein complexes in their native state. CryoET has the potential to connect protein structural biology with sub-cellular localization and morphology within a single experiment; we develop computational tools to connect and contextualize these different scales of biological organization. We use cryoET and these new computational tools to understand how mammalian cells remodel themselves in response to intracellular bacterial infection. Bacteria are masterful manipulators of mammalian cells, and by learning how bacterial effector proteins drive large scale cellular reorganization, we aim to reveal the underlying regulatory mechanisms for cellular architecture.

Prior to founding the Barad lab at OHSU in 2024, Dr. Barad earned his Ph.D. in Biophysics with Dr. James Fraser at UCSF in 2019, where he developed software for analyzing results from structural biology experiments ranging from single particle cryoEM to small-angle x-ray scattering, as well as studying the mechanisms of the processive enzyme acidic mammalian chitinase. He spent a short stint at Genentech, where he worked with Dr. Alexis Rohou and developed software for on-the-fly processing of cryoEM data, then completed his postdoctoral training with Dr. Danielle Grotjahn at The Scripps Research Institute in La Jolla, CA, where he studied mechanisms of mitochondrial remodeling in health and disease using cryo-electron tomography.

Education and training

    • Ph.D., 2019, University of California, San Francisco
    • B.S., 2013, Stanford University

Areas of interest

  • Cell Biology, Organelle Dynamics, Bacterial Infection, Protein Structure, Membrane Remodeling, Computational Biology, Cryoelectron Microscopy, Cryoelectron Tomography

Honors and awards

  • 2021 American Cancer Society Postdoctoral Fellowship
  • 2015 UCSF Discovery Fellowship
  • 2015 ARCS Graduate Research Fellowship


Selected publications

  • Barad BA, Medina M, Fuentes D, Wiseman, RL, Grotjahn DA. Quantifying organellar ultrastructure in cryo-electron tomography using a surface morphometrics pipeline. Journal of Cell Biology, 2023. Equal contribution
  • Mageswaran, SK, Grotjahn DA†§, Zeng X, Barad BA, Medina M, Hoang MH, Dobro MJ, Chang YW, Xu M, Yang WY, Jensen, GJ§. Nanoscale details of mitochondrial fission revealed by cryo-electron tomography. Biophysical Journal, 2023. Equal contribution §Corresponding authors
  • Wolff AM, Nango E§, Young ID, Brewster AS, Kubo M, Nomura T, Sugahara M, Owada S, Barad BA, Ito K, Bhowmick A, Carbajo S, Hino T, Holton JM, Im D, O’Riordan LJ, Tanaka T, Tanaka R, Sierra RG, Yumoto F, Tono K, Iwata S, Sauter NK, Fraser JS, Thompson MC§. Mapping protein dynamics at high spatial resolution with temperature-jump X-ray crystallography. Nature Chemistry.
  • Gardner A, Ludovic A, Fuentes D, Maritan M, Barad BA, Medina, M, Olson AJ, Grotjahn DA, Goodsell DS. CellPAINT: Turnkey illustration of molecular cell biology. Frontiers in Bioinformatics 2021.
  • Lawson CL,... Barad BA, et al. (More than 50 authors). Cryo-EM model validation recommendations based on outcomes of the 2019 EMDataResource challenge. Nature Methods, 2021.
  • Barad BA, Liu L, Diaz RE, Basillo R, Van Dyken SJ, Locksley RM, Fraser JS. Differences in the chitinolytic activity of mammalian chitinases on soluble and insoluble substrates. Protein Science. 2020.
  • Thompson MC, Barad BA, Wolff AM, Cho HS, Schotte F, Schwarz DMC, Anfinrud P, Fraser JS.  Temperature-Jump Solution X-ray Scattering Reveals Distinct Motions in a Dynamic Enzyme. Nature Chemistry. 2019.
  • Wang RYR, Song Y, Barad BA, Cheng Y, Fraser JS, DiMaio F. Automated structure refinement of macromolecular assemblies from cryo-EM maps using Rosetta. eLife. 2016.
  • Barad BA, Echols N, Wang RYR, Cheng Y, DiMaio F, Adams PD, Fraser JS. EMRinger: Side-chain-directed model and map validation for 3D Electron Cryomicroscopy. Nature Methods. 2015.


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