Photo of Eric Gouaux, Ph.D.

Eric Gouaux Ph.D.

  •      (503) 494-5535
    • Professor Vollum Institute
    • Senior Scientist Vollum Institute
    • Jennifer and Bernard Lacroute Endowed Chair in Neuroscience Research Vollum Institute
    • Neuroscience Graduate Program School of Medicine
    • Biochemistry and Molecular Biology Graduate Program School of Medicine
    • Program in Molecular and Cellular Biosciences School of Medicine

Eric Gouaux completed his B.A. and Ph.D. degrees in Chemistry at Harvard University. He remained at Harvard for a year as a postdoctoral fellow before continuing his postdoctoral studies at MIT. In 1993, he was appointed assistant professor at the University of Chicago Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology. In 1996, Gouaux joined the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology at Columbia University as an assistant professor. In 2000, he was appointed Investigator with the Howard Hughes Medical Institute and associate professor with Columbia, reaching full professor the following year. Gouaux came to OHSU in 2005 as a senior scientist at the Vollum Institute, continuing his position with Howard Hughes. In 2015, Gouaux was appointed the Jennifer and Bernard Lacroute Endowed Chair in Neuroscience Research.

The work in the Gouaux Lab is concentrated on developing molecular mechanisms for the function of receptors and transporters at chemical synapses by utilizing cryo-electron microscopy, x-ray crystallography, and electrophysiology.

Areas of interest

  • chemical synapses and synaptic transmission
  • glutamate receptors
  • neurotransmitter transporters
  • ligand-gated ion channels
  • cryo-electron microscopy (cryo-EM)
  • x-ray crystallography
  • membrane proteins


  • A.B., Harvard University, Cambridge Massachusetts 1984
  • Ph.D., Harvard University, Cambridge Massachusetts 1989

Honors and awards

  • Searle Scholar (1994)
  • Alfred P. Sloan Research Fellow (1996)
  • NINDS Javits Investigator Award (2008)
  • NIMH MERIT Award (2009)
  • Discovery Award, Medical Research Foundation of Oregon (2009)
  • National Academy of Sciences, elected member (2010)
  • Physiological Society Annual Review Prize Lecture (2013)
  • Anatrace Membrane Protein Award, Biophysical Society (2016)


  • "Trimeric Subunit Stoichiometry of the Glutamate Transporters from Bacillus caldotenax and Bacillus stearothermophilus" Biochemistry November 11 2003
  • "Crystal structure of CTP-ligated T state aspartate transcarbamoylase at 2.5 Ã… resolution" Proteins: Structure, Function and Genetics  1993
  • "Amino terminal domains of the NMDA receptor are organized as local heterodimers" PLoS One  2011
  • "Membrane proteins. Editorial overview" Current Opinion in Structural Biology  1999
  • "Crystal structure of a bacterial homologue of Na+/Cl --dependent neurotransmitter transporters" Nature September 8 2005
  • "Mechanisms of activation, inhibition and specificity" EMBO Journal June 16 2003
  • "Dynamic superresolution imaging of endogenous proteins on living cells at ultra-high density" Biophysical Journal August 9 2010
  • "Tuning activation of the AMPA-sensitive GluR2 ion channel by genetic adjustment of agonist-induced conformational changes" Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America May 13 2003
  • "Roll out the barrel" Nature Structural and Molecular Biology November 1998
  • "X-ray structures of LeuT in substrate-free outward-open and apo inward-open states" Nature January 26 2012
  • "Structure-based functional design of chemical ligands for ampa-subtype glutamate receptors" Journal of Molecular Neuroscience August 2002
  • "Probing the function, conformational plasticity, and dimer - dimer contacts of the GluR2 ligand-binding core" Biochemistry May 13 2003
  • "Membranes" Current Opinion in Structural Biology August 1 2001
  • "X-ray structures of AMPA receptor-cone snail toxin complexes illuminate activation mechanism." Science  2014
  • "Structural plasticity and dynamic selectivity of acid-sensing ion channelspider toxin complexes" Nature September 20 2012
  • "NMDA receptor structures reveal subunit arrangement and pore architecture" Nature  2014
  • "Membranes" Current Opinion in Structural Biology August 1 2003
  • "Fluorescence-Detection Size-Exclusion Chromatography for Precrystallization Screening of Integral Membrane Proteins" Structure with Folding & design April 2006
  • "α-hemolysin, γ-hemolysin, and leukocidin from Staphylococcus aureus" Protein Science December 1997
  • "High level production, characterization and construct optimization of the ionotropic glutamate receptor ligand binding core" Tetrahedron November 24 2000
  • "Single potassium ion seeks open channel for transmembrane travels" Structure with Folding & design October 15 1998
  • "AMPA receptor binding cleft mutations that alter affinity, efficacy, and recovery from desensitization" Journal of Neuroscience April 13 2005
  • "Insights into transport mechanism from LeuT engineered to transport tryptophan" EMBO Journal January 4 2012
  • "A competitive inhibitor traps LeuT in an open-to-out conformation" Science December 12 2008
  • "A fluorescence-detection size-exclusion chromatography-based thermostability assay for membrane protein precrystallization screening" Structure with Folding & design August 8 2012
  • "Antidepressant binding site in a bacterial homologue of neurotransmitter transporters" Nature August 23 2007
  • "X-ray structure, symmetry and mechanism of an AMPA-subtype glutamate receptor" Nature December 10 2009
  • "The catalytic mechanism of Escherichia coli aspartate carbamoyltransferase" Biochemical and Biophysical Research Communications February 13 1987
  • "Designed protein pores as components for biosensors" Cell Chemical Biology July 1997
  • "Structural basis for partial agonist action at ionotropic glutamate receptors" Nature Neuroscience August 1 2003

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