Headshot photo of Henrique von Gersdorff, Ph.D.

Henrique von Gersdorff, Ph.D.

  • Professor, Vollum Institute
  • Professor of Physiology and Pharmacology, School of Medicine
  • Senior Scientist, Vollum Institute
  • Neuroscience Graduate Program, School of Medicine
  • Physiology and Pharmacology Graduate Program, School of Medicine
  • Ophthalmology, School of Medicine
  • Program in Molecular and Cellular Biosciences, School of Medicine


Henrique von Gersdorff earned a Ph.D. in Physics from the University of Minnesota and a Ph.D. in Neurobiology from Stony Brook University in New York. He received his B.S. in Physics from the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. He was a research scientist in high-energy physics at Brookhaven National Laboratory, and had postdoctoral fellowships at Stony Brook University and the Max-Planck Institute for Biophysical Chemistry, Department of Membrane Biophysics, Göttingen. In 1998 he was appointed assistant scientist in the Vollum Institute and was promoted to scientist in 2004 and senior scientist in 2009. von Gersdorff also holds a faculty appointment in the Physiology and Pharmacology department at OHSU.

The von Gersdorff lab is focused on sensory neuroscience research, primarily the auditory and visual systems. Sensory information is conveyed by neurons and synapses specialized to faithfully transmit large amounts of information at high rates. The lab uses patch clamp electrophysiology and calcium imaging techniques to study the synaptic physiology in the auditory hair cell synapses, the specialized synapses in the auditory brainstem, and the ribbon-type synapses of the retina.

Education and training

  • Degrees

    • B.S., 1983, Federal University of Rio de Janeiro
    • Ph.D., 1989, University of Minnesota
    • Ph.D., 1995, Stony Brook University

Memberships and associations:

  • Editor-in-Chief, Synapse (2013-present)

Areas of interest

  • exocytosis and endocytosis of synaptic vesicles
  • short and long-term plasticity in the retina and brainstem
  • electrophysiology of auditory pathway
  • ribbon synapses

Honors and awards

  • Humboldt Research Award from the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation of Germany (2012)
  • Pew Foundation for Biomedical Sciences Research Scholar Award (1999-2003)
  • Alfred P. Sloan Research Scholar Award in Neuroscience (1999-2001)
  • Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers (PECASE), White House Award (1999)



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