Headshot photo of Isabelle Baconguis, Ph.D.

Isabelle Baconguis, Ph.D.

  • Assistant Professor, Vollum Institute
  • Assistant Scientist, Vollum Institute
  • Biochemistry and Molecular Biology Graduate Program, School of Medicine
  • Neuroscience Graduate Program, School of Medicine
  • Program in Molecular and Cellular Biosciences, School of Medicine


Isabelle Baconguis graduated from the University of Pennsylvania with a B.A. in Biochemistry in 2005. She remained at the University of Pennsylvania for two years studying glutamate receptors. She joined the Neuroscience Graduate Program at OHSU in 2007. During her doctoral research at the Vollum Institute, she studied acid sensing ion channels (ASICs), members of the superfamily of amiloride-sensitive and Na+-selective trimeric ion channels. Using a combination of x-ray crystallography and electrophysiology, she exploited toxin-dependent modulation of ASIC function to elaborate molecular mechanisms of gating, selectivity and ion channel block. She joined the Vollum Insitute as a Vollum fellow in 2013 and was promoted to assistant scientist in 2016.

The Baconguis lab is pursuing atomic-resolution mechanisms of sodium-selective and voltage-independent ion channels involved in a spectrum of processes ranging from synaptic transmission to regulation of salt homeostasis.

Education and training

  • Degrees

    • B.A., 2005, University of Pennsylvania
    • Ph.D., 2013, Oregon Health & Science University

Areas of interest

  • x-ray crystallography and electrophysiology
  • cryo-electron microscopy (cryo-EM)
  • sodium channels
  • ion channels
  • channel assembly, channel gating, and ion selectivity
  • protein biochemistry
  • structural biology

Honors and awards

  • NIH Director's Early Independence Award (2013-2018)
  • Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Award, NIH (2011-2013)


Selected publications

  • — Most Recent —Noreng S, Posert R, Bharadwaj A, Houser A, Baconguis I. (2020) Molecular principles of assembly, activation, and inhibition in epithelial sodium channel. eLife 2020 Jul 30; 9:e59038


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