Photo of Matt Whorton, Ph.D.

Matt Whorton Ph.D.

  •      (503) 494-4927
    • Assistant Professor Vollum Institute
    • Assistant Scientist 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

Matt Whorton, Ph.D., is an assistant scientist at the Vollum Institute. He graduated from Duke University in 2001 with a B.S. in Biology, and went on to obtain a Ph.D. in Pharmacology from the University of Michigan in 2008. He  did postdoctoral research at Rockefeller University before joining the Vollum in 2013.
The Whorton Lab is interested in understanding detailed mechanisms of how membrane proteins—ion channels, transporters, and receptors—function. Cells have developed many ways to get nutrients, ions, and signaling information across the barrier of the lipid membrane. This places membrane proteins as central players in many physiological processes and makes them important drug targets.

Areas of interest

  • x-ray crystallography
  • ion channels and transporters
  • structural biology
  • signal transduction
  • membrane proteins
  • electrophysiology


  • B.S., Duke University, Durham North Carolina 2001
  • Ph.D., University of Michigan, Ann Arbor Michigan 2008

Honors and awards

  • American Asthma Foundation Scholar Award (2016)


  • "Real-time detection of basal and stimulated G protein GTPase activity using fluorescent GTP analogues" Journal of Biological Chemistry March 4 2005
  • "SUMO modification regulates inactivation of the voltage-gated potassium channel Kv1.5" Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America February 6 2007
  • "A CE assay for the detection of agonist-stimulated adenylyl cyclase activity" Electrophoresis June 2007
  • "X-ray structure of the mammalian GIRK2-βγ G-protein complex" Nature  2013
  • "Efficient coupling of transducin to monomeric rhodopsin in a phospholipid bilayer" Journal of Biological Chemistry February 15 2008
  • "ARF6 activation by Gαq signaling" Cellular Signalling November 2006
  • "Identification of Hemochromatosis Gene Polymorphisms in Chronically Transfused Patients with Sickle Cell Diseases" American Journal of Hematology December 2003
  • "Quantitative analysis of mammalian GIRK2 channel regulation by G proteins, the signaling lipid PIP2 and Na+ in a reconstituted system" eLife  2014
  • "A monomeric G protein-coupled receptor isolated in a high-density lipoprotein particle efficiently activates its G protein" Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America May 1 2007
  • "Adenylyl Cyclases"  November 7 2003
  • "Crystal structure of the mammalian GIRK2 K + channel and gating regulation by G proteins, PIP 2, and sodium" Cell September 30 2011
  • "Chemical and Functional Analysis of Hydroxyurea Oral Solutions" Journal of Pediatric Hematology/Oncology March 2004
  • "The effect of ligand efficacy on the formation and stability of a GPCR-G protein complex" Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America June 9 2009
  • "Thrombophilic DNA mutations as independent risk factors for stroke and avascular necrosis in sickle cell anemia" Hematology  2001
  • "Calcium-activated proteins visualized" Nature December 11 2014
  • "Cryo-EM structure of the ATP-sensitive potassium channel illuminates mechanisms of assembly and gating" eLife January 16 2017
  • "Structural basis for mammalian nucleotide sugar transport" eLife April 15 2019

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