Vollum Institute at OHSU (OHSU/Kristyna Wentz-Graff)

The Vollum Institute is a privately endowed research institute at Oregon Health & Science University dedicated to basic research that will lead to new treatments for neurological and psychiatric diseases. Vollum scientists have broad-ranging interests that coalesce around molecular neurobiology and cellular physiology. Their work has transformed the field of neuroscience and, in particular, has provided important advances in the study of synaptic transmission, neuronal development, neurotransmitter transporters, ion channels and the neurobiology of disease.
Learn more about the Vollum's mission

Friday Work-in-Progress Talks

The Friday WiP Seminar Series is currently on hiatus and will resume in Fall 2022

Vollum's Dr Gail Mandel's work featured in Spectrum, site for autism research news

RNA Rescue
RNA rescue: Rett syndrome model mice treated with RNA-editing viruses recovered MECP2 protein in their brainstem

RNA rewrite improves breathing, survival in Rett mice

Mice with a gene mutation related to Rett syndrome breathe more easily and live longer after an RNA-editing treatment, according to a new study. The treatment partially restores expression of the mutated gene in the brainstem, which controls such basic functions as respiration.

The method could potentially be tailored for use in people with Rett syndrome, says lead investigator Gail Mandel, professor of biochemistry and molecular biology at Oregon Health & Science University in Portland. The mice have a mutation in the MECP2 gene that involves a single DNA letter swap from guanosine (G) to adenosine (A), which mirrors a mutation seen in people.

Read full article from Spectrum
Dr Gail Mandel Lab

Vollum director, Marc Freeman, earns national distinction for mentoring next generation of scientists

Group photo of the Freeman Lab

As director of one of the nation’s leading neuroscience research institutes — the Vollum Institute at Oregon Health & Science University — research scientist Marc Freeman, Ph.D., has achieved numerous distinctions throughout a career rich in discoveries published in the world’s leading scientific journals.

Yet, he says that his greatest lasting influence may be in his postdoctoral researchers and other trainees who move on to advance scientific discovery in their own laboratories.

That commitment to the next generation of scientists was recently recognized with a Landis Award for Outstanding Mentorship from the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS). The trainee-nominated award comes with $100,000 to support continuing efforts to foster the career advancement of early-career scientists.

Freeman, director and senior scientist leading his own lab in the OHSU Vollum Institute, is one of six award winners across the country in 2022.

Read the Full Article Here
Freeman Lab

Research highlights

Distinct in vivo dynamics of excitatory synapses onto cortical pyramidal neurons and parvalbumin-positive interneurons
Melander JB*, Nayebi A*, Jongbloets BC, Fortin DA, Maozhen Q, Ganguli S#, Mao T#, Zhong H#.
Cell Reports. 2021 Nov 9;37(6):109972. doi: 10.1016/j.celrep.2021.109972 (*contributed equally) (#co-correspondence)

Glycine Release Is Potentiated by cAMP via EPAC2 and Ca2+ Stores in a Retinal Interneuron
Meadows MA, Balakrishnan V, Wang X, von Gersdorff H.
J Neurosci. 2021 Nov 17;41(46):9503-9520.

Architecture and assembly mechanism of native glycine receptors
Zhu H, Gouaux E
Nature 2021 Sep 23; doi: 10.1038/s41586-021-04022-z
Online ahead of print

Molecular mechanism of prestin electromotive signal amplification
Ge J*, Elferich J*, Dehghani-Ghahnaviyeh S, Zhao Z, Meadows M, von Gersdorff H, Tajkhorshid E, Gouaux E
Cell 2021 Sep 2; 184(18):4669-4679.e13 (*contributed equally)

The residence of synaptically released dopamine on D2 autoreceptors
Condon AF, Robinson BG, Asad N, Dore TM, Tian L, Williams JT
Cell Reports 2021 Aug 3; 36(5):109465

View all in PubMed

Kevin Guttenplan PhD is awarded the prestigious Helen Hay Whitney Postdoctoral Fellowship

Kevin Guttenplan

Dr. Guttenplan is exploring how astrocytes, support cells that normally help maintain brain homeostasis, actively shape the communication between neurons and thus shape behavior. Kevin is using Drosophila genetics to define the precise mechanisms by which astrocytes control neuronal firing, a newly discovered and poorly understood level of regulation of neuronal activity. This fellowship will support Kevin’s postdoctoral work for the next three years.

More news and accolades

Recognition for our early career awardees

Graduate students and postdoctoral fellows are usually supported by research grants to individual faculty or by institutional training grants from the NIH. However, a sought-after perk for trainees is to obtain an individual fellowship from federal sources or foundations. Such awards are an honor and also provide important financial support for the trainee and their lab. Graduate students and postdoctoral fellows in the Vollum Institute have been remarkably successful in obtaining these awards over the past few years. This is a credit to the quality of the trainees and the support the receive from their mentors. Congratulations to all.

Congratulations to all of our graduate researchers in the Vollum/OHSU Neuroscience Graduate Program who received ARCS Foundation Scholar Awards from the ARCS Oregon Chapter!

First Year: Milana Krush and Jed Syrenne
Second Year: Teva Bracha and Kim Engeln
Third Year: Sweta Adhikary, Amelia Culp, Makayla Freitas and Sierra Smith

Learn more about these scholars and the ARCS Foundation Oregon

Cody Call, Ph.D., Monk Lab
NINDS F32 Fellowship: "Regulation of node of Ranvier formation and maintenance by astrocytes"

Sarah Clark, Ph.D., Gouaux Lab
NIDCD F32 Fellowship: "Elucidating the architecture and composition of the hair cell mechanotransduction complex"

Alejandra Fernandez, Ph.D., Wright Lab
NINDS K01 Postdoctoral Career Development Award: "The role of Pten on primary sensory neuron development"

Taylor Jay, Ph.D., Freeman Lab
NINDS F32 Fellowship: "Glial regulation of neuronal physiology in response to local injury"

Yunsik Kang, Ph.D., Freeman Lab
Damon Runyon Cancer Research Fellowship: "Molecular mechanisms regulating phagaocytosis of neurons"

Jiaxing Li, Ph.D., Monk Lab
Warren Alpert Foundation Distinguished Scholars Fellowship: "Investigating mechanisms of neuron-oligodendrocyte precursor cell interactions"

Ernesto Manzo, Ph.D., Freeman Lab
NINDS F32 Fellowship: "Defining genetic pathways that drive axon loss"

John Sinnamon, Ph.D., Mandel Lab
Rett Syndrome Research Trust Award: "Using site-directed RNA editing to repair Rett Syndrome mutations in vivo"

Amelia Culp, Mao Lab
National Science Foundation, Graduate Research Fellowship

Makayla Freitas, Gouaux Lab
NINDS F31 Predoctoral Fellowship: "The molecular architecture and mechanism of the Proton Activated Chloride (PAC)"

Alexandra Houser, Baconguis Lab
National Science Foundation, Graduate Research Fellowship

Jennifer Jahncke, Wright Lab
NINDS F31 Predoctoral Fellowship: "Dystroglycan regulates cerebellar synapse function"

Katy Lehmann, Freeman Lab
National Science Foundation, Graduate Research Fellowship

Janelle Tobias, Frank Lab
National Science Foundation, Graduate Research Fellowship

Congratulations to the Neuroscience Graduate Program researchers — Ali Pincus, Prashant Rao and Petra Richer — who received 2020 N.L. Tartar Trust Fellowships. The $2,000 grants are awarded annually by the OHSU School of Medicine as a means to support research endeavors and career development. Keep up the great work!