Welcome!

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

Friday | June 18, 2021 | 12–1 pm

Distinct secretory pathways for evoked and spontaneous somatodendritic dopamine release
Joe Lebowitz, Ph.D., Postdoctoral Fellow, Williams Lab

What do reactive astrocytes do?
Kevin Guttenplan, Ph.D., Postdoctoral Fellow, Freeman Lab

Learn more about the Friday WiP Seminars Series

Vollum Seminar Series

Apply now for the Postbac Research Education Program

The application portal for the newly established OHSU Postbaccalaureate Research Education Program (PREP) is open! If you are a talented undergraduate scientist from a historically marginalized group, what are you waiting for?

The focus of OHSU PREP is to recruit and train Persons Excluded because of their Ethnicity or Race (PEER) postbacs for an intensive, mentored research experience with the primary goal to prepare them for pursuing a graduate degree in biomedical research. PREP plans to bring in five to six postbac scholars each year across the biomedical sciences at OHSU.

  • Submit your application by July 2 for priority review. General application review begins July 2 and will continue until all positions are filled. Program start date is September 1, 2021.
  • Find more information at the OHSU PREP website.
  • Questions? Contact PREPtograd@ohsu.edu.

Yessica Santana Agreda named SfN Neuroscience Scholars Program Fellow

Yessica Santana Agreda

Congratulations to Yessica Santana Agreda on being named as one of the SfN Neuroscience Scholars Program Fellows for 2021–23. Yessica is a doctoral student in the Neuroscience Graduate Program at OHSU. 

Administered by the Society for Neuroscience, the NSP is a two-year online training program open to graduate students and postdoctoral researchers who are underrepresented in the field of neuroscience. It is funded by the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS). While all eligible candidates are invited to participate in online events as Associates, only 18 top candidates are selected each year to participate as Fellows and receive additional benefits such as professional development funds, a mentoring team, and travel stipends to attend SfN annual meetings.

Swetha Murthy explains how the body senses force in BRAINet lecture

Swetha Murthy, PhD

Assistant scientist, Swetha Murthy, Ph.D., provides information about the molecules within our bodies that allow us to sense and respond to physical stimuli in this May 17, 2021 BRAINet recording.

Touch or pain sensation, muscle contraction, and blood pressure regulation are just a few biological processes that rely on the ability of cells and tissues to sense mechanical force. The process of converting these mechanical stimuli into biological signals is called mechanotransduction and is mainly accomplished by mechanically activated ion channels which the Murthy lab studies.

Watch Dr. Murthy's presentation — "How does the body sense force?"
Password: Hp2jSc9M

Gouaux Lab uses monoclonal antibodies to resolve molecular structure of hippocampal AMPAR

3D reconstruction of the hippocampal AMPA receptor

Scientists in the Gouaux Lab have for the first time revealed the molecular structure of three major AMPA receptor complexes in the hippocampus.

AMPA receptors play particularly important roles in the glutamatergic synapses of the hippocampus. However, the receptors do not function in isolation; they co-assemble with integral membrane proteins to form AMPA receptor–auxiliary subunit complexes. For more than 20 years, studies of these AMPAR complexes relied on engineered protein constructs of the receptor. By developing and applying new monoclonal antibody reagents, researchers in the Gouaux lab successfully isolated the actual AMPA receptor and its complex of surrounding subunits from mouse hippocampi and imaged the samples using cryo-electron microscopy. The findings were published online May 12 in the journal Nature. Gouaux lab members Jie Yu, Ph.D. and Prashant Rao are first co-authors.

Read the OHSU News press release
Visit the Gouaux Lab website

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 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!

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: Teva Bracha and Kim Engeln
Second Year: Sweta AdhikaryAmelia CulpMakayla Freitas and Sierra Smith
Third Year: Gregory Hamersky and Jennifer Jahncke

Learn more about these scholars and the ARCS Foundation Oregon

Sweta Adhikary, Williams Lab
NIDA F30 Predoctoral Fellowship (MD/PhD): “Adaptations following chronic opioid treatment and withdrawal”

Alec Condon, Williams Lab
NIDA F31 Predoctoral Fellowship: "Desensitization and recovery of D2 autoreceptors"

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

Christina Chatzi, Ph.D., Westbrook Lab
Collins Medical Trust: "The benefits of exercise on the aging brain"

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"

Patrick Kerstein, Ph.D., Wright Lab
NEI F32 Fellowship: "Gbx2 regulates the development of an atypical amacrine cell"

Matt Labella, Ph.D., Freeman Lab
NINDS F32 Fellowship: "Molecular mechanisms of astrocyte growth control"

Jiaxing Li, Ph.D., Monk Lab
National MS Society Postdoctoral Fellowship: “Investigating synapse assembly and disassembly in oligodendrocyte precursor cells”
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"

Rory Morgan, Ph.D., Monk Lab
Collins Medical Trust: "Defining the roles of adhesion G protein-coupled receptors (aGPCRs) in myelin formation and homeostasis using reverse genetic and chemical screens in zebrafish"

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