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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

Neuroscience Postbac Initiative shares exciting news

Rachel De La Torre (Freeman Lab) and Katherine Thanyamongkhonsawat (von Gersdorff Lab), scholars in the first cohort of the Neuroscience Postbaccalaureate Initiative, are heading to neuroscience graduate programs. Congratulations!
Read more at OHSU Research News

Dr. Westbrook and NGP students honored

The Vollum Institute extends congratulations to Senior Scientist, Gary Westbrook, and the many Neuroscience Graduate Program students who were recognized at the School of Medicine’s Honors and Awards Ceremony on June 2.

Westbrook received the 2019 John A. Resko Faculty Excellence in Research & Mentoring Award acknowledging his scientific accomplishments, mentoring career and contributions to graduate education. NGP students honored for their scientific and academic achievements are listed below by category.

You can read more about the awards ceremony and watch video of the event on the School of Medicine’s event page.

Graduate Student Organization Awards
Marc Meadows – Student Engagement
Antoinette Foster – Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Leadership

ARCS Awards
John Koberstein, Alexandria Lassetter and Emily Leff
Learn more about the ARCS Scholars

National Science Foundation Fellowships
Alex Houser and Katy Lehmann
Read more at OHSU Research News

National Research Service Awards
Alec Condon, Taylor Mighell and Hannah Olson

Mozilla Fellowship
Daniela Saderi

Outstanding Journal Article: Translational
Taylor Mighell
A Saturation Mutagenesis Approach to Understanding PTEN Lipid Phosphatase Activity and Genotype-Phenotype Relationships

Vollum researchers in the news

Targeting conformational states to modulate SERT activity

Researchers in Eric Gouaux's lab have discovered new information about the structure of the serotonin transporter (SERT), a brain protein linked to anxiety and depression, by studying a small-molecule drug called ibogaine which binds to a central site in the transmembrane domain of SERT. Lab members and first co-authors, Jonathan Coleman and Dongxue Yang, used cryo-EM to reveal the structure of the SERT–ibogaine complex in the outward-open, occluded and inward-open conformation states. The research was published online April 24 in the journal Nature.
Read the PubMed abstract
Learn more at OHSU News

Onward with cryo-EM

Isabelle Baconguis, Peter Barr-Gillespie and Eric Gouaux are a few of the Vollum Institute researchers who utilize cryogenic electron microscopy, or cryo-EM, to resolve molecular structures. They were recently featured in the spring edition of OHSU's Onward magazine.
Learn more about the ways cryo-EM is changing structural biology
Meet the cryo-EM scientists

Structure of AMPA receptors in their natural state

Ribbon diagram of the AMPA receptor in its natural state

Research by Gouaux lab members, Yan Zhao and Shanshuang Chen, and their collaborators at the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory in Richland, Washington, is the first to reveal the structure of AMPA receptors in their natural state. The findings were published in Science on April 11.
Read the PubMed abstract
Learn more at OHSU News

Research highlights

Synapse-specific opioid modulation of thalamo-cortico-striatal circuits
Birdsong WT, Jongbloets BC, Engeln KA, Wang D, Scherrer G, Mao T
Elife 2019 May 17; 8:e45146 [Epub ahead of print]

Early detonation by sprouted mossy fibers enables aberrant dentate network activity
Hendricks WD, Westbrook GL, Schnell E
Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA 2019 May 13; pii: 201821227 [Epub ahead of print]

Glutathione S-transferase regulates mitochondrial populations in axons through increased glutathione oxidation
Smith GA, Lin TH, Sheehan AE, Van der Goes van Naters W, Neukomm LJ, Graves HK, Bis-Brewer DM, Züchner S, Freeman MR
Neuron 2019 May 7; pii: S0896-6273(19)30374-30375 [Epub ahead of print]

Serotonin transporter–ibogaine complexes illuminate mechanisms of inhibition and transport
Coleman JA, Yang D, Zhao Z, Wen P-C, Yoshioka C, Tajkhorshid E, Gouaux E
Nature, 2019 May; 569(7754):141–145

Presynaptic diversity revealed by Ca2+-permeable AMPA receptors at the Calyx of Held synapse
Lujan B, Dagostin A, von Gersdorff H
J. Neuroscience, 2019 Apr 17; 39(16):2981-2994

View all

Recognition for our early career awardees

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

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

Farzad Jalali-Yazdi, Ph.D., Gouaux Lab
NIMH F32 Fellowship: "Elucidating the structual mechasnism of NMDA receptor modulation by cryo-electon microscopy"

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"
Knights Templar Eye Foundation Career Starter Research Grant: "Transcriptional control of retinal circuit development"
Collins Medical Trust Grant: "The role of Robo receptors during visual circuit development"

Brendan Lujan, Ph.D., von Gersdorff Lab
NIDCD F32 Fellowship: "Retrograde signaling and the modulation of short-term plasticity at an auditory synapse"

Dan Miller, Wright Lab
NINDS F31 Predoctoral Fellowship: "Mechanism of dystroglycan function at inhibitory synapses"

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

Sigrid Noreng, Baconguis Lab
American Heart Association Predoctoral Fellowship: "Elucidate the gating mechanism of ENaC"

Brooks Robinson, Ph.D., Williams Lab
NIH/NIDA K99 Award: "Cocaine-induced plasticity of D2 receptor synapses"

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

Andrew Slupe, M.D.,Ph.D., Wright Lab (Anesthesiology Fellow)
Medical Research Foundation Early Clinical Investigator Grant: "Modeling age-associated susceptibility to cognitive dysfunction following exposure to volatile anesthetics in rodents"

Nate Yoder, Gouaux Lab
NINDS F31 Predoctoral Fellowship: "Structure of an "Acid Sensing Ion Channel in a resting state at high pH"