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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

Vollum researchers in the news

3D-printed model of the extracellular domains of an NMDA receptor

In collaboration with the Gouaux lab, Brian Jones in the Westbrook lab developed a mouse model of anti-NMDA receptor encephalitis using active immunization with intact native-like NMDARs embedded in liposomes. The mice showed a behavioral and tissue phenotype that mimicked the disease as chronicled by an afflicted patient in the book, Brain on Fire. The use of the holoprotein as immunogen suggests that the disease-inducing epitope is conformationally restricted, something we hope to test in the mice and in human cases. The research was published July 10 in the journal Science Translational Medicine.
Learn more at OHSU News
Read the PubMed abstract

Fbxw7 mutant Schwann cells

Oligodendrocytes myelinate multiple axons in the central nervous system, while in the peripheral nervous system, Schwann cells myelinate a single axon. Why are the myelinating potentials of these glia so fundamentally different? New data from the Monk Lab reveal unexpected plasticity in the myelinating potential of Schwann cells, which may have important implications for our understanding of myelination and myelin repair in both systems. The research was published July 5 in the journal Nature Communications.
Learn more at OHSU News
Read the PubMed abstract

Cartoon mouse in a running wheel

Scientists in the Goodman and Westbrook labs report that even a short period of exercise (mice on running wheels for 2 hours) causes structural and functional increases in synapses in the dentate gyrus. They linked it to an understudied, membrane-bending gene called Mtss1L. The research was published online in the journal eLife.
Learn more at OHSU News

6th Annual Women in Science Mixer

Women in Science Portland logo

Join WIS PDX at their 6th Annual Women in Science Mixer at OMSI on Thursday, November 14 at 6 pm! WIS PDX aims to bring together women in the regional STEM community and provides a platform for connecting women from many career paths and career levels. There will be a networking game with prizes, as well as a silent auction.

Visit the WIS PDX Mixer event page to register and get up-to-date event details. All supporters of women in STEM are welcome to attend.

Research highlights

Visualizing endogenous opioid receptors in living neurons using ligand-directed chemistry
Arttamangkul S, Plazek A, Platt EJ, Jin H, Murray TF, Birdsong W, Rice KC, Farrens D, Williams JT
Elife 2019 Oct 7; 8:e49319 [Epub ahead of print]

Autoimmune receptor encephalitis in mice induced by active immunization with conformationally stabilized holoreceptors
Jones BE, Tovar KR, Goehring A, Jalali-Yazdi F, Okada NJ, Gouaux E, Westbrook GL
Science Translational Medicine 2019 July 10; 11(500):eaaw0044

Myelinating Schwann cells ensheath multiple axons in the absence of E3 ligase component Fbxw7
Harty BL, Coelho F, Pease-Raissi SE, Mogha A, Ackerman SD, Herbert AL, Gereau RW 4th, Golden JP, Lyons DA, Chan JR, Monk KR
Nature Communications, 2019 Jul 5; 10(1):2976

Exercise-induced enhancement of synaptic function triggered by the inverse BAR protein, Mtss1L
Chatzi C, Zhang G, Hendricks WD, Chen Y, Schnell E, Goodman RH*, Westbrook GL*
Elife 2019 Jun 24; 8:e45920 *co-senior authors

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Tavita Garrett awarded Gilliam Fellowship

Tavita Garrett, 2019 Gilliam Fellow in the Trussell Lab

Tavita Garrett, a fourth-year student in the Vollum/OHSU Neuroscience Graduate Program and researcher in the Trussell Lab, is the recipient of a Gilliam Fellowship for Advanced Study from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute. Gilliam Fellowships are awarded to exceptional graduate researchers nationwide who are committed to increasing diversity among scientists. Congratulations, Tavita!
Read the post on OHSU's 96,000 Miles blog

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 and Vollum graduate researchers — Sweta Adhikary, Kylie McPherson, Taylor Mighell and Sigrid Noreng — who received 2019 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!

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

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 structural mechanism of NMDA receptor modulation by cryo-electon microscopy"

Bart Jongbloets, Ph.D., Mao Lab
Dutch Research Council (NWO) Veni Grant: "Uncovering dopamine signaling in our brain"

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"

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"

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"