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

Arpiar (Arpy) Saunders joins Vollum Institute as assistant scientist

Arpiar Saunders, PhD

The Vollum Institute extends a warm welcome to assistant professor/scientist Arpiar (Arpy) Saunders, Ph.D., who joined our faculty in October. Dr. Saunders’ research focuses on understanding how neurons choose their synaptic partners and how gene expression patterns of individual cells dictate their precise connectivity in complex neural circuits. While a Helen Hay Whitney Postdoctoral Fellow in Steve McCarroll’s lab, Arpy used single-cell RNA profiling to generate large-scale molecular descriptions of mouse brain cell diversity. He also developed new viral tools that enabled him to exploit the trans-synaptic movement of viruses, along with RNA barcoding and single-cell transcriptome analysis, to construct precise connectivity diagrams amongst brain cells for which detailed molecular information had also been ascertained. The Saunders lab will continue to use single-cell, single-virion approaches to explore the mechanistic bases of neural circuit connectivity, how synapses change with plasticity and disease, and also explore fascinating questions in basic viral biology, including how neurotropic viruses interact with diverse host brain cell types.
For more information please visit his research group’s website.

Apply for the OHSU Neuroscience Post-Baccalaureate Initiative starting January 1, 2021!

The OHSU NPBI is a collaborative effort of the Vollum Institute, the Department of Behavioral Neuroscience and OHSU Research & Innovation that aims to provide sustained research experience and skills development for individuals from underrepresented backgrounds. Accepted scholars receive a mentored research experience and tailored support around academic and professional development. Apply now at ohsu.edu/neuro/postbac.

Work-in-Progress Talks (virtual)

Friday | January 22, 2021 | 12–1 pm

Role of hyaluronan matrix remodeling in brain development and injury
Taasin Srivastava, Ph.D., Research Fellow, Stephen Back Lab

Photoaffinity coupled to chemical proteomics approach for NAD target profiling
Justina Šileikytė, Ph.D., Senior Research Associate, Michael Cohen Lab

Learn more about the Friday WiP Seminars Series

Freeman lab provides new insights into nervous system injury responses

Nervous system injury and disease can have broad effects on nerve or brain function, yet the signaling pathways that control nervous system responses to injury remain unclear. Building on previous work in the Freeman lab that showed even partial nerve injury can lead to rapid, widespread changes in neurophysiology in both severed axons and nearby, uninjured "bystander" neurons, Jiun-Min Hsu, Marc Freeman and colleagues recently discovered new details about the role of glial cells to propagate injury signals broadly across the nervous system and actively suppress bystander neuron function. Their work further defines the role of Sarm1/dSarm on controlling such injury responses — with two-phases signaling — and provides new insights into the confounded Sarm1/dSarm mediated nervous system responses. The research was published December 8 in the journal Neuron.
Read the OHSU News press release

New amacrine cell interneuron discovered by Wright Lab

Gbx2 neuron

Investigations into neural circuit development and function are limited by the lack of genetic tools to label and perturb individual neuronal subtypes. Using the Gbx2CreERT2 mouse line, Patrick Kerstein, Kevin Wright and colleagues identified a new amacrine cell interneuron and explore its distinct molecular, morphological, and physiological characteristics in the mouse retina. This neuron subtype has unique features, such as the lack of classical neurotransmitters but the presence of electrical synapses in addition to their unique asymmetric morphology. The research was published online November 17 in Cell Reports.
Read the PubMed abstract

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"

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

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

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"

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

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"