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 "work-in-progress" (WIP) seminars occur weekly during the academic year and provide an opportunity for postdoctoral fellows and graduate students to share their current research projects in an interactive and less formal environment.
Find out more information on how to attend and the speaker schedule.

Research highlights

Motor cortex analogue neurons in songbirds utilize Kv3 channels to generate ultranarrow spikes.
Zemel BM, Nevue AA, Tavares LES, Dagostin A, Lovell PV, Jin DZ, Mello CV, von Gersdorff H. (2023) Elife. 12:e81992.

Follicle-innervating Aδ-low threshold mechanoreceptive neurons form receptive fields through homotypic competition.
Pomaville MB & Wright KM. (2023) Neural Development. 18.1.2.

GIPC3 couples to MYO6 and PDZ domain proteins, and shapes the hair cell apical region.
Chatterjee P, Morgan CP, Krey JF, Benson C, Goldsmith J, Bateschell M, Ricci AJ, Barr-Gillespie PG. (2023) J Cell Sci. 136(10):jcs261100 | doi: 10.1242/jcs.261100 | PMID: 37096733.

Synaptotagmin-1 is a Ca2+ sensor for somatodendritic dopamine release.
Lebowitz JJ, Banerjee A, Qiao C, Bunzow JR, Williams JT, Kaeser PS. (2023) Cell Reports. 42(1),111915.

Deciphering mechanically activated ion channels at the single-channel level in dorsal root ganglion neurons.
Murthy SE. (2023) J Gen Physiol. 155(6):e202213099.

The many roles of dystroglycan in nervous system development and function: Dystroglycan and neural circuit development.
Jahncke JN & Wright KM. (2023) Developmental Dynamics. 252.1.p.61-80.20p.

Gait Abnormalities and Aberrant D2 Receptor Expression and Signaling in Mice Carrying the Human Pathogenic Mutation DRD2I212F.
Neve KA, Rodriguez-Contreras D, Gong S, Lebowitz JJ, Fedorov LM, Asad N, Dore TM, Phillips TJ, Ford CP, Williams JT, (2022) Molecular Pharmacology. 103(3),188-198.

Discoidin domain receptor regulates ensheathment, survival and caliber of peripheral axons.
Corty MM, Hulegaard AL, Hill JQ, Sheehan AE, Aicher SA, Freeman MR. (2022) Development. 149(23):dev200636.

Locomotion activates PKA through dopamine and adenosine in striatal neurons.
Ma L, Day-Cooney J, Benavides OJ, Muniak MA, Qin M, Ding JB, Mao T, Zhong H. (2022) Nature. Nov;611(7937):762-768. doi: 10.1038/s41586-022-05407-4. Epub 2022 Nov 9. PMID: 36352228.

Ascertaining cells’ synaptic connections and RNA expression simultaneously with barcoded rabies virus libraries. 
Saunders, A., Huang, K.W., Vondrak, C. et al. Nat Commun 13, 6993 (2022). doi: 10.1038/s41467-022-34334-1.

Electrical signaling in cochlear efferents is driven by an intrinsic neuronal oscillator.
Hong H, Zeppenfeld D, Trussell LO. (2022) Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 119(44):e2209565119.

Fast resupply of synaptic vesicles requires synaptotagmin-3.
Weingarten DJ, Shrestha A, Juda-Nelson K, Kissiwaa SA, Spruston E, Jackman SL. Nature. 2022 Nov;611(7935):320-325. doi: 10.1038/s41586-022-05337-1. Epub 2022 Oct 19.  PMID: 36261524.

Sensitive genetically encoded sensors for population and subcellular imaging of cAMP in vivo.
Massengill CI*, Bayless-Edwards L*, Ceballos CC, Cebul ER, Cahill J, Bharadwaj A, Wilson E, Qin M, Whorton MR, Baconguis I, Ye B, Mao T#, Zhong H#. (2022)  *Co-first Authorships. #Co-senior Authorships. Nat Methods. Nov;19(11):1461-1471. doi: 10.1038/s41592-022-01646-5. Epub 2022 Oct 27. PMID: 36303019.

Structures of the TMC-1 complex illuminate mechanosensory transduction. 
Jeong, H., Clark, S., Goehring, A., Dehghani-Ghahnaviyeh, S., Tajkhorshid, E., Gouaux, E. (2022) Nature Oct;610: 796-803.

Aminomethanesulfonic acid illuminates the boundary between full and partial agonists of the pentameric glycine receptor. 
Ivica J, Zhu H, Lape R, Gouaux E, Sivilotti LG. (2022) Elife Aug 17;11:e79148.

Isolation, cryo-laser scanning confocal microscope imaging and cryo-FIB milling of mouse glutamatergic synaptosomes. 
Gogoi P, Shiozaki M, Gouaux E. (2022) PLoS One Aug 12;17(8):e0271799.

Targeted RNA editing in brainstem alleviates respiratory dysfunction in a mouse model of Rett syndrome.
Sinnamon JR, Jacobson ME, Yung JF, Fisk JR, Jeng S, McWeeney SK, Parmelee LK, Chan CN, Yee SP, Mandel G. (2022) Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 119(33):e2206053119.

Monitoring glycolytic dynamics in single cells using a fluorescent biosensor for fructose 1,6-bisphosphate.
Koberstein JN, Stewart ML, Smith CB, Tarasov AI, Ashcroft FM, Stork PJS, Goodman RH. (2022) Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 119(31):e2204407119.

Agonist-Specific Regulation of G Protein–Coupled Receptors after Chronic Opioid Treatment.
S Adhikary, O Koita, JJ Lebowitz, WT Birdsong, JT Williams. (2022) Molecular pharmacology. 101(5),300-308.

Ca2+ entry through mechanotransduction channels localizes BAIAP2L2 to stereocilia tips.
Halford J, Bateschell M, Barr-Gillespie PG.
(2022) Mol Biol Cell. 33(4):br6 | doi: 10.1091/mbc.E21-10-0491 | PMID: 35044843


View all in PubMed

Study reveals structure of crucial receptor in brain development, function

Chang Sun, Ph.D.
Chang Sun, Ph.D.: lead author, Gouaux Lab

Vollum scientists have revealed the molecular structure of a type of receptor that’s crucial to brain development and function.

Known as type A GABA receptors, these receptors are already targeted by pharmaceutical anesthetics, sedatives and antidepressants because of their important role in brain function. The discovery, published today in the journal Nature, reveals the dominant assemblies and states of the GABA receptor, a finding that could enable the development of new compounds that more specifically target a range of medical disorders.

Read the full article
Gouaux Lab

OHSU neuroscientist earns award to advance schizophrenia research

Arpy Saunders
Arpiar “Arpy” Saunders, Ph.D., assistant scientist in OHSU’s Vollum Institute, is one of three researchers nationwide named as Rising Stars by One Mind, a nonprofit organization focused on neuropsychiatric brain research. (OHSU/Christine Torres Hicks)

An Oregon Health & Science University neuroscientist has earned a $300,000 research grant over three years to advance his basic science research, seeking to better understand the neural circuits in the brain involved in serious forms of mental illness.

Arpiar “Arpy” Saunders, Ph.D., assistant scientist in OHSU’s Vollum Institute, is one of three researchers nationwide named as Rising Stars by One Mind, a nonprofit organization focused on neuropsychiatric brain research.

Read the full article
Arpy's Lab

A roadmap to more equitable graduate school admissions

Yessica Santana Agreda

From 2020 to 2021, a Científico Latino team supported more than 400 graduate school applicants from minoritized backgrounds in science, engineering, mathematics, and technology and studied the results. The journal Cell published their findings Aug. 17 in a perspective piece entitled "Insights and Strategies for Improving Equity in Graduate School Admissions" .

Among the executive board members of Cientifico Latino, and a co-author on the Cell perspective piece, is Yessica Santana Agreda, a doctoral candidate in the OHSU School of Medicine Neuroscience Graduate Program, who was recently named a Gilliam fellow.

Read the full article.

Congratulations to Vollum faculty Drs. Wyatt, Mishra, and Zhong for their promotions!

Dr. Haining Zhong, Dr. Anusha Mishra and Dr. Letisha Wyatt
Left to right: Haining Zhong, Ph.D., Anusha Mishra, Ph.D. and Letisha Wyatt, Ph.D.

The Vollum wishes to congratulate:
Dr. Letisha Wyatt: Associate Professor
Dr. Anusha Mishra: Associate Professor
Dr. Haining Zhong: Senior Scientist/Professor

OHSU neuroscientist receives prestigious McKnight Scholar Award

Murthy Lab (left to right): Antonio Munoz, Jed Syrenne, Daniel Orlin, Swetha Murthy Ph.D., 
Julia Halford Ph.D., Destinee Semidey, Aidan Berryman and Parshuram Sonawane Ph.D.
Murthy Lab (left to right): Antonio Munoz, Jed Syrenne, Daniel Orlin, Swetha Murthy Ph.D., 
Julia Halford Ph.D., Destinee Semidey, Aidan Berryman and Parshuram Sonawane Ph.D.

Swetha Murthy, Ph.D., assistant scientist at the Oregon Health & Science University Vollum Institute, has been designated as a 2023 McKnight Scholar for her innovative work in mechanotransduction — the molecular processes that inform how we experience touch, sound, blood flow and more.

Murthy joins a rare cadre of early career scientists recognized by the McKnight Foundation through its McKnight Endowment Fund. Given to 10 neuroscientists each year, the McKnight Scholar Awards help promising scientists establish their research programs. Awardees receive $75,000 per year for three years.

Read the full article
Murthy Lab

Three Vollum Institute/OHSU NGP graduate students named 2023 Lacroute Fellows

Left to right: Yessica Santana Agreda, Arielle Isakharov, and Elizabeth Rose
Left to right: Yessica Santana Agreda, Arielle Isakharov and Elizabeth Rose

Three predoctoral students in the Neuroscience Graduate Program at OHSU were recently awarded the 2023 Lacroute Fellowship.

Read the full article.

Saunders Lab Awarded an R01 grant from the BRAIN Initiative to Further Develop SBARRO for In Vivo Connectivity Analysis

Saunders Lab team photo
(Back Row) Karl Young, Alex Nevue, Emily Tiedemann, Zach Goode (Front row) Lamya Ben Ameur, Hoa Trinh, Arpy Saunders Photo Credit: Chris Ghormley

Congratulations to Arpy and the Saunders Lab. Arpy has published a paper titled "Ascertaining cells’ synaptic connections and RNA expression simultaneously with barcoded rabies virus libraries" in Nature Communications. Synaptic connections are critical for brain function but are hard to measure systematically. Saunders et al report “SBARRO”, a method that uses rabies virus barcoding and single-cell RNA-seq to parallelize monosynaptic network reconstruction from molecularly-profiled single cells.

Read the full paper
Saunders Lab

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 they receive from their mentors. Congratulations to all.

The Lacroute Fellows Program invests in School of Medicine graduate education, by supporting exceptional students performing innovative research in the Vollum/OHSU Neuroscience Graduate Program.

Congratulations to the 2023 fellows:

These 1-year fellowships cover $24,000 of the student’s stipend and provide an allowance of $1,000 for related expenses, such as attending scientific conferences or courses.

2022 Lacroute Fellows

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

Alejandra Fernandez, Ph.D., Wright Lab
NINDS K01: “The role of Pten on primary sensory neuron development.”
Collins Medical Trust: “The role of Pten signaling in the intrinsic control of somatosensory neuron diversification.

Kevin Guttenplan, Ph.D., Freeman Lab
Helen Hay Whitney Foundation: “How do astrocytes regulate neuronal circuits?”

Dongeun Heo, Ph.D., Monk/Freeman Labs
NINDS F32: "Investigating the role of diazepam binding inhibitor (DBI) in astrocytes and neural circuit maturation."

Taylor Jay, Ph.D., Freeman Lab
NINDS K99/ROO: "Investigating novel mechanisms that underlie glial-mediated synapse elimination in development and aging."

Yunsik Kang, Ph.D., Freeman Lab
NINDS K99/ROO Pathway to Independence: “How do astrocytes remodel neuronal circuits?”

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

Alex Nevue, Ph.D., Saunders Lab
BRAIN Initiative/NINDS F32: "Postnatal experience shapes gene expression and connectivity development in the cortex."

Cathy Spangler, Ph.D., Gouaux Lab
NIH Natl Cancer Inst: Structural and functional characterization of native AMPA receptor complexes in glioblastoma.

Landon Bayless-Edwards, Mao Lab
NIDA NRSA F30: "Intracellular signaling mechanisms underlying opioid modulation of pain"

Danica Bojovic, von Gersdorff and Mishra Labs
America Heart Association predoctoral fellowship: "Astrocyte gap junctions modulate neurovascular responses"

Hannah Collins, Monk and Emery Labs
NINDS F31: Control of CNS Myelination by the E3 Ligase Component Fbxw7

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

Rachel de la Torre, Freeman Lab
NINDS F31: “How do glia remodel the nervous system?”

Kimberley Englen, Williams Lab
National Science Foundation, Graduate Research Fellowship

Makayla Freitas, Gouaux Lab
National Science Foundation, Graduate Research Fellowship

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

Arielle Isakharov, Wright Lab
NEI F31 Predoctoral Fellowship: "Genetic analysis of the Robo3+ glycinergic amacrine cell"

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

Jennifer Jenks, Emery Lab
National Science Foundation, Graduate Research Fellowship

Omar Koita, Williams Lab
NINDS F99:Mechanistic description of tolerance/withdrawal from opioids in the paraventricular nucleus of the thalamus.

Tania Miramontes, Monk Lab
NINDS F31: "Investigating the role of cannabinoid receptors in oligodendrocyte development"

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

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!