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OHSU structural biologist elected to prestigious National Academy of Medicine

Eric Gouaux earns one of the highest honors in the fields of health, medicine
Eric Gouaux, Ph.D., a white man with short grey hair and glasses, stands in front of cryo-EM lab equipment.
OHSU structural biologist Eric Gouaux, Ph.D., earned distinction as one of 100 newly elected members of the National Academy of Medicine. (OHSU/Kristyna Wentz-Graff)

Eric Gouaux, Ph.D., a structural biologist at Oregon Health & Science University who has earned an international reputation for discoveries providing new insight about the molecular structure and function of the brain, earned distinction today as one of 100 newly elected members of the National Academy of Medicine.

Previously elected to the National Academy of Sciences and an investigator for the distinguished Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Gouaux’s election to the National Academy of Medicine highlights the importance of his basic science research in ultimately advancing human health.

The academy cited Gouaux’s work in providing unprecedented insight into the molecular structure and mechanism of the chemical synapses of the brain, showing how “signals” are passed from one nerve cell to another, and how important therapeutic and illicit drugs alter the molecular structure and activities of crucial neurotransmitter receptors and transport proteins.

Headshot of Eric Gouaux, Ph.D., a white man with short grey hair and glasses.
Eric Gouaux, Ph.D. (OHSU/Kristyna Wentz-Graff)

Gouaux, senior scientist at the OHSU Vollum Institute and the Jennifer and Bernard Lacroute Endowed Chair in Neuroscience, characteristically credited his colleagues for the distinction.

“This recognition is an honor and entirely dependent upon my having a wonderful research group – past and present – and terrific support and encouragement from my colleagues in the Vollum, at OHSU and at HHMI,” he said.

Since arriving at OHSU in 2005, Gouaux has amassed a trove of publications in high-impact journals including Nature, Science and Cell.

“Dr. Gouaux’s contributions to neuroscience research have had a profound impact on our understanding of the brain’s structure and function,” said OHSU President Danny Jacobs, M.D., M.P.H., FACS. “We are proud to have Dr. Gouaux pursuing this groundbreaking work at OHSU, and are pleased celebrate this extraordinary accomplishment.”

Although Gouaux’s initial breakthroughs came by way of X-ray crystallography, he has shifted to embrace cryo-electron microscopy, a state-of-the-art imaging technique that’s revolutionizing structural biology. In fact, Gouaux is OHSU’s principal investigator for the Pacific Northwest Center for Cryo-EM, one of three national centers established by the National Institutes of Health in 2018.

About The National Academy of Medicine

The National Academy of Medicine, established in 1970 as the Institute of Medicine, is an independent organization of eminent professionals from diverse fields, including health and medicine; the natural, social and behavioral sciences; and beyond. It serves alongside the National Academy of Sciences and the National Academy of Engineering as an adviser to the nation and the international community. Through its domestic and global initiatives, the NAM works to address critical issues in health, medicine, and related policy and inspire positive action across sectors. The NAM collaborates closely with its peer academies and other divisions within the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine

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