Structural Biology and Electrophysiology
The laboratory of Dr. Juan Du is focused on understanding the mechanism and pharmacology of excitatory neuronal receptors, which are critically involved in numerous neurological diseases. A combined approach of single particle cryo-EM, patch clamp electrophysiology and X-ray crystallography are employed to investigate the atomic structures and biological functions of these ion channel receptors.
Visit the Du and Lü labs joint website here.
NIH R01 NINDS
Pew Scholars in Biomedical Sciences
Sloan Research Fellowship
McKnight Scholar Award for Neuroscience
Klingenstein-Simons Fellowship Award
American Heart Association Postdoctoral Fellowship (Dr. Zheng Ruan)
Join our team
Two NIH-funded postdoctoral positions and one senior research scientist position (patch-clamp electrophysiology) are available in the laboratory of Dr. Juan Du at Van Andel Institute. The Du Laboratory is interested in understanding how human body senses external stimuli, conveys the signals to the brain and generates responses via neuronal ion channels. To address these fundamental questions, our lab uses a diverse set of approaches to study the structure and function of these important ion channels by combining single-particle cryo-EM, patch-clamp electrophysiology, X-ray crystallography, and other function approaches (for examples, see articles Huang Y et al 2019; Fan C et al 2018; Winkler PA et al 2017). Experience with electrophysiology and/or protein biochemistry is preferred. Interested persons should send a CV and a cover letter to Dr. Du.
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Juan Du, Ph.D.
Associate Professor, Department of Structural Biology
Areas of Expertise
Structural biology, cryo-EM, synaptic receptors, ion channels
Dr. Juan Du earned her Diploma degree in chemistry from University of Goettingen and a Ph.D. from the Institute of Organic Chemistry and Biochemistry at the University of Freiburg in Germany. While there, she determined the structure of a key enzyme required for gluconeogenesis and revealed new facets of the membrane transporter FocA. In 2012, she joined the Gouaux Lab at Oregon Health & Science University’s Vollum Institute, where her work focused on characterizing excitatory triheteromeric NMDA receptor as well as inhibitory glycine receptor using cryo-EM and electrophysiology. She is now an assistant professor in the Center for Cancer and Cell Biology at Van Andel Institute.
Honors and Awards
- 2020 Pew Scholars in Biomedical Sciences
- 2020 Sloan Research Fellow in Neuroscience
- 2019 Klingenstein-Simons Award in the Neuroscience
- 2019 McKnight Scholar Award for neuroscience
- 2018 Van Andel Institute Employee Impact Fund
- 2012 Arthur Lüttringhaus Prize
- 2011 Chinese Government Award for Outstanding Self-Financed Students Abroad
# co-corresponding author
Müller C*, Zhang L*, Zipfel S, Topitsch A, Lutz M, Eckert J, Prasser B, Chami M, Lü W, Du J#, Einsle O#. 2022. Molecular interplay of an assembly machinery for nitrous oxide reductase. Nature.
Ruan Z*, Haley E*, Orozco I*, Sabat M, Myers R, Roth R, Du J#, Lü W#. 2021. Structures of the TRPM5 channel elucidate mechanisms of activation and inhibition. Nat Struct Mol Biol.
Yu J*, Zhu HT*, Lape R, Greiner T, Du J, Lü W, Sivilotti L#, Gouaux E#. 2021. Mechanism of gating and partial agonist action in the glycine receptor. Cell.
Ruan Z*, Osei-Owusu J*, Du J, Qiu Z#, Lü W#. 2020. Structures and pH-sensing mechanism of the proton-activated chloride channel. Nature.
Ruan Z, Orozco IJ, Du J#, Lü W#. 2020. Structures of human Pannexin 1 reveal ion pathways and mechanism of gating. Nature.
Huang Y, Fliegert R, Guse AH, Lü W#, Du J#. 2019. A structural overview of the ion channels of the TRPM family. Cell Calcium.
Choi W*, Clemente N*, Sun W, Du J#, Lü W#. 2019. The structures and gating mechanism of human calcium homeostasis modulator 2. Nature.
Haung Y, Roth B, Lü W#, Du J#. 2019. Ligand recognition and gating mechanism through three ligand-binding sites of human TRPM2 channel. eLife.
Haley E, Choi W, Fan C, Sun W, Du J, Lü W. 2019. Expression and purification of the human lipid-sensitive cation channel TRPC3 for structural determination by single-particle cryo-electron microscopy. J Vis Exp (143):e58754, doi:10.3791/58754.
Huang Y, Winkler PA, Sun W, Lü W#, Du J#. 2018. Architecture of the TRPM2 channel and its activation mechanism by ADP-ribose and calcium. Nature.
Fan C*, Choi W*, Sun W, Du J#, Lü W#. 2018. Structure of the human lipid-gated cation channel TRPC3. eLife:e36852.
Winkler PA*, Huang Y*, Sun W*, Du J, Lü W. 2017. Electron cryo-microscopy structure of a human TRPM4 channel. Nature.
Lü W*, Du J*, Goehring A, Gouaux E. 2017. Cryo-EM structures of the triheteromeric NMDA receptor and its allosteric modulation. Science 355.
Du J*, Lü W*,Wu S, Cheng Y, Gouaux E. 2015. Glycine receptor mechanism elucidated by electron cryo-microscopy. Nature 526(7572):224–229.
Lee CH, Lü W, Michel JC, Goehring A, Du J, Song X, Gouaux E. 2014. Structures of NMDA receptor reveal subunit arrangement and pore architecture. Nature 511(7508):191–197.
Lü W, Du J, Schwarzer N, Wacker T, Andrade SLA, Einsle O. 2013. The formate/nitrite transporter family of anion channels. Biol Chem 394(6):715–727.
Lü W, Schwarzer N, Du J, Gerbig-Smentek E, Andrade SLA, Einsle O. 2012. Structural and functional characterization of the nitrite channel NirC from Salmonella typhimurium. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 109(45):18395–18400.
Lü W, Du J, Schwarzer N, Gerbig-Smentek E, Einsle O, Andrade SLA. 2012. The FNT family channel FocA exports the products of mixed-acid fermentation. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 109(33):13254–13259.
Du J*, Say R*, Lu Ẅ, Fuchs G, Einsle O. 2011. Active site remodeling in the bifunctional fructose–1,6–bisphosphate aldolase/phosphatase. Nature 478(7370):534–537.
Lü W, Du J, Wacker T, Gerbig-Smentek E, Andrade SLA, Einsle O. 2011. Mechanism of gating in the formate channel FocA from Salmonella typhimurium. Science 332:352–354.
Lü W, Du J, Stahl M, Tzivelekidis T, Belyi Y, Gerhardt S, Aktories K, Einsle O. 2010. Structural basis of the action of glucosyltransferase Lgt1 from Legionella pneumophila. J Mol Biol 396(2):321–331.
Senior Administrative Assistant
Jinhong Hu, Ph.D.
Sushant Kumar, Ph.D.
Assistant Research Technician
Van Andel Institute Graduate Student
Thesis project title to be determined
Ian Orozco, Ph.D.
Senior Research Scientist
Zheng Ruan, Ph.D.
Ion channels, single-particle cryo-electron microscopy (cryo-EM), electrophysiology