Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America

About the PNAS Member Editor
Name Yan, Nieng
Location Princeton University
Primary Field Physiology and Pharmacology
Secondary Field Biophysics and Computational Biology
 Research Interests
Dr. Yan is a structural biologist that aims to understand the governing principle of membrane transport of ions and solutes, a vital physiological process that maintains cellular homeostasis, converts different energy forms, and generates and transduces signals. Her lab has combined structural biology, biochemical, and biophysical approaches to reveal the molecular choreography, at atomic resolutions, of the transporters for cellular uptake of glucose and the sodium and calcium channels that generate electrical signals. They have elucidated the crystal structures of the human glucose transporters, GLUT1 and GLUT3, in multiple functional states that enable recapitulation of the working cycle of GLUTs. Taking advantage of the technical advances of single-particle cryo-EM, they have elucidated the high-resolution structures of representative eukaryotic voltage-gated sodium and calcium (Nav and Cav) channels, and the ryanodine receptors in skeletal and cardiac muscles, RyR1 and RyR2, which are the largest ion channels known to date. These structures establish the foundation for structure-function relationship studies, provide the molecular template for examination of hundreds of mutations associated with various sodium and calcium channelopathies, and affords the opportunity for rational drug design and optimization.

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