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Oliver Ernst

Oliver Ernst researches the receptors used in human nerve cell communication to send signals across membranes, and control many functions, including vision, memory, and
learning. He is an expert on G-protein- coupled receptors, especially rhodopsins, a protein family in the retina of vertebrate animals that can detect visible and UV light. Using various spectroscopy techniques and X-ray crystallography, he works to understand the mechanisms of how these proteins interact with signal proteins, and the structures of GPCRs and rhodopsins in their inactive and active states.


Canada Excellence Research Chair in Structural Neurobiology

Anne and Max Tanenbaum Chair in Neuroscience at University of Toronto

Relevant Publications

L. Ye et al, "Activation of the A2A adenosine G-protein- coupled receptor by conformational selection", Nature, vol. 533, pp. 265-258, 2016.

P. J. Johnson et al, "Local vibrational coherences drive the primary photochemistry of vision", Nature Chemistry, vol. 7, pp. 980-986, 2015.

Y. Kang et al., "Crystal structure of rhodopsin bound to arrestin by femtosecond X-ray laser", Nature, vol. 523, pp. 561-567, 2015.

O. P. Ernst et al, "Microbial and animal rhodopsins: Structures, functions, and molecular mechanisms", Chem. Rev., vol. 114, pp. 126-163, 2014.

H. W. Choe et al, "Crystal structure of metarhodopsin II", Nature, vol. 471, pp. 651-655, 2011.



Program Co-Director Molecular Architecture of Life

Senior Fellow Molecular Architecture of Life


University of TorontoDepartment of Biochemistry


PhD (Biochemistry) Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg



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