Welcome to the Özkan Lab

Our Laboratory is striving to understand the development and functioning of the nervous system through structural biology and biochemistry. We are interested in protein-protein interactions and their molecular underpinnings that govern how neurons function and are regulated by their environment.

  • We are a structural biology lab. We use x-ray crystallography, electron microscopy, and various light scattering methods and biophysical techniques as major tools to investigate protein complexes of the nervous system.
  • We are discovery biologists. We combine structural and biophysical methods with protein interaction discovery methods to gain a network- and system-level understanding of the cell surface.
  • We are interested in cellular signaling and how cell surface protein complexes initiate developmental programs, especially at the synapse and the axon growth cone.

We are at the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology at the University of Chicago, and part of a community of scientists interested in a molecular and mechanistic understanding of life. We are also active members of the UChicago Neuroscience community, as part of the Grossman Institute for Neuroscience, Quantitative Biology and Human Behavior.

Latest News from the Lab:

Please go to our News page for all news from the lab.

Alfred P. Sloan Foundation recognizes Engin as a Sloan Research Fellow.

Engin received a 2016 Alfred P. Sloan Foundation Research Fellowship in Neuroscience today. You can see the announcement in today's New York Times, and read UChicago's news article about five UChicago scholars receiving this award. Here is a list of this year's...

Latest work on controling synaptic connectivity via immunoglobulin superfamily proteins is out in Cell.

The latest issue of Cell (Dec 17th, 2015) has our paper (Carrillo et al. ⇒ Pubmed link) published back to back with Tan et al. (Pubmed link). Together, we show that two protein families belonging to the immunoglobulin superfamily control synapse specificity in the...

Jing Wang, post-doctoral scholar, joins the lab.

Jing Wang, a recent graduate of Tsinghua University, has joined our laboratory. Her efforts will focus on the structural biology of protein complexes that mediate glial regulation of synaptic function. Welcome to Chicago, Jing!

2015 Klingenstein-Simons Neuroscience Fellowship Awarded to Engin.

We have received the Klingenstein-Simons Fellowship Award in the Neurosciences on "Revealing molecular interactions and mechanisms directing neural circuit wiring" for the next three years. http://klingfund.org/fellows/fellows15.php We thank the Esther A. & Joseph...

Brad Lee gets the Biological Sciences Collegiate Division Summer Research Fellowship.

It is official! Brad will be a BSCD fellow this summer in the lab. We are expecting a very productive summer, and some serious public presentation opportunities for Brad.