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Erik Jorgensen

Distinguished Professor of Biology and HHMI Investigator

Ph.D. University of Washington


Graduate Program Membership:

Office/Building: ASB 422A
Phone: 801-585-3517
Email: jorgensen@biology.utah.edu
Jorgensen Lab: http://jorgensen.biology.utah.edu/

Research Statement


The Jorgensen laboratory is identifying the proteins that function at the synapse to release and recycle synaptic vesicles. To identify these molecules, we have undertaken a genetic analysis of neurotransmission in the nematode Caenorhabditis elegans. C. elegans is particularly advantageous for such studies for several reasons: First, mutants with defective synapses are viable and can be studied as adults. Second, we can select for mutants with defective neurotransmission using drug resistance screens. Third, we can characterize mutant synapses at the ultrastructural and electrophysiological levels. So far the lab has identified over 30 genes that are required for normal synaptic transmission. Some of these genes are required for synaptic vesicle exocytosis and some are required for synaptic vesicle endocytosis. The precise function of these proteins is being determined using electophysiological, biochemical, fluorescence and electron microscopic techniques.

Research Interests


General Interests
Specific Interests
  • Genetic Analysis of Neurotransmission in C. elegans
  • Synaptic vesicle exocytosis and endocytosis
  • Vesicular neurotransmission transporters
  • GABA receptors
  • Behavioral rhythms
  • Transposons

Selected Publications


  • Geisler, F., H. Gerhardus, K. Carberry, W. Davis, E M. Jorgensen, C. Richardson, O. Bossinger and R.E. Leube. 2016. A novel function for the MAP kinase SMA-5 in intestinal tube stability. Molecular Biology of the Cell 27, p3855-3868.
  • Edelman, T.L.B., K. A. McCulloch, A. Barr, C. Fr�kj�r-Jensen, E.M. Jorgensen and A. E. Rougvie. 2016. Analysis of a lin-42/periodn null allele implicates all three isoforms in regulation of Caenorhabditis elegans molting and developmental timing. G3 6:4077-4086.
  • Hess, J., M. Patra, L. Rangasamy, S. Konatschnig, O. Blacque, A. Jabbar, P. Mac, E.M. Jorgensen, R.B. Gasser, G. Gasser. 2016. Organometallic derivatization of the nematocidal drug monepantel leads to promising antiparasitic drug candidates. Chemistry 22, 16602-16612.
  • Bend, E.G.,Y.Si, D.A. Stevenson, P. Bayrak-Toydemir, T.M. Newcomb, E.M. Jorgensen, K.J. Swoboda. 2016, NALCN channelopathies: Distinguishing gain-of-function and loss-of-function mutations. Neurology 87, p1131-1139.
  • Wheeler, B.S., E. Anderson, C. Fr�kj�r-Jensen, Q. Bian, E.M. Jorgensen, B.J. Meyer. 2016. Chromosome-wide mechanisms to decouple gene expression from gene dose during sex-chromosome evolution. eLife 5:e17365. DOI: 10.7554/eLife.17365.

Courses Taught


  • Biol 2030: Genetics
  • Neuro 6040: Cellular Neurophysiology
  • Molecular Biol 6420: Advanced Genetics
  • C. elegans: Cold Spring Harbor Laboratories