Emad Tajkhorshid


3147 Beckman Institute
Office: (217) 244-6914

Mail to: Beckman Institute
405 N Mathews Ave
Urbana, IL 61801
Lab Page

Emad Tajkhorshid

Interim Head Department of Biochemistry
J. Woodland Hastings Endowed Chair in Biochemistry
Professor of Pharmacology at the College of Medicine
Professor of Biophysics and Quantitative Biology
Professor of Bioengineering
Director of NIH Biotechnology Center for Macromolecular Modeling and Bioinformatics
Full-time Faculty at Beckman Institute for Advanced Science and Technology

Research Topics

Computational Biology, Drug Discovery, Ion Channels, Membrane Biology, Protein Dynamics, Protein Structure


B.S. 1989 Tehran University
Ph.D. 2001 University of Heidelberg
Postdoc. 2000-2003 Univ. of Illinois, U-C

Computational Investigation of Biomolecular Systems and Processes at Microscopic Level

My research focuses on structure function relationship of biomolecular processes, in particular biological membranes and membrane proteins, and understanding the mechanism of their function using simulation and computational methodologies. Recent advances in structural determination of membrane proteins have resulted in high resolution structures of a large number of biological systems that we can use in simulation studies to understand how the architecture of the protein, and specific interactions and dynamics of its building blocks provide the basis for its molecular mechanism. My group is involved in development of computational methodologies and their application to diverse biomolecular systems in close collaboration with leading experimental groups.


2003: Animation displaying my simulations on aquaporin water channels deposited at the Nobel Museum web site, in conjunction with the 2003 Nobel Prize in Chemistry. http://nobelprize.org/chemistry/laureates/2003/animations.html

2004: Winner of the 2004 Science and Engineering Visualization Challenge organized by the Science magazine and NSF and published in Science 305, 1905.

2010: Recognized as exceptional by the campus committee on tenure and promotion in terms of the quality of work and achievement, and selected as one of the two top assistant to associate tenure packages of the year in the entire UIUC campus.

2015-2018: University Scholar at University of Illinois

2016: Faculty Excellence Award, School of Molecular and Cellular Biology

2016-present: Endowed Chair Professor of Biochemistry

Representative Publications

Recent Publications

S. Chen, Y. Zhao, Y. Wang, M. Shekhar, E. Tajkhorshid, and E. Gouaux (2017) Activation and desensitization mechanism of AMPA receptor – TARP complex by cryo-EM. Cell, 170(6): 1234-1246.

B. Verhalen, R. Dastvan, S. Thangapandian, Y. Peskova, H. Koteiche, R. Nakamoto, E. Tajkhorshid, and H. Mchaourab (2017) Energy transduction and alternating access of the mammalian ABC transporter P-glycoprotein. Nature 543: 738-741.

F. Zeng, Y. Chen, J. Remis, M. S. Shekhar, J. C. Phillips, E. Tajkhorshid, and H. Jin (2017) Structural basis of co-translational quality control by ArfA and RF2 bound to ribosome. Nature 541: 554–557.

M. J. Arcario, C. G. Mayne, and E. Tajkhorshid (2017) A membrane-embedded pathway delivers general anesthetics to two interacting binding sites in the Gloeobacter violaceus Ion Channel. J. Biol. Chem. 292: 9480-9492. (Cover Article).

J. V. Vermaas and E. Tajkhorshid (2017) Differential Membrane Binding Mechanics of Synaptotagmin Isoforms Observed at Atomic Detail. Biochemistry 56: 281–293.

J. Vermaas, T. Pogorelov, and E. Tajkhorshid (2017) Extension of the Highly Mobile Membrane Mimetic to Transmembrane Systems through Customized in Silico Solvents. J. Phys. Chem. B, 121: 3764–76.

E. Tajkhorshid and C. Chipot (2017) Tribute to Klaus Schulten. J. Phys. Chem. B, 121: 3203-5.

M. P. Muller, Y. Wang, J. H. Morrissey, and E. Tajkhorshid (2017) Lipid Specificity of the Membrane Binding Domain of Coagulation Factor X. J. Thromb. Haemost. 15: 2005-2016 (Cover Article). PMC5630516

G. T. Tietjen*, J. L. Baylon*, D. Kerr, Z. Gong, J. M. Henderson, C. T. R. Heffern, M. Meron, B. Lin, M. L. Schlossman, E. J. Adams, E. Tajkhorshid*, and K. Y. C. Lee* (2017) Refinement of a structural model of membrane bound Tim1 via combined x-ray reflectivity and unbiased membrane binding simulation. Biophys. J. 113: 1505-1519.

D. Weisz, H. Liu, H. Zhang, S. Thangapandian, E. Tajkhorshid, M. Gross, and H. B. Pakrasi (2017) Structural analysis of Photosystem II: Mass spectrometry-based cross-linking study show that the Psb28 protein binds to cytochrome b559. PNAS 114: 2224-2229.

X. Yu, G. Yang, C. Yan, J. L. Baylon, J. Jiang, H. Fan, G. Lu, K. Hasegawa, H. Okumura, T. Wang, E. Tajkhorshid, S. Li, and N. Yan (2017) Dimeric structure of the uracil:proton symporter UraA provides mechanistic insights into the SLC4/23/26 transporters. Cell Research, 27: 1020-1033.

J. H. Leung, P. Mahinthichaichan, E. Tajkhorshid, A. Ishchenko, V. Cherezov, M. Soltis, B. J. Jackson, C. D. Stout, R. B. Gennis, Q. Zhang, and P. S. Padayatti (2017) Critical role of water molecules in proton translocation by the membrane-bound transhydrogenase. Structure, 25(7): 1111-1119.e3.

A. K.S. Camara, Y. Zhou, P.-C. Wen, E. Tajkhorshid, and W.-M. Kwok (2017) Mitochondrial VDAC1: The Gatekeeper as Potential Therapeutic Target. Frontiers in Physiology 8, 640.

T. Jiang, K. Yu, H. C. Hartzell, and E. Tajkhorshid (2017) Lipids and Ions Traverse the Membrane by the Same Physical Pathway in the nhTMEM16 ScramblaseeLife, in press.

G. Gonzalez-Gutierrez, Y. Wang, G. D. Cymes, E. Tajkhorshid, and C. Grosman (2017) Chasing the open-state structure of pentameric ligand gated ion channels. J. Gen. Physiol. in press.

E. Mansoor, W. Lü, W. Oosterheert, M. Shekhar, E. Tajkhorshid, and E. Gouaux (2016) X-ray structures of human P2X3 receptor define complete gating cycle and antagonist action. Nature 538, 66-71.

T. Jiang, W. Han, M. Maduke, and E. Tajkhorshid (2016) Differential Anion Binding and Proton Coupling in CLC Cl–/H+ Transporters. JACS 138: 3066−3075.

C. M. Khantwal, S. J. Abraham, W. Han, T. Jiang, T. S. Chavan, R. C. Cheng, S. M. Elvington, C. W. Liu, I. I. Mathews, E. Tajkhorshid*, and M. Maduke* (2016) Revealing an outward-facing open conformational state in a CLC Cl/H exchange transporter. eLife 10.7554/eLife.11189.

J. Vermaas, N. Trebesch, C. G. Mayne, S. Thungapandian, M. Shekhar, P. Mahinthichaichan, J. L. Baylon, T. Jiang, Y. Wang, M. P. Muller, E. Shinn, Z. Zhao, P.-C. Wen, and E. Tajkhorshid (2016) Microscopic Characterization of Membrane Transport Function by In Silico Modeling and Simulation. In Gregory A. Voth, editor: Methods in Enzymology, Vol 578, Computational Approaches for Studying Enzyme Mechanism Part B, MIE, UK: Academic Press, 2016, pp. 373-428.

Complete Publications List