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Emad Tajkhorshid

J. Woodland Hastings Endowed Chair in Biochemistry
Professor of Biophysics & Quantitative Biology


Emad Tajkhorshid is Hastings Endowed Chair in the Biochemistry Department, as well as holds additional appointments across multiple colleges that include Chemistry, Bioengineering, Pharmacology, Biophysics and Quantitative Biology, Computational Science and Engineering, and the Carle-Illinois College of Medicine at the University of Illinois. He is also a full time faculty member of the Beckman Institute for Advanced Science and Technology. He joined the faculty of the Departments of Biochemistry (LAS) and Pharmacology (UI COM) in 2007 and was fast tracked to associate professor with tenure in 2010 and then again to the rank of professor in 2013. His tenure dossier was selected as one of the two top UIUC tenure cases on campus. In 2015, Professor Tajkhorshid was named a University of Illinois Scholar, after being nominated by both UIUC and UIC campuses. In 2016, he was awarded the Faculty Excellence Award from the School of Molecular and Cellular Biology at UIUC. Later that year he was named Endowed Chair in Biochemistry. Emad Tajkhorshid directs the leads the NIH Center for Macromolecular Modeling and Bioinformatics and the Computational Structural Biology and Molecular Biophysics Group at the Beckman Institute. Dr. Tajkhorshid has authored nearly 300 research articles (H-index 78) with over 37,000 citations in such high profile journals as Nature, Science, Cell, eLife, and PNAS. He has delivered nearly 200 invited lectures at international meetings, universities, and research institutes. He has served on the Editorial Boards of multiple major journals, including Biophysical Journal, Journal of Biological Chemistry, PLoS Computational Biology, and Biochemical and Biophysical Research Communication.

Research Interests

Research Areas

Drug Discovery, Infectious Diseases, Ion Channels, Membrane Biology, Molecular Pharmacology, Neuroscience, Protein Biochemistry and Protein Structure, Signal Transduction, Virology

Research Description

The Tajkhorshid Group focuses on developing and applying advanced computational techniques to characterization of biological phenomena, particularly membranes and membrane proteins, with the aim of achieving the most detailed microscopic view of structural and dynamical bases underlying biological function. Major areas of his extensive research portfolio, which have enjoyed continuous support from multiple federal funding agencies (NIH, NSF, DOE, DOD) over many years, include mechanistic studies of membrane transport proteins, principles of energy transduction and coupling in bioenergetic proteins, and lipid modulation of protein function, e.g., in signaling proteins associated with the cellular membrane.


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

Awards and Honors

NIH Transformative Award, 2017-2022
Endowed Chair of Biochemistry, 2016-
MCB Faculty Excellence Award, 2016
University of Illinois Scholar, 2015-2018
UIUC top tenure packages of the year, 2010

Highlighted Publications

Sun, C., Benlekbir, S., Venkatakrishnan, P., Wang, Y., Hong, S., Hosler, J., Tajkhorshid, E., Rubinstein, J. L., & Gennis, R. B. (2018). Structure of the alternative complex III in a supercomplex with cytochrome oxidase. Nature, 557(7703), 123-126.

Wen, P. C., Vanegas, J. M., Rempe, S. B., & Tajkhorshid, E. (2018). Probing key elements of teixobactin-lipid II interactions in membranes. Chemical Science, 9(34), 6997-7008.

Jiang, T., Yu, K., Hartzell, H. C., & Tajkhorshid, E. (2017). Lipids and ions traverse the membrane by the same physical pathway in the nhTMEM16 scramblase. eLife, 6, [e28671].

Chen, S., Zhao, Y., Wang, Y., Shekhar, M., Tajkhorshid, E., & Gouaux, E. (2017). Activation and Desensitization Mechanism of AMPA Receptor-TARP Complex by Cryo-EM. Cell, 170(6), 1234-1246.e14.

Verhalen, B., Dastvan, R., Thangapandian, S., Peskova, Y., Koteiche, H. A., Nakamoto, R. K., Tajkhorshid, E., & McHaourab, H. S. (2017). Energy transduction and alternating access of the mammalian ABC transporter P-glycoprotein. Nature, 543(7647), 738-741.

Zeng, F., Chen, Y., Remis, J., Shekhar, M., Phillips, J. C., Tajkhorshid, E., & Jin, H. (2017). Structural basis of co-translational quality control by ArfA and RF2 bound to ribosome. Nature, 541(7638), 554-557.

Arcario, M. J., Mayne, C. G., & Tajkhorshid, E. (2017). A membrane-embedded pathway delivers general anesthetics to two interacting binding sites in the Gloeobacter violaceus ion channel. Journal of Biological Chemistry, 292(23), 9480-9492.

Mansoor, S. E., Lü, W., Oosterheert, W., Shekhar, M., Tajkhorshid, E., & Gouaux, E. (2016). X-ray structures define human P2X 3 receptor gating cycle and antagonist action. Nature, 538(7623), 66-71.

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Recent Publications

Barhaghi, M. S., Crawford, B., Schwing, G., Hardy, D. J., Stone, J. E., Schwiebert, L., Potoff, J., & Tajkhorshid, E. (2022). Py-MCMD: Python Software for Performing Hybrid Monte Carlo/Molecular Dynamics Simulations with GOMC and NAMD. Journal of Chemical Theory and Computation, 18(8), 4983-4994.

Chan, C. K., Singharoy, A., & Tajkhorshid, E. (Accepted/In press). Anionic Lipids Confine Cytochrome c2 to the Surface of Bioenergetic Membranes without Compromising Its Interaction with Redox Partners. Biochemistry, 61(5), 385-397.

Chen, H., Ogden, D., Pant, S., Cai, W., Tajkhorshid, E., Moradi, M., Roux, B., & Chipot, C. (2022). A Companion Guide to the String Method with Swarms of Trajectories: Characterization, Performance, and Pitfalls. Journal of Chemical Theory and Computation, 18(3), 1406-1422.

Dastvan, R., Rasouli, A., Dehghani-Ghahnaviyeh, S., Gies, S., & Tajkhorshid, E. (2022). Proton-driven alternating access in a spinster lipid transporter. Nature communications, 13(1), [5161].

Gullett, J. M., Cuypers, M. G., Grace, C. R., Pant, S., Subramanian, C., Tajkhorshid, E., Rock, C. O., & White, S. W. (2022). Identification of structural transitions in bacterial fatty acid binding proteins that permit ligand entry and exit at membranes. Journal of Biological Chemistry, 298(3).

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