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Schreiter Lab

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The brain delivers incredible computational power to enact complex and flexible behaviors in animals as a result of the intricate interconnections between neurons. We use protein engineering to develop useful molecular tools to visualize the structure and function of the nervous system.

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We test new protein scaffolds, apply knowledge of protein structure and function, and evolve proteins in a directed manner to engineer proteins with novel functions. These functions can be the ability to give off light, change color, capture synthetic molecules, change shape, or interact with other biomolecules in ways that make them useful to read out or manipulate the activity of cells. Examples of current projects include sensors to permanently mark and manipulate active neuron ensembles, as well as bright and photostable sensors of membrane potential, calcium, and neurotransmitters.


Collaboration is critical for progress. We work closely with neurobiology labs at Janelia and elsewhere studying mice, fruit flies, and zebrafish to address important biological questions and to get rapid feedback about in vivo function of new tool prototypes.  Janelia has a strong community of other tool development labs, project teams, and shared resources that support our efforts.

Interested in developing molecular tools at Janelia?

We have opportunities for postdoctoral researchers, PhD students (through the Johns Hopkins / Janelia graduate program, or graduate research fellowship program), and undergraduate students (through the Janelia Undergraduate Scholars summer program).

For inquiries email