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Nami Tajima, PhD
Assistant Professor
PhD, Yokohama City University, Japan
Postdoc training, Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, New York

Mailing Address:
Robbins E619
Cleveland , OH
Phone: 216-368-5519
Fax: 216-368-5586

Research Interests

Molecular Basis of Synaptic Transmission 

Synaptic transmission is an essential cellular event underlying learning and memory. Neuroreceptors, transporters, and ion channels mediate synaptic transmission, and their dysfunction is frequently implicated in brain diseases. 
Changes in receptor expression, number, subunit composition, post-translational modifications, and accessory proteins can all regulate the neuroreceptor functions and localizations, and thus support cellular forms of learning. Our laboratory is pursuing molecular mechanisms of neuroreceptors and co-factors expressed in the brain. We are specifically interested in understanding the physiological roles of neuroreceptors and their protein networks.  
Current areas of interest within the lab include the following: 
(1) dissecting the protein-protein/lipid interactions that are required for synaptic signal transduction in the brain.
(2) elucidating the structure and function of neuroreceptor signaling complexes.
(3) developing new therapeutic drugs and antibodies targeting neuroreceptor complexes.
We use a wide variety of techniques, including single-particle cryo-electron microscopy, X-ray crystallography, biochemical and biophysical techniques, and electrophysiology, to characterize the signaling complexes.
Postdoc and student positions available
The Tajima lab is currently seeing a postdoctoral fellow. Specialty in electrophysiology, cryo-EM, cellular biology, neuroscience, or biochemistry/biophysics is desirable. This position offers a significant opportunity for learning molecular and cellular biology and career growth in academia. To apply, please send a cover letter describing your research interests, a CV, and contact information for three references to Nami Tajima at If you are a student and are interested in lab rotation, please send an email to Nami. 

Featured Publications
  • Zhou C, Tajima N. Structural insights into NMDA receptor pharmacology. Biochem Soc Trans. 2023 Jul 11; BST20230122. doi: 10.1042/BST20230122.
  • Tajima N*, Simorowski, N*, Yovanno RA*, Regan MC, Michalski K, G├│mez R, Lau AY, and Furukawa H. Development and characterization of functional antibodies targeting NMDA receptors, Nat┬áCommun. 2022 Feb 17; 13(1):923. doi: 10.1038/s41467-022-28559-3. * These authors contributed equally to this work
  • Chou T*, Tajima N*, Romero-Hernandez A, Furukawa H. Structural Basis of Functional Transitions in Mammalian NMDA Receptors. Cell 2020 Jul 23;182(2):357-371.e13. doi: 10.1016/j.cell.2020.05.052 * These authors contributed equally to this work
  • Tajima N, Karakas E, Grant T, Simorowski N, Diaz-Avalos R, Grigorieff N and Furukawa H. Activation of NMDA receptors and the mechanism of inhibition by ifenprodil. Nature 2016 Jun;534:63-68. doi: 10.1038/nature17679
  • Jespersen A*, Tajima N*, Fernandez-Cuervo G, Garnier-Amblard EC, and Furukawa H. Structural Insights into Competitive Antagonism in NMDA Receptors. Neuron 2014 Jan;81(2):366-378. doi: 10.1016/j.neuron.2013.11.033 * These authors contributed equally to this work
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