Lukas Tamm

Tamm, Lukas K.

Primary Appointment

Harrison Professor and Director Center for Membrane and Cell Physiology, Molecular Physiology and Biological Physics


  • Grad Res, Biochem and Biophysics, Cornell University
  • Dipl Biol II, Biological Sciences, University of Basel
  • PhD, Biophysics, University of Basel
  • Postdoc-Res, Biophysics, Stanford University

Contact Information

PO Box 800886
Charlottesville, VA 22908
Telephone: 434-982-3578; 434-982-3281

Research Disciplines

Biochemistry, Biophysics, Cell and Developmental Biology, Infectious Diseases/Biodefense, Microbiology, Molecular Biology, Physiology, Structural Biology, Translational Science

Research Interests

Biomembrane Structure and Function; Cell Entry of Enveloped Viruses; Neurosecretion by Exocytosis; Structure of Bacterial Pathogen Membrane Proteins; Lipid-Protein Interactions

Research Description

Our lab studies the structure and function of several membrane proteins of clinical importance in their natural membrane environment. We are also interested in the roles that membrane lipids play in the regulation of these proteins. Membrane proteins that play key roles in infectious and neurological diseases are of particular interest in our laboratory.

We investigate the entry of several enveloped viruses into cells, including influenza virus, human immunodeficiency virus, and Ebola virus. The mechanism of membrane fusion in this process and finding viral entry inhibitors are of particular interest.

We study the mechanism of neurotransmitter release at the synapse and its regulation by calcium. We are interested in elucidating the mechanism of exocytosis in neurons and insulin secreting cells by SNARE-mediated membrane fusion and the calcium control of this process by synaptotagmin. To this end, we use life-cell microscopy and ultrafast single particle tracking. The outcomes of these studies help to better understand neurological and neurodegenerative diseases, as well as diabetes.

Gram-negative bacteria like E.coli and Pseudomonas are enveloped by two membranes. We study channels of the outer membranes of these bacteria and their contribution to antibiotic resistance. Of particular interest is to understand and control the gating of the nanopores of OmpG from E. coli. Studies on the structure, lipid, and drug interactions OprG and OprH from Pseudomonas aeruginosa will help understanding the high antibiotic resistance of this serious human pathogen.

List of Publications in Pubmed

Selected Publications