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Eric Geertsma joins CEF

January 2014. CEF is pleased to announce that Eric Geertsma joins CEF as W1 Professor in Membrane/Lipid Biochemistry in January 2014. His research on secondary solute carriers will complement the strong membrane biology research in CEF.


Eric Geertsma has a broad interest in membrane proteins. In the last decade he has studied these proteins in various aspects ranging from their biogenesis and role in cell physiology to their mechanistic features. His current focus is on obtaining a mechanistic understanding for secondary-active transporters that are closely related to human solute carrier (SLC) families. These SLC families represent important targets as malfunctioning of these transporters is often disease-related and the knowledge on their transport mechanism is still limited.

Combining structure and function
For his PhD project, Eric Geertsma studied the structure-function relationships in a bacterial lactose transporter in the group of Bert Poolman at the University of Groningen in the Netherlands. Using in vitro and in vivo functional studies he determined the mode of regulation and cooperativity within this dimeric transport protein. After completing his PhD in 2005, Eric Geertsma continued in the same group, but this time with a focus on the overexpression of membrane proteins. He established a pipeline for high-throughput expression in the alternative host Lactococcus lactis and set up an assay to quickly determine the ratio of well-folded and aggregated membrane protein during expression trials. To complement his expertise in the functional analysis and overexpression of membrane proteins, in 2008 Eric Geertsma joined the research group of Raimund Dutzler at the University of Zurich, supported by fellowships from FEBS and HFSP. In Zurich, Eric Geertsma worked on the structural characterization of membrane proteins homologous to a certain human SLC family. Using Nanobodies as crystallization chaperones, he obtained well-diffraction crystals that resulted in the first high resolution structural characterization of this specific class of membrane proteins.


Eric Geertsma
Institute of Biochemistry
Biocenter, Riedberg Campus
Goethe University Frankfurt
Max von Laue Str. 7
60438 Frankfurt am Main