Welcome to UW Biological Structure

Neuromast mitochondria


Retinal circuit


A novel retinal cell.



The Department of Biological Structure studies the structure and function of molecules, cells and networks with an emphasis on the nervous system.


Dr Tom Reh has been awarded an NIH competitive renewal grant
Grant Award

An NIH competitive renewal has been awarded to Tom Reh entitled “Stimulation of Retinal Regeneration”.  The project aims to better understand, and potentially overcome, the barriers to regeneration in the mammalian retina. 

Dr Wenqing Xu receives a new NIH RO1 grant
Grant Award

Dr. Wenqing Xu received a new NIH R01 grant to work on molecular 3D structures of a new class of transmembrane enzymes, which may contribute to development of novel antibiotics and anti-cancer drugs.

Kali Esancy et al from the Dhaka lab published a paper in eLife

It is titled "A zebrafish and mouse model for selective pruritus via direct activation of TRPA1"

Itch is an unpleasant cutaneous sensation that elicits a desire to scratch. However, little is known about the origins of this sensation in vertebrates. In a study published in the journal eLife, Esancy et al show that zebrafish are capable of itch sensation and uncover a rudimentary itch coding strategy that is conserved in mice, suggesting a mechanism by which this sensation may have arisen from a population of neurons that originally conveyed pain sensation.  Click here to see the article:  https://elifesciences.org/articles/32036