Dr. Toombes completed a B.Sc. (Hons) in theoretical physics with Howard Wiseman at the University of Queensland in 1997. He then joined the laboratory of Sol Gruner at Cornell University, and in 2007 received a Ph.D. in experimental physics for structural studies of polymers, proteins and biological membranes. After post-doctoral training with Patricia Bassereau at the Institut Curie studying protein-membrane interactions, he joined the laboratory of Dr. Kenton Swartz at NINDS in 2012. He is currently a staff scientist where his research focuses on the molecular mechanisms by which cells sense and respond to their environment.
The ability of cells to sense and react to changes in their environment is critical to their survival. For example, dysfunction of ion channels modulated by light, temperature, voltage, pH, specific ligands, ionic concentrations, redox potential, light, or mechanical force have been implicated in diseases including epilepsy, migraine, blindness, cardiac dysrhythmias, hypertension, asthma, polycystic kidney disease, diabetes, and cancer. Dr Toombes’ current research focusses on understanding the physical and molecular mechanisms ion channels and other biomolecules employ to detect and respond to their environment.
Gupta, K., Toombes, G.E.S., and Swartz, K.J. (2019). Exploring structural dynamics of a membrane protein by combining bioorthogonal chemistry and cysteine mutagenesis. ELife 8, e50776.
Papp, F., Lomash, S., Szilagyi, O., Babikow, E., Smith, J., Chang, T.-H., Bahamonde, M.I., Toombes, G.E.S., and Swartz, K.J. (2019). TMEM266 is a functional voltage sensor regulated by extracellular Zn2+. ELife 8, e42372.
Garten, M., Mosgaard, L., Bornschloegl, T., Dieudonne, S., Bassereau, P. & Toombes, G.E.S. (2017). Whole-GUV Patch-Clamping. Proceedings of National Academy of Sciences, 114(2), 328–333.
Li, M., Toombes, G.E.S., Silberberg, S.D. & Swartz, K.J. (2015). Physical basis of apparent pore dilation of ATP-activated P2X receptor channels. Nature Neuroscience, 18(11), 1577-1583.
Aimon, S., Callan-Jones, A., Berthaud, A., Pinot, M., Toombes, G.E.S. & Bassereau, P. (2014). Membrane shape can modulate trans-membrane protein distribution. Developmental Cell, 28(2), 212-218.
Aimon, S., Manzi, J., Schmidt, D., Larrosa, J.A.P., Bassereau, P. & Toombes, G.E.S. (2011). Functional Reconstitution of a Voltage-Gated Potassium Channel in Giant Unilamellar Vesicles. PLoS One. 6(10), e25529.