Ralph Gradisch


Supervisor: Harald Sitte, Medical University of Vienna

Co-Supervisor: Margot Ernst, Medical University of Vienna


Start of project: 01.07.2019

Finishing date: 03.10.2023

Position after PhD: Postdoctoral Scientist at University of Zurich, Dept. of Toxicology and Pharmacology 


Title of the project: The energy coupling in the human serotonin transporter.


Research topic:  The human serotonin transporter (hSERT), member of the solute carrier 6 (SLC6) family, is primarily located on presynaptic neurons and terminates biogenic neurotransmission by the fast re-uptake of monoamines from the synaptic cleft. SERT is targeted by various therapeutics to modulate the serotonergic system, including selective serotonin inhibitors, SSRIs. For substrate translocation, SERT has to convert from the outward-open to the inward-open conformation, which requires energy, since the re-uptake is an energetically up-hill transport. The focus of my thesis is to introduce site-directed mutagenesis at highly conserved residues among the SLC6 family which are known to interact with the substrate, the ions or both. The aim is to identify and to characterize these enigmatic interactions that energize substrate transport, by combining experimental methods with molecular dynamic simulations.


Link to Publications by Ralph Gradisch


Internship abroad: Exploring binding and transport kinetics of SLC6 transporters with the SURFE2R technology; 01.04.2022 - 01.07.2022

Internship host: Nanion Technologies, Munich, GER

Awards: Best Student Poster Award at ISSR 2023, Serotonin on the Mexican Caribbean, Cancun, Apr 23-27; Poster prize MolTag Closing Conference, Sept 25-26 2023