Rouslan Efremov Lab

Research focus

Many important biological processes are regulated by large protein complexes. These complexes are typically dynamic: they often change their structure and even composition as they fulfill their biological role.  We are interested in understanding the mechanistic aspects of their functioning.  Therefore we use single particle transmission electron cryogenic microscopy (cryo-EM) to study structure and dynamics of the protein complexes.
Our current focus is on a membrane protein ryanodine receptor, the largest known ion channel.  Ryanodine receptors play important role in many tissues in particular in contraction of skeletal and cardiac muscles. These ion channels are of significant medical importance as they represent important drug targets against cardiac and muscular diseases. We aim at determining the high-resolution structures of ryanodine receptors in multiple functional states. This will allow us to understand how numerous factors alter the protein conformation and regulate the ion transport.

In addition to studying the structure of the protein complexes we are interested in development of the method of single particle cryo-EM. Single particle cryo-EM has an immense not realized potential for determining high-resolution structures of challenging macromolecular complexes from a very small amount of material. Here our goal is to improve existing sample preparation and image processing approaches.



An intrinsically disordered entropic switch determines allostery in Phd-Doc regulationGarcia Pino A, De Gieter S, Talavera Perez A, De Greve H, Efremov R, Loris RNature Chemical Biology, 12, 490-6, 2016
Architecture and conformational switch mechanism of the ryanodine receptorEfremov R, Leitner A, Aebersold R, Raunser SNATURE, 517, 39-43, 2015
Mechanism of Tc toxin action revealed in molecular detailMeusch D* Gatsogiannis C* Efremov R* Lang A Hofnagel O Vetter I Aktories K Raunser SNATURE, 508, 61-5, 2014* These authors contributed equally
Structure of the membrane domain of respiratory complex IEfremov R, Sazanov LNATURE, 476, 414-20, 2011
The architecture of respiratory complex IEfremov R, Baradaran R, Sazanov LNATURE, 465, 441-5, 2010


3 accomplished VIB Scientists receive ERC Consolidator grants

14/03/2017 - In November of 2016, three of our very own top researchers, Stein Aerts, Martin Guilliams and Rouslan Efremov were awarded Consolidator Grants, bringing the total number of such ERC grants won by VIB scientists up to 43.

ERC Consolidator Grants for three VIB scientists

30/11/2016 - The European Research Council (ERC) has awarded 3 VIB scientists a consolidator grant: Stein Aerts (VIB-KU Leuven), Martin Guilliams (VIB-UGent) and Rouslan Efremov (VIB-VUB).

A step forward in understanding muscle diseases

04/05/2015 - Rouslan Efremov, together with his former colleagues from Max Planck, unraveled the structure and mechanism of the ryanodine receptor.

Structure and mechanism of ryanodine receptor revealed - step forward in understanding muscle diseases

01/12/2014 - ​Every single moment our life depends on the reliable functioning of muscles. Even slight malfunction of muscles results in diseases.

Rouslan Efremov

Rouslan Efremov

Research area(s)


​PhD: Moscow Institute for Physics and Technology, Moscow, Russia, ,05
Postdoc: MRC Mitochondrial Biology Unit, Cambridge, UK, ,06-,10
Postdoc: Max Planck Institute for Molecular Physiology, Dortmund, Germany, ,11-,12
VIB group leader at VIB since April 2013

Contact Info

VIB-VUB Center for Structural BiologyBuilding EPleinlaan 2 1050 BRUSSELRoute description
rouslan.efremov-x-@-x-vub.vib.bePhone: +32 2 629 19 96