Ryan Hibbs graduated from Whitman College, a small liberal arts college in Washington State, with a combined degree in Chemistry/Biochemistry. During doctoral research at the University of California, San Diego, he studied ligand specificity and conformational changes in an ion channel ligand binding domain under the supervision of Dr. Palmer Taylor (Department of Pharmacology). As a post-doctoral fellow, he pursued structural and functional studies of ligand-gated ion channels in the laboratory of Dr. Eric Gouaux (HHMI/Vollum Institute).  He joined the faculty in the Departments of Neuroscience (primary) and Biophysics (secondary) in 2012.

The Hibbs laboratory is pursuing atomic-scale mechanisms of synaptic proteins, with a current focus on ligand-gated ion channel structure and function. We employ a multidisciplinary approach encompassing molecular biology, protein biochemistry, pharmacology, electrophysiology, x-ray crystallography and cryo-electron microscopy.


Whitman College (2000), Chemistry
Graduate School
University of California-San D (2006)

Research Interest

  • Ion channel structure-function
  • Ligand recognition
  • Membrane protein structural biology


Featured Publications LegendFeatured Publications

X-ray structures of GluCl in apo states reveal a gating mechanism of Cys-loop receptors
Althoff T*, Hibbs RE*, Banerjee S and Gouaux E (*Equal contribution) Nature 2014 7514 512 333-7
A fluorescence-detection size-exclusion chromatography-based thermostability assay for membrane protein precrystallization screening
Hattori M*, Hibbs RE*, Gouaux E (*Equal contribution) Structure 2012 8 20
Principles of activation and permeation in an anion-selective Cys-loop receptor.
Hibbs RE, Gouaux E Nature 2011 Jun 474 7349 54-60
Structural determinants for interaction of partial agonists with acetylcholine binding protein and neuronal alpha7 nicotinic acetylcholine receptor.
Hibbs RE, Sulzenbacher G, Shi J, Talley TT, Conrod S, Kem WR, Taylor P, Marchot P, Bourne Y EMBO J. 2009 Oct 28 19 3040-51
Atomic interactions of neonicotinoid agonists with AChBP: molecular recognition of the distinctive electronegative pharmacophore.
Talley TT, Harel M, Hibbs RE, Radic Z, Tomizawa M, Casida JE, Taylor P Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A. 2008 May 105 21 7606-11
Structure-guided drug design: conferring selectivity among neuronal nicotinic receptor and acetylcholine-binding protein subtypes.
Taylor P, Talley TT, Radic' Z, Hansen SB, Hibbs RE, Shi J Biochem. Pharmacol. 2007 Oct 74 8 1164-71
Influence of agonists and antagonists on the segmental motion of residues near the agonist binding pocket of the acetylcholine-binding protein
Hibbs RE, Radic Z, Taylor P, Johnson DA J Biol Chem 2006 51 281 39708-18
Structural dynamics of the alpha-neurotoxin-acetylcholine-binding protein complex: hydrodynamic and fluorescence anisotropy decay analyses.
Hibbs RE, Johnson DA, Shi J, Hansen SB, Taylor P Biochemistry 2005 Dec 44 50 16602-11

Honors & Awards

  • Alzheimer’s Disease Research Grant
    Friends of the Alzheimer’s Disease Center (2014)
  • Klingenstein-Simons Award in the Neurosciences
  • McKnight Scholar Award
  • Chemical Research Grant
    The Welch Foundation (2013)
  • NIH Pathway to Independence Award
    National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (2012)
  • NIH Ruth L. Kirschstein NRSA Postdoctoral Fellowship
    National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (2007)
  • Roland Robbins Pharmacology Dissertation Award
    PhD Thesis, UC San Diego (2006)