Simon Vu, Ph.D.

Simon Vu, Ph.D.
Postdoctoral fellow, Lü Laboratory


Dr. Simon Vu earned his Ph.D. in pharmacology and toxicology from the University of California, Davis, and a B.S. in molecular and cellular biology, also from University of California, Davis. His graduate work focused on the activation and gating mechanisms of TRP channels. Dr. Vu’s lab skills include electrophysiology, computational modeling, calcium and spectral imaging, among others. In 2020, he joined the lab of Dr. Wei Lu as a postdoctoral fellow.


Current research focus

Dr. Vu studyies TRP channel gating mechanisms using cryo-EM, electrophysiology and fluorescence.

Education & Training

Ph.D. in pharmacology and toxicology, University of California, Davis
Thesis: Activation and gating of TRP channels by natural and synthesized chemicals

B.S. in molecular and cellular biology, University of California, Davis


AHA Predoctoral Fellowship (2016–2018)


To view a list of selected publications click below.

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Vu S, Singh V, Wulff H, Yarov-Yarovoy V, Zheng J. 2020. New capsaicin analogs as molecular rulers to define the permissive conformation of the mouse TRPV1 ligand-binding pocket. eLife.

Liu C*, Reese R*, Vu S*, Rougé L, Shields SD, Kakiuchi-Kiyota S, Chen H, Johnson K, Shi YP, Chernov-Rogan T, Zabala Greiner DM, Bir Kohli P, Hackos D, Brillantes B, Tam C, Li T, Wang J, Safina B, Magnuson S, Volgraf M, Payandeh J, Zheng J, Rohou A, Chen J. 2020. A non-covalent ligand reveals biased agonism of the TRPA1 ion channel. Neuron.
*Equal contributions

Du G, Tian Y, Yao Z, Vu S, Zheng J, Chai L, Wang K, Yang S. 2020. A specialized pore turret in the mammalian cation channel TRPV1 is responsible for distinct and species-specific heat activation thresholds. J Biol Chem 295(28):9641–9649.

Zhu A, Aierken A, Yao Z, Vu S, Tian Y, Zheng J, Yang S, Yang F. 2020. A centipede toxin causes rapid desensitization of nociceptor TRPV1 ion channel. Toxicon 178:41–49.

Y Yin*, Y Dong*, S Vu*, F Yang, V Yarov-Yarovoy, Y Tian, J Zheng. 2019. Structural mechanism underlying TRPV1 activation by pungent compounds in gingers. British J Pharmacol 176(17):3364–3377.
*Equal contributions

Y Dong*, Y Yin*, S Vu*, F Yang, V Yarov-Yarovoy, Y Tian, J Zheng. 2019. A distinct structural

mechanism underlies TRPV1 activation by piperine. BBRC 516(2):365–372.
*Equal contributions

Huijun Wang*, Zhe Xu*, Bo Hyun Lee*, Simon Vu*, Linghan Hu, Mingyang Lee, Dingfang

Bu, Xu Cao, Yong Yang, Jie Zheng, Zhimiao Lin. 2018. Gain-of-function mutations in TRPM4 activation gate cause progressive symmetric erythrokeratoderma. J Investig Dermatol 139(5):1089–1097.
*Equal contributions

Fan Yang, Xian Xiao, Bo Hyun Lee, Simon Vu, Wei Yang, Vladimir Yarov-Yarovoy, Jie

Zheng. 2018. The conformational wave in capsaicin activation of transient receptor potential vanilloid 1 ion channel. Nature Commun 9(2879).

Fan Yang*, Simon Vu*, Vladimir Yarov-Yarovoy, Jie Zheng. 2016. Rational design and validation of a vanilloid-sensitive TRPV2 ion channel. Proc Nat Acad Sci U S A 113(26):E3657–E3666.
*Equal contributions

Linlin Ma*, Fan Yang*, Simon Vu, Jie Zheng. 2016. Exploring functional roles of TRPV1

intracellular domains with unstructured peptide-insertion screening. Sci Rep 6(33827).
*Equal contributions

Chung S, Vu Simon, Filosto S, Goldkorn T. 2015. Src regulates Neutral Sphingomyelinase 2 via p38 MAPK during oxidative stress in airway epithelium. Am J Respir Cell Mol Biol 52(6):738–748.