Eamonn Dickson, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor
4112A Tupper Hall
Davis Campus


Ion channels of the plasma membrane play a central role in many physiological processes, including action potential firing, neurotransmitter and peptide hormone release, and muscle contraction. Many of these ion channels interact with local phospholipids, called phosphoinositides. Thus, essential membrane lipid-protein interactions help shape cellular excitability. Research in our laboratory takes a multi-disciplinary approach to investigate: (1) the electrical and molecular properties of phosphoinositide-dependent ion channels of organelle membranes and the role they have in shaping specific organelle function, (2) the source, roles, and regulatory mechanisms of inter-organelle lipid signaling networks, and (3) determine key signaling lipids that may be altered during pathophysiological conditions. The ultimate goal of this work is to enhance our understanding of the biophysical and molecular properties of intracellular membranes in health and disease.

For more information, visit the Dickson laboratory website.

Descending chronological order (Dual first authorship is denoted by *)

Dixon RE, Vivas O, Hannigan KI, Dickson EJ. Ground State Depletion Super-resolution Imaging in Mammalian Cells. J Vis Exp. 2017 Nov 5;(129). doi: 10.3791/56239.

Dickson EJ. Endoplasmic Reticulum-Plasma Membrane Contacts Regulate Cellular Excitability. Adv Exp Med Biol. 2017;997:95-109. doi: 10.1007/978-981-10-4567-7_7.

Dickson EJ. RASSF4: Regulator of plasma membrane PI(4,5)P2. J Cell Biol. 2017 Jul 3;216(7):1879-1881. doi: 10.1083/jcb.20170604

Dickson EJ, Jensen JB, Vivas O, Kruse M, Traynor-Kaplan AE, Hille B. Dynamic formation of ER-PM junctions presents a lipid phosphatase to regulate phosphoinositides. J Cell Biol. 2016 Apr 11;213(1):33-48. doi: 10.1083/jcb.201508106

Traynor-Kaplan A, Kruse M, Dickson EJ, Dai G, Vivas O, Yu H, Whittington D, Hille B. Fatty-acyl chain profiles of cellular phosphoinositides. Biochim Biophys Acta. 2017 May;1862(5):513-522. doi: 10.1016/j.bbalip.2017.02.002. Epub 2017 Feb 9.

Dickson EJ (Corresponding author), Jensen JB, Vivas O, Kruse M, Traynor-Kaplan A, Hille B. Rapid formation of ER-PM junctions presents a lipid phosphatase to regulate phosphoinositide metabolism. J Cell Biol. 2016; 11;213(1):33-48

Dickson EJ (Corresponding author), Jensen JB, Hille B. Regulation of calcium and phosphoinositides at endoplasmic reticulum–membrane junctions. Biochem Soc Trans. 2016; 15;44(2):467-73.

Yu H, Dickson EJ, Koh DS, Hille B. Melatonin and N-acetyl melatonin are membrane-permeant hormones. J. Gen. Physiol., 2016;147(1):63-7

Hille B, Dickson EJ, Kruse M, Suh BC, Vivas O. Phosphoinositides regulate ion channels. Biochimica et Biophysica Acta., 2015 Jun;1851: 844-856

Dickson EJ, Jensen JB, Hille B. Golgi and plasma membrane pools of PI(4)P contribute to plasma membrane PI(4,5)P2 and maintenance of KCNQ2/3 ion channel current. PNAS., 2014; E2281–E2290.

Dickson EJ, Falkenburger BH, Hille B. Quantitative properties and receptor reserve of the IP3 and calcium branch of Gq-coupled receptor signaling. J. Gen. Physiol., 2013; May;141(5):521-35

Falkenbuger BH,* Dickson EJ,* Hille B. Quantitative properties and receptor reserve of the DAG and PKC branch of Gq-coupled receptor signaling. J. Gen. Physiol., 2013; May;141(5):537-55

Dickson EJ, Duman JG, Moody, MW, Chen L, Hille B. Orai-STIM mediated Ca2+ release from secretory granules revealed by a novel Ca2+ and pH probe. PNAS., 2012; Dec 18;109(51):E3539-48

Idevall-Hagren O, Dickson EJ, Hille B, Toomre DK, De Camilli P. Optogenetic control of phosphoinositide metabolism. PNAS., 2012; Aug 28;109(35): E2316-23.

Falkenburger BH, Jensen JB, Dickson EJ, Suh BC, Hille B. Phosphoinositides: lipid regulators of membrane proteins. J. Physiol., 2010; Sep 1; 588(Pt 17): 3179-3185.

Heredia DJ*, Dickson EJ*, Bayguinov PO, Hennig GW, Smith TK. Colonic elongation inhibits pellet propulsion and migrating motor complexes in the murine large bowel. J. Physiol., 2010; Aug 1; 588(Pt 15): 2919-2934

Dickson EJ, Heredia DJ, Smith TK. Critical role of 5-HT1A, 5-HT3, and 5-HT7 receptor subtypes in the initiation, generation, and propagation of the murine colonic migrating motor complex. Am. J. Physiol., 2010; Jul; 299(1): G144-157.

Smith TK, Dickson EJ, Heredia DJ, Hennig GW, Bayguinov PO. Controversies involving the role of 5-hydroxytryptamine (5-HT) in generating colonic migrating motor complexes: what is spontaneous? Gastroenterology, 2010; Mar; 138(3): 1213-1214.

Dickson EJ, Heredia DJ, McCann CJ, Hennig GW, Smith TK. The mechanisms underlying the generation of the colonic migrating motor complex in both wild-type and nNOS knockout mice. Am. J. Physiol., 2010; Feb; 298(2): 222-233.

Heredia DJ,* Dickson EJ,* Bayguinov PO, Hennig GW, Smith TK. Localized release of 5-HT by a fecal pellet regulates migrating motor complexes in murine colon. Gastroenterology, 2009; Apr;136(4): 1328-1338.

Dickson EJ, Hennig GW, Heredia DJ, Lee HT, Bayguinov PO, Spencer NJ, Smith TK. Polarized intrinsic neural reflexes in response to colonic elongation. J. Physiol., 2008; Sep 1; 586(Pt 17): 4225-4240.

Smith TK, Spencer NJ, Hennig GW, Dickson EJ. Recent advances in enteric neurobiology: mechanosensitive interneurons. Neurogastroenterol. Motil., 2007; 19: 869–878

Smith TK, Dickson EJ, Hennig GW, Bayguinov PO, Spencer NJ. Colonic elongation activates an intrinsic reflex that underlies slow transit and accommodation. Physiological News, 2007; Number 69.

Dickson EJ, Spencer NJ, Bayguinov PO, Heredia DJ, Hennig GW, Smith TK. An intrinsic occult reflex underlies accommodation and slow transit in the distal large bowel. Gastroenterology, 2007; 132(5): 1912-24.

Spencer NJ*, Dickson EJ*, Hennig GW, Smith TK. Sensory elements within the circular muscle are essential for mechanotransduction of ongoing peristaltic reflex activity in guinea-pig distal colon. J. Physiol., 2006; 15; 576(Pt 2): 519-531.

Spencer N, Hennig GW, Dickson EJ, Smith TK. Synchronization of enteric neuronal firing during the murine colonic MMC. J. Physiol., 2005; 564: 829-847.

  • Best presentation H.D. Patton symposium, University of Washington, 2015
  • Member, Biochemical Society, 2015 –
  • Member, American Society for Cell Biology, 2014 —
  • Participant, 3-day Virtual Cell Short Course, Virtual Cell Modeling & Analysis, University of Connecticut, 2012
  • Chair, Voltage-Sensitive Proteins, Biophysical Society 56th Annual Meeting, San Diego, Ca, 2012
  • Organizer, Interdisciplinary Lipid meeting, University of Washington, 2011—present
  • Best presentation H.D. Patton symposium, University of Washington, 2011
  • Member, Biophysical Society, 2011— present
  • Glen E. Whiddett award for outstanding graduate student, University of Nevada, Reno, 2008
  • Graduate student research grant award winner, University of Nevada, Reno, 2008
  • Most outstanding international graduate student, University of Nevada, Reno, 2008
  • Most outstanding international graduate student, University of Nevada, Reno, 2007
  • Elected student President for Biomedical Science, Queens University, Belfast, 2004–2005