Membrane Biology Laboratory

George Sachs, DSc, MD (Memorium: November 12, 2019) is best known for his studies of the biochemistry and biology of the gastric H+,K+-ATPase. He showed that acid secretion by the stomach is due to an electro-neutral ATP-dependent pump, the H+-K+-ATPase. Based on this discovery, he helped to develop drugs, the PPIs, that specifically targeted this pump. These drugs are now the mainstay of treatment of peptic ulcer disease and gastro-esophageal reflux disease. Dr. Sachs has received many honors and awards, including the William Beaumont Prize in Gastroenterology, the Hoffman LaRoche Award, the William S. Middleton Award, the Janssen Award for Special Achievement in Gastroenterology and the Gairdner Foundation Award. He wrote more than 375 peer-reviewed articles, 76 reviews, 32 book chapters, and 8 books.

Research projects continue within the Membrane Biology Laboratory and are led by Drs. Elizabeth Marcus, Keith Munson and Olga Vagin.


  • Elizabeth Marcus, PhD
  • Keith Munson, PhD
  • Olga Vagin, PhD


  • JC Healthcare
  • VA Merit Review

Current research projects

  • Studying the structure-function and the intracellular assembly of the H+-K+-ATPase
  • Gastric infection by Helicobacter pylori

Key publications

  1. Wen Y, Scott DR, Vagin O, Tokhtaeva E, Marcus EA, Sachs G. Measurement of Internal pH in Helicobacter pylori by Using Gree Fluorescent Protein FluorimetryJ Bacteriol 2018 Jun 25;200(14). pii: e00178-18. doi: 10.1128/JB.00178-18. Print 2018 Jul 15
  2. Marcus EA, Sachs G, Scott DR. Acid-regulated gene expression of Helicobacter pylori: Insight into acid protection and gastric colonizationHelicobacter 2018 Jun;23(3):e12490. doi: 10.1111/hel.12490. Epub 2018 Apr 25
  3. Abe K, Shimokawa, Naito M, Munson K, Vagin O, Sachs G, Suzuki H, Tani K, Fujiyoshi Y. The cryo-EM structure of gastric H+,K+-ATPase with bound BYK99, a high-affinity member of K+-competitive, imidazo[1,2-a]pyridine inhibitorsSci Rep. 2017 Jul 26;7(1):6632. doi: 10.1038/s41598-017-06698-8
  4. Scott DR, Sachs G, Marcus EA. The role of acid inhibition in Helicobacter pylori eradication. F1000Res. 2016 Jul 19;5. pii: F1000 Faculty Rev-1747. doi: 10.12688/f1000research.8598.1. eCollection 2016
  5. Marcus EA, Sachs G. Scott DR. Eradication of Helicobacter pylori infectionCurr Gastroenterol Rep. 2016 Jul;18(7):33. doi: 10.1007/s11894-016-0509-x
  6. Tokhtaeva E, Sun H, Deiss-Yehiely N, Wen Y, Soni PN, Gabrielli NM, Marcus EA, Ridge KM, Sachs G, Vazquez-Levin M, Sznajder JI, Vagin O, Dada LA. The O-glycosylated ectodomain of FXYD5 impairs adhesion by disrupting cell-cell trans-dimerization of Na,K-ATPase β1 subunitsJ Cell Sci. 2016 Jun 15;129(12):2394-406. doi: 10.1242/jcs.186148. Epub 2016 May 3
  7. Scott DR, Marcus EA, Sachs G. Vonoprazan: MarKed Competition for PPIs? Dig Dis Sci. 2016 Jul;61(7):1783-4. doi: 10.1007/s10620-016-4164-8
  8. Marcus EA, Tokhtaeva E, Turdikulova S, Capri J, Whitelegge JP, Scott DR, Sachs G, Berditchevski F, Vagin O. Septin oligomerization regulates persistent expression of ErbB2/HER2 in gastric cancer cellsBiochem J. 2016 Jun 15;473(12):1703-18. doi: 10.1042/BCJ20160203. Epub 2016 Apr 5
  9. Scott DR, Marcus EA, Weeks DL, Sachs G. Mechanisms of acid resistance due to the urease system of Helicobacter pyloriGastroenterology. 2002 Jul;123(1):187-95

Awards - Dr. Sachs has received many honors and award, including:

  • Gairdner Foundation Award (2004)
  • Janssen Award for Special Achievement in Gastroenterology (1998)
  • William S. Middleton Award (1992)
    • The William S. Middleton Award (Middleton Award) is the highest honor awarded annually by the Biomedical Laboratory Research and Development Service (BLR&D) to senior VA biomedical research scientists in recognition of their outstanding scientific contributions and achievements in the areas of biomedical and bio-behavioral research relevant to the healthcare of Veterans. Middleton Award recipients have achieved international acclaim for research accomplishments in areas of prime importance to VA's research mission. 
  • William Beaumont Prize in Gastroenterology (1985)
    • Established in 1976, this recognition prize honors a senior investigator who has made a major contribution (a single accomplishment or series of accomplishments) that has significantly advanced care of patients with digestive diseases through clinical or translational research.
  • Hoffman LaRoche Award (1982)

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