I am a clinician scientist (neurologist) with an interest in rapidly progressive dementias caused by proteins that misfold.
I lead a research team looking into the pathogenesis of these diseases at the level of protein structure and the brain. We primarily study prion diseases, which include bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE or mad cow disease) in cattle, chronic wasting disease (CWD) in deer, elk and moose, Creutzfeldt Jakob disease (CJD) in humans, and scrapie in sheep. These diseases result when a normal protein, the prion protein (PrP), misfolds into a higher beta sheet state and aggregates in the brain. A rapid neurodegeneration follows, which, in people, usually includes dementia, ataxia, visual hallucinations and myoclonus, ending with akinetic mutism. The diseases are always fatal and there are no treatments.
Interested in learning more? Check out my lab webpage at: