Many neurodegenerative diseases are caused by prion-like self-propagating aggregates of specific proteins such as tau (e.g., Alzheimer’s), α-synuclein (e.g., Parkinson’s), and PrP (prion diseases). We emphasize biochemical, structural biological, and cell biological studies of such pathological aggregates. For example, we have used cryo-electron microscopy to determine the first high-resolution structures of bona fide infectious PrP prions. We have exploited the self-propagating properties of proteopathic aggregates to develop ultrasensitive seed amplification assays (RT-QuIC assays) that are not only valuable in fundamental research, but also providing high diagnostic accuracy for prion diseases and synucleinopathies using clinically accessible biospecimens. Our tau RT-QuIC assays can detect and discriminate different pathological forms of tau aggregates with unprecedented sensitivity, and we are currently evaluating their diagnostic utility. We are also seeking to improve the practicality and quantitative precision of RT-QuIC assays. Armed with our new near-atomic prion structures, we are seeking new approaches to blocking prion growth and toxicity for therapeutic purposes against prion disease.
Byron Caughey, Ph.D.
Chief, TSE/Prion Biochemistry Section
Ph.D., 1985, University of Wisconsin-Madison
Christina Doriana Orru`-Grovemann, Ph.D. (She/Her/Hers)
Ph.D., University of Cagliari, Italy
Languages Spoken: Italian
Andrew, G. Hughson, M.S. (He/Him/His)
M.S., Genetics and Cell Biology, 1994, Washington State University
Ankit Srivastava, Ph.D. (He/Him/His)
Ph.D., Indian institute of technology Delhi (IIT Delhi), India
Languages Spoken: Hindi
Efrosini Artikis, Ph.D. (She/Her/Hers)
Languages Spoken: Greek
Parvez Alam, Ph.D.
Ph.D., Aligarh Muslim University, India
Languages Spoken: Hindi, Urdu
Kachi Isiofia, B.S. (She/Her/Hers)
Postbaccalaureate Research Trainee
Bachelor of Science, Biology, 2020, St. Joseph’s College, Patchogue, NY