David A. Harris, MD/PhD (Boston)

“The Prion Protein: A Dual Role in Prion and Alzheimer’s Diseases”

When Oct 22, 2013
from 11:00 AM to 12:00 PM
Where Bioinformatics 1131
Contact Name
Contact Phone 919-843-9986
Attendees open to the public
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David A. Harris, MD/PhD

Professor and Chair, Biochemistry
Boston University

SEMINAR: “The Prion Protein: A Dual Role in Prion and Alzheimer’s Diseases”

Host: Leslie Parise, PhD

Listen to a podcast about the seminar

Text of Podcast

Welcome to the science seminar podcast featured by the Department of Biochemistry and Biophysics at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

My name is Doan On, a 2nd year graduate student in the department.  I’d like to tell you about an upcoming seminar.

On Tuesday, Oct 21st, Dr. David Harris from the Department of Biochemistry at Boston University School of Medicine will present his exciting work into uncovering the molecular bases of diseases caused by misfolded proteins or ‘prions.’  Prion diseases afflict humans and animals alike and disrupt normal neural and motor functioning that is invariably fatal.  Cattle, for example, can contract bovine spongiform encephalopathy or “Mad Cow disease” which has raised concerns in recent years.  Diseases specific to humans like Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease and Kuru have a similar mechanism of pathogenesis—that is, normal proteins coming into direct contact with prions become misfolded themselves.   Why misfolded proteins lead to neurodegeneration is currently unknown. 

Dr. Harris’s team has identified a promising avenue to curtail the neurotoxic effects of prions within the context of Alzheimer’s disease. Thirty-five million individuals worldwide currently are afflicted with Alzheimers with this figure expected to increase as the population ages.

By studying a cell surface glycoprotein called cellular prion protein or PrPc, he and his team have found that soluble forms of PrPc could be a viable therapeutic option through sequestration of toxic protein oligomers implicated in the neurodegeneration and motor dysfunction observed in Alzheimer’s patients.  

Please join us at Dr. David Harris’s seminar at 11am in room 1131 at the Bioinformatics building to learn more about his latest research into PrPc at the crossroads of physiology and disease.

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