Distinguished Lecture Series Guest Speaker:
Gregory A. Petsko
Gyula and Katica Tauber Professor of Biochemistry and Chemistry and Chair, Department of Biochemistry, Brandeis University, Adjunct Professor, Department of Neurology and Center for Neurologic Diseases, Harvard Medical School and Brigham & Women's Hospital
Over one million Americans suffer from Parkinson's Disease and that figure will rise to more than three million in the next 30 years. Upwards of another million suffer from Lewy Body Dementia, a relative of Parkinson's Disease that presents as cognitive defects rather than a movement disorder. Increasing evidence especially from human genetics suggests that misfolding and oligomerization of the neuronal protein alpha-synuclein is the molecular basis for the pathogenesis of both diseases, but an understanding of how those aberrant forms of the protein arise is lacking. I will present new data from our lab, involving studies ranging from genetics and biochemistry in model organisms to X-ray crystallography of Parkinson's-associated proteins, that leads to a coherent and comprehensive pathway linking both the sporadic, idiopathic forms of these diseases and the rarer, familial inherited forms.