prion diseases The overall objective of my research is to study the molecular biology of prion diseases and to use gained understanding for delineating novel targets for intervention. We were the first to describe the roles of autophagy in prion infection, and pioneered and patented active immunization strategies, now against CWD. We defined modulation of protein quality control as novel intervention strategy, established important cell culture models for prion infection, and analysed the underlying molecular biology in detail. Our work provided the most comprehensive characterization of PrP gene phylogeny and we characterized many anti-prion compounds. Collaborative work with my former trainee Ina Vorberg, now Associate Professor at the German Center for Neurodegenerative Diseases (DZNE) in Bonn, Germany, showed that cytosolic protein aggregates behave as infectious entities in mammalian cells. This work was at the forefront of prion-like phenomena and was highlighted in PNAS (In this Issue) and Cell (Leading Edge). In summary, our studies provided new molecular insights and novel avenues for therapy against prion and protein misfolding disorders.
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