Prions and Protein Misfolding – Unravelling the Evidence.

Condensed Matter lunchtime seminar

Prions and Protein Misfolding – Unravelling the Evidence.

  • Event time: 1:00pm until 2:00pm
  • Event date: 26th June 2017
  • Speaker: Dr Neil McKenzie (National CJD Research and Surveillance Unit, Edinburgh)
  • Location: Room 2511,

Event details

Prions are infectious misfolded proteins which cause fatal disease. In the U.K. they are of particular interest due to the well-publicised BSE and vCJD crises which were caused by prion-contaminated foods. As an infection source, prions are resistant to almost all forms of sterilisation. They are interesting in that the native protein structure can misfold to create a ‘seed’ structure that is both self-propagating and highly infectious.  

In some species, prions can be transmitted horizontally between societal groups or vertically from mother to child. Prion diseases can even jump between species. Since prion diseases typically have a latency period of decades, this can make detection and experimentation difficult.  

The National CJD Research and Surveillance Unit (NCJDRSU) laboratories monitor the incidence of human prion disease in the U.K., along with conducting research into improved surveillance methods.  

The seminar will give a broad background to prion disease. It will cover the structural and biochemical features of the prion protein which account for its unique properties, along with methods of diagnosis and surveillance. The work of the NCJDRSU, including some of our current research projects and recent findings, will also be discussed. 

This is a weekly series of informal talks given primarily by members of the soft condensed matter and statistical mechanics groups, but is also open to members of other groups and external visitors. The aim of the series is to promote discussion and learning of various topics at a level suitable to the broad background of the group. Everyone is welcome to attend..

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