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Metlife Foundation recognizes Emory Alzheimer's disease researcher
Date:5/15/2014

Lary C. Walker, PhD, research professor of neuropharmacology and neurologic diseases and associate professor of neurology, Yerkes National Primate Research Center, Emory University, is a recipient of the 2014 MetLife Foundation Awards for Medical Research. The winners were recognized at a scientific briefing and awards ceremony today in New York.

Walker was recognized with his Germany-based colleague Mathias Jucker, PhD, for pioneering a unifying principle for the onset and evolution of late-life brain disorders, such as Alzheimer's and Parkinson's diseases, based on similarities with rare, fatal disorders known as prion diseases. Jucker is full professor at the Hertie Institute for Clinical Brain Research and German Center for Neurodegenerative Diseases in Tbingen, Germany.

Together, Walker and Jucker have amassed compelling experimental evidence that small aggregates of the basic proteins in prion diseases act as seeds that start a domino-like chain reaction that causes similar proteins to aggregate and spread the disease throughout the brain. They have jointly published a number of seminal papers on the seeding concept in age-related brain diseases, beginning with a study in Science in 2006, and their work has decisively established the seeding model as a comprehensive mechanistic explanation for the abnormal assembly of proteins and their spread through the brain in many of the devastating, untreatable brain diseases that affect humans.

Examples of their accomplishments include finding: protein-rich seeds of aggregated amyloid-beta (Aβ) underlie both the emergence and progression of Aβ abnormalities in the brains of animals; variations in the size and molecular structure of these seeds profoundly influence their disease-causing characteristics; and small, soluble collections of Aβ are especially potent seeds and are key targets for therapeutic intervention and possibly also early biomarkers of Alzheimer's disease
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Contact: Lisa Newbern
lisa.newbern@emory.edu
404-727-7709
Emory Health Sciences
Source:Eurekalert

Page: 1 2

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