University of Cambridge > > Cambridge Biomedical Research Centre "Distinguished Visitors" 2015 Lecture Series > From yeast to human patients - a powerful discovery platform for neurodegenerative diseases

From yeast to human patients - a powerful discovery platform for neurodegenerative diseases

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Susan Lindquist is a pioneer in the field of protein folding. Her work has provided transforming insights into the role of protein folding in the evolution of new traits and the devastation of human disease. Her seminal work on the role of Hsp90 in folding mutant oncogenic kinases led to the development of Hsp90-based therapeutics. Her work in fruit flies, mustard plants and yeast established that Hsp90 pervasively influences the manner in which genotypes are read out into phenotypes by chaperoning the folding of key players in signal transduction pathways. This work provided the first explanation for the rapid evolution of complex traits in response to environmental stress. She established the biochemical basis of protein-based inheritance in yeast and created a new understanding of amyloid protein function and assembly. Most recently, her group has developed new platforms for dissecting the protein-folding problems that drive neurodegenerative diseases, with the aim of discovering new therapeutic strategies based on stopping the precipitating causes of such protein-folding disorders. Susan Lindquist is a Member and former Director of the Whitehead Institute. She is a member of the National Academy of Sciences, the American Academy of Arts and Science, the American Philosophical Society, and the Institute of Medicine. Her honors also include the E.B. Wilson Award, Dickson Prize in Medicine, the Otto-Warburg Prize, the Genetics Society of America Medal, the FASEB Excellence in Science Award, the Max Delbrück and the Mendel Medals. In 2009, she was the recipient of the National Medal of Science. Susan Lindquist is also a member of the Board of Directors of Johnson & Johnson, and a co-founder of FoldRx, a biotech company (recently acquired by Pfizer) that develops drug therapies for diseases of protein misfolding and amyloidosis. She became an Investigator of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute in 2006. Previously she was on the faculty of the University of Chicago where she was the Albert D. Lasker Professor of Medical Science. She received her PhD in Biology from Harvard University, and was a postdoctoral fellow of the American Cancer Society at the University of Chicago.

This talk is part of the Cambridge Biomedical Research Centre "Distinguished Visitors" 2015 Lecture Series series.

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