ABSTRACT: Fibrillar aggregates of the neuronal protein α-synuclein are a hallmark of Parkinson's disease and related neurodegenerative disorders. However, a causative role for α-synuclein aggregation in these diseases has not been clearly identified. In order to understand the aggregation process, our laboratory uses a multidisciplinary approach, including computational approaches combining molecular simulations and machine learning models, synthesis of α-synuclein bearing post-translational modifications and photochemical probes, single molecule biophysics, structural biology, cellular and animal models for microscopy and proteomics, and development of positron emission tomography (PET) probes for clinical imaging. Several projects will be discussed, highlighting the value of a multi-faceted and collaborative approach.
Speaker: James Petersson, U. Penn James Petersson completed his undergraduate education at Dartmouth College and his graduate study under Dennis Dougherty at the California Institute of Technology. After receiving his Ph.D. in 2005, he was an NIH Postdoctoral Fellow at Yale University with Alanna Schepartz. He joined the Department of Chemistry at the University of Pennsylvania in 2008 and the Biochemistry and Molecular Biophysics Graduate Group in the Perelman School of Medicine in 2013. His research has been recognized by several awards, including the Searle Scholar, an NSF CAREER award, and a Sloan Fellowship.