When you are sick, hungry or tired, the environment inside your body changes, and your cells must adapt. Dr. Timothy Audas, Canada Research Chair in Cellular Stress, is studying one of the mechanisms your body can use to cope with these stressful situations: a process whereby cells form protein aggregates that enhance their survival. Better understanding how these aggregates form could lead to new treatments for neurological diseases, including various forms of dementia.
Audas and his research team are uncovering which proteins form aggregates in response to different stressors. They are trying to understand how these structures help cells survive changing environmental conditions. They are also identifying and characterizing the biological molecules that orchestrate protein aggregation. By learning more about this cellular pathway, they may find new avenues for treating debilitating neurological disorders like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s.