FiB Episode 001 - Protein Folding: At the Crossroads of Evolution, Disease, and Nanotechnology with Susan Lindquist
Dr. Susan Lindquist describs how protein folding modulates the rate of evolution...
Choosing a title for Episode 001 was next to impossible after speaking with our guest Dr. Susan Lindquist. Hard at work at the Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Sciences at MIT, she leaves no stone unturned with respect to protein folding. Her discoveries have lead to paradigm shifts in modern genetics and medicine, including how a protein called HSP90 acts as a capacitor to modulate evolution, a process that can even be addressed pharmacologically and possibly used as a strategy in some forms of cancer! Her work also contributes to both our understanding of several protein folding diseases such as Parkinson's and Huntington's and seeks to tackle them head on. Lastly, we discussed her discovery on how to transform yeast prions (similar to the misfolded proteins linked to mad cow disease) into nanowires as used in nanotechnology.
Though not mentioned on the show, Dr. Lindquist's work has even provided definitive evidence of non DNA/RNA mediated inheritance, where proteins act as genetic elements. We hope to have her back to discuss this and some of her other great discoveries...
For more on Dr. Lindquist's work please visit the Lindquist Lab
Dr. Lindquist on Morning Edition WGBH Boston
Discovery Offers New Insight Into Parkinson's
Brain 'traffic jams' drive Parkinson's symptoms (Nature)
Parkinson's traits reversed in rat brain cells (NewScientist)
Protecting Neurons from Parkinson's Disease (Technology Review)