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September 1-8, 2018

Coordinator: Jeffrey H. Kordower

Rush University Medical Center, Chicago, USA

Faculty (partial list):

Patrik Brundin, Van Andel Institute, Grand Rapids, USA

Ed Campbell, Loyola University, Chicago, USA

Ronald Melki, Paris-Saclay Institute of Neuroscience, Paris, France

Francesca Cicchetti, Centre Hospitalier Universitè Laval, Quebec, Canada

Relatively recently, there has been a transition in thinking with regards to the pathogenesis of neurodegeneration within degenerative diseases. For decades, Parkinson’s disease, Multiple System Atrophy, Alzheimer’s disease, Huntington’s disease, as well as other neurodegenerative disorders have been thought of within the context of altered neurotransmitter function or certain structural abnormalities such as Lewy bodies, plaques, and tangles. However, it is now clear that central to disease pathogenesis -and common to virtually all of these diseases- is that they cause normally occurring proteins to first misfold, then aggregate, induce phenotypic changes, induce axonal degeneration, cellular dysfunction and ultimately cell death. Within the context of protein misfolding, we have learned a great deal about the role that macro- and micro-autophagy play in these processes. Furthermore, the concept that these neurodegenerative disorders were prion diseases took hold, as shown by the propagation and permissive templating of misfolded proteins across the neuraxis. This hypothesis has spurred new concepts of therapeutic interventions and, in some cases, clinical trials have been initiated.

This Advanced Course will gather thought leaders in the field who have enormously contributed to the field of misfolded proteins in neurodegenerative disease. The week will focus on specific diseases such as Parkinson’s disease, Multiple System Atrophy, Alzheimer’s disease and Huntington’s disease as well as the structural and molecular underpinnings associated with the formation, aggregation, and propagation of misfolded proteins in general. The Advanced Course will unfold with daily lectures and then the attendees will be divided into teams at the end of the day to write Specific Aims and research designs in grant format based upon the daily lecture. It will be a highly formative experience for scholars in the field, prospective researchers at any academic level and interested clinicians.