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Ignazio Cali, PhD

Grant Title: Investigating prion protein seeding activity in Alzheimer’s disease and chronic traumatic encephalopathy

Location: Department of Pathology, Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine, Cleveland, OH

Grant Year: 2023

Currently, it is believed that more than one pathogenic protein accumulates in the brain of subjects with a neurodegenerative disease as well as in the normal aging brain, suggesting a possible cross-talk between different pathogenic proteins. Recently, we described the co-occurrence of Alzheimer’s disease (AD) or Chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) in patients with prion disease.

Although AD and CTE are quite different neuropathological disorders, both diseases are characterized by the accumulation in the brain of pathogenic proteins, such as misfolded tau protein in AD and CTE, and amyloid beta in AD and in about 50% of CTE cases.

The main goal of this project is to investigate whether prions accumulate in AD and CTE brains. To achieve this goal, we will employ the real-time quaking induced conversion (RT-QuIC), a highly sensitive assay for the detection of even minute amounts of prions.

About the Researchers:

Ignazio Cali, PhD
Department of Pathology, Case Western Reserve University

Dr. Ignazio Cali received his doctoral degree (Ph.D.) from the University of Campania “Luigi Vanvitelli.” In 2015 he carried out his thesis work at Case Western Reserve University. Currently, Dr. Cali is an Assistant Professor at Case Western Reserve University and Associate Director of the National Prion Disease Pathology Surveillance Center (NPDPSC). His main research interests focus on understanding the molecular basis of phenotypic expression in comorbid neurodegenerative diseases, such as prion diseases and Alzheimer’s disease or prion diseases and chronic traumatic encephalopathy. This research aims at investigating the reciprocal impact that the two or more pathological proteins have on each other, and the pathological consequences of the interactions between different pathogenic proteins. Dr. Cali has published more than 40 articles on human prion diseases, and animal models of the disease.

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