Robert C.C. Mercer, Ph.D.

Grant Title: The identification of PrPSc interaction partners and the characterization of their role in prion infection and/or propagation

Location: Instructor, Department of Biochemistry, Boston University School of Medicine

Grant Year: 2023

Prion diseases are fatal and currently untreatable neurodegenerative diseases of humans and animals. The central event underlying these diseases is the 3D conversion of the prion protein (PrPC) to a pathogenic shape, denoted PrPSc. It is often said that to understand a person, one should look at the company they keep. This is also true of proteins, as their interaction networks, or interactomes, define their functions. Although some information is available about the cellular partners of PrPC, almost nothing is known about the interaction network of PrPSc. Here, we propose to examine the PrPSc interactome for the first time, providing a wealth of new targets for therapeutic intervention.

About the Researcher:

Robert C.C. Mercer, Ph.D.
Instructor, Department of Biochemistry, Boston University School of Medicine

Dr. Mercer has over 10 years of experience in the prion field. First as a PhD student at the Centre for Prions and Protein Folding diseases at the University of Alberta under the tutelage of Dr. David Westaway and later as a Postdoctoral Associate and now Instructor at the Boston University Chobanian & Avedisian School of Medicine in the laboratory of Dr. David A. Harris. His work has focused primarily on the function of PrPC, modeling genetic forms of prion disease in mice, and the discovery and characterization of prion disease therapeutics.

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