UNMC News

Nobel Prize winning scientist, Stanley Prusiner, M.D., to speak at UNMC Dec. 13

Will deliver lecture titled, "Brain Injuries: Soldiers, Football Players and Alzheimer's Victims"

Nobel Prize winning neurologist Stanley B. Prusiner, M.D., will present the seventh annual Distinguished Neuroscience Lecture for the Nebraska Neuroscience Alliance at noon on Dec. 13.

The lecture titled, “Brain Injuries: Soldiers, Football Players, and Alzheimer’s Victims,” will be held in the Durham Research Center, room 1002, on the University of Nebraska Medical Center Campus.

“We are honored to have Dr. Prusiner support our Nebraska Neuroscience Alliance,” said Howard Gendelman, M.D., chairman of the UNMC Department of Pharmacology and Experimental Neuroscience. “The impact of Dr. Prusiner’s work reflects the essence of why the Nebraska Neuroscience Alliance was created. To have a fellow Midwesterner of this stature share his scientific journey with us is humbling.”

Dr. Prusiner was born in Des Moines, Iowa, and still has family roots in Omaha, Dr. Gendelman said.

Dr. Prusiner is the director of the Institute for Neurodegenerative Diseases at the University of California, San Francisco. He is most well-known for his discovery of prions, a class of infectious, self-reproducing pathogens primarily composed of protein.

In 1994 he received the Albert Lasker Award for Basic Medical Research and the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 1997 for his work in proposing an explanation for the cause of bovine spongiform encephalopathy, also known as “mad cow disease,” and the human equivalent, Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease.

It was in this work that Dr. Prusiner coined the term prion, which comes from the words proteinaceous and infectious, to refer to a previously undescribed form of infection due to protein misfolding.

He is the author of more than 450 research articles, the editor of 12 books and his contributions to scientific research are internationally recognized.

Dr. Prusiner’s current research focuses on determining the atomic structure of prions, deciphering the mechanism of replication and defining how biological properties are enciphered in prion strains. In addition, he is working on developing drug therapies that will inhibit neurodegeneration in Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and prion diseases, as well as other dementias.

Through world-class research and patient care, UNMC generates breakthroughs that make life better for people throughout Nebraska and beyond. Its education programs train more health professionals than any other institution in the state. Learn more at unmc.edu.

 

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Lisa Spellman
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