The Watts Lab studies the pathobiology of neurodegenerative diseases of ageing, including Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, and Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease. In these diseases, misfolding and subsequent aggregation of proteins or peptides into β-sheet-enriched forms initiates a cascade of events that ultimately leads to neurological dysfunction and death of neurons or glial cells in the brain. There is not a single therapeutic that is effective at halting or even slowing the progression of any of these diseases. Thus, understanding the earliest disease-associated events (i.e. the initial formation of misfolded proteins) may be paramount to developing an effective treatment. The Watts lab uses a combination of animal and cellular models in order to investigate the molecular mechanisms of protein aggregation and neuronal dysfunction that occur during disease, with a particular focus on the prion diseases.

The Watts lab is part of the Tanz Centre for Research in Neurodegenerative Diseases at the University of Toronto in Canada.