All posts by Joel Watts

The lab is growing…

Four new people have started in the lab today! Two new graduate students from the Department of Biochemistry (Matthew Bourkas and Heather Lau) will be pursuing their Masters degree in the lab. Matthew will be working on a bank vole PrP project whereas Heather will be working on an Alzheimer’s disease project. Also, two undergrad students (Hamza Arshad and Angus Lau) will be doing their 4th year BCH473Y research project in my lab. A big welcome to everyone…the lab is finally starting to feel like a real lab!

New papers online

Two new papers were published this week in PNAS. The first one describes the existence of distinct “strains” of Aβ aggregates in the brains of Alzheimer’s disease patients. In this paper we demonstrate for the first time that, like different strains of PrPSc, the properties of Aβ strains are maintained following multiple passages in mice. The second paper describes the generation of distinct strains of synthetic Aβ aggregates.

Welcome Erica!

A big welcome to Erica Stuart, who has just started in the lab as a Research Technician. Erica has extensive experience as a veterinary technician and will be responsible for maintaining the Watts lab animal colony and helping to develop new animal models of neurodegenerative diseases.

New paper online

Joel’s mini-review on using mouse models to study the formation and propagation of prions is now available online at the Journal of Biological Chemistry. This mini-review is part of a special review series on prions put together by Paul Fraser that also includes articles by Surachai Supattapone, Marc Diamond, and Giovanna Mallucci.