Many more projects in progress!


Lau H, Martinez-Valbuena I, So RWL, Mehra S, Silver NRG, Mao A, Stuart E, Schmitt-Ulms C, Hyman BT, Ingelsson M, Kovacs GG, Watts JC. The G51D SNCA mutation generates a slowly progressive α-synuclein strain in early-onset Parkinson’s disease. (2023) Acta Neuropathologica Communications, 11(1). (Pubmed)

So RWL, Watts JC. α-Synuclein Conformational Strains as Drivers of Phenotypic Heterogeneity in Neurodegenerative Diseases. (2023) Journal of Molecular Biology, 168011. (ScienceDirect)

Williams D, Bei QY, Wang H, Logine N, Sackmann C, Verkuyl C, Rezai-Stevens V, Eid S, Nimit V, Sato C, Watts JC, Wille H, Schmitt-Ulms G. Somatostatin slows Aβ plaque deposition in aged APPNL-F/NL-F mice by blocking Aβ aggregation. (2023) Scientific Reports, 13(1). (Journal website)

Germain K, So RWL, Watts JC, Robert B, Kim PK. Upregulated pexophagy limits the capacity of selective autophagy. (2023) Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, preprint. (Journal website)


Arshad H, Patel Z, Amano G, Li L, Al-Azzawi ZAM, Supattapone S, Schmitt‐Ulms G, Watts JC. A single protective polymorphism in the prion protein blocks cross‐species prion replication in cultured cells. (2022) Journal of Neurochemistry, 165(2):230–245. (Journal website)

Arshad H, Watts JC. Genetically engineered cellular models of prion propagation. (2022) Cell and Tissue Research, 392:63–80. (Springer)

Martinez-Valbuena I, Visanji NP, Kim A, Lau H, So RWL, Alshimemeri S, Gao AF, Seidman MD, Luquin M-R, Watts JC, Lang AE, Kovacs GG. Alpha-synuclein seeding shows a wide heterogeneity in multiple system atrophy. (2022) Translational Neurodegeneration, 11(1). (Springer).


Williams D, Mehrabian M, Arshad H, Eid S, Sackmann C, Zhao W, Wang X, Farinaz Ghodrati, Verkuyl CE, Watts JC, Schmitt-Ulms G. The cellular prion protein interacts with and promotes the activity of Na,K-ATPases. (2021) PLoS One, 16(11):e0258682–e0258682. (Journal website)

Arshad H, Patel Z, Mehrabian M, Bourkas MEC, Al-Azzawi ZAM, Schmitt-Ulms G, Watts JC. The aminoglycoside G418 hinders de novo prion infection in cultured cells. (2021) Journal of Biological Chemistry. 297(3):101073. (Pubmed)

Lau H, Ingelsson M, Watts JC. The existence of Aβ strains and their potential for driving phenotypic heterogeneity in Alzheimer’s disease. (2021) Acta Neuropathologica, 142(1):17–39. (Springer)

Ruiz-Riquelme A, Mao A, Barghash MM, Lau H, Stuart E, Kovacs GG, Nilsson K, Fraser PE, Schmitt-Ulms G, Watts JC. Aβ43 aggregates exhibit enhanced prion-like seeding activity in mice. (2021) Acta Neuropathologica Communications, 9(1). (Springer)

Bélondrade M, Nicot S, Mayran C, Bruyere-Ostells L, Almela F, Di Bari MA, Levavasseur E, Watts JC, Fournier-Wirth C, Lehmann S, Haïk S, Nonno R, Bougard D. Sensitive protein misfolding cyclic amplification of sporadic Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease prions is strongly seed and substrate dependent. (2021) Scientific Reports, 11(1):4058. (Pubmed)

Menon S, Kofoed RH, Nabbouh F, Xhima K, Al-Fahoum Y, Langman T, Mount HTJ, Shihabuddin LS, Sardi SP, Fraser PE, Watts JC, Aubert I, Tandon A. Viral alpha-synuclein knockdown prevents spreading synucleinopathy. (2021) Brain Communications, 3(4). (Journal website)


Arshad H, Bourkas MEC, Watts JC. The utility of bank voles for studying prion disease. (2020) Prions and Neurodegenerative Diseases, 179–211. (Journal website)

Krance SH, Luke R, Shenouda M, Israwi AR, Colpitts SJ, Darwish L, Strauss M, Watts JC. Cellular models for discovering prion disease therapeutics: Progress and challenges. (2020) Journal of Neurochemistry. 153(2):150–172. (Journal website)

Burke CM, Kenneth, Walsh DB, Noble GP, Steele AG, Diack AB, Manson J, Watts JC, Surachai Supattapone. Identification of a homology-independent linchpin domain controlling mouse and bank vole prion protein conversion. (2020) PLoS Pathogens, 16(9):e1008875–e1008875. (Journal website)


Lau A, So RWL, Lau HHC, Sang JC, Ruiz-Riquelme A, Fleck SC, Stuart E, Menon S, Visanji NP, Meisl G, Faidi R, Marano MM, Schmitt-Ulms C, Wang Z, Fraser PE, Tandon A, Hyman BT, Wille H, Ingelsson M, Klenerman D, Watts JC. α-Synuclein strains target distinct brain regions and cell types. (2019) Nature Neuroscience, Epub Dec 2. (Journal website)

Watts JC. Calling alpha-synuclein a prion is scientifically justifiable. (2019) Acta Neuropathologica, 138(4):505-508. (Pubmed)

Burke CM, Walsh DJ, Steele AD, Agrimi U, Di Bari MA, Watts JC, Supattapone S. Full restoration of specific infectivity and strain properties from pure mammalian prion protein. (2019) PLoS Pathogens, 15(3): e1007662. (Pubmed)

Bourkas MEC, Arshad H, Al-Azzawi ZAM, Halgas O, Shikiya RA, Mehrabian M, Schmitt-Ulms G, Bartz JC, Watts JC. Engineering a murine cell line for the stable propagation of hamster prions. (2019) Journal of Biological Chemistry, 294(13): 4911-4923. (Pubmed)


Ghodrati F, Mehrabian M, Williams D, Halgas O, Bourkas MEC, Watts JC, Pai EF, Schmitt-Ulms G. The prion protein is embedded in a molecular environment that modulates transforming growth factor β and integrin signaling. (2018) Scientific Reports, 8(1): 8654. (Pubmed)

Ruiz-Riquelme A, Lau HHC, Stuart E, Goczi AN, Wang Z, Schmitt-Ulms G, Watts JC. Prion-like propagation of β-amyloid aggregates in the absence of APP overexpression. (2018) Acta Neuropathologica Communications, 6(1): 26. (Pubmed)

Condello C, Lemmin T, Stöhr J, Nick M, Wu Y, Maxwell AM, Watts JC, Caro CD, Oehler A, Keene CD, Bird TD, van Duinen SG, Lannfelt L, Ingelsson M, Graff C, Giles K, DeGrado WF, Prusiner SB. Structural heterogeneity and intersubject variability of Aβ in familial and sporadic Alzheimer’s disease. (2018) Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA, 115(4): E782-E791. (Pubmed)

Lau HHC, Lau A, Watts JC. Discriminating strains of self-propagating protein aggregates using a conformational stability assay. (2018) Methods in Molecular Biology, 1777: 339-354. (Pubmed)

Watts JC, Bourkas MEC, Arshad H. The function of the cellular prion protein in health and disease. (2018) Acta Neuropathologica, 135(2): 159-178 (Pubmed)


Wang X, Noroozian Z, Lynch M, Armstrong N, Schneider R, Liu M, Ghodrati F, Zhang AB, Yang YJ, Hall AC, Solarski M, Killackey SA, Watts JC. Strains of pathological protein aggregates in neurodegenerative diseases. (2017) Discoveries, 3: e78. (Journal website)

Wang H, Muiznieks LD, Ghosh P, Williams D, Solarski M, Fang A, Ruiz-Riquelme A, Pomès R, Watts JC, Chakrabartty A, Wille H, Sharpe S, Schmitt-Ulms G. Somatostatin binds to the human amyloid β peptide and favors the formation of distinct oligomers. (2017) Elife, 6: e28401. (Pubmed)

Woerman AL, Watts JC, Aoyagi A, Giles K, Middleton L, Prusiner SB. α-Synuclein: multiple system atrophy prions. (2017) Cold Spring Harbor Perspectives in Medicine. (Pubmed)

Watts JC, Prusiner SB. Aβ prions and the pathobiology of Alzheimer’s disease. (2017) Cold Spring Harbor Perspectives in Medicine. (Pubmed)

Watts JC, Prusiner SB. Experimental models of inherited PrP prion diseases. (2017) Cold Spring Harbor Perspectives in Medicine, 7(11): a027151. (Pubmed)


Visanji NP, Brotchie JM, Kalia L, Koprich J, Tandon A, Watts JC, Lang AE. α-synuclein-based models of Parkinson’s disease: challenges and opportunities in a new era. (2016) Trends in Neurosciences, 39(11): 750-62. (Pubmed)

Watts JC, Giles K, Saltzberg DJ, Dugger BN, Patel S, Oehler A, Bhardwaj S, Sali A, Prusiner SB. Guinea pig prion protein supports rapid propagation of bovine spongiform encephalopathy and variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease prions. (2016) Journal of Virology, 90(21): 9558-9569. (Pubmed)

Watts JC, Giles K, Bourkas MEC, Patel S, Oehler A, Gavidia M, Bhardwaj S, Lee J, Prusiner SB. Towards authentic transgenic mouse models of heritable PrP prion diseases. (2016) Acta Neuropathologica, 132(4): 593-610. (Pubmed)


Prusiner SB, Woerman AL, Mordes DA, Watts JC, Rampersaud R, Berry DB, Patel S, Oehler A, Lowe JK, Kravitz SN, Geschwind DH, Glidden DV, Halliday GM, Middleton L, Gentleman SM, Grinberg LT, Giles K. Evidence for α-synuclein prions causing multiple system atrophy in humans with parkinsonism. (2015) Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA, 112(38): E5308-17. (Pubmed)

Woerman AL, Stöhr J, Aoyagi A, Rampersaud R, Krejciova Z, Watts JC, Ohyama T, Patel S, Widjaja K, Oehler A, Sanders DW, Diamond MI, Seeley WW, Middleton L, Gentleman S, Mordes DA, Südhof TC, Giles K, Prusiner SB. Propagation of prions in cultured cells causing synucleinopathies. (2015) Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA, 112(35): E4949-58. (Pubmed)

Watts JC, Giles K, Serban A, Patel S, Oehler A, Bhardwaj S, Guan S, Greicius M, Miller BL, DeArmond SJ, Geschwind MD, and Prusiner SB. Modulation of Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease propagation by the A224V mutation. (2015) Annals of Neurology, 78(4): 540-553. (Pubmed)

Wan W, Wille H, Stöhr J, Kendall A, Bian W, McDonald M, Tiggelaar S, Watts JC, Prusiner SB, and Stubbs G. Structural studies of truncated forms of the prion protein PrP. (2015) Biophysical Journal, 108(6): 1548-1554. (Pubmed)


Watts JC, Condello C, Stöhr J, Oehler A, Lee J, DeArmond SJ, Lannfelt L, Ingelsson M, Giles K, and Prusiner SB. Serial propagation of distinct strains of Aβ prions from Alzheimer’s disease patients. (2014) Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA, 111(28): 10323-10328. (Pubmed)

Stöhr J, Condello C, Watts JC, Bloch L, Oehler A, Nick M, DeArmond SJ, Giles K, DeGrado WF, and Prusiner SB. Distinct synthetic Aβ prion strains producing different amyloid deposits in bigenic mice. (2014) Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA, 111(28): 10329-10334. (Pubmed)

Watts JC and Prusiner SB. Mouse models for studying the formation and propagation of prions. (2014) Journal of Biological Chemistry, 289(29): 19841-19849. (Pubmed)

Watts JC, Giles K, Patel S, Oehler A, DeArmond SJ, and Prusiner SB. Evidence that bank vole PrP is a universal acceptor for prions. (2014) PLoS Pathogens, 10(4): e1003990. (Pubmed)

Mays CE, Coomaraswamy J, Watts JC, Yang J, Ko K, Strome R, Mercer RCC, Wohlgemuth SL, Schmitt-Ulms G, and Westaway D. Endoproteolytic processing of the mammalian prion glycoprotein family. (2014) FEBS Journal, 281(3): 862-876. (Pubmed)


Watts JC, Giles K, Oehler A, Middleton LT, Dexter DT, Gentleman SM, DeArmond SJ, and Prusiner SB. Transmission of multiple system atrophy prions to transgenic mice. (2013) Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA, 110(48): 19555-19560. (Pubmed)

Mercer RCC, Ma L, Watts JC, Strome R, Wohlgemuth S, Yang J, Cashman NR, Coulthart MB, Schmitt-Ulms G, Jhamandas JH, and Westaway D. The prion protein modulates A-type K + currents mediated by Kv4.2 complexes through dipeptidyl aminopeptidase-like protein 6. (2013) Journal of Biological Chemistry, 288(52): 37241-37255. (Pubmed)

Berry DB, Lu D, Geva M, Watts JC, Bhardwaj S, Oehler A, Renslo AR, DeArmond SJ, Prusiner SB, and Giles K. Drug resistance confounding prion therapeutics. (2013) Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA, 110(44): E4160-4169. (Pubmed)


Stöhr J*, Watts JC*, Mensinger ZL, Oehler A, Grillo SK, DeArmond SJ, Prusiner SB, and Giles K. Purified and synthetic Alzheimer’s amyloid beta (Aβ) prions.(2012) Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA, 109(27): 11025-11030. *Contributed equally (Pubmed)

Watts JC, Giles K, Stöhr J, Oehler A, Bhardwaj S, Grillo SK, Patel S, DeArmond SJ, and Prusiner SB. Spontaneous generation of rapidly transmissible prions in transgenic mice expressing wild-type bank vole prion protein. (2012) Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA, 109(9): 3498-3503. (Pubmed)


Stöhr J, Watts JC, Legname G, Oehler A, Lemus A, Nguyen H-O, Sussman J, Wille H, DeArmond SJ, Prusiner SB, and Giles K. Spontaneous generation of anchorless prions in transgenic mice. (2011) Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA, 108(52): 21223-21228. (Pubmed)

Watts JC, Stöhr J, Bhardwaj S, Wille H, Oehler A, DeArmond SJ, Giles K, and Prusiner, SB. Protease resistant prions selectively decrease Shadoo protein. (2011) PLoS Pathogens, 7(11): e1002382. (Pubmed)

Ghaemmaghami S, Watts JC, Nguyen H-O, Hayashi S, DeArmond SJ, and Prusiner SB. Conformational transformation and selection of synthetic prion strains. (2011) Journal of Molecular Biology , 413(3): 527-42. (Pubmed)

Watts JC, Giles K, Grillo SK, Lemus A, DeArmond SJ, and Prusiner SB. Bioluminescence imaging of Abeta deposition in bigenic mouse models of Alzheimer’s disease. (2011) Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA , 108(6): 2528-2533. (Pubmed)

Ehsani S, Huo H, Salehzadeh A, Pocanschi CL, Watts JC, Wille H, Westaway D, Rogaeva E, St. George-Hyslop P, and Schmitt-Ulms G. Family reunion: the ZIP/prion gene family. (2011) Progress in Neurobiology, 93(3): 405-420. (Pubmed)

Earlier publications

Daude N, Ng V, Watts JC, Genovesi S, Glaves JP, Wohlgemuth S, Schmitt-Ulms G, Young H, McLaurin J, Fraser PE, and Westaway D. Wild-type Shadoo proteins convert to amyloid-like forms under native conditions. (2010) Journal of Neurochemistry, 113(1): 92-104. (Pubmed)

Watts JC, Huo H, Bai Y, Ehsani S, Jeon A, Shi T, Daude N, Lau A, Young R, Xu L, Carlson G, Williams D, Westaway D, and Schmitt-Ulms G. Interactome Analyses Identify Ties of PrPC and Its Mammalian Paralogs to Oligomannosidic N-Glycans and Endoplasmic Reticulum-Derived Chaperones. (2009) PLoS Pathogens, 5(10): e1000608. (Pubmed)

Schmitt-Ulms G, Ehsani S, Watts JC, Westaway D, and Wille H. Evolutionary descent of prion genes from the ZIP family of metal ion transporters. (2009) PLoS One, 4(9): e7208. (Pubmed)

Bai Y, Markham K, Chen F, Weerasekera R, Watts JC, Horne P, Wakutani Y, Matthews P, Fraser PE, Westaway D, St. George-Hyslop P, and Schmitt-Ulms G. The in vivo brain interactome of the amyloid precursor protein. (2008) Molecular and Cellular Proteomics, 7(1): 15-34. (Pubmed)

Watts JC and Westaway D. The prion protein family: Diversity, rivalry, and dysfunction. (2007) Biochimica et Biophysica Acta – Molecular Basis of Disease, 1772(6): 654-672. (Pubmed)

Watts JC, Drisaldi B, Ng V, Yang J, Strome B, Horne P, Sy M-S, Yoong L, Young R, Mastrangelo P, Bergeron C, Fraser PE, Carlson GA, Mount HTJ, Schmitt-Ulms G, and Westaway D. The CNS glycoprotein Shadoo has PrPC -like protective properties and displays reduced levels in prion infections. (2007) EMBO Journal, 26(17): 4038-50. (Pubmed)

Watts JC, Balachandran A, and Westaway D. The expanding universe of prion diseases. (2006) PLoS Pathogens, 2(3) e26. (Pubmed)

Drisaldi B, Coomaraswamy J, Mastrangelo P, Strome B, Yang J, Watts JC, Chishti MA, Marvi M, Windl O, Ahrens R, Major F, Sy M-S, Kretzschmar H, Fraser PE, Mount HTJ, and Westaway D. Genetic mapping of activity determinants within cellular prion proteins: N-terminal modules in PrPC offset pro-apoptotic activity of the Doppel helix B/B’ region. (2004) Journal of Biological Chemistry, 279: 55443-55454. (Pubmed)