Lisa Lapidus (right), Michigan State University professor of physics and astronomy, has pioneered a two-laser approach that measures the speed at which proteins rearrange before beginning to clump, or aggregate — the critical beginning of many neurodegenerative diseases. Photo by Derrick Turner.
Srabasti Acharya, Michigan State University graduate student, and Michigan State professor Lisa Lapidus studies protein folding using optical spectroscopy and microfluidics.

Altering pH bumps prions out of danger zone

Bumping proteins out of danger zone could help advance research on prion diseases, such as fatal familial insomnia, kuru, bovine spongiform encephalopathy and chronic wasting disease.

Prion diseases are incurable and fatal. They first gained notoriety when cows became infected by prion proteins and, in turn, infected people. Fervor surrounding prion disease resulted in the U.S. banning imports of beef from the European Union for 15 years.

New research led by Michigan State University — published in the current issue of Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences — offers hope by showing how prions may be prevented from aggregating or growin

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