Transmission of misfolded proteins in neurodegenerative disorders – a common mechanism of disease progression

Professor, Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania, Director, Center for Neurodegenerative Disease Research
Wednesday, April 10, 2019 - 4:00pm
MSB 2172
Dr. Lee’s research focuses on proteins that form pathological inclusions in Alzheimer’s disease (AD), Parkinson’s disease (PD), frontotemporal degeneration (FTD), amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) and related neurodegenerative disorders. Her work demonstrated that tau, alpha-synuclein and TDP-43 proteins form unique inclusions in neurodegenerative diseases and that aggregation of these proteins is a common mechanistic theme in AD, PD, FTLD, ALS and related disorders. Significantly, Dr. Lee’s studies implicated the abnormal aggregation of tau, alpha-synuclein and TDP-43 in mechanisms that compromise neuronal viability. Major accomplishments include discovery of tau, alpha-synuclein and TDP-43 as the diseases proteins in AD, PD and ALS/FTD, respectively, elucidating the roles of these proteins in neurodegeneration, pursuing pathological tau as a target for AD and FTD drug discovery, and how the transmission of pathological tau and alpha-synuclein explains the progression of AD and PD. Most importantly, this research has opened up new avenues of research to identify targets for drug discovery to develop better treatments for these disorders. Because of the broad impact of her research, Dr. Lee’s h-index is 158 and she is listed among the 10 most highly cited AD researchers from 1985-2008 (JAD, 16:451-465, 2009) as well as among the top 400 most highly influential biomedical researchers from 1996-2011 (Eur J Clin Invest, 43:1339-1365, 2014). ISI has recognized Dr. Lee as an ISI Highly Cited Researcher which places her in the top 10 most highly cited neuroscientists from 1997 to 2007 (
Raphaella So
Department of Biochemistry George Connell Lecture