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2020 Project Proposal

Function and structure of surface-bound tau

Zachary Donhauser (Chemistry)

Tau is a neuronal microtubule associated protein with a variety of important cellular functions, most notably stabilizing and organizing microtubules in axons. Tau is also implicated in a wide range of neurodegenerative disorders including Alzheimer's disease, frontotemporal dementia, parkinsonism linked to chromosome 17 and chronic traumatic encephalopathy.  All of these diseases are characterized by abnormal aggregation of the protein. Although tau has been the focus of significant recent research, the full range of its normal functions are not understood. Tau is an intrinsically disordered protein, with functions that are generally dictated by interactions with its binding partners.  The overall focus of this project is to build a better understanding of tau’s behavior when it is in a bound state, using atomic force microscopy (AFM) as the central tool for interrogating the protein.

Introductory Chemistry and/or Introductory Biology
Recommended courses: Biochemistry, Physics

How should students express interest in this project?
Email me and set up an appointment to discuss.

This is a 10 week project running from May 27-July 31