UCSF colleagues Dr. Martin Kampmann and Dr. James Fraser were awarded a New Frontier Research Award from the Program for Breakthrough Biomedical Research to pioneer a new technology platform. Using deep mutational scanning for the first time in human neurons, they will investigate how sequence variation in proteins affects their aggregation and toxicity, processes relevant to neurodegenerative diseases. Specific mutations in proteins such as tau and alpha-synuclein are known to cause heritable forms of diseases like Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease. The proposed platform will make it possible to systematically uncover the significance of all possible mutations. Biophysical and structural approaches will be used... Read more ...

Edited by Dr. Stanley Prusiner, Prion Biology and Prion Diseases is the most comprehensive reference collection on prions to date, with contributions from over 120 authors across the field. These volumes have been greatly expanded from the previous book, Prion Biology and Diseases, published in 2004, and extensively discuss the evolving knowledge and increasing role of various prions in human health and disease. These essential volumes are available from Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Press and Amazon.

Thank you to the many contributors, who have brought this vast work to fruition.

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Jeremy Willsey, Assistant Professor Institute for Neurodegenerative Diseases University of California, San Francisco

Congratulations to Jeremy Willsey, who received a UCSF Weill Institute for Neurosciences 2017 Trailblazer Award for his proposal titled “Identifying Convergent Molecular Networks in Autism.” The Trailblazer Award Program supports creative, high-risk/high-reward research projects in the neurosciences with the ultimate goal of helping patients by achieving greater understanding of the human brain in health and disease.


CRISPR-based genetic screens are a powerful technology to elucidate disease mechanisms and identify potential therapeutic strategies. However, the experimental design of a successful screen remains a challenge. Graduate student Tamas Nagy and IND faculty Dr. Martin Kampmann developed a simulation tool for these screens, termed CRISPulator, which helps researches to optimize the experimental parameters of different types of CRISPR-based screens. CRISPulator helped to uncover new rules for optimal screen design. The research was published in an article in BMC Bioinformatics:... Read more ...