The Gilch lab is interested in studying the impact of prion infection on neuronal cholesterol metabolism and endocytic vesicle trafficking, defining new treatment options for prion and prion-like diseases such as Alzheimer’s disease (AD) and investigating chronic wasting disease (CWD) prion strains, transmission determinants and diagnosis.
We mainly use neuronal cell culture models of prion infection to find answers to the following questions:
- How does prion infection influence cellular pathways such as vesicle trafficking, and how does this relate to neurodegeneration?
- Can we use peptide aptamers for interference with prion propagation in vivo?
- Does the PrPc-PrPSc binding interface differ between prion strains?
- Is there a relationship between the biochemical properties of CWD prions and the remarkable prion shedding (e.g. in saliva, urine, feces) observed in cervids infected with CWD?