Jan. 9, 2023
FIVM Seminar Series presents: Understanding chronic wasting disease transmission by in vitro prion replication studies
Chronic wasting disease (CWD) is part of the group of protein misfolding diseases which are transmitted by infectious prions. This disease is currently spreading uncontrollably in North America and has been recently detected in Europe. Furthermore, the zoonotic potential of CWD is currently unknown. A top priority to minimize the further spread of this disease is to elucidate the mechanism for its highly efficient transmission and the development of a sensitive, specific and non-invasive antemortem diagnostic test that can identify CWD infected animals during the long and silent period between infection and the onset of clinical signs.
On Friday, January 27, Dr. Claudio Soto will share recent studies aiming to understand the prion strain diversity, species barrier and the mechanism of transmission of CWD, particularly in relation to the putative role of environment in prion dissemination.
Dr. Claudio Soto is the Huffington Distinguished University Chair, Professor of Neurology and Director of George and Cynthia Mitchell Center for Alzheimer’s disease and related Brain Disorders at the University of Texas Medical School in Houston. He is also the founder, vice-president, and chief scientific officer of Amprion Inc. He received his PhD from the University of Chile in 1993 and was a postdoctoral fellow at the Catholic University of Chile and at the New York University School of Medicine, where he became an assistant professor of research in 1995. Between 1999 and 2003, Dr. Soto was senior scientist, chairman of the Department of Molecular Neurobiology and senior executive scientific advisor for Neurobiology at Serono International in Switzerland.
For the past 28 years, Dr Soto’s group has engaged in research into understanding the molecular basis of neurodegenerative diseases associated to the misfolding and brain accumulation of proteins, particularly focusing on Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, and prion-related disorders. His work has led not only to a better understanding of these diseases, but also to the development of novel strategies for diagnosis and therapeutic intervention. Dr Soto has invented a method for amplifying prions and other infectious proteins in the laboratory (PMCA for protein misfolding cyclic amplification), conceptually similar to PCR used for multiplying nucleic acids. PMCA is currently being used in many countries as a non-invasive and highly sensitive diagnostic test for various brain diseases. Dr. Soto has published more than 220 peer reviewed publications, some in the most prestigious scientific journals, including Nature, Science, Cell, Nature Medicine, New England Journal of Medicine, The Lancet, etc. These Publications have been cited more than 30,000 times.