Amyloid diseases are caused by misfolding and aggregation of specific proteins and are characterized by the presence of amyloid fibrils in certain tissue. Recent advances in biomedical research have identified the proteins involved in these diseases and provided important insights. However, amyloid diseases are still progressive and fatal. Often, they are recognized only at an advanced stage, which further limits therapeutic opportunities. The risk of developing an amyloid disease increases with age, and thus, amyloid diseases are increasingly common in our aging society. Our laboratory is dedicated to cutting edge basic and translational research. Our goal is to gain new insights into the development and the (molecular) course of amyloid diseases in order to develop new therapeutics.
Since protein misfolding is central to amyloidosis, our research focuses on characterizing the misfolding process and deciphering the properties of misfolded protein aggregates. Furthermore, we are interested in the consequences of the accumulation of protein aggregates for the affected organ. A particular focus of our research is cardiac transthyretin amyloidosis (ATTR) in close collaboration with our clinical team.
In addition, our laboratory is also involved in Alzheimer’s disease research. Alzheimer’s disease is another type of amyloid disease, in which Abeta and tau proteins aggregate and lead to degeneration of nerve cells in certain regions of the brain. We are dedicated to translating basic research findings to benefits for patients. Our laboratory is located in a new, state-of-the-art research facility in the highly collaborative environment at the University of Pittsburgh.
Examples of ongoing projects
- Characterizing the peculiarities of cardiac amyloid: Both, transthyretin (TTR), as well as immunoglobulin light chain proteins are soluble proteins in the blood of healthy individuals. It is currently unclear why and how they form amyloid in the heart in ATTR and AL amyloidosis.
- Investigating the molecular and cellular changes that amyloid elicits in affected tissue and that lead to organ impairment and eventually organ failure. Our goal is to discover new biomarkers of the disease that can assist diagnosis, as well as to develop new therapeutics to maintain organ function despite amyloidosis.
We are currently looking for talented people to join our team. Undergraduate and graduate students, medical students, and postdocs with a strong background in biomedical sciences wishing to join the lab for innovative projects are encouraged to contact Dr. Eisele by email (firstname.lastname@example.org). Please include a detailed CV, a statement of research interests, and contact information of three references.
Eisele, Y. S. et al. Targeting protein aggregation for the treatment of degenerative diseases. Nat Rev Drug Discov 14, 759-780, doi:10.1038/nrd4593 (2015).