with the goal of improving diagnosis and finding treatments for a disease that's difficult to treat and often fatal.
I work at The Scripps Research Institute with Professor Jeff Kelly. We study antibody light chain proteins, looking for differences that might explain why some protein sequences are tolerated by the body, while others aggregate to make amyloid fibrils, such as those below.
We recently published a paper describing my work, which is described in less technical terms here. We found that light chains associated with disease are less stable than other light chains. This means that they can be cut into fragments by proteases, and those fragments - but not the intact proteins - can form amyloid. We're now looking for ways to stabilize disease-associated proteins in patients, which we think might relieve their symptoms.