Proteins Key to Deadly Disease

Henry Paulson, M.D., Ph.D.

As we look across a broad range of chronic and deadly diseases, including diabetes and Alzheimer’s, we increasingly find evidence that they involve the abnormal shaping and clumping of proteins. As the building blocks of life, proteins must be properly folded into their three-dimensional structures to function correctly. Henry Paulson, M.D., Ph.D., pictured here with an origami paper model of protein folding created by artist Matthew Shlian, and Andrew Lieberman, M.D., Ph.D., have formed a unique coalition of more than 50 clinicians and scientists studying protein-folding disorders as a group, which has not been widely done before. With support from our Fast Forward Initiative to speed medical innovation, the Protein Folding Diseases Initiative is becoming a world leader in this burgeoning field. This work holds the promise of establishing new ways to prevent and treat these devastating conditions.