Scientist who discovered infectious proteins linked to Alzheimer’s, other diseases will speak Nov. 2 at UT Health Science Center

Presidential Distinguished Lecture is free, open to public

WHAT: 2012 Presidential Distinguished Lecture at The University of Texas Health Science Center San Antonio; event is free and open to the public

WHEN: 11 a.m. Friday, Nov. 2

WHERE: Holly Auditorium on the Long Campus of the UT Health Science Center, 7703 Floyd Curl Drive, San Antonio, TX 78229

WHO:   Kenneth L. Kalkwarf, D.D.S., M.S., president ad interim of the UT Health Science Center, welcomes Stanley B. Prusiner, M.D., Nobel Laureate and director of the Institute for Neurodegenerative Diseases at the University of California, San Francisco

NOTES:   Dr. Prusiner is internationally recognized for discovering a class of pathogens (disease-causing agents) that he named prions. He advanced the idea that some event occurs with aging that refolds disease-specific proteins into a misfolded infectious state known as a prion. Many neurodegenerative diseases, such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s, may be explained by the prion concept, he says. For this work he received the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 1997.

“It was a discovery that people didn’t really want to accept for a long time because it went against so many preconceived notions,” he says in a video on the Nobel Prize website. “The idea that a protein is infectious, that a disease could be both genetic and infectious, and then even spontaneous, these were concepts that people had a hard time accepting.”

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