Illustration of Alzheimer's

Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s may be tied to defective brain cells that yield toxic proteins that affect adjacent healthy cells. Monica Driscoll DC’79, a professor of molecular biology and biochemistry at the School of Arts and Sciences, and her team found that healthy neurons typically purge cells with toxic proteins and damaged cell structures; however, the phenomenon doesn’t always occur. The lab’s discovery, published in Nature, may explain the way that disease can spread in the brain, Driscoll believes, “and could lead to new approaches to addressing neurodegeneration and diseases like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s.”