Guenther, Elizabeth L. (2012-2015)


Elizabeth is in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry.  She joined the training program in 2012. Her research mentor is Dr. David Eisenberg.  She received a B.S. degree in 2011 from Boston College. 

Mentor: Dr. David Eisenberg

Research project:


Neurodegenerative diseases have become an increasingly problematic issue, as millions of people worldwide are affected yearly and billions of dollars are spent in aiding patients suffering from these diseases. Recent scientific studies have revealed that a number of these diseases share phenotypic characteristics, most notably fibrilous deposits of amyloidogenic proteins.  The fibrilous deposits of α-synuclein, Aβ and TDP-43 have been associated with a number of neurodegenerative diseases including Parkinson's disease, Alzheimer's diseases and ALS, respectively. Through computational studies, specific regions of each protein have been shown to have a propensity for fibril formation as steric zippers and oligomer formation as cylindrin. My project focuses on isolating certain peptide fragments, recombinantly synthesizing them, and conducting crystallographic studies of these potentially toxic segments.  My overall objectives are to determine the structure of these peptide segments in order to better understand how they assemble, conduct toxicity assays to compare familial mutations with the wildtype protein and ultimately to design inhibitors of fibril and oligomer formation.