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Prion researcher to speak on mad cow disease on Oct. 14

Have you ever wondered what causes "mad cow disease" and how it affects human health? You can find out from UCSC's Glenn Millhauser, professor of chemistry and biochemistry, who will give a talk this week on "Mad cow disease: Why we all have the prion protein and how it can go wrong in disease."

Glenn Millhauser

Millhauser's talk, part of the Science & Engineering Library's Synergy Lecture Series, will take place at 4 p.m. on Thursday, October 14, in the library's Current Periodicals Room. Light refreshments will be available.

Millhauser will talk about the prion protein and its relationship to a class of infectious, fatal, dementing diseases called transmissible spongiform encephalopathies. These diseases include mad cow disease in cattle and Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease in humans. Millhauser will discuss general features of prion diseases and late-breaking insights into the prion protein's proposed function.

According to Millhauser, the physiological function of the prion protein remains unclear despite nearly 20 years of research. Understanding the structure of a protein and how it interacts with other molecules can unlock the mysteries of its function. Millhauser's research on proteins involved in metabolic and neurological diseases has contributed to understanding how the prion protein works in maintaining neurological health.

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