Visualizing How Amyloid-Beta Strands Interact in Alzheimer's Disease

Principal Investigator

Co-Principal Investigator

Project Goals

The aim of this project is to use electron microscopy to image the steps of amyloid-beta molecule interactions.

Project Summary

Amyloid-beta strands interact with each other to form the fibrils that define Alzheimer's disease and related dementias. The end product is familiar in Alzheimer's research, but the steps to forming these fibrils remain unclear. David Boyer, PhD, hopes to shed light on this process by using microscopy to capture, for the first time, how the molecules behave during the fibril formation process.

For this purpose, he will use a process that involves rapidly freezing molecules in a way that maintains their structure. Using electron microscopy, which gives a view down to the molecular level, Dr. Boyer will meticulously track each step of fibril formation. To get the clearest possible picture, he plans to tag the amyloid-beta molecules with antibodies that will help trace the structures they form as they interact, from single molecules to fibrils.

If successful, the method will serve two purposes: as a tool for similar studies of the origins of Alzheimer's disease and related dementias, and as a basis for designing drugs that might target disruption of fibril formation.


First published on: August 31, 2023

Last modified on: September 28, 2023