Ronald B. Wetzel, PhD Researcher
University of Pittsburgh
2046 Biomedical Science Tower 3
3501 Fifth Ave.
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, United States
Ron Wetzel is a Professor of structural biology at University of Pittsburgh. He received his BS from Drexel University and his PhD from the University of California, Berkeley. After postdoctoral experiences at the Max Planck Institute for Experimental Medicine, Goettingen, Germany, and at Yale University, he joined the fledgling biotechnology company Genentech in 1978. In 1997 he took a position in the Graduate School of Medicine at the University of Tennessee in Knoxville. He moved to the University of Pittsburgh in 2006. His basic research has been funded by the Hereditary Disease Foundation, the Alzheimer’s Association, the American Health Assistance Foundation, and by the Institutes on Aging and on Neurodegenerative Disease and Stroke of the National Institutes of Health.
The Wetzel lab focuses on studies of amyloid fibrils and similar protein aggregates that have been implicated in neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s, Huntington’s, and Parkinson’s diseases. The lab is currently concentrating on several questions, including: (a) understanding the mechanism of assembly of aggregates of the Alzheimer’s amyloid plaque peptide Aβ, and on the recently discovered ability of the same Aβ peptide to grow into amyloid fibrils of different structures, depending on growth conditions; (b) understanding the mechanism of assembly of polyglutamine sequences; (c) how the cellular environment affects aggregation pathways, and how aggregates affect cell behavior and viability.