Montana State University

Lecture on prion disease to be given May 1 at MSU

April 16, 2008 -- From MSU News Service

Byron Caughey   High-Res Available

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MSU News Service
Tel: (406) 994-4571
BOZEMAN -- A free public lecture on "Prion diseases: mad cows, wasting deer, cannibals, etc." will be held Thursday, May 1, at Montana State University.

Byron Caughey from the National Institute for Allergy and Infectious Diseases in Hamilton will speak at 5 p.m. in the Byker Auditorium of MSU's new Chemistry and Biochemistry Building. A reception will follow in the atrium.

Caughey, a biochemist, is a senior investigator and chief of the TSE/prion biochemistry section of the Laboratory of Persistent Viral Diseases, Rocky Mountain Laboratories, National Institute for Allergy and Infectious Diseases, National Institutes of Health in Hamilton. His research has shown how rogue proteins, called prions, could propagate and potentially lead to mad cow disease and its human equivalent, Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease.

Caughey received his Ph.D. in biochemistry from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 1985. In 1986, after post-doctoral studies at Duke University, he began TSE/prion research at Rocky Mountain Laboratories as a post-doc. He established his own lab at RML in 1989 and has continued to focus on prion diseases. His major scientific interests include prion structure, cell biology, species barriers, strains, detection and therapeutics.

Caughey's lecture is part of the Kopriva Science Seminar Series, which was established in 1991 by Phil Kopriva, a 1957 microbiology graduate from MSU. Kopriva, who died in 2002, set up the seminar series, as well as the Kopriva Graduate Fellowship Program, to provide support and opportunities for graduate students in the College of Letters and Science, particularly in the biomedical sciences. Starting this fall, the series will feature four seminars annually, with talks given by MSU graduate students, faculty members and guest speakers.

Evelyn Boswell, (406) 994-5135 or