Ruben Vidal, PhD
Dr. Vidal is an Associate Professor at the Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine at Indiana University School of Medicine. He received graduate and postgraduate training at New York University School of Medicine and discussed his PhD thesis in Pathology at the National University in Argentina.
Research in the laboratory of Dr. Vidal is focused on the molecular mechanisms by which deposition of a protein with an abnormal conformation causes neurodegeneration. Dr. Vidal studies the pathogenesis of Alzheimer disease (AD), familial British and Danish dementia (FBD and FDD), prion diseases, hereditary ferritinopathy (HF) and other neurodegenerative disorders in which the main biochemical event leading to brain degeneration involves the abnormal deposition of proteins in the brain parenchyma or in cerebral vessel walls. These are disorders of protein conformation leading to aggregation in which a protein that is present in body fluids as a soluble precursor deposits, producing organ dysfunction and cell death. In most cases, such as in AD, the abnormal protein is deposited as amyloid fibrils. Amyloid fibrils are composed of self-assembled, low molecular weight mass peptides adopting beta-pleated sheet structure, the conformation responsible for their physicochemical properties and tinctoreal characteristics. To accomplish his goals Dr. Vidal employs a multidisciplinary approach in which he uses a variety of modern methodologies including molecular cloning, protein biochemistry, recombinant protein expression, cell transfection and transgenic animal models. Transgenic models are particularly important since they allow therapeutic approaches to be tested. Research efforts in the laboratory of Dr. Vidal are funded by grants from the National Institutes of Health (NIA and NINDS), the American Federation for Aging Research (AFAR), the Alzheimer's Association (AA), and the American Health Assistance Foundation (AHAF).