Protein Folding Diseases Initiative

Composite image of scientific illustrations of protein folding diseases


The Protein Folding Diseases (PFD) Initiative connects diverse campus-wide expertise on disorders of abnormal protein accumulation and perturbations in “protein quality control.”

This growing list of diseases numbers more than a hundred, with diseases affecting nearly all organ systems and ranging from some of the most common acquired disorders to a wide array of hereditary diseases.

Many PFD disorders are poorly understood, untreatable and often fatal. Accordingly, the unmet needs are tremendous. As one example, more than 5 million people in the U.S. now suffer from Alzheimer’s disease and, as our population ages, this number will climb rapidly

Similarly, for cancer treatment, the regulation of protein degradation has emerged as an important target with profound therapeutic implications

A better understanding of disease mechanisms and more effective therapies is needed for nearly all PFD disorders. The programs developed by the PFD Initiative promise to accelerate the path to new mechanistic insights and improved treatments for these diseases.


***Now Available in the Resource Center - Antibodies in Reagent Library***



2nd Annual PFDI Symposium - "Molecules and Machines"

Friday, September 18, 2015, 9:00 am until 5:00 pm

A. Alfred Taubman Biomedical Science Research Building, Kahn Auditorium and Seminar Rooms A, B, C

See the Day's Schedule

Click here to register for the Symposium - Registration Required - Register by September 6, 2015
*Please note - For those attending from other colleges/universities or organizations, a $25 registration fee is required to attend.  More information on the registration fee can be found on the registration link.  If you are planning to stay in the Ann Arbor area, here is a link to the Ann Arbor Area Convention and Visitors Bureau.  Please be advised accommodations may be difficult due to the University of Michigan's home football game.
Directions to Biomedical Science Research Building - mapquest

Click abstract for submission format and procedures

Keynote Speakers:

Franz-Ulrich Hartl


Franz-Ulrich Hartl, Ph.D., Managing Director of the Max Planck Institute of Biochemistry, Germany, "Mechanisms of Aggregate Toxicity and Their Modulation by Molecular Chaperones"


Judith Frydman


Judith Frydman, Ph.D., Professor, Biology and Genetics, Stanford University, "Chaperone Mediated Proteostasis in Health and Disease"

Tom Rapoport


Tom A. Rapoport, Ph.D., Professor of Cell Biology, Howard Hughes Medical Institute Investigator, Harvard Medical School, "How the ER Gets Into Shape"



 We will also have presentations from these University of Michigan Faculty:

Catherine A. Collins, Ph.D., Associate Professor, Molecular, Cellular and Developmental Biology

Daniel R. Southworth, Ph.D., Assistant Professor, Biological Chemistry

Billy Tsai, Ph.D., Corydon Ford Professor, Cell and Developmental Biology

Kristen J. Verhey, Ph.D., A. Kent Christensen Collegiate Professor, Cell and Developmental Biology




Seminar Series

October 1, 2015

Erika Holzbaur


Erika Holzbaur, Ph.D.

Talk Title Forthcoming

3:00 PM - 4:30 PM

BSRB Seminar Rooms A, B, C



PFDI Related Talks

December 9, 2015

William E. Balch


Neurology Grand Rounds

William E. Balch, Ph.D.