Professor Jürgen Götz
Alzheimer's disease - basic mechanisms and ultrasound-based therapeutic interventions
The brain is considered to be the last frontier, both in terms of understanding how it operates under normal and pathological conditions, and in accessing it for therapeutic intervention. My laboratory works in both spaces: deciphering the role of key molecules and signalling pathways in Alzheimer's disease (AD) and developing novel ultrasound-based techniques to overcome the blood-brain barrier (BBB). One of the key features of the AD brain is the deposition of the peptide amyloid-b (Ab) as plaques and of the protein Tau as tangles, a process that leads to neurodegeneration and dementia.
In the first part of my talk, I will present pastmechanistic work into how tau and Ab interact and impair the translational machinery.
In the second part of my talk, I will present our data on using ultrasound to clear Ab and Tau pathology in AD mouse models and restore memory and motor functions.
I will also present data on how ultrasound enhances cognition in physiologically aged mice. A challenge is to develop the technology for the application in humans, due to a highly attenuating human skull. To address this, we have established a protocol that allows for the safe opening of the BBB in sheep, a large animal species with skull characteristics similar to that of humans. The aim is to develop therapeutic ultrasound into a treatment modality for human brain diseases more generally.
Professor Jürgen Götz is Foundation Chair of Dementia Research and Director of the Clem Jones Centre for Ageing Dementia Research at the Queensland Brain Institute (University of Queensland). He performed undergraduate studies at the Biocenter of the University of Basel, before joining the laboratory of Nobel Laureate Georges Köhler to obtain his PhD degree in immunology. Subsequently, he took up postdoctoral positions at UCSF (San Francisco) and Sandoz Ltd (now Novartis, Basel), and worked as Research Group Leader at the University of Zurich (Switzerland). Before taking up his current position, Götz was a Professor and Chair of Molecular Biology at the University of Sydney. Götz is an internationally renowned expert in basic research in Alzheimer’s disease (AD), focusing on the cellular and molecular mechanisms of how tau and Aβ cause neurodegeneration, using transgenic and cellular models. More recently, Götz developed a non-pharmacological ultrasound-based treatment strategy that removes toxic Aβ and tau in mice and restores memory functions, presenting ultrasound as a novel treatment modality for diseases of the brain.