WORLD-RENOWNED PROMOTER OF BASIC SCIENCE
Prof. Peter Walter
Director, Bay Area Institute of Science, Altos Labs
Peter Walter is the Institute Director, Altos Labs Bay Area Institute of Science. He has recently retired from UCSF and HHMI and is a Distinguished Professor Emeritus, Department of Biochemistry and Biophysics at UCSF and an HHMI Investigator Emeritus. Prof. Walter graduated from the Free University of Berlin in 1976 and received his Master of Science in Organic Chemistry from Vanderbilt University in 1977. In 1981 he obtained his PhD in Biochemistry at The Rockefeller University. In 1983, he joined the faculty of the Department of Biochemistry and Biophysics at the University of California at San Francisco and served as Department Chair from 2001 until 2008. His laboratory has produced groundbreaking research related to the identification and characterization of key proteostasis networks including the Unfolded Protein and Integrated Stress Responses.
His contributions to science have been recognized with many distinguished awards, including the Eli Lilly Award, Passano Award, Wiley Prize, Stein & Moore Award, Gairdner Award, E.B. Wilson Medal, Otto Warburg Medal, Jung Prize, 2012 Ehrlich and Darmstaedter Prize, 2014 Shaw Prize, 2014 Lasker Award, 2015 Vilcek Prize, 2018 Breakthrough Prize and 2020 UCSF Lifetime Achievement in Mentoring Award.
May 8th, 2022
15.00 – 16.15
IMol Polish Academy of Sciences
6 Flisa Street, Warsaw
IMol seminar room
Lecture title: Targeting the Cell’s Stress Pathways for Therapeutic Benefit
From its birth in the cradle of the ribosome to its demise in the fangs of proteolytic enzymes, a protein continuously explores different folding states. In most cell compartments, molecular sensors carefully monitor protein folding and instruct down-stream effectors to take corrective actions as needed. In response, cells can make adjustments to their protein folding and degradation machineries to stay in a healthy state of homeostasis. If protein folding defects occur and cannot be corrected in a sufficient and timely manner, cells induce suicide programs. Programmed cell death is thought to protect an organism from malfunctioning rogue cells that result from an accumulation of defective protein. In various pathologies, the life/death balance can inappropriately err on either side: killing cells that would be beneficial if kept alive, or alternatively, inappropriately protecting dangerous, disease propagating cells. Studies of the regulation of proteostasis now emerge as focal points of foundational basic research that powerfully connects to a wide spectrum of unmet clinical needs.
Prof. Walter will discuss advances in his lab’s efforts to understand the molecular details of the unfolded protein response (UPR), a conserved signaling network that surveys the protein folding status in the endoplasmic reticulum. The UPR signals through three molecularly distinct branches. The development of small, drug-like molecules that selectively target each of the UPR’s signaling branches has opened promising new therapeutic opportunities in areas as divergent as cancer, neurodegeneration, diabetes, inflammation, aging, and cognition. As such, the UPR emerges as a prime example of the power of fundamental cell biological discoveries to address problems of immense societal impact.