Morimoto, Richard, PhD



Morimoto, Richard, PhD


Bill and Gayle Cook Professor of Biology


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Molecular Biosciences; Director, Rice Institute for Biomedical Research


Hogan 2-100 Evanston


Areas of Research

Cell Biology, Molecular Neuroscience, Neurobiology of Disease

Training Grants

Mechanisms of Aging and Demential Training Program (M.A.D)

NU Scholar Profile

Recent Publications on PubMed

Current Research

Current Research

Molecular Basis of Neurodegenerative Disease: Protein Misfolding and Molecular Chaperone Therapeutics
The research in the Morimoto laboratory addresses the molecular basis for neurodegenerative diseases resulting from protein misfolding. These include Alzheimer’s disease, Huntington’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis, and Creutzfeld-Jacob’s disease. The expression of these misfolded and mutant proteins results in the appearance of toxic oligomers, aggregates, and inclusion bodies that are hallmarks of these neurodegenerative disorders. We are interested in:
the capacity and specificity of the protein quality control machinery to recognize misfolded proteins and the triage mechanism that determines whether the damaged protein is refolded or cleared. Using C. elegans as a model system, we have established transgenic animals expressing polyglutamine proteins, mutant SOD1, tau, and prions and have identified a molecular link between the insulin signaling pathway, accumulation of damaged proteins, and regulation of the heat shock response and chaperones.
the role of genes that control lifespan and protein homeostasis
identification of modifiers of aggregation-toxicity using forward genetic screens and genome-wide RNAi screens
the basis of neuronal cell-type specificity and neurotoxicity
the development of small molecules that target the molecular chaperone machinery as a new class of therapeutics for neurodegenerative diseases of aging.