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VIDEO: Emily Sontag on Sorting out the JUNQ: the Spatial Nature of Protein Quality Control

Mark Murcko
Mark Murcko
Type Kitchen Table Talk

Emily Sontag, from Marquette University, shared her lab’s work with the community on June 2, as part of our Kitchen Table Talk series. Emily’s expertise in both neurodegeneration and protein quality control (PQC) has developed out of her PhD training in the lab of Leslie Thompson at UC, Irvine and postdoctoral studies with Judith Frydman at Stanford. She recently opened her own lab at Marquette to explore how cells deal with misfolded proteins, studying this critical biology through a condensate lens. Her lab uses cutting-edge biophysical, structural, and imaging methods to understand the fascinating condensates involved in PQC. We loved that Emily also discussed how these PQC processes break down in neurodegeneration, as well as in aging and cancer. Enjoy her talk below.

Emily Sontag on Sorting out the JUNQ: the Spatial Nature of Protein Quality Control

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Mark Murcko (00:00):
Great to see you all. Our speaker today, as you know, is Emily Sontag, who comes to us from Marquette in Chicago [Editor’s note: Marquette is, in fact, in Milwaukee]. Emily’s doing amazing work that I think many of you may already know some of it, but it’ll just be so exciting to hear about her latest work. She’s been in the game now for a long time. She got her PhD at U Cal, Irvine and then did a long postdoc with Judith Frydman at Stanford, before taking up her position at Marquette. And what she’s been doing for quite some time now is detailed exploration of the protein quality control mechanisms that are used to handle stress response to unfolded proteins. It’s a very complex field. It’s been studied for decades. And what Emily is doing is really exciting because she’s exploring this in an entirely new way, through a condensate lens, using super-resolution microscopy and biophysical methods and structural methods, very cutting edge biochemical methods, really a very broad approach to studying this complicated process in an entirely new way, and in particular the applications of this protein quality control mechanism to neurodegenerative disease, although as you’ll see, it’s not limited to that, because this biology applies across all disease areas. So her title today is Sorting out the JUNQ, the spatial nature of protein quality control. Emily, take it away. Thank you.

Emily Sontag (01:32):
Wonderful. Thank you so much for that very kind introduction, Mark, and thank you to Jill and Mark and everyone for the invitation to present my work today. I’m really excited to get to introduce myself as a new faculty member and tell you a lot about the work that I started as a postdoc in Judith’s Lab at Stanford, but now what I’m planning to do continuing forward in my own lab at Marquette to examine the spatial protein quality control process and the formation of these protein quality control compartments…

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