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ACS AMA: I am Wilfredo “Freddy” Colon, Ph.D., a professor at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute who researches the biology and pathology of misfolding proteins. Ask me anything about prions or brain-affecting protein-based diseases.
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Hi Reddit! I’m Dr. Wilfredo Colon. Call me Freddy. I’m a Professor and the Chair in the Department of Chemistry and Chemical Biology, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (http://rpi.edu) in Troy, NY. I research the biological and pathological roles of protein hyperstability in protein function, misfolding and amyloid formation. Proteins in our bodies are marginally stable, allowing us to repair and replace older proteins with new identical ones. As we age, our bodies become less efficient at this degradation process, and proteins can misfold and aggregate, leading to problems associated with aging (e.g., Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, cancers). Hyperstable protein aggregates are too stable to degrade, interfering with cellular function and are thought to contribute to complications with aging and disease. A long-term goal of my research is to understand the role of protein hyperstability in biological adaptation, aging, and diseases. To that end, I’ve developed methods for discovering and analyzing protein hyperstability in biological fluids or tissue. I am a first-generation Hispanic college student who went into science in academia. I’ve had various roles over the years including a National Science Foundation (www.nsf.gov) program director, a director of education and outreach programs, and my current role as a professor. I got a B.S. in chemistry from the University of Puerto Rico at Mayagüez (www.uprm.edu/ ) and a Ph.D. in chemistry from Texas A&M University (www.tamu.edu). I am an ACS Expert, an AAAS Fellow, and I’ve been honored to receive a Presidential Early Career Award in Science and Engineering. **Hi everyone. This hour went by too fast. Thank you for your questions and interest on this topic. I had a great time and wish I had been able to answer more of your questions. I apologize if I did not get to your question. Perhaps I could come back in the near future for another session. -acs affiliation correction and style edits