A Virtual Center

The first center of its kind connecting diverse expertise on disorders of abnormal protein accumulations and perturbations in “protein quality control”

Four Research Hubs

Our hubs investigate several of the most important research questions linking various PFDs. Each hub is comprised of basic and clinical-scientists and mines expertise across disciplines and diseases.


Targeting Chaperones

We study protein quality control across translational models of cancer, cardiovascular disease and neurodegeneration with the goal of defining mechanisms of protein homeostasis and identifying therapeutic targets. Our unified approach is based on the realization that a single cellular machinery, the Hsp90/Hsp70 based chaperone machinery, controls the activity.

Endoplasmic Reticulum

There has been a recent explosion in the number of identified disorders linked to protein misfolding in the endoplasmic reticulum (ER). We are exploring potential therapies including treatments designed to avoid ER protein folding overload, enhance endogenous ER chaperone activities, and promote ER-associated degradation of misfolded mutant proteins.

Protein Trafficking

Many devastating human diseases arise from the accumulation of unfolded and aggregated proteins including amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), AD, HD and PD. How unfolded proteins, either as soluble or aggregated species, cause disease remains poorly understood, and multiple mechanisms are likely involved.

Beyond Amyloid

Research in Hub 4 strives to go beyond the “beta amyloid hypothesis” of Alzheimer’s disease (AD) to address other factors contributing to AD and related forms of dementia. There are two major goals: 1) use interdisciplinary approaches to gain insight into disease mechanisms; 2) understand the relationship between altered metabolism and dementia symptom onset and disease severity.

Defining Protein Folding Diseases

At the root of many diseases is a cause hidden in molecules. It involves mutating protein molecules, which we refer to as protein misfolding. View this video to learn more about the Protein Folding Diseases Initiative at the University of Michigan.


New Seminar Series Coming Soon...

Please watch for our new seminar series coming soon…

Peter Arvan - New Co-Director of PFD

Peter Arvan, M.D., Ph.D., Chief of the Division of Metabolism, Endocrinology & Diabetes (MEND) and Professor of Medicine and Physiology,  has graciously agreed to be the new Co-Director of PFD, along side Andy Lieberman.  Peter is currently the Co-Director of the Endoplasmic Reticulum Hub (Hub 2).  We welcome Peter in this new role with PFD!

Henry Paulson Named Interim Director of Michigan Neuroscience Institute

Congratulations to Henry “Hank” Paulson who was approved by the Board of Regents to serve as Interim Director of the Michigan Neuroscience Institute (MNI), effective March 1!

Watch Our Symposium From October 29, 2020

To watch all the incredible presentations from our 7th Annual Symposium, click here

Our team

Our team, comprised of more than 70 scientists and scholars from around the University, are exploring the basic mechanisms and consequences of misfolded proteins in human diseases.