Professor Judith Frydman

Judith Frydman is a professor in the Departments of Biology and Genetics at Stanford University. She is originally from Argentina, where she majored in chemistry and received her PhD in Biochemistry from the University of Buenos Aires. She carried out her postdoctoral training with Ulrich Hartl at the Sloan Kettering Institute in New York. During her postdoc, she discovered that eukaryotic cells have a ring-shaped chaperonin complex, which was termed TRiC and established that, unlike what was previously believed based on biophysical experiments, protein folding in in eukaryotic cells occurs cotranslationally as polypeptides emerge from ribosomes during their biosynthesis. Furthermore, she showed that distinct molecular chaperones are specifically recruited to bind ribosome-nascent chain complexes to assist cotranslational folding.

The central theme of Dr. Frydman’s research is to understand how cells maintain a healthy and functional proteome. By focusing on biological mechanisms controlling cellular protein folding, aggregation and quality control her lab discovered the modular nature of protein homeostasis networks that function in the context of translation to assist in cotranslational protein folding and or to maintain quality control and protect the proteome during stress. the Frydman lab discovered that cells rely on spatial sequestration to protect and repair their proteome whereby chaperone-dependent pathways for the sequestration of misfolded and aggregated proteins in specific cellular compartments.  Importantly, protein homeostasis is disrupted during aging, neurodegenerative diseases and other misfolding-linked maladies and the lab harness the knowledge of these pathways to develop therapies for the treatment of viral infections, cancer and neurodegenerative diseases.

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