Gal Bitan, PhD
Associate Professor at University of California, Los Angeles
Location: Los Angeles, California, United States
Gal Bitan, PhD, completed his graduate studies in organic chemistry at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Israel. Dr. Bitan's graduate work on unnatural amino acids and non-conventional peptide cyclization led him to postdoctoral studies on the structural biology of ligand-receptor systems at Beth Israel-Deaconess Medical Center/Harvard Medical School in Boston. He then moved on to tackle the problem of protein misfolding and aggregation, which is involved in over 30 amyloid-related diseases, including Alzheimer's, Parkinson's, prion diseases (e.g., Mad Cow disease), and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (Lou Gherig's disease).
Dr. Bitan has made fundamental contributions to the study of early events in the pathologic cascades that cause Alzheimer's disease. In Alzheimer's and other amyloid-related diseases, aberrant self-association of particular proteins yields oligomeric and polymeric aggregates that are potent cytotoxins. Dr. Bitan introduced the use of novel photochemical protein cross-linking techniques for investigation of these processes and discovered one of the earliest oligomers in the assembly cascade, the paranucleus.
In 2003, Dr. Bitan was appointed as an instructor in neurology at the Center for Neurologic Disease at Brigham and Women's Hospital and Harvard Medical School. A year later, Dr. Bitan joined UCLA where he is currently an associate professor of neurology in the David Geffen School of Medicine. His research focuses on development of novel drugs for treatment of amyloid-related diseases. In recognition of his achievements, in 2005, Dr. Bitan received the Turken Research Award for the study of Alzheimer's disease.