Dr. Jonathan Sachs is an associate professor of biomedical engineering at the University of Minnesota, MN. He earned his PhD from Johns Hopkins University, also in biomedical engineering, where he trained in computational molecular biophysics. He completed a NIH-funded post-doctoral fellowship in molecular biophysics at Yale University, where he developed expertise in experimental biophysics and biochemistry for the study of membrane proteins. Dr. Sachs's interest in alpha-synuclein, the sticky protein that clumps in the brains of those with Parkinson's, developed during graduate school, soon after his father was diagnosed with the disease (his grandfather also had the disease). Dr. Sachs is funded by an NIH grant to understand alpha-synuclein's toxic impact on synaptic vesicles (storage sacks on neurons). More recently, he has turned his attention to understanding and developing novel therapeutic strategies to prevent the misfolding and mis-trafficking of alpha-synuclein oligomers (molecular complexes that consist of a few units), the topic of this award. Dr. Sachs believes that investment and commitment to basic scientific research is the fastest way to cure this disease.