Matthew Pratt, PhD, received his BS in biochemistry and mathematics from the University of Arizona and PhD from University of California, Berkeley. He then started working at Rockefeller University as an American Cancer Society Postdoctoral Fellow before starting his independent career at the University of Southern California (USC) in 2009. Dr. Pratt's laboratory uses chemical tools to understand protein post-translational modifications (changes that proteins undergo after their production is complete). One such modification, called O-GlcNAc, is found on several clumping proteins, including alpha-synuclein. Using protein chemistry, the Pratt laboratory has prepared several O-GlcNAcylated versions of alpha-synuclein and shown that these modifications slow or change the clumping of alpha-synuclein and make it less toxic to brain cells. This raises the possibility that O-GlcNAc protects brain cells from damage by alpha-synuclein and could be used as a treatment strategy in Parkinson's disease (PD). Dr. Pratt has received several awards for his work, including the David Gin Young Investigator Award in Carbohydrate Chemistry and a USC Graduate Student Mentoring Award.