Eric Minikel is a Ph.D. student in Stuart Schreiber's laboratory at the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard. His research focuses on the long-term goal of designing small molecule therapeutics for prion diseases—fatal neurodegenerative diseases caused by the spread of misfolded proteins across the brain. Minikel is developing methods to study prions in cells and in cell-free systems. He is also working to identify chemical compounds that bind prions or keep them from multiplying. Additionally, he is engineering diagnostic tools for measuring the progression of prion disease in patients.
After a previous career in consulting, Minikel began studying biology after learning in late 2011 that his wife, Sonia Vallabh, inherited a genetic mutation that causes prion disease. Prior to joining the Schreiber lab, Minikel studied the genetics of prion disease with Broad institute member Daniel MacArthur.
Eric holds a B.S. in Chinese from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, a, master's degree in transportation and city planning from MIT, and is currently a doctoral student in the Biological and Biomedical Sciences program at Harvard Medical School.