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Justin C. Leavitt, PHD

Doctor Justin Leavitt was born and raised in Southern Utah. After receiving an Associate degree from the College of Eastern Utah (2005), he transferred to the University of Utah where he received a Bachelor's degree in Biology, with a minor in Chemistry (2008). After working as a lab technician at the University of Utah School of Medicine (Pathology department), he decided to pursue graduate studies centered on genetics and microbiology. Doctor Leavitt received his Ph.D. from the University of Utah (2016), where his work focused on the genetics and biochemistry of bacterial viruses. He then completed a postdoctoral fellowship at Texas A&M University (College Station) in the department of Animal Sciences. Generally his interests are in the evolution and mechanics of complex protein interactions and large macromolecular assemblies. In contrast to his previous work in viral assembly, where the protein-protein interactions are remarkably ordered and well regulated, his current interest is in the “incorrect” assembly of molecules like prions, tau tangles, and amyloids. He is particularly interested in the biochemical properties of amyloid-β, a small protein that is necessary for the progression of Alzheimer’s disease.

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