“These early-career leaders in research will know their value goes beyond the bench, and that their skills and expertise can make an impact on their community and inspire future scientists”  – Dr. Amy Rommel, Scientific Program Director for the Rainwater Charitable Foundation


Congratulations to Alejandro N. Rondón Ortiz, a PhD candidate in Biology-Neurobiology in both the Center for Network Systems Biology and the Laboratory of Neurodegeneration from Boston University.

The Rainwater Tau leadership fellowship is an award funded by the Rainwater Charitable Foundation. This foundation invests in early-career scientist to promote the next generation of Tau researchers/leaders. Crucial factors for the award are scientific mentorship and community outreach, which Alejandro has fulfilled by training current and future graduate and undergraduate students, especially from underrepresented identities in STEM.

Describing his research and award, Alejandro said: “For the award I used the second aim from my qualifying exam written proposal. I am using state of the art/multidisciplinary approaches to explore protein-protein interactions in neurodegeneration.  I generated genetic tools that encode for chimeric proteins, and these proteins label interacting protein partners with a tag. This “tagged-protein partner” can be purified and subsequently identified by proteomics. One characteristic of these chimeric proteins is that they interact with protein aggregates and biomolecular condensates, molecular hallmarks of tauopathies. These genetic tools are predicted to work in a diversity of biological systems, including cell/neuronal cultures and brains from transgenic rodents. Finally, these uncovered pathology-associated protein networks can be cross-referenced with available datasets and propose druggable targets at early stage of the disease progression.”

More about Alejandro: 

He holds a PharmD degree from Universidad Catolica de Santa Maria, Peru, and an MS in Pharmacology from MCPHS University, Boston.

He is interested in neurodegenerative disorders (particularly in tauopathies). Tauopathies are a group of neurodegenerative disorders that have a common denominator: the misfolding of Tau protein (e.g. Alzheimer’s disease, progressive supranuclear palsy, cortico-basal degeneration, and others). He uses multidisciplinary approaches to explore tauopathies at the molecular level, and  hopes hi findings will contribute to a better understanding of these neurodegenerative disorders.