Paul Taylor trained as a clinical neurologist. He now spends his days in a research lab investigating how the nervous system develops and functions, but his studies always begin with what he learns from patients.
Beginning with genes that are disrupted in patients with neurodegenerative diseases, Taylor's lab team first determines the normal function of those genes and then looks at how their mutation causes disease, taking advantage of any model or experimental system that gets the researchers closer to an answer.
This strategy has led Taylor to discover that some neurodegenerative diseases, including amyotrophic lateral sclerosis and frontotemporal dementia, are caused by defects in the assembly, disassembly, or clearance of cellular packages of RNA and protein known as RNA granules. He has shown that these types of defects in RNA metabolism can also cause degenerative muscle diseases.
Taylor's team is now investigating the role of RNA granules in regulating gene activity and exploring how the granules are assembled.