Work in the Audas Lab focuses on understanding the role of non-protein coding RNA transcripts during periods of cellular stress. This rapidly growing family of RNA molecules has been shown to mediate numerous cellular pathways and possess a functional diversity that can rival the proteome. Recently, we uncovered a novel function for noncoding RNAs in the formation of amyloid aggregates, a process historically associated with neurodegenerative disorders, such as Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and Huntington’s disease.  Surprisingly, our data demonstrates that amyloid-based structures naturally and reversibly form as a protective response to harsh environmental stimuli. We hypothesize that dysregulation of this physiological pathway could lead to the pathological plaques observed in patients suffering from neurological diseases.