Back in the late 90s, I was working with some model peptides which I had designed for use in studies of nascent protein folding, but they kept aggregating. Chris Dobson suggested to check whether the aggregates had the hallmark featres of amyloid, and indeed they had, so I slipped into the study of amyloid, which is the kind of tangled protein aggregate one finds in Alzheimer's disease, BSE, and Parkinson's. Quite a few others did at the time, as many proteins and peptides had the ability to form these structures, even if their native states had no disease association whatsoever.
I haven't done much about amyloid since publishing my last research papers, but recently spotted a few papers that looked promising both for the understanding of amyloid formation and for the treatment of Alzheimer's disease, so I wrote a feature about these things, which is out in Current Biology today.
Understanding amyloid and Alzheimer's disease
Current Biology, Volume 22, Issue 10, R381-R384, 22 May 2012
(NB: my features remain on free access only until the next issue appears, i.e. normally 2 weeks, sometimes 3, and they return to free access a year after publication)
Alois Alzheimer (1864-1915)