Professor of Biology and Chemistry
Ph.D. University of Wisconsin, Madison
B.S. College of Great Falls
Areas of Interest:
Biochemistry; Prion diseases
Biochemistry, Biochemistry II, Essentials of Organic and Biochemistry, Cell Biology
Dan grew up in Great Falls, MT as the youngest of seven children. His mother worked as a nurse and his father as a college administrator. Dan was the seventh of his siblings to graduate from college in Great Falls. He double majored in Chemistry and Biology. Dan did his PhD work in Biochemistry at the University of Wisconsin-Madison (Go Badgers!!). His thesis work was on the molecular mechanism of fat and cholesterol secretion into the bloodstream. Prior to joining the faculty at Carroll, Dan was at Wartburg College in Waverly, IA and at Montana State University-Billings.
At Carroll, Dr. Gretch teaches both in Chemistry and Biology. He teaches Essentials of Organic and Biochemistry, Biochemistry I and II, and Cell Biology. In addition to these classes, he is the Pre-medical advisor at Carroll.
Research in the Gretch lab focuses on neurodegenerative disease. We study the prion protein, which in a misfolded state, aggregates in the brain stimulating nerve cell death and a fatal disease called spongiform encephalopathy. These diseases afflict humans, domesticated livestock (for example Mad Cow Disease) and free-ranging animals such as deer and elk.
The prion protein is unique in that it can transmit disease in an infectious manner. Central to the progression of disease is the misfolding process whereby the normal cellular form of the prion protein becomes misshapen into the infectious, disease causing form. Dr. Gretch studies this misfolding process.
Chronic wasting disease is a transmissible spongiform encephalopathy found in deer, elk and moose. The Gretch lab uses this model system in an effort to understand the process of prion protein misfolding.
Dr. Gretch loves the outdoors of Montana. Whether it's hiking on the forested trails near Helena or spending time on one of the several lakes a short distance from his back door, the outdoors are a big draw for him. He loves to learn and enjoys traveling, brewing some beer, and spending time with friends and family.