Grants & Research

The National Parkinson Foundation has been advancing the science of Parkinson’s disease since its inception and has funded almost $172 million in research and capacity grants since the 1980’s. In addition, under the leadership of Joyce Oberdorf, NPF has been coordinating a cross-network project to identify correlations among disease progression, quality of life indicators, and therapies. At the 2009 World Federation of Neurology congress, NPF’s founder Nathan Slewett was honored for his contributions to the science of PD, and NPF’s grants programs were cited as having laid the groundwork for the current approach to PD taken by the US National Institutes of Health and others. NPF’s grants to clinicians and investigators form the cornerstone of NPF’s programs for professionals.

In this section, you will find announcements of new funding opportunities, information about currently funded research, and a database of historic grants. We are proud of the advances in both research and care achieved by our grantees and look forward to funding future breakthroughs.

Research and Intervention Investigator Awards for Parkinson's Disease 2014

Applications are invited from mid-career investigators across the Parkinson's community. Grant funding is available in three high-impact focus areas voted as most important by the Parkinson's community:

  1. How Parkinson's Spreads from Cell to Cell.
  2. Cognitive change in Parkinson’s disease
  3. Database studies

Read the request for applications.

Here are some highlights of breakthroughs achieved in NPF-funded research:

Does avian flu cause PD?

After 1918 there was an epidemic of neurological disorders. Such avian flus show an ability to infect the brain by traveling up axons, based on a mouse model developed by Dr. Richard Smeyne at St. Jude’s in Memphis.


Professor Baastian Bloem of Nijmegen showed that referring patients to PD-specialist physical therapists reduced utilization. Specialized providers anticipated issues and armed patients with knowledge about their disease, so patients had fewer questions between regular visits.

Cognition and surgery

Cognitive decline has been observed in older patients after surgery. UF’s Dr. Catherine Price has found that PD patients fare worse than controls.

Impulse control disorder and PD

Northwestern’s Dr. Tanya Simuni found structural differences in the brain between PD patients with ICD and those without using fMRI.

Is LRRK2-associated PD the same disease as other forms?

Toronto Western’s Dr. Connie Marras found PD in patients with the LRRK2 mutation to present the same observable symptoms as idiopathic PD. However, many subjects with the LRRK2 mutation did not have PD.

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