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Parkinson's Disease Foundation Announces $4 Million in Research Investments to Solve, Treat and End Parkinson's Disease

Research Funding for Early-Career Scientists Reflects Urgent Need for Better Therapies

The Parkinson's Disease Foundation® (PDF®) is pleased to announce $4 million in research investments to solve, treat and end Parkinson's disease. The newest awards, which include increased support for early-career scientists, reflect PDF's urgency for advancing the care and cure for the one million Americans living with Parkinson's disease.

"PDF research investments have advanced our understanding of Parkinson's disease and improved millions of lives worldwide. Yet, our community is still without the therapies they need most — those that can slow or stop the disease. Our most recent grants reflect PDF's commitment to supporting the next generation of research leaders who will speed us toward better treatments and a cure," noted James Beck, Ph.D., Vice President, Scientific Affairs, Parkinson's Disease Foundation.

PDF's increased investment in early-career scientists is illustrated through the new Stanley Fahn Junior Faculty Awards, named in honor of PDF's longtime Scientific Director. The awards provide young scientists with $300,000 in support over three years for research focused on solving Parkinson's. Among the awardees is Ignacio Fernandez Mata, Ph.D., Acting Assistant Professor at the University of Washington and a researcher at the Geriatrics Research Education and Clinical Center (GRECC) at VA Puget Sound Health Care System, whose project, "Parkinson's Genetic Risk Factors in Latino Populations," will expand upon genetics research that has already provided many important clues about the disease.

"In Parkinson's, genetic studies have advanced the field immeasurably, but they have been confined to studying those of European ancestry, which limits our knowledge and puts non-Europeans at risk for health disparities," said Dr. Mata. "PDF understood this unmet need early on and, at the start of my career, provided seed funding to create the Latin American Research consortium on the Genetics of Parkinson's Disease (LARGE-PD), which has recruited more than 4,000 individuals across Latin America. The PDF Stanley Fahn Award allows my team to take the research further — to perform the first-ever large-scale genetic study of non-European populations, so we can understand if the same genetic risk factors apply to Latinos and identify new ones to help us better understand the disease for everyone."

PDF research investments are selected through a competitive application process reviewed by its Scientific Advisory Board, which includes scientific experts and PDF-trained patient advocates.

PDF's latest research investments are listed below. Additional investments will be announced throughout the year.

PDF Research Centers

Allow talented scientists to collaborate on basic, translational and clinical research.

Columbia University Medical Center

Un Jung Kang, M.D., Principal Investigator
Roy N. Alcalay, M.D., M.Sc.
Robert E. Burke, M.D.
Lorraine N. Clark, Ph.D.
Stanley Fahn, M.D.
Blair Ford, M.D.
Jill S. Goldman, M.S., M.Phil.
Lloyd A. Greene, Ph.D.
Sheng-Han Kuo, M.D.
Oren Levy, M.D., Ph.D.
Karen Marder, M.D., M.P.H.
Eugene Mosharov, Ph.D.
Serge Przedborski, M.D., Ph.D.
Seth L. Pullman, M.D.
Yaakov Stern, Ph.D.
David Sulzer, Ph.D.
Jean Paul G. Vonsattel, M.D.
Cheryl H. Waters, M.D.
Ai Yamamoto, Ph.D.

Rush University Medical Center

Christopher G. Goetz, M.D., Principal Investigator
Brandon R. Barton, M.D., M.S.
Bryan A. Bernard, Ph.D.
Cynthia L. Comella, M.D.
Jennifer G. Goldman, M.D., M.S.
Deborah A. Hall, M.D., Ph.D.
Katie Kompoliti, M.D.
Jeffrey H. Kordower, Ph.D.
Leo Verhagen-Metman, M.D., Ph.D.
T. Celeste Napier, Ph.D.
Kalipada Pahan, Ph.D.
Glenn T. Stebbins, Ph.D.
Dustin R. Wakeman, Ph.D.

PDF Advancing Parkinson's Treatments Grants

Facilitate the movement of treatments from "bench to bedside."

Innovations Awards

Parkinson Study Group: Advancing Clinical Research
Hubert Fernandez, M.D., and Michael Schwarzschild, M.D., Ph.D., Cleveland Clinic and Massachusetts General Hospital/Harvard Medical School

PDF Parkinson's Prevalence Project

Parkinson's Prevalence Data Analysis

Conference Awards and Meeting Sponsorship

The Disease Modification in Early Parkinson's Disease Consortium
(In partnership with the American Parkinson Disease Association)
David Charles, M.D., and Mallory Hacker, Ph.D., Vanderbilt University

Dystonia in Parkinson's Disease
William T. Dauer, M.D., University of Michigan

Non-pharmaceutical Ways of Maintaining Cognitive Function in Parkinson's
Jennifer G. Goldman, M.D., M.S., Rush University Medical Center

Third Global Force PD: Cell Based Therapies
Jeffrey H. Kordower, Ph.D., and Lorenz Studer, M.D., Rush University Medical Center and Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center

Second Palliative Care in Parkinson's
Keiran Tuck, M.B.B.S., Julie Carter, R.N., M.S., A.N.P., and Benzi Kluger, M.D., M.S., Oregon Health & Science University and University of Colorado

Parkinson's Advocates in Research Leadership Awards

Meaningful Cognitive Outcomes in PD
Jared Benge, Ph.D., A.B.P.P.-C.N., Baylor Scott & White Health

Enhancing Patient Engagement in PD Mental Health Research 
Roseanne D. Dobkin, Ph.D., Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School

Impact of Exercise on Fatigue, Anxiety A feeling of nervousness, worried thoughts and physical distress. and Depression in PD 
Mary S. Feldman, D.O., Dartmouth College and Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center

Parkinson's Outreach and Education to Underserved Communities 
Jacqueline Rick, Ph.D., University of Pennsylvania

The Ecological MOod TrackEr (EMOTE) App in Parkinson's: Filling the Unmet Need
Alit Stark-Inbar, Ph.D., University of California, Berkeley

PDF Fellowship and Career Development Awards

Prepare leaders in Parkinson's research and clinical practice.

Clinical Training Fellowships

Columbia University Medical Center
Deepak Gupta, M.D.
Devin Hall, M.D.
Lan Luo, M.D.*
Sarah O'Shea, M.D.
Miriam Sklerov, M.D.**

Rush University Medical Center
Meagan Bailey, M.D.*
Avram Fraint, M.D.

Stanley Fahn Junior Faculty Awards

High Throughput in Vivo Screens for Targeted Parkinson's Disease Gene Therapies
James Dahlman, Ph.D., Georgia Institute of Technology

Parkinson's Genetic Risk Factors in Latino Populations
Ignacio Fernandez Mata, Ph.D., University of Washington and VA Puget Sound Health Care System

Role of Direct Pathway Striatal Activity in Dyskinesia
Alexandra Nelson, M.D., Ph.D., University of California, San Francisco

Postdoctoral Research Fellowships

Dynamic Interaction Between Striatal Dopaminergic and Cholinergic System in Regulation of Beta-band Oscillations as Mechanisms Underlying Pathophysiology of Parkinson's Disease
Daigo Homma, Ph.D., Mentor: Ann Graybiel, Ph.D., Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Investigating the Function of Mitochondrial Derived Vesicles in Neurons and Their Role in Parkinson's Disease
Rosalind Roberts, D.Phil., Mentor: Edward Fon, M.D., McGill University

Loss of Glucocerebrosidase Increases Dopaminergic Neuronal Vulnerability by Impairing Autophagic Flux
Emily Rocha, Ph.D., Mentor: J. Timothy Greenamyre, M.D., Ph.D., University of Pittsburgh Medical Center

Alpha-synuclein A protein in the human brain that is associated with the development of Parkinson’s. It is the main component of Lewy bodies. Mediated Toxicity in the Aged Rat Brain: Molecular Mechanism of the Nucleus
Ivette Martinez Sandoval, Ph.D., Mentor: Timothy Collier, Ph.D., Michigan State University

Thalamostriatal Adaptations in Parkinson's Disease
Asami Tanimura, Ph.D., Mentor: D. James Surmeier, Ph.D., Northwestern University

Collaborative Fellowships

PDF-ABF Clinician-Scientist Development Award
(In partnership with the American Brain Foundation)
Parkin Overexpression as a Therapeutic Strategy**
Amber Van Laar, M.D., Mentor: J. Timothy Greenamyre, M.D., Ph.D., University of Pittsburgh Medical Center

PDF-PSG Mentored Clinical Research Award
(In partnership with the Parkinson Study Group)
Cerebellar Morphologic and Functional MRI Measures as a Biomarker of Cognitive Impairment in Parkinson's Disease
Baijayanta Maiti, M.D., Ph.D., Mentors: Joel Perlmutter, M.D., and Steven Petersen, Ph.D., Washington University in St. Louis

PDF-APDA Summer Student Fellowships
(In partnership with the American Parkinson Disease Association)
Identifying Elements of the Transcriptional Regulatory Network of PARIS (ZNF746) Involved in Alpha-synuclein-Induced Neurodegeneration
Preston Ge, Mentor: Ted Dawson, M.D., Ph.D., Johns Hopkins University

The Interaction of Parkinson's Disease Gene FBXO7 with Bag2
Dima Hage, Mentor: David Park, Ph.D., University of Ottawa

DBH-ASYN Mouse Model, Effect of Inflammation in Gastrointestinal System 
Kiana Khosravian, Mentor: Malú Tansey, Ph.D., Emory University

The Role of the ESCRT Complex in a Vesicular Trafficking Pathway from Mitochondria to Lysosomes
Sydney Lee, Mentor: Edward Fon, M.D., McGill University

REM Sleep Without Atonia Signatures Help Distinguish Between Synucleinopathy Disorders
Stuart McCarter, Mentor: Erik St. Louis, M.D., Mayo Clinic

In Vivo Optical Measurement of Direct and Indirect Path Projection Neuron Activity in a PD Rodent Model with Treatment of L-DOPA and Cannabinoid Antagonists
Rachel Mikofsky, Mentor: David Sulzer, Ph.D., Columbia University Medical Center

Relevance of Amino Acid Charge/Polarity in New Familial Mutants of Alpha-synuclein
Emily Ong, Mentor: Shubhik DebBurman, Ph.D., Lake Forest College

Impact of Inflammation on Alpha-synuclein Expression in the Colonic Enteric Nervous System
Henry Resnikoff, Mentor: Marina Emborg. M.D., Ph.D., University of Wisconsin-Madison

Association Between Water Source and Incidental Parkinson's Disease
Maya Silver, Mentor: Brad Racette, M.D., Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis

Investigation of Dopamine Neuron Degeneration as a Consequence of Microbiome-Derived Bacteria
Samuel Stanley, Mentor: Kim Caldwell, Ph.D., University of Alabama

Parkinson's Disease Penetrance in Obligate Carriers of SMPD1 Mutations
Adina Wise, Mentor: Roy Alcalay, M.D., M.S., Columbia University Medical Center

High Angular Resolution Diffusion Imaging Correlates of Cognitive Impairment in Parkinson's Disease
Kali Xu, Mentor: Kathleen Poston, M.D., M.S., Stanford University School of Medicine

* Denotes a second year of funding ** Denotes third year of funding

About Parkinson's Disease
Parkinson's disease is a progressive neurological disorder that affects nearly one million people in the US. Although promising research is being conducted, there is currently no cure for Parkinson's disease.

Thursday, June 9, 2016
Parkinson’s Foundation Adds John D. Thomopoulos to its Board of Directors
Monday, March 19, 2018

MIAMI & NEW YORK – March 19, 2018 – The Parkinson’s Foundation today announced the election of John D. Thomopoulos to its board of directors. Thomopoulos is a partner at Ernst & Young.

In Memory of Edythe Kay Marsa
Monday, March 12, 2018

The Parkinson’s Foundation mourns the loss of emeritus board member, Edythe (Edy) Kay Marsa. From 1993 to 2014, she was a member of the Foundation’s board of directors and served on several committees. Edy is survived by her husband William Marsa, who founded the Herbert Kay Parkinson Chapter in honor of her first husband who passed away due to complications from Parkinson’s disease.

Parkinson’s Foundation Announces New Genetic Initiative Connecting Parkinson’s Genetic Data with Clinical Care
Tuesday, March 6, 2018

MIAMI & NEW YORK—March 6, 2018—The Parkinson’s Foundation today announced a new initiative offering genetic testing and counseling to Parkinson’s patients within its Center of Excellence network.

Delegates From The Parkinson’s Community Converge On Capitol Hill To Advocate For Critical Research Funding
Monday, March 5, 2018

—2018 Parkinson’s Policy Forum Co-Sponsored by the Parkinson’s Foundation and the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research—

Parkinson’s Foundation Appoints Jena E. Abernathy to Board of Directors
Tuesday, February 27, 2018

MIAMI – February 27, 2018 –  The Parkinson’s Foundation today announced the election of Jena E. Abernathy to its board of directors.

Parkinson’s Foundation Moving Day Walks Fund Local Parkinson’s Programs in Seven Cities for Spring 2018
Friday, February 16, 2018

NEW YORK & MIAMI, FEBRUARY 16, 2018 — The Parkinson’s Foundation is proud to announce that Moving Day, A Walk for Parkinson’s, has funded more than $17 million in mission services to make life better for people living with Parkinson’s disease (PD).

Terranova’s Stephen Bittel Donates $450,000 to Parkinson’s Foundation to Support Expansion of Centers of Excellence Network
Thursday, February 1, 2018

MIAMI – February 1, 2018 – The Parkinson’s Foundation today announced that Stephen Bittel, chairman and founder of Terranova, has made a $450,000 donation to support the expansion of the foundation’s Centers o

Largest Clinical Study of Parkinson’s Disease Reaches 10,000-Patient Milestone, Reveals Critical Learnings
Wednesday, January 10, 2018

NEW YORK & MIAMI - January 10, 2018 - The Parkinson’s Foundation today announced the enrollment of the 10,000th Parkinson’s patient and the discovery of critical new learnings in what represents the largest clinical study of Parkinson’s disease in history.

Parkinson's Foundation Mourns the Loss of Harold P. Kravitz and His Daughter, the Honorable Shelley J. Kravitz
Friday, January 5, 2018

Today we mourn the loss of two prominent figures in the history of the Parkinson's Foundation: Harold P. Kravitz, Esq. and his daughter, the Honorable Shelley J. Kravitz.

Parkinson's Foundation Mourns the Loss of Robert Burke, MD
Friday, January 5, 2018

The Parkinson’s Foundation mourns the loss of Robert Burke, MD, professor of Neurology at Columbia University, a Parkinson’s Foundation Center of Excellence. He was a former member of the Parkinson’s Disease Foundation (PDF) Scientific Advisory Board and led the PDF Research Center at Columbia.


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