Call Our HELPLINE: 1-800-4PD-INFO (473-4636)

Parkinson’s Foundation Announces $1.2 Million Investment to Advance Careers, Support Innovation of Early Career Parkinson’s Scientists

NEW YORK & MIAMI The Parkinson's Foundation is pleased to announce a $1.2 million investment in 27 career development and fellowship grants to support the work of promising early career scientists in the field of Parkinson's.

"We are proud to continue our long-standing tradition of nurturing the careers of the next generation of Parkinson's researchers," said John L. Lehr, chief executive officer of the Parkinson's Foundation. "Their innovative ideas may one day transform the field for millions worldwide."

Every year, the Parkinson's Foundation invests $4 million in a diverse research portfolio. A significant portion of that amount is directed toward career development grants and fellowships. The grant programs, which range from three months to two years in length, provide students, and postdoctoral researchers and clinicians with the opportunity to test new ideas, work with mentors and transition into senior leaders.

One standout grant recipient this year is Xi Chen, Ph.D., of the Van Andel Research Institute, who is using a $100,000 postdoctoral fellowship to study an emerging area of genetics: the VPS35 gene. The role of the VPS35 gene, which was discovered to play a part in Parkinson's, is not well understood. Working under the guidance of mentor Darren Moore, Ph.D., whose early research was also funded by the Parkinson's Foundation, Dr. Chen will study a mouse model to understand how VPS35 might interact with proteins and brain cells and potentially lead to Parkinson's symptoms.

This understanding of the VPS35 gene may help to develop new drugs to prevent or treat Parkinson's in the future.

"As a former grantee, I know firsthand that the Parkinson's Foundation grant funding can help to launch a career in Parkinson's," Dr. Moore said. "In today's funding environment, the foundation's grants fill a critical gap and ensure that the best research continues."

"The Parkinson's Foundation recognizes that we must support the creativity and ingenuity of the next generation in order to make advances," said James Beck, Ph.D., chief scientific officer of the Parkinson's Foundation. "We are excited to track results from Dr. Chen and others whose work holds potential to help us end Parkinson's."

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

The foundation's latest career development and fellowship grants are listed below. Additional information is available about research we fund.

Clinical Training Fellowships | $460,000

Columbia University Medical Center°

Deepak Gupta, M.D.*

Devin Hall, M.D.*

Krithi Irmandy, M.D., Ph.D.

Lan Luo, M.D.**

Sarah O'Shea, M.D.*

Rush University Medical Center°

Avram Fraint, M.D.*

Anjali Gera, M.D.

Postdoctoral Research Fellowships | $275,000

D620N VPS35 Knock-In Mice: A New Model of Familial Parkinson's Disease

Xi Chen, Ph.D., Mentor: Darren Moore, Ph.D., Van Andel Research Institute

Mitochondrial Protein Homeostasis in Peripheral Axons

Jill Falk, Ph.D., Mentor: Thomas Schwarz, Ph.D., Harvard Medical School/Children's Hospital Boston

Human Dopamine A chemical messenger (neurotransmitter) that regulates movement and emotions. Neuronal Progenitors for PD Therapeutic Development

Xiang Li, Ph.D., Mentor: Su-Chun Zhang, Ph.D., University of Wisconsin-Madison

Investigation of the Role of the Neuronal NLRP3 Inflammasome in PD

Nikhil Panicker, Ph.D., Mentor: Ted Dawson, M.D., Ph.D., Johns Hopkins School of Medicine°

Role of Cerebellum on Basal Ganglia Area of the brain responsible for producing smooth, continuous muscular actions, including starting and stopping movements; also responsible for elements of thinking. Cortical Network in Parkinson's Disease

Nicholas Strzalkowski, Ph.D., Mentor: Zelma Kiss, M.D., Ph.D., F.R.C.S.C., University of Calgary, Canada°

Collaborative Fellowships | $138,000

Clinical Research Training Fellowship

(In partnership with the American Brain Foundation / American Academy of Neurology)

Wearable Devices and Smartphone Apps in PD

Michelle Fullard, M.D., Mentor: Alice Chen-Plotkin, M.D., University of Pennsylvania°

Parkinson's Foundation-PSG Mentored Clinical Research Award

(In partnership with the Parkinson Study Group)

Automated Closed-looped Algorithm to Rapidly Optimize DBS Settings for PD

Matthew Petrucci, Ph.D., Mentors: Paul Tuite, M.D., Colum MacKinnon, Ph.D., and Theoden Netoff, Ph.D., University of Minnesota

Parkinson's Foundation-HHMI Medical Fellowship

(In partnership with the Howard Hughes Medical Institute)

Molecular and Electrophysiological Characterization of Dbx1+ GPe Neurons

Zachary Abecassis, M.D., Mentor: C Savio Chan, Ph.D., candidate, Northwestern University, The Feinberg School of Medicine°

Parkinson's Foundation-APDA Summer Student Fellowships  | $60,000

(In partnership with the American Parkinson Disease Association)

Development of Non-invasive Immunotherapy for PD: Intranasal Targeting of Immunoglobulin G Antibodies to the CNS

Sam Boroumand, Mentor: Robert Thorne, Ph.D., University of Wisconsin-Madison

Brain Atrophy and the Progression of Cognitive Decline in Parkinson's

Carolina Cao, Mentor: Meghan Campbell, Ph.D., Washington University School of Medicine

Role of Lactate Shuttling in Motor Control of GPe Neurons

Isabel Fan, Mentor: C. Savio Chan, Ph.D., Northwestern University°

The Interaction of Two Parkinson's Disease Genes FBX07 and PINK1

Dima Hage, Mentor: David Park, Ph.D., University of Ottawa

Modulating SNr Neuronal Activity in PD and LID

Yong Hu, M.D., Ph.D. Student, Mentor: Un Jung Kang, M.D., Columbia University Medical Center°

Characterizing Microsaccades as a Novel Diagnostic Biomarker for PD

Sarah Kang, Mentor: Aasef Shaikh, M.D., Ph.D., Louis Stokes Cleveland Veterans Affairs Medical Center

Stability, Activity and Mutation Effects In Human and Mouse LRRK2

Rebekah Langston, Mentor: Mark Cookson, Ph.D., National Institutes of Health

Using Human Neurons to Delineate the Role of the Unfolded Protein Response in Parkinson's Disease

Lotus Lum, Mentor: Scott Oakes, M.D., University of California, San Francisco°

Mapping of Cortical Networks Activated by Dorsal vs. Ventral STN-DBS

Aarathi Minisandram, Mentor: Todd Herrington, M.D., Ph.D., Massachusetts General Hospital°

Effect of LevodopaThe medication most commonly given to control the movement symptoms of Parkinson’s, usually with carbidopa. It is converted in the brain into dopamine. on the Consolidation of Learning in People with PD

Zhen-Yi Andy Ou, Mentor: Madeleine Sharp, M.D., M.Sc., Montreal Neurological Hospital

Nuclear Membrane Abnormalities in a Symptomatic Dystonia Model

CheyAnne Rivera, Mentor: William Dauer, M.D., University of Michigan

Novel Neuro-ophthalmic Clinical Markers for Parkinson's Disease

Caroline Yu, Mentor: Y. Joyce Liao, M.D., Ph.D., Stanford School of Medicine

* Denotes second year of funding

** Denotes third year of funding

°Denotes Parkinson's Foundation Center of Excellence

About the Parkinson's Foundation

The Parkinson's Foundation is working toward a world without Parkinson's disease. Formed by the merger of National Parkinson Foundation (NPF) and the Parkinson's Disease Foundation (PDF), the mission of the Parkinson's Foundation is to invest in promising scientific research that will end Parkinson's disease and improve the lives of people with Parkinson's, and their families, through improved treatments, support and the best care. For more information, visit www.parkinson.org, or call (800) 4PD-INFO (473-4636).

About Parkinson's Disease (PD)

Affecting an estimated one million Americans and 10 million worldwide, PD is the second-most common neurodegenerative disease after Alzheimer's and is the 14th-leading cause of death in the United States. It is associated with a progressive loss of motor control (e.g., shaking or tremor at rest and lack of facial expression) as well as non-motor symptoms (e.g., depression A mood disorder whose symptoms can include a persistent sad or empty mood, feelings of hopelessness or pessimism, irritability and loss of interest or pleasure in previously enjoyable activities. and anxiety A feeling of nervousness, worried thoughts and physical distress.). There is no cure for PD and 60,000 new cases are diagnosed each year in the United States alone.

# # #

Editor's Note: Interviews are available upon request

Tuesday, August 8, 2017
National Parkinson Foundation Expands Expert Care Network in Italy
Wednesday, November 2, 2016

MIAMI — The National Parkinson Foundation (NPF), a division of the Parkinson’s Foundation, announced today a new partnership with the Fresco Institute Italia to improve the quality of Parkinson’s care in Italy. The NPF Center of Excellence global network embodies the world’s leading Parkinson’s specialists focused on changing the course of Parkinson’s disease (PD). 

U.S. Senator Cory Booker Serves as Grand Marshal of Moving Day® Miami
Tuesday, November 1, 2016

MIAMI — The National Parkinson Foundation is pleased to announce that U.S. Senator Cory Booker (NJ) will serve as the Grand Marshal of the 5th Annual Moving Day Miami, the foundation’s walk to raise awareness of Parkinson’s disease in South Florida. The event, presented by Terranova Corporation, begins at 9 a.m.

PDF Champion to Host 14th Annual Music for Parkinson’s Research Concert on Sunday, November 13 in Rye, NY
Monday, October 24, 2016

White Plains, NY, clinical psychologist David Eger, Ph.D., is on a mission to help end Parkinson’s through music.  The 14th annual Music for Parkinson’s Research concert, which benefits the Parkinson’s Disease Foundation’s (PDF) research programs, will take place on Sunday, November 13 at 3:30 PM at the Congregation Emanu-El in Rye, NY.  The chamber music concert is organized by Dr.

PDF Recognizes Scholars of Edmond J. Safra Visiting Nurse Faculty Program for Outstanding Efforts in Nursing Education
Wednesday, October 19, 2016

The Parkinson’s Disease Foundation (PDF) congratulates Laura Kelly, Ph.D., R.N., A.N.P.-C., and Cheryl Leiningen, D.N.P., R.N., A.N.P.-C., Scholars of The Edmond J. Safra Visiting Nurse Faculty Program at PDF and 2016 recipients of the program’s annual Alumni Award for outstanding work in nursing education. Drs.

Patient Access Network Foundation and the National Parkinson Foundation Announce New Alliance to Provide Support for People Living With Parkinson’s Disease
Thursday, October 20, 2016

Washington, DC — The Patient Access Network (PAN) Foundation and the National Parkinson Foundation (NPF), a division of the Parkinson’s Foundation, today announced they are launching a new alliance to offer a broad range of support for people living with Parkinson’s disease.

The Parkinson’s Foundation Joins Global Community at 4th World Parkinson Congress in Portland, OR
Tuesday, September 20, 2016

New York, NY & Miami, FL —  The Parkinson's Foundation, recently formed by the merger of the National Parkinson Foundation® (NPF®) and the Parkinson’s Disease Foundation® (PDF®), is pleased to join the global Parkinson’s community this week at the 4th World Parkinson Congress (WPC) in Portland, OR.  The Parkinson’s Foundation offers interactive programs to encourage the Congress’ 4,000 delegates and those partici

National Parkinson Foundation Hosts Caregiver Summit
Monday, September 12, 2016

MIAMI — The National Parkinson Foundation (NPF), a division of the Parkinson’s Foundation, will be hosting the first-ever Caregiver Summit, geared specifically toward caregivers of people living with Parkinson’s disease (PD).

Refuting Claims Regarding Presidential Nominee Hillary Clinton and Parkinson’s Disease
Friday, September 9, 2016

The National Parkinson Foundation has received several questions about whether Hillary Clinton has Parkinson's disease (PD).

The allegations that Hillary Clinton suffers from Parkinson's disease have been reviewed by NPF's National Medical Director, Michael S. Okun, MD, and by others from NPF's Centers of Excellence network and been unanimously dismissed by every Parkinson's expert who has weighed in.

Parkinson's Disease Foundation Invests in Next Generation of Physical Therapy Leaders
Thursday, August 4, 2016

PDF Launches Innovative Pilot Training Program for Physical Therapy Educators

The Parkinson's Disease Foundation® (PDF®) is pleased to announce the launch of the Physical Therapy Faculty Program to improve care for the nearly one million people in the United States living with Parkinson’s disease. The pilot program launched this week in Boston, MA.

National Parkinson Foundation (NPF) and the Parkinson’s Disease Foundation (PDF) Complete Merger to Form the Parkinson’s Foundation
Monday, August 1, 2016

New York and Miami, August 1, 2016—The Boards of Directors of the National Parkinson Foundation (NPF) and the Parkinson's Disease Foundation (PDF) announced today that they have finalized the merger of the two non-profit organizations. The organization will operate as the Parkinson's Foundation with offices in New York City and Miami.

Pages

mail icon

Subscribe here to get the latest news on treatments, research and other updates.