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Honoring Women in Science Who are Working to #EndParkinsons

The Parkinson's Foundation is proud of the work that our scientists have done to advance our understanding of Parkinson’s and to improve lives worldwide.

Today, during the International Day of Women and Girls in Science, we call special attention to the women scientists who are working to #EndParkinsons. Over the years, we have supported and collaborated with female pioneers in the field, many of whom are advancing Parkinson's research. Here are a few of those stories.

Looking Back at Early Leaders in the Field
In 2004, the Parkinson's Foundation was at the forefront of recognizing women leaders in science. At our annual gala, we recognized four outstanding women scientists for work in Parkinson's. This was believed to be the first time that leading women scientists in a particular area of neurology were recognized as a group.

Today these women remain leaders in the field. They include:

  • Ann Martin Graybiel, Ph.D., of M.I.T., for her work that helped scientists to understand the functions of the striatum The area of the brain that controls movement, balance and walking., a part of the brain involved in Parkinson's.
  • Karen S. Marder, M.D., M.P.H., of the Columbia University Medical Center, for her NIH-funded study on genetic epidemiology, a project on gender and ethnic differences and research on the risk factors for dementiaA term used to describe a group of brain disorders that cause a broad complex of symptoms such as disorientation, confusion, memory loss, impaired judgment and alterations in mood and personality. in Parkinson's.
  • Caroline Tanner, M.D., Ph.D., of the Parkinson's Institute and Clinical Center for contributions to epidemiology, including studies into the causes of PD and atypical parkinsonism A group of brain disorders that initially look like Parkinson's disease, but differ in the course of the disease and response to antiparkinson medications. The term is used interchangeably with Parkinson-plus syndromes..
  • Anne B. Young, M.D., Ph.D., of Harvard Medical School and Massachusetts General Hospital, for her work on neurotransmitter A chemical messenger that carries impulses from one nerve cell to another. Dopamine, acetylcholine and norepinephrine are examples. systems in the basal ganglia Area of the brain responsible for producing smooth, continuous muscular actions, including starting and stopping movements; also responsible for elements of thinking., an area of the brain that is implicated in Huntington's, Alzheimer's and Parkinson's diseases.

Looking to Today's Parkinson's Foundation-Funded Scientists

Today, as part of the $5 million we invest each year in research leaders, we are supporting up-and-coming female scientists in Parkinson's.

Here are a few highlights of these talented scientists:

  • Jennifer Goldman, M.D., Ph.D., of Rush University Medical Center, is studying ways to track and ease cognitive difficulties in Parkinson’s.
  • Alexandra Nelson, M.D., Ph.D., of the University of California, San Francisco, is studying why levodopaThe medication most commonly given to control the movement symptoms of Parkinson’s, usually with carbidopa. It is converted in the brain into dopamine. may lead to side effects in Parkinson's.
  • Rosalind Roberts, D.Phil., of McGill University is studying the role of the cell's mitochondria in Parkinson's disease.
  • Our Parkinson's Foundation-APDA summer fellows are launching their careers with Parkinson's research. These include Kiana Khosravian of Emory University, who is studying PD and the gastrointestinal system, and Rachel Mikofsky of Columbia University Medical Center, who is studying the potential of cannabinoid antagonists for treating Parkinson's.

Look Ahead to A World Without Parkinson’s

This coming June, we are bringing together the best scientific minds in Parkinson’s for a cutting-edge event, to predict the bold ideas that can end Parkinson's disease.

Among our outstanding faculty are women leaders in science such as Elizabeth M. Bradshaw, Ph.D., of Brigham and Women's Hospital; Alice Chen-Plotkin, M.D., of the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania; Laura A. Volpicelli-Daley, Ph.D., of the University of Alabama School of Medicine; and Beth-Anne Sieber, Ph.D., of the National Institutes of Health.

As we celebrate a day of #WomeninScience, we say thank you to these scientists and others past, present and future. Because of you, we are coming closer to ending Parkinson's.

Sat, 02/11/2017
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