James Beck, PhD, Senior Vice President and Chief Scientific Officer

Dr. James BeckAs Chief Scientific Officer, James Beck, PhD, sets the strategic direction for the Parkinson’s Foundation research vision. Dr. Beck oversees a portfolio which has guided more than $400 million in research to explore what causes Parkinson’s disease (PD) and how to improve treatments, working towards a world without Parkinson’s disease. He has played an integral role in positioning the organization as a world’s leader in accelerating Parkinson’s research. 

Latest Tweets by the Research Team

Dr. Beck launched PD GENEration: Mapping the Future of Parkinson's Disease, a national study started by the Parkinson’s Foundation in 2019 that offers genetic testing for Parkinson’s-related genes and genetic counseling at no-cost for participants with a confirmed PD diagnosis. Additionally, he led the team that updated the estimated prevalence of PD in the U.S. and globally and collaborated with several organizations to develop the economic burden of Parkinson’s disease.

Dr. James Beck

During his tenure at the Foundation, he has greatly increased the organization’s impact in the PD community by:

  • Doubling the number of applicants for the research grants program
  • Including people with Parkinson’s in the grant application review cycle, creating the first community-responsive grant process in PD
  • Becoming the first PD organization with an open-access policy, encouraging broad data sharing including access to published Foundation-funded research to accelerate our understanding of PD 
  • Launching npj Parkinson’s Disease, an international open-access journal devoted to publishing the most important scientific advances in Parkinson's disease research 
  • Managing the Parkinson’s Outcome Project, the largest clinical study of PD, and sub-studies focused on under-represented populations
  • Acting as co-chair of Parkinson's Disease Gene Curation Expert Panel, the first ClinGen working group for neurodegenerative diseases in adults 

Parkinson's Foundation Research TeamDr. Beck has been published in many leading journals including npj Parkinson’s Disease, Movement Disorders, Journal of Parkinson’s Disease, Annals of Clinical & Translational Neurology and more. He is currently an Adjunct Associate Professor in the Department of Neuroscience and Physiology at the New York University School of Medicine. He holds a BS from Duke University and a PhD from the University of Washington, Seattle. 

In the News

The Emergent Genetic Future of Parkinson's, Healthy Conversations by CVS Health

Progress and Updates from the PD GENEration Initiative: James Beck, PhD, NeurologyLive

A New Continuing Education Course for Genetic Counseling in Parkinson’s Disease: James Beck, PhD, NeurologyLive

Healthy Conversations: Genetic Health, Healthy Conversations by CVS Health

Parkinson’s Disease with the Parkinson’s Foundation, DNA Today: A Genetics Podcast

CSO at Parkinson’s Foundation, Dr. James Beck, and Dr. Ignacio Mata, Professor at the Cleveland Clinic, on the genetics of Parkinson’s disease and the future of precision treatments, The Genetics Podcast

Woman with young onset Parkinson’s disease details diagnosis at 41, NBC TODAY Online

Despite his Parkinson's disease, this man aims to hike the entire Appalachian Trail, CNN

The Increased Need for Genetic Testing in Parkinson Disease, NeurologyLive

Could Taking a Swing at Golf Help Parkinson's Patients?, U.S News and World Report

Healthy Eating Could Delay Onset of Parkinson's Disease, HealthDay

Videos Featuring Dr. Beck


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