James Beck, PhD
James Beck, PhD
As Chief Scientific Officer, James Beck, PhD, sets the strategic direction for the Parkinson’s Foundation research vision. Dr. Beck oversees a portfolio that 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 leader in accelerating Parkinson’s research.
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.
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 research
- Managing the Parkinson’s Outcome Project, the largest clinical study of PD, and sub-studies focused on priority populations
- Acting as co-chair of Parkinson's Disease Gene Curation Expert Panel, the first ClinGen working group for neurodegenerative diseases in adults
Dr. Beck has been published in multiple 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
PD GENEration Parkinson’s Study Expands Test Sites, Minority Reach
The Parkinson’s Foundation recently expanded its PD GENEration genetic testing and counseling initiative to include more sites and greater outreach to communities that have been historically underserved. The story highlights commentary from James Beck, PhD, CSO of the Parkinson’s Foundation, and Chantale Branson, MD, Assistant Professor of Neurology at Morehouse School of Medicine.
The Emergent Genetic Future of Parkinson’s
CVS Healthy Conversations
In the latest episode of CVS Healthy Conversations, a podcast dedicated to bringing together health care experts for open discussions on timely topics, Parkinson’s Foundation Chief Scientific Officer James Beck, PhD, discusses the role genetics can play with PD.
A New Continuing Education Course for Genetic Counseling in Parkinson Disease: James Beck, PhD
Recently granted Joint Accreditation for Interprofessional Continuing Education as a provider of continuing education, the Parkinson’s Foundation announced its newest free course, Genetic Counseling for Parkinson’s Disease. In this interview, Chief Scientific Officer James Beck discusses the new course as well as the benefits of being granted Joint Accreditation.
Healthy Conversations: Genetic health
CVS Healthy Conversations
In the latest episode of Health Conversations, a CVS series bringing together expert health care discussions, Dr. Daniel Kraft talks genetic health with James Beck, PhD, Chief Scientific Officer for the Parkinson’s Foundation. Beck spotlights the role PD genetic testing plays in predicting who may be at risk, as well as managing and treating the disease.
Woman with young onset Parkinson's disease details diagnosis at 41
When physical therapy failed to reduce Liz Day’s shoulder and neck pain, she followed up with doctors and learned that young onset Parkinson’s disease was the cause. Day recently ran the New York City Marathon to raise money for the Parkinson’s Foundation. James Beck, PhD, Chief Scientific Officer for the Parkinson’s Foundation, is quoted.
Despite his Parkinson's disease, this man aims to hike the entire Appalachian Trail
Dan Schoenthal is hiking the Appalachian Trail to raise awareness and funds for the Parkinson’s Foundation mission to make life better for people with Parkinson’s disease.
James Beck, PhD: The Increased Need for Genetic Testing in Parkinson Disease
James Beck, PhD, Chief Scientific Officer of the Parkinson’s Foundation discusses PD GENEration with NeurologyLive in this video and article that highlights the importance of the Foundation’s free genetic testing and counseling study.
Could Taking a Swing at Golf Help Parkinson's Patients
For helping Parkinson's patients improve their balance and mobility, golf may beat the martial art exercise tai chi, a new, small study reveals. The study was led by Dr. Anne-Marie Willis at Massachusetts General Hospital, a Parkinson’s Foundation Center of Excellence and PD GENEration study site. James Beck, PhD, Chief Scientific Officer of the Parkinson’s Foundation is quoted.