Currently Funded Grants

Currently Funded Grants

The Parkinson’s Foundation invested $3.5 million across 34 research grants to support the work of promising scientists in the field of Parkinson's disease (PD) in 2020. Grants support Parkinson’s research at centers, clinical training for neurologists and research funding for scientists who actively study various aspects of Parkinson’s with the hope of making life better for people with the disease and eventually finding a cure.

Since 1957, the Parkinson’s Foundation has invested more than $350 million in Parkinson’s disease research and clinical care. Foundation research investments are selected through a competitive application process and reviewed by its Scientific Advisory Board, which includes scientific experts and Foundation-trained patient advocates (see the full list below).

2020 Parkinson’s Foundation’s research grants recipients include:

Independent Investigator Awards | totaling $1,868,525

Supports the innovative team’s scientific approach to Parkinson’s research

Stanley Fahn Junior Faculty Awards | totaling $893,525

Provides critical funding to early career scientists to further their PD research

  • Imaging Cholinergic Biomarker of Cognitive Decline in Parkinson's Disease Dementia
    Chuan Huang, PhD, Stony Brook University Health Science Center
  • The Role of Neurite Defects in LRRK2-mediated Neurodegeneration
    Ian Martin, PhD, Oregon Health & Science University
     
  • The Role of Sensory Deficits in the Neural Control of Balance during Walking in Parkinson's Disease
    Jan Hendrik Reimann, PhD, University of Delaware

Clinical Research Awards | totaling $600,000

Funds clinician-scientists to conduct clinical research in Parkinson’s

  • Deep sleep in PD and its relationship to cognition and neurodegeneration
    Brian Berman, MD, University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus
     
  • The link between antibiotic exposure and Parkinson's disease
    Gian Pal, MD, Rutgers University
     
  • Brain activity response to cueing for gait impairment in Parkinson's
    Samuel Stuart, PhD, University of Northumbria at Newcastle

Impact Awards | totaling $350,000

Funds innovative Parkinson’s research

  • Harnessing endogenous ADAR to repair the G2019S mutation in LRRK2
    Jin Billy Li, PhD, Stanford University
     
  • A diagnostic assay for Parkinson’s disease based on the analysis of body fluids
    Gültekin Tamgüney, PhD, Forschungszentrum Jülich (Research Center Jülich)
     
  • Preclinical studies of causal links between the microbiome and PD therapy
    Peter Turnbaugh, PhD, University of California, San Francisco

Conference Award | totaling $25,000

Funds the convening of a group of experts to move the field forward on a specific PD topic

  • Planning for Prevention of Parkinson’s: A trial design symposium and workshop
    Grace Crotty, MD, Massachusetts General Hospital
     
  • Luxembourg-German-Indian Alliance on Neurodegenerative Diseases and Therapeutics (Lux-GIANT)
    Asha Kishore, PhD, Sree Chitra Tirunal Institute for Medical Sciences and Technology

Fellowships and Early Career Awards | totaling $1,826,193

Supports and trains young investigators

Institutional MDS Fellowship Award | totaling $915,494

Trains neurologists to become experts in PD care and research

  • Columbia University, Blair Ford, PhD
  • University of Florida, Christopher Hess, MD
  • Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Vikram Khurana, MD, PhD
  • Rush University, Aikaterini Kompoliti, MD
  • University of Rochester, Irene Richard, MD

Postdoctoral Fellowship | totaling $600,000

Prepares future leaders in Parkinson’s research

  • Cryo-electron tomography study of a lipid-transfer protein VPS13 in situ
    Shujun Cai, PhD, Yale University
     
  • Unravelling the potential of specialized allied health therapy for patients with Parkinson’s Disease
    Sirwan Darweesh, MD, PhD, Radboud University Medical Center
     
  • Dynamics of striatal dopamine and PKA signaling in parkinsonian mice
    Richard Roth, PhD, Stanford University
     
  • Role of LRRK2 activation in Parkinson’s disease-linked D620N VPS35 models
    Dorian Sargent, PhD, Van Andel Research Institute, Aikaterini Kompoliti, MD
     
  • Cognitive Correlates of Gait Impairment and Freezing in Parkinson's Disease
    Kevin Wilkins, PhD, Stanford University

Melvin Yahr Early Career Award in Movement Disorders Research | totaling $50,000

Created in honor of Dr. Melvin Yahr to support neurologists after residency

  • Vitamin B12 as a biomarker of LRRK2 PD penetrance and progression
    Grace Crotty, MD, Massachusetts General Hospital

Collaborative Fellowships | totaling $50,000

Providing students interested in Parkinson’s with an opportunity to conduct research

Student Summer Fellowship | totaling $50,000

  • Kristen Branes, University of California, San Diego (Mentor: Subhojit Roy, PhD)
  • Ananya Chakravarthy, Columbia University (Mentor: Rui Costa, PhD)
  • Claudia Giménez, Institut de Neurociències, Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona (Mentor: Carlos Barcia, PhD)
  • Meghan Heer, University of Ottawa, Faculty of Medicine (Mentor: Maxime Rousseaux, PhD)
  • Medha Krishnagiri, Rutgers University (Mentor: Brian Daniels, PhD)
  • Benjamin Lau, Swarthmore College (Mentor: Robert Edwards, MD, PhD)
  • Luke McKay, University of Alabama (Mentor: Guy Caldwell, PhD)
  • Rudmila Rashid, Perelman School of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania (Mentor: Nabila Dahodwala, MD)
  • Colin Ryan, Wilfrid Laurier University (Mentor: Quincy Almeida, PhD)
  • Marina Shaker, Toronto Western Hospital, University of Toronto (Mentor: Sarah Lidstone, MD, PhD)

Visiting Scholar Awardees | totaling $10,000

  • Investigating the role of astrocyte-specific glutamate transporters
    in preservation of nigral tyrosine hydroxylase following exercise in a rat hemi-Parkinson’s disease model

    Ella Kasanga, University of North Texas
     
  • Using CUT&RUN to determine the genome-wide binding of alpha-synuclein in a novel mouse model
    Haley Geertsma, University of Ottawa

2019 Parkinson’s Foundation's research grants recipients include:

Parkinson’s Foundation Research Centers | totaling $8,000,000

Supports the innovative team’s scientific approach to Parkinson’s research

Columbia University:  
Differential neuronal susceptibility as an avenue toward disease-modifying therapy for Parkinson’s
Serge Przedborski, MD, PhD

University of Florida
LRRK2-Synuclein Interactions with Gut Inflammation in PD Pathogenesis
Malú Gámez Tansey, PhD

University of Michigan
The Thalamus in Parkinson Disease
Roger L. Albin, MD

Yale School of Medicine
Endolysosomal Dysfunction in Parkinson's Disease
Pietro De Camilli, MD

2019 Special Support for Meetings | totaling $9,000

Provides support for PD-related meetings

  • Cell Biology of Neurodegeneration Symposium, Co-organizers: Francesca Bartolini, PhD and Franck Polleux, PhD
  • 7th Biennial Workshop on Dystonia and Parkinson’s Disease: Cellular and Molecular Targets for Novel Therapeutics, Scientific Committee: Hyder A. Jinah, MD, Nicola B. Mercuri, MD, Antonio Pisani, MD, PhD, David G. Standaert, MD, PhD, Jan Teller, PhD
  • Synuclein Meeting 2019: Where we are and where we need to go, Conference Co-chairs: Tiago Mestre, MD and Tiago Outeiro, PhD

2018 Parkinson’s Foundation's research grants recipients include:

Parkinson’s Foundation Research Centers | totaling $1,900,000

Supports the innovative team’s scientific approach to Parkinson’s research
Columbia University: Un Jung Kang, MD
Rush University: Christopher Goetz, MD

Independent Investigator Awards | totaling $2,010,309

Supports critical funding to cutting-edge Parkinson’s research initiatives

Stanley Fahn Junior Faculty Scholars | totaling $900,000

Provides critical funding to early career scientists to further their PD research

  • Lipidomic Analysis in Genetic and Idiopathic Parkinson’s, Roy Alcalay, MD, Columbia University
  • Lipid Phase Separation as a Regulator of Alpha-synuclein Toxicity, Tim Bartels, PhD, University College London, UK
  • Deconstructing the Neuronal Metabolism-Mitochondria Axis in Dopaminergic Neurodegeneration, Gulcin Pekkurnaz, PhD, University of California, San Diego

Clinical Research Awards | totaling $600,000

Funds clinician-scientists to conduct clinical research in Parkinson’s

  • Investigating the Role of GBA in the Propagation of Lewy bodies in Parkinson’s, Marie Davis, MD, PhD, VA Puget Sound
  • Changes in levels, phosphorylation, and kinase activity of LRRK2 in biofluids from patients with idiopathic or alpha-synuclein linked Parkinson’s disease, Dimitra Papadimitriou, MD, PhD, Biomedical Research Foundation, Academy of Athens, Greece
  • The Use of vitamin K2 in Patients with Mitochondrial PD: Concept evaluation in a magnetic resonance (spectroscopy) imaging-based placebo controlled parallel group trial, Jannik Prasuhn, MD, University of Luebeck, Germany
  • A Specific and Less Toxic Alpha-Synuclein Strain Is A Possible Progression Biomarker for Parkinson’s Disease-Related Cognitive Impairment, Liana Rosenthal, MD, Johns Hopkins University

Impact Awards | totaling $251,399

Funds innovative Parkinson’s research

  • Prodromal Symptoms in the Sister Study, Honglei Chen, MD, PhD, Michigan State University
  • Peripheral Immune System Regulation of PD Pathology in LRRK2 Mutant Mice, Richard Smeyne, PhD, Thomas Jefferson University

Incidence and Mortality in Parkinson’s Disease Initiative | totaling $228,766

Supports the analysis of public health data to identify trends in who is affected by PD each year

  • Connie Marras, MD, PhD, University Health Network
  • G. Webster Ross, MD, Pacific Health Research and Education Institute
  • Rodolfo Savica, MD, James H. Bower, MD, Mayo Clinic
  • Stephen Van Den Eeden, PhD, Kaiser Permanente
  • Allison W. Willis, MD, MS, University of Pennsylvania’s Perelman School of Medicine
  • Eric Roberts, MD, PhD, Public Health Institute

Innovations Award | totaling $370,000

Supports the largest network of Parkinson’s clinical trial centers in North America
Parkinson’s Study Group, Michael Schwarzschild, MD, PhD, Massachusetts General Hospital

Conference Award | totaling $75,000

Funds the convening of a group of experts to move the field forward on a specific PD topic

  • International Parkinson’s Disease Genomics Consortium, Joshua M. Shulman, MD, PhD, Baylor College of Medicine
  • Luxembourg German Indian Alliance on Neurodegenerative Diseases and Therapeutics, Manu Sharma, PhD, Hertie Institute for Clinical Brain Research
  • Gordon Research Conference on Parkinson’s Disease, Chair: J. Timothy Greenamyre, MD, PhD; University of Pittsburgh, Co-chair: Malu Tansey, PhD; Emory University

Parkinson’s Advocates in Research Leadership Awards | totaling $38,923

Pairs the Parkinson’s community with scientists to conduct patient-centered research

  • Parkinson's Diversity Recruitment for Research, Tammyjo Best, LPN, Emory University
  • Boxing to Improve Sleep Quality and Daytime Sleepiness in Parkinson's: A Pilot Study, Linda Denney, PT, PhD, MAppSc, Northern Arizona University
  • The Impact of Three Distinct Exercise Types on Fatigue, Anxiety, and Depression, in Parkinson's Disease, Mary S. Feldman, DO, Premier Clinical Neuroscience Institute
  • Online Voice Class for Hispanics with PD, Meredith Fonseca, MA, CCC-SLP, Muhammad Ali Parkinson Center

Fellowships and Early Career Awards| totaling $1,939,410

Supports and trains young investigators

Institutional MDS Fellowship Award | totaling $1,106,410

Trains neurologists to become experts in PD care and research

  • Columbia University: Lynda Nwabuobi, MD
  • Emory University: Sahyli Perez Parra, MD
  • Johns Hopkins University: Bonnie Kaas, MD
  • Rush University: Alana Kirby, MD, PhD
  • Toronto Western Hospital: Gerald Raimon M. Saranza, MD
  • University of Florida: Matthew Burns, MD, PhD

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