August 23, 2019
Photo: Parkinson’s Foundation Four Parkinson’s Research Centers Named in the U.S. The Parkinson’s Foundation announced on July 30, the institutions that will receive $8 million in research funding to design and launch Parkinson’s-specific research studies over the next four years. The selected Parkinson’s Foundation Research Centers aim to drive innovative research developments and advance Parkinson’s disease (PD) research towards a cure. “We are proudly committed to funding promising Parkinson’s research to help drive change and better patient outcomes for people with PD,” said John L. Lehr, Chief Executive Officer and President of the Parkinson’s Foundation. “These recipients represent the very best and brightest and we look forward to their major innovations in PD research and care.” This expanded program accepted applications from institutions around the world and encouraged applicants to form collaborative teams across organizations. Of the 66 institutions that applied to become a Parkinson’s Foundation Research Center, four were selected including: Columbia University Irving Medical Center, University of Florida in collaboration with Emory University, University of Michigan in collaboration with The University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center and Yale School of Medicine. Grant recipients were chosen based on selective criteria such as the novelty of the research, the ability to address unmet needs in PD research, the synergy of the team members and the program’s potential to find major breakthroughs. “This support from the Parkinson’s Foundation will help us make a significant contribution to our understanding of Parkinson’s disease,” said Malú G. Tansey, PhD, Director of the University of Florida’s Center for Translational Research in Neurodegenerative Disease and principal investigator of the new Parkinson’s Foundation Research Center at the Norman Fixel Institute for Neurological Diseases at UF Health. “We are thrilled they have chosen the University of Florida to help shape the future for people with Parkinson’s disease with new discoveries and better therapies.” The newly designated Research Centers will undertake a minimum of three interconnected PD research studies. In addition, recognizing that innovation can arise during the research process, 10 percent of the award must be reserved for jumpstarting pilot projects or forming new collaborations. Each center will work collaboratively to find new ways to treat and study Parkinson’s and will receive $500,000 per year for four years, totaling $2 million each. “We hope that fostering creativity and collaboration across multiple disciplines and looking at Parkinson’s from new angles will lead to important breakthroughs,” said James Beck, PhD, Senior Vice President and Chief Scientific Officer of the Parkinson’s Foundation. “Not only research breakthroughs, but also finding new implications for precision care and ways to modify the disease itself.” The next application process to designate new Research Centers is anticipated to begin in the fall of 2021. Learn more about Parkinson’s Foundation-funded research at Parkinson.org/ResearchWeFund. About the Parkinson’s Foundation The Parkinson’s Foundation makes life better for people with Parkinson’s disease by improving care and advancing research toward a cure. In everything we do, we build on the energy, experience and passion of our global Parkinson’s community. For more information, visit www.parkinson.org or call (800) 4PD-INFO (473-4636). About Parkinson’s Disease Affecting nearly one million Americans and 10 million worldwide, Parkinson’s disease 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 and anxiety). There is no cure for Parkinson’s and 60,000 new cases are diagnosed each year in the United States alone.