Four Research Centers Will Share $8 Million Parkinson’s Foundation Grant

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by Mary Chapman |

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The Parkinson’s Foundation has granted four U.S. institutions $8 million to design and launch Parkinson’s disease research studies over the next four years.

The newly designated Parkinson’s Foundation Research Centers will get $2 million each — $500,00o annually — to support their quests to drive innovative investigative developments, and advance studies toward a cure for Parkinson’s.

“We are proudly committed to funding promising Parkinson’s research to help drive change and better outcomes” for Parkinson’s patients, John L. Lehr, Parkinson’s Foundation CEO and president, said in a press release. “These recipients represent the very best and brightest, and we look forward to their major innovations in PD research and care.”

Under the expanded program, 66 applications were fielded from the U.S. and abroad, including those collaborating with other institutions. The four chosen were the Columbia University Irving Medical Center; the University of Florida, in collaboration with Emory University; the University of Michigan, in collaboration with the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center;  and Yale School of Medicine.

The awards were based mostly on research novelty, the research’s ability to meet unmet needs, team synergy, and the investigation’s potential to make important discoveries.

“This support from the Parkinson’s Foundation will help us make a significant contribution to our understanding of Parkinson’s disease,” said Malu G. Tansey, PhD, director of the University of Florida’s Center for Translational Research in Neurodegenerative Disease. “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 new research centers each must take on at least three interconnected Parkinson’s investigations. Because innovations can occur during research, 10% of awards must be set aside for possible pilot projects or establishing new collaborations.

“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, Parkinson’s Foundation senior vice president and chief scientific officer. “Not only research breakthroughs, but also finding new implications for precision care and ways to modify the disease itself.”

The award program is open to institutions globally that have, or can recruit, a team of scientists specializing in Parkinson’s. The team all may reside in the same geographical area and work at the same institution, or through a virtual center. Preference is given to applications that demonstrate cross-departmental or cross-instutional collaboration. The team will designate a center director — a recognized expert in Parkinson’s research — who will oversee all work. Research can be basic science or clinical research. Visit this site for more details. The next application process is expected to open in the fall of 2021.