|WPC Scientific Update: Parkinson Pipeline Umbrella|
Charles Adler (USA) received his bachelor's degree at Temple University (BA, Biology) and earned a master's degree and PhD in pharmacology, as well as his medical degree, from the New York University School of Medicine. He served his medical internship at New York University/Manhattan VA in New York and a neurology residency at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania and is board certified. Dr. Adler then completed a fellowship in movement disorders in the Department of Neurology at Graduate Hospital in Philadelphia. He joined the staff at Mayo Clinic in Scottsdale, Arizona where he is also a Consultant in the Department of Neurology.
Dr. Adler has received numerous grants to investigate experimental treatments for Parkinson's disease, essential tremor, dystonia, and restless legs syndrome from the National Institutes of Health, National Parkinson's Foundation, pharmaceutical companies, and Mayo Foundation for Medical Research. He currently is the Vice-Chair of the American Academy of Neurology Section of Movement Disorders, serves on the Scientific Advisory Board of the Bachmann-Strauss Dystonia and Parkinson Foundation, is Co-Chair of the Parkinson Study Group Biomarkers Committee and is the Co-Chair of the Movement Disorders Society Education Committee. Dr. Adler is a Fellow of the American Academy of Neurology and the American Neurological Association. He has previously served as the Vice-Chair of Research (Head of Human Subjects Research) at Mayo Clinic Scottsdale, has served on the editorial board of the journal Movement Disorders, executive committee of the American Academy of Neurology Section of Movement Disorders, multiple committees of the Parkinson Study Group, and was a member of the medical advisory board of the Restless Legs Syndrome Foundation.
He has a commitment to education training residents, 13 fellows and graduate students, has given many invited lectures, and has developed multiple educational programs for the American Academy of Neurology, Movement Disorders Society, Mayo Clinic, and independent CME organizations.
Dr. Adler’s main research interests are investigating which clinical tests may allow for an early diagnosis of Parkinson’s disease and PD with dementia and identification of new treatments for PD and PD with dementia. He has published over 300 research papers and reviews, and edited a book entitled Parkinson's Disease and Movement Disorders: Diagnosis and Treatment Guidelines for the Practicing Physician. In addition to the studies of biomarkers in PD and dementia in PD, Dr. Adler is been funded to study movement abnormalities in patients with PD, treatment trials for both Parkinson's disease, dystonia, and restless legs syndrome, and he is investigating the yips: a possible focal task-specific dystonia of golfers. Dr. Adler was awarded the 2006 Distinguished Investigator of the Year Award at Mayo Clinic Arizona.
Roger Barker (UK) is the Professor of Clinical Neuroscience and Honorary Consultant in Neurology at the University of Cambridge and at Addenbrooke's Hospital. He trained at Oxford and London and has been in his current position for over ten years having completed an MRC Clinician Scientist Fellowship just prior to this. His main interests are in the neurodegenerative disorders of the nervous system in particular Parkinson's disease and Huntington's disease. He combines basic research looking at novel therapies (including cell transplants) to treat these conditions with clinically based work on defining the natural history and heterogeneity of both Huntington's disease and Parkinson's disease and is the coordinator of the FP7 TRANSEURO project looking at fetal cell grafting in patients with early PD.
Bastiaan Bloem (Netherlands) is a consultant neurologist at the Department of Neurology, Radboud University Nijmegen Medical Centre, the Netherlands. He received his M.D. degree (with honours) at Leiden University Medical Centre in 1993. In 1994, he obtained his PhD degree in Leiden, based on a thesis entitled “Postural reflexes in Parkinson’s disease”. He was trained as a neurologist between 1994 and 2000, also at Leiden University Medical Centre. He received additional training as a movement disorders specialist during fellowships at ‘The Parkinson's Institute’, Sunnyvale, California (with Dr. J.W. Langston), and at the Institute of Neurology, Queen Square, London (with Prof. N.P. Quinn and Prof. J.C. Rothwell). In 2002, he founded and became Medical Director of the Parkinson Centre Nijmegen (ParC), which was recognised from 2005 onwards as centre of excellence for Parkinson’s disease. Together with Dr. Marten Munneke, he also developed ParkinsonNet, an innovative healthcare concept that now consists of 64 professional networks for Parkinson patients covering all of the Netherlands (www.parkinsonnet.nl). Because of the evidence-based quality improvement and significant cost reduction, ParkinsonNet has received multiple awards, including the prize ‘Best Pearl for Healthcare Innovation’ in 2011. In September 2008, he was appointed as Professor of Neurology, with movement disorders as special area of interest. He is currently Past-President of the International Society for Gait and Postural Research, and is on the editorial board for several national and international journals. He is currently also member of the International Executive Committee of the Movement Disorder Society. In 2009, he joined the board of ZonMw (The Netherlands Organisation for Health Research and Development). In 2011, he was elected as the National Healthcare Hero by the Dutch Ministry of Health. In 2012, he was elected Citizen of the Year for the city of Nijmegen. He has two main research interests: cerebral compensatory mechanisms, especially in the field of gait & balance; and healthcare innovation, aiming to develop and scientifically evaluate patient-centred collaborative care. Prof. Bloem has published over 450 publications, including more than 360 peer-reviewed international papers.
Patrik Brundin (USA) is the Director of the Center for Neurodegenerative Science (CNS) and the inaugural holder of the Jay Van Andel Endowed Chair in Parkinson Research. Dr. Brundin is an internationally renowned expert in the field of Parkinson’s and neurodegenerative disease research with a career in this area that spans almost 30 years, including key involvement in some of the first neural transplantation trials to treat the disease in humans. He obtained his M.D. and Ph.D. at Lund University in Sweden where he is currently a Professor of Neuroscience leading a research group focused on the pathogenesis of Parkinson’s and Huntington’s and cell-based approaches for therapy and treatment. He is the editor-in-chief of the Journal of Parkinson’s Disease. He is one of the most cited researchers in his area of research and has coordinated several prestigious and multidisciplinary research networks across Europe specializing in Parkinson’s research.
David Burn (UK) is Professor of Movement Disorder Neurology at Newcastle University and Honorary Consultant Neurologist for Newcastle upon Tyne Hospitals Foundation Trust. He is Director of the University’s Institute for Ageing and Health, Director of Newcastle Biomedicine’s Clinical Ageing Research Unit and a Senior NIHR Investigator. He qualified from Oxford University and Newcastle upon Tyne Medical School in 1985. His MD was in the functional imaging of Parkinsonism. He runs the Movement Disorders service in Newcastle upon Tyne, which provides a large regional service. Research interests include dementia associated with Parkinson’s disease and progressive supranuclear palsy. He was a member of the Special Interest Committee Task Force of the International Movement Disorder Society for Diagnostic Criteria for Parkinsonian Disorders (2002-3) and the Parkinson’s disease Dementia Task Force (2004-6). He was appointed NIHR-DeNDRoN Associate Director/National Lead for Parkinson’s||disease in July 2010. He was Clinical Reviews Editor for the Movement Disorder Journal from January 2007 before taking on an Associate Editorial role in||January 2010. Professor Burn was elected to the International Executive Committee of the Movement Disorder Society in June 2009 and is currently Chair of the MDS Congress Scientific Programme Committee. He has published over 200 articles on movement disorders in peer reviewed journals.
Ray Chaudhuri (UK) is a Professor in Neurology/Movement Disorders and Consultant Neurologist and at Kings College and Institute of Psychiatry, London an Academic Health Sciences Centre and also principal investigator at the MRC centre for neurodegeneration research at Kings College, London. He is the medical director of the National Parkinson Foundation International Centre of Excellence at Kings College, London. He sits on the Nervous Systems Committee of UK Department of Health, National Institute of Health Research and also serves as co-chairman of the appointments/liaison committee of the Movement Disorders Society and is currently serving as the member of the scientific programme committee of the MDS. He serves on the task force of practice parameter group for PD and RLS and more recently Non Motor Symptoms of Parkinson's, American Academy Neurology. He is the European Editor of Basal Ganglia and is in the editorial board of Parkinsonism and Related Disorders and Journal of Parkinson's Disease. He is also the lead for London South CLRN neurosciences sub-specialty group. He is the current Chairman of the Parkinson’s non-motor study group of the MDS.
Professor Ray Chaudhuri is the author of 215 papers including reviews, book chapters, co-editor of 4 books on Parkinson's disease and Restless Legs Syndrome and over 200 published peer reviewed abstracts. He is the chief editor of the first comprehensive textbook on non motor aspects of Parkinson’s, published by Oxford University Press and recipient of BMA book prize commendation prize. He has contributed extensively to educational radio and television interviews including BBC and CNN, newspaper articles and videos. He has also lectured extensively on PD and restless legs syndrome at international meetings in USA, Japan, continental Europe, South America, South Africa, India and Australia. His major research interests are continuous drug delivery treatment of PD and restless legs syndrome, Parkinsonism in minority ethnic groups and sleep problems in PD. In 2005 the University of London awarded him the DSc degree.
Marie-Francoise Chesselet (USA) is the Charles H. Markham Professor of Neurology and distinguished Professor in the Department of Neurology and the Department of Neurobiology at UCLA. After receiving her M.D. and Ph.D. degrees in Paris, France, she held research positions in France and faculty positions at the Medical College of Pennsylvania and the University of Pennsylvania, before joining UCLA in 1996. At UCLA, Chesselet chaired the Department of Neurobiology from 2002 to 2013 and is currently the Director of the Integrative Center for Neural Repair, which includes the Center for the Study of Parkinson’s Disease at UCLA she created in 1998. She has directed the NIH-funded UCLA UDALL Center for Parkinson’s disease research (NINDS; 1998-2013) and UCLA Center for Gene Environment in Parkinson’s Disease (NIEHS; 2002-2014), and the UCLA Advanced Center for Parkinson’s Disease Research of the American Parkinson Disease Association since 1998. Chesselet has directed graduate programs at the University of Pennsylvania and UCLA and has directed the NINDS-funded Training Program in Neural Repair since 1998. Her laboratory conducts research on the molecular mechanisms of disorders of the basal ganglia and new treatments for Parkinson’s and Huntington’s diseases. Her work is supported by the NIH, the Department of Defense, the Michael J. Fox Foundation, CIRM, and biopharmaceutical companies. Chesselet is a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and the Chair-elect of its section on Neuroscience. She serves on the National Advisory Environmental Health Sciences Council (NIEHS Council).
Charleen Chu (USA) is Professor of Pathology at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine. She serves as the Director of Ophthalmic Pathology, and Co-Director of the Pathologist Investigator Residency-Research Training Program. Dr. Chu trained in the Medical Scientist Training Program at Duke University, receiving her PhD in Pathology-Biochemistry. She is board certified in Anatomic Pathology and Neuropathology, completing fellowship training in Ophthalmic Pathology and post-doctoral training in molecular biology and cell signaling at Duke University. Dr. Chu is a member of the American Society for Clinical Investigation Honor Society, receiving the ASIP Outstanding Investigator Award, the Carnegie Science Award for Emerging Female Scientist, and an AFAR Dorothy Dillon Eweson Advances in Aging Research Award Lectureship. Dr. Chu leads a multidisciplinary research team focused on cellular quality control in Parkinson’s disease. Using oxidative and genetic models in concert with post-mortem patient samples, Dr. Chu’s team discovered a key role for altered mitochondrial targeting of kinases, accompanied by decreased nuclear signaling. This led to seminal work in the post-translational regulation of neuronal autophagy and mitochondrial biogenesis, employing molecular, live cell imaging and mass spectrometry/proteomic approaches. Dr. Chu has authored numerous primary publications, including 3 Faculty of 1000-recommended articles in journals such as J Cell Biol, J Biol Chem, Cell Death Differ, Hum Mol Genet, J Neurosci, and Am J Pathol. She serves as chartered or ad hoc member of NIH study sections, Associate Editor of the journal Autophagy, Academic Editor for PLoS ONE and Autophagy Section Editor for Current Pathobiology Reports, co-editing the book Autophagy of the Nervous System (World Scientific Publishing Co, Singapore, 2012). Her laboratory is supported by funding from the National Institutes of Health (NIA, NINDS) and the American Federation for Aging Research/Ellison Medical Foundation.
Oscar Gershanik (Argentina) is a Professor and Scientific Director of the Institute of Neuroscience at the Favaloro Foundation University Hospital in Buenos Aires, Argentina. He is also the Director of the Movement Disorder Unit at the same institution and Director of the Laboratory of Experimental Parkinsonism, a basic research laboratory, at the Institute of Pharmacological Research under the jurisdiction of the National Council for Scientific Research and Technology and the University of Buenos Aires, Argentina. Dr. Gershanik received medical training at the University of Buenos Aires where he graduated "Magna Cum Laude”, and did his post-graduate neurology training at the French Hospital in Buenos Aires, under the mentorship of Prof. Alfred Thomson. He completed a Parkinson’s Disease and movement disorders fellowship, at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York under Prof. Melvin Yahr, and later on was invited as Associate Professor of Neurology and Pharmacology, in the Neurology Department of the University of New Jersey Rutgers Medical School under Prof. Roger Duvoisin. His research interests have been focused early on, on the study of dopamine receptors interactions, on trophic mechanisms induced by levodopa therapy in animal models of Parkinson’s disease, and lately on plastic and molecular changes underlying the development of levodopa-induced dyskinesias, and has published extensively on those topics. Dr. Gershanik is and has always been actively involved in clinical practice in the field of movement disorders; and teaching, both at the undergraduate and post-graduate level, having trained numerous young neurologists, both from Argentina and abroad, in the field of movement disorders. He has lectured extensively both locally and abroad and actively participates at the international level; he has been an officer of The International Parkinson and Movement Disorder Society and a member of different committees within that society. He has recently been elected “President-Elect” of that society. He was the Chair of the Clinical Science Subcommittee of the Program Committee of WPC 2013.
Christopher Goetz (USA) is Professor of the Department of Neurological Sciences and Pharmacology at Rush University Medical Center and serves as Director of the Movement Disorders Program supported by the Parkinson’s Disease Foundation. He is a senior Fulbright Scholar and worked for two years at the College de France in Paris. He has served on national and international advisory boards, is an Officer of the Movement Disorder Society, and a member of the American Neurological Association, the American Academy of Neurology, The American Olser Society, and the French Neurological Society. Dr. Goetz has published over 400 peer-reviewed articles, and over 200 book chapters in the field. He has also published and co-authored fourteen books and monographs. He has been co-Editor-in-Chief of Movement Disorders and Editor-in-Chief of Clinical Neuropharmacology. His major interest is the pharmacology and medication therapy of movement disorders, including Parkinson’s disease. He is particularly interested in non-motor aspects of movement disorders, including specifically, hallucinations, cognitive decline, and depression. Further research efforts have focused on scale development for evaluating movement disorders, and he has led the Movement Disorder Society Task Force to develop a new version of the UPDRS, termed the MDS-UPDRS. He has a special interest in placebo effects and how they influence the interpretation of clinical trials in Parkinson's disease and dyskinesia. Dr. Goetz and his team are currently investigating the safety and efficacy of gene therapy in Parkinson’s disease patients and are involved in other studies aimed to prevent the progression of Parkinson’s disease in its early stages. He is an active researcher in the history of neurology and has written extensively with his major research interest being the study of nineteenth century French and U.S. neurology with particular interest in J-M. Charcot and his school.
Etienne Hirsch (France) is a neurobiologist involved in research on Parkinson’s disease and related disorders. He obtained his PhD in 1988 from the University of Paris VI (Pierre et Marie Curie). He is currently the associate director of CRICM and head of "Experimental therapeutics of Neurodegeneration” at the CRICM at Pitié-Salpêtrière hospital in Paris and councilor for Neuroscience, Neurology and Psychiatry at the French Ministry for higher education and research. He has also been appointed director of the national Institute (ITMO) for neurosciences, cognitive sciences, neurology and psychiatry. His work is aimed at understanding the cause of neuronal degeneration in Parkinson’s disease and is focused on the role of the glial cells, the inflammatory cytokines and apoptosis but also on the consequences of neuronal degeneration in the circuitries downstream to the lesions. He is member of several advisory boards including, French Society for Neuroscience (past-President), Scientific Advisory board at INSERM. He obtained several prizes including Tourette Syndrome Association Award in1986, Young researcher Award, European Society for Neurochemistry in 1990, Grand Prix de l’Académie de Sciences, Prix de la Fondation pour la recherche biomédicale « Prix François Lhermitte » in 1999, Chevalier de l’ordre des palmes académiques in 2009, Prix Raymond et Aimée Mande of the French National academy of Medicine in 2011, Member of the French National Academy of Pharmacy in 2011. He is author of more than 200 peer reviewed articles.
Docteur de l’Université Pierre et Marie Curie-Paris (1988), Etienne HIRSCH est neurobiologiste, directeur de recherche au CNRS, et spécialisé dans la maladie de Parkinson. Il a présidé de 2007 à 2009 le Conseil scientifique de la Fédération pour la recherche sur le cerveau, ainsi que la Société des neurosciences. Il est depuis 2010 le Directeur adjoint du Centre de recherche de l'Institut du cerveau et de la moelle épinière à l'hôpital de la Pitié-Salpêtrière. Il est directeur de l’ITMO Neurosciences, Sciences cognitives, Neurologie et Psychiatrie et chargé de mission au Ministère de l’enseignement supérieur et de la recherche.
David Iverson (USA) is an independent film producer, television correspondent and radio host. His most recent film is “Capturing Grace”, a feature documentary about a group of dancers with Parkinson’s and their unique collaboration with the world renowned Mark Morris Dance Group. Other films include the 2009 PBS Frontline documentary “My Father, My Brother and Me” which explored his family’s battle with Parkinson’s disease and The Thirty Second Candidate, which won a national Emmy award. Iverson has also been a contributing correspondent to the PBS NewsHour and to NPR and hosts a public radio program in San Francisco. In addition to his broadcast and documentary work, Iverson serves as a Contributing Editor at the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research and is a member of the foundation’s Patient Council.
Jeffrey Kordower (USA) is the Jean Schweppe-Armour Professor of Neurological Sciences, Professor of Neurosurgery, Director, Research Center for Brain Repair, and Section Head of Neuroscience at Rush University Medical Center. He received his BA and MA from the City University of New York and his PhD in Neuropsychology from that same institution in 1984. He received an Honorary Doctor of Science from that same institution in 2004.
Dr. Kordower is an international authority in the area of movement disorders, with special expertise in experimental therapeutic strategies for Parkinson’s disease. He has published landmark papers in the area of cell replacement strategies including the first demonstration that fetal dopaminergic grafts can survive, innervate and form synapses in patients with Parkinson’s disease; this was published in the New England Journal of Medicine. Furthermore, his recent demonstration that long-term grafts in such patients can form Lewy bodies was recently published in Nature Medicine. With regards to gene therapy, he published the lead article in science demonstrating that gene delivery of the trophic factor GDNF can prevent the emergence of motor symptoms and prevent nigrostriatal degeneration in a pre-clinical model of PD. A similar finding using gene delivery of neurturin has, in part, resulted in this therapy currently being tested in a Phase II clinical trial. He also was the first to demonstrate that gene delivery of trophic factors can obviate neurodegenerative processes in pre-clinical models of Huntington’s disease and Alzheimer’s disease; these studies are being published in Nature and The Journal of Comparative Neurology, respectively.
Dr. Kordower has published over 300 papers, has lectured all over the world, has been on over 20 editorial boards, and is on the Scientific Advisory Boards of many biotech companies and scientific organizations. He is a Past-Councilor and Past President of the American Society for Neural Transplantation, Past-Chair for the Committee for the Use of Animals for the Society for Neuroscience, and is a founding member of the Scientific Advisory Board, and current member of the Executive Scientific Advisory Board of The Michael J. Fox Foundation.
Peter LeWitt (USA) who directs the Parkinson’s Disease and Movement Disorders Program at Henry Ford Hospital in West Bloomfield, was appointed Professor of Neurology at Wayne State University School of Medicine in 1990. A graduate of Brown University School of Medicine (and also awarded a M.Med.Sc. in Biochemical Pharmacology), his neurology residency training was at Stanford University School of Medicine. His completed fellowship training in experimental therapeutics at the National Institute of Neurological and Communicative Disorders. In addition to conducting clinical trials for Parkinson’s disease and other neurological disorders, his research interests have also included animal models and biomarkers of neurological disease, pharmacokinetic analysis, and gene therapy for Parkinson’s disease. He is the author of more than 300 publications in basic and clinical neuroscience.
Dr. LeWitt was a founding member of the Parkinson Study Group and was elected in 1998 to serve as secretary of the Movement Disorder Society. He is a member of that organization’s Task Force for the Development of Rating Scales for Parkinson’s Disease. Dr. LeWitt has been a recipient or reviewer of research grants from the National Institutes of Health, the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research, the National Parkinson Foundation, the U.S.-Israel Bi-National Science Foundation, and other organizations. Since 2003, he has been editor-in-chief of Clinical Neuropharmacology and has served on the editorial boards of Movement Disorders, Journal of Neural Transmission, Journal of Parkinson’s Disease, and Translational Neurodegeneration. Dr. LeWitt has been the mentor for several movement disorder fellowship trainees and has been active in educational programs conducted by the Movement Disorder Society, the American Academy of Neurology, the European Federation of Neurological Sciences, and other organizations.
Walter Maetzler (Germany) serves as a consultant and senior physician at the University Hospital of Tuebingen (Germany), is the head of the Neurogeriatrics outpatient clinic and Neurogeriatrics research group, as well as the coordinator of the Neuro biobank. He is involved in biomarker research of ageing and neurodegeneration, and has a particular focus on quantitative motor and cognitive testing using inertial ambulatory sensors. He is scientific coordinator of Sense-Park, a EU project which aims at developing an unobtrusive device for patients with Parkinson's disease detecting motor, cognitive and behavioural symptoms at home. In addition, the team of Dr. Maetzler contributes to the organization and maintenance of a longitudinal, life-long study following healthy middle-aged and aged individuals, and patients with neurodegenerative diseases. In this TREND study, 1200 individuals are followed biannually with an extensive assessment protocol, including as quantitative as possible investigations of the cardiovascular, autonomic, motor, cognitive and behavioral system.
Jon Palfreman (USA) is a veteran of both UK and US television and has made over 40 BBC and PBS one-hour documentaries including the Peabody Award winning series “The Machine That Changed the World”, the Emmy Award winning NOVA “Siamese Twins” and the Alfred I. duPont-Columbia University Silver Baton winner “Harvest of Fear.” Palfreman has received many awards honoring the quality and accuracy of his journalism. The recipient of the Victor Cohn Prize for Excellence in Medical Writing, Palfreman is three-time winner of the American Association for the Advancement of Science writing prize, three-time winner of the National Association of Science Writers “Science-in-Society” Journalism Award and a winner of the Writers Guild Award for best script. In the area of Parkinson’s disease research, Palfreman co-authored a book with neuroscientist Bill Langston, The Case of the Frozen Addicts, and produced two NOVA documentaries chronicling the story of the MPTP cases, NOVA: The Case of the Frozen Addict, and NOVA: Brain Transplant. He also writes a blog for the Journal of Parkinson’s Disease. A 2006 Nieman Fellow in Journalism at Harvard University, Palfreman is currently KEZI Distinguished Professor of Broadcast Journalism at the University of Oregon.
Ronald Pfeiffer (USA) is Professor and Vice Chair of the Department of Neurology at the University of Tennessee Health Science Center in Memphis. He received his undergraduate and medical degrees from the University of Nebraska. Internship and neurology residency were completed at the Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington, D.C. His research, teaching and clinical practice focus on Parkinson's disease. He has extensive experience in clinical trials of experimental medications and a particular interest in gastrointestinal dysfunction in Parkinson's disease. Dr. Pfeiffer has been author or co-author of over 250 journal articles or book chapters and is co-editor of three books. He is Co-Editor in Chief of the journal, Parkinsonism and Related Disorders. He was chairman of the Continuing Medical Education Committee of the Movement Disorder Society from 2004 - 2010 and is currently Chair-Elect of the Movement Disorders Section of the American Academy of Neurology.
Serge Przedborski (USA) is the Page and William Black Professor of Neurology. He holds a joint appointment in the Departments of Neurology, Pathology and Cell Biology and is the Co-Director of the Center for Motor Neuron Biology and Disease and a faculty member of the Center for Parkinson's disease (PD) and Other Movement Disorders at Columbia University. Dr. Przedborski attended medical school at the Université Libre de Bruxelles (ULB), Belgium, and did his internship and residency in Neurology and Psychiatry at the ULB-Erasme Academic Medical Center, Belgium. He then did a fellowship in movement disorders with Dr. Stanley Fahn at Columbia University, where he became Assistant Professor of Neurology in 1991. The research conducted in Dr. Przedborski's laboratory is geared toward unraveling the molecular basis of neurodegeneration and devising therapeutic strategies to hamper the processes that cause neuronal death, the source of many debilitating disorders. In keeping with this goal, to what extent and by which mechanisms do cell-autonomous and non-cell autonomous deleterious processes contribute to the demise of specific subpopulation of neurons in neurodegenerative disorders, such as PD represent a main line of research in his laboratory. These research efforts are supported by federal grants from both NIH and the DoD and by private agencies including the Parkinson's Disease Foundation, the Thomas Hartman Foundation, and MDA's Wings Over Wall Street. Dr. Przedborski is a Senior Editor for the Journal of Neuroscience and an Associate Editor of Movement Disorders.
Michael Schlossmacher (USA) is a clinician scientist focused on improving the lives of individuals with neurodegenerative diseases. Following completion of medical school in Vienna, Austria, he began graduate studies in human biology. In 1988, a Fulbright Commission scholarship enabled him to visit Harvard University. He subsequently pursed post-doctoral work on the molecular pathology of Alzheimer disease in the laboratory of Dr. Dennis J. Selkoe (1988-1992). This led to his discovery of the physiological release of amyloid beta-protein by cultured cells into biological fluids, which became an essential building block for the ‘amyloid hypothesis’ in Alzheimer disease.
Following residency training in general medicine in Vienna (1992-1995), Dr. Schlossmacher completed adult neurology training in the Harvard Longwood Neurology Program (1995-1999) and a clinical fellowship in movement disorders at Brigham & Women's Hospital and Massachusetts General Hospital (1999-2001). Since 2000, he has focused his research activities on Parkinson disease, initially under the mentorship of Drs. Dennis J. Selkoe, Kenneth S. Kosik and Peter T. Lansbury. In 2003, he became an independent investigator at the Center for Neurologic Diseases at Brigham & Women's Hospital, and was appointed Assistant Professor in Neurology at Harvard Medical School in 2004. Recruited by the OHRI and University of Ottawa with support from the Canada Research Chair Program, Dr. Schlossmacher moved to Ontario in late 2006; he opened a new laboratory as a member of the Parkinson’s Research Consortium Ottawa in early 2007. In October 2012, he was named the Bhargava Research Chair in Neurodegeneration at the OHRI. The appointment was made possible through the generous support from Mrs. Uttra and Mr. Sam Bhargava and their family. The long term goal of the research efforts in the Schlossmacher laboratory is to contribute to the clinical improvement of individuals with parkinsonism by focusing on three aspects: biomarker development, elucidating pathogenesis (by studying the effects of four genes: SNCA, GBA1, LRRK2 and Parkin), and target validation in preclinical models.
Eric Schon (USA) is the Lewis P. Rowland Professor of Neurology (in Genetics and Development) at Columbia University. His laboratory studies the molecular genetics of neurological and neuromuscular diseases, with particular focus on mitochondrial disorders. The research has two principal goals: (1) to use the tools of molecular and cellular biology in order to gain insight into the etiology, pathogenesis, and treatment of these devastating diseases, and (2) to build on this knowledge in order to ask more fundamental biological questions relating to nuclear-mitochondrial communication, mitochondrial biogenesis, mtDNA plasticity, and the regulation of respiratory chain enzymes. Most recently, the laboratory has become interested in understanding the structural and functional relationships between mitochondria and the endoplasmic reticulum in the pathogenesis of Alzheimer and Parkinson disease.
Michael Schwarzschild (USA) serves as Chair of the Parkinson Study Group (PSG) Executive Committee. The PSG is a consortium of clinical investigators, coordinators and allied professionals dedicated to improving the lives of people with Parkinson's through the conduct clinical trials and research of the highest quality. It comprises over 130 credentialed clinical sites in the US and Canada, and is working with counterparts worldwide to develop a highly trained, flexible global network for PD trials. Dr. Schwarzschild, a Professor of Neurology at Harvard Medical School, also directs the Molecular Neurobiology Laboratory at the Mass General Institute for Neurodegenerative Disease, focusing on the role of purines -- including adenosine, inosine, caffeine and urate — in mouse models of Parkinson's disease. Benefitting from interdisciplinary collaborations across basic, epidemiological and clinical neurosciences he is working to advance neurobiological insights to disease-modifying therapies for people with Parkinson's disease.
Leonidas Stefanis (Greece) obtained his MD and PhD from the University of Athens Medical School in 1987 and 1992 respectively. In 1991, he moved to the US, where he trained as Resident in Neurology at Columbia University in New York. In 1995, he embarked on a post-doctoral fellowship on mechanisms of neuronal cell death in the laboratory of Dr. Lloyd Greene, in the Dept. of Pathology, while in parallel he completed a two-year fellowship on Neurobehaviour, in the Dept. of Neurology at Columbia University. In 1998 he was appointed Assistant Professor of Neurology in the Dept. of Neurology at Columbia University, position that he held up till 2003. During this time, he focused his interest on the pathogenesis of neurodegenerative disorders. In 2003 he moved back to Greece as Researcher Level B at the Biomedical Research Foundation of the Academy of Athens (BRFAA), and set up a laboratory focusing on mechanisms of neurodegeneration, in particular in relation to protein degradation systems, alpha-synuclein and PD. Since 2006 he has assumed the appointment of Associate Professor of Neurology and Neurobiology in the University of Athens Medical School, while he continues his work at BRFAA as an affiliated investigator. Currently, Dr. Stefanis is investigating various areas of PD pathogenesis, ranging from the bench to the bedside. He is examining the genetic underpinnings of the disease in the Greek population in rare familial, but also in sporadic cases. He is involved in studies that examine the utility of using alpha-synuclein as a disease biomarker. He is examining pathways of neurotoxicity induced by aberrant alpha-synuclein, with an emphasis on the involvement of protein degradation pathways, such as Chaperone-Mediated Autophagy. He is also investigating the molecular underpinnings of other genetic alterations linked to PD, such as those in UCH-L1, LRRK2 and GBA.
Jon Stoessl (Canada) Professor and Head of Neurology and Director of the Pacific Parkinson's Research Centre and National Parkinson Foundation Centre of Excellence at UBC and Vancouver Coastal Health and been tapped to co-chair the third World Parkinson Congress. He holds a Tier 1 Canada Research Chair in Parkinson's Disease and directs the CIHR Team in Parkinson's and a Pacific Alzheimer Research Foundation Centre grant on Overlap Syndromes Resulting in Dementia.
Dr. Stoessl has worked closely with the Parkinson Society Canada as their past Chair of the Scientific Advisory Board for and is well respected among his peers and the community of people living with Parkinson's across Canada. When she learned of Dr. Stoessl's co-chair position, Joyce Gordon, President and CEO of Parkinson Society Canada said, "Dr. Stoessl is a recognized leader in the Canadian and International Parkinson community and Parkinson Society Canada is delighted to have him at the helm with Dr. Fahn for WPC 2013."
Dr. Stoessl sits on the editorial boards of numerous journals and has served on a number of scientific advisory boards, including Canadian Institutes of Health Research, Ontario Mental Health Foundation (Chair), Huntington Society of Canada, Tourette Syndrome Association and National Parkinson Foundation and currently chairs the Interdisciplinary Adjudication Committee of the Canada Research Chairs program. In 2007, he was appointed a Member of the Order of Canada. Dr. Stoessl's research involves the use of positron emission tomography to study Parkinson's disease and related disorders, including the use of imaging as a biomarker, the basis for complications of treatment and mechanisms of the placebo effect. He has published more than 220 papers and book chapters.
Miquel Vila (Spain) received his M.D. from the University of Barcelona Medical School (Barcelona, Spain) in 1993. He then moved to the laboratory of Experimental Neurology and Therapeutics, INSERM U289 (Prof. Yves Agid) at the Salpêtrière Hospital in Paris (France), where he obtained his Master degree (D.E.A.) and Ph.D. in Neuroscience from the University of Paris VI (Pierre et Marie Curie), under the supervision of Dr. Etienne Hirsch. His Ph.D. work was devoted to the study of the functional consequences of dopaminergic neurodegeneration on the functioning of the basal ganglia. From 1998 to 2001, he worked as a postdoctoral researcher at the laboratory of Dr. Serge Przedborski at the Department of Neurology, Movement Disorders Division, at Columbia University (New York, USA), focusing on the molecular mechanisms of neuronal death in Parkinson's disease. To continue his work, he obtained in 2001 a position as an Assistant Professor of Neurology at Columbia University. In December 2005, he moved back to Barcelona as a Research Professor at ICREA (Catalan Institution for Research and Advanced Studies) to develop a new research lab on Neurodegeneration at the Vall d’Hebron Research Institute (VHIR), thanks to the support of the European Commission’s Marie Curie Excellence Grants program. In addition, he holds positions as Associate Professor at the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology of the Autonomous University of Barcelona (UAB) and as Principal Investigator of the Spanish Network of Excellence on Neurodegenerative Diseases (CIBERNED).