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Special Guests


Roger Barker (UK)
 Terry Ellis (USA)
 Jeffrey Kordower (USA)
 Irene Richard (USA)
 Daniel Weintraub (USA)
Helen Bronte-Stewart (USA)
 Sam Frank (USA)
 Andrew Lees (UK)
 Sara Riggare (Sweden)
 Lawrence I. Golbe (USA)
Patrik Brundin (USA)
 Joseph Friedman (USA)
 Peter LeWitt (USA)
 Peter Schmidt (USA)
Jean Burns (USA)
 Kimberley Gannon (USA)
 Andres Lozano (Canada)
 Todd Sherer (UK)
Angela Cenci-Nillson (Sweden)
 Tom Isaacs (UK)
 Michael Okun (USA)
 Andrew Singleton (USA)
Ray Chaudhuri (UK)
 Christine Klein (Germany)
 Pamela Quinn (USA)
 Jon Stoessl (Canada)



Special Guest for Parkinson's disease: the basics


Andrew Lees (UK) was born on Merseyside and qualified in medicine at the Royal London Hospital Medical College in 1970. His neurological training was at University College London Hospitals and the National Hospital for Neurology and Neurosurgery, Queen Square. He also spent time at L’Hopital Salpetriere, Paris.

At the age of thirty-two he was appointed to the consultant staff at the National Hospitals, The Middlesex, and Whittington Hospitals and in 1987 was elected a Fellow of the Royal College of Physicians. He was later appointed Professor of Neurology at the National Hospital for Neurology and Neurosurgery, Queen Square and was Director of the Reta Lila Weston Institute for Neurological Studies (1998-2012). He was Clinical Director of the Queen Square Brain Bank for Neurological Disorders (1985-2012) and Director of the Sara Koe PSP Research Centre (2002-2012).  

He is a Visiting Professor at the University of Liverpool and has close collaborations with a number of Brazilian universities. For his contributions to Brazilian neurology he was elected an overseas member of the Academia Nacional de Medicina and the Academia Brasileira de Neurologica. He was elected as a Council member of the Academy of Medical Sciences 2012.

Andrew has achieved international recognition for his work on Parkinson’s disease and abnormal movement disorders.  He is an original member of the Highly Cited Researchers ISI Database.  Founder member of the international Movement Disorder Society, he was elected President (2004-2006) and co-edited the Movement Disorders Journal between 1995 and 2003.  In 2006, he was awarded the Movement Disorders Research Award by the American Academy of Neurology. In recent years he has delivered the Gowers Memorial Lecture at the National Hospital, The Inaugural Lord Brain Memorial Lecture at Barts and the Royal London Hospitals and David Marsden Memorial Lecture at the European Federation of Neurological Societies. He was the recipient of Stanley Fahn Lectureship Award, MDS Dublin 2012, and has been awarded the German Society of Neurology’s 2012 Dingebauer Prize for outstanding scientific attainment in the field of Parkinson's disease and Neurodegenerative Disorders.

In 2014, Andrew received the prestigious Jay Van Andel award for outstanding research in Parkinson’s disease.  Based in Grand Rapids Michigan, the Van Andel Institute is an independent research organisation dedicated to preserving, enhancing and expanding the frontiers of medical science.

He is to be the 2015 recipient of the Association of British Neurologists Medal, awarded annually in recognition of outstanding contributions by British and Irish neurologists to the science and practice of neurology.


Special Guests for Stopping disease progression- Alpha synuclein


Patrik Brundin (USA) has more than 30 years of experience studying neurodegenerative diseases, Parkinson's disease pathogenesis and therapeutic neural grafting into people with Parkinson's disease. He is one of the top cited researchers in the field of neuroscience with nearly 300 publications on Parkinson's disease and related topics. In addition to managing his laboratory at Van Andel Research Institute, he is the co-editor in chief of the Journal of Parkinson's Disease, the chair of the Linked Clinical Trials committee, and has coordinated multiple international research programs. Dr. Brundin is the Associate Director of Research at Van Andel Research Institute, Director of Van Andel Research Institute’s Center for Neurodegenerative Science, head of the Laboratory for Translational Parkinson’s Disease Research and the Jay Van Andel Endowed Chair in Parkinson’s Research.




Kimberley Gannon (USA) received a PhD in Neuroscience in 1994 from The Florida State University and conducted her postdoctoral training at Hoffman La-Roche in the Institute of Molecular Biology (Nutley, NJ) and at Mount Sinai School of Medicine in the Department of Physiology and Biophysics (New York, NY). She has over 15 years of drug discovery and development experience at major pharmaceutical firms as well as start-up companies.  Her primary area of focus is drug development targeting neurodegenerative diseases such as Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s diseases.  Dr. Gannon’s career has spanned the breadth of drug development from early discovery to translation into the clinic.  As a former senior scientist at Eli Lilly and Co., Dr. Gannon directed a behavioral pharmacology group in Neuroscience Drug Discovery that supported a number of development programs targeted for the treatment of neurodegenerative and psychiatric conditions.  She is currently based in Boston where she has held positions at several early stage drug development companies, including CereMedix where she was Vice President of Drug Development and Predix Pharmaceuticals (later acquired by EPIX Pharmaceuticals), where she served as Senior Director of Biology, supporting multiple non-clinical and clinical development programs targeting CNS diseases.  Dr. Gannon is currently Senior Vice President of Preclinical Research and Development at NeuroPhage Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (Cambridge, MA) where she directs preclinical and nonclinical drug development activities, both within the company as well as through external collaborations.






Special Guests for When in doubt: Exercise!


Terry Ellis (USA) is an Assistant Professor at Boston University, College of Health & Rehabilitation Sciences in the Department of Physical Therapy & Athletic Training. Her research focuses on investigating the impact of exercise and rehabilitation on the progression of disability in individuals with Parkinson disease. She has a particular interest in identifying barriers to exercise and developing interventions to help persons with Parkinson disease overcome these barriers to engage in lifelong exercise. Dr. Ellis is the Director of the Center for Neurorehabilitation at Boston University and the Director of the American Parkinson Disease Association National Rehabilitation Resource Center housed at Boston University. Dr. Ellis has a Ph.D. in Behavioral Neurosciences from Boston University School of Medicine. She has published numerous articles and lectures internationally on topics related to rehabilitation in persons with Parkinson disease.


Helen Bronte-Stewart (USA)received a Master of Science in Bioengineering and her MD degree from University of Pennsylvania Schools of Engineering and Medicine respectively. She completed her internship in medicine and a residency in neurology at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania, and a post-doctoral fellowship in movement disorders. Dr. Bronte-Stewart and her colleagues at Stanford are investigating the effects of interventions such as deep brain stimulation (DBS) and/or exercise on specific aspects of balance and upper extremity movement in Parkinson’s disease. Her passion for understanding how the brain controls movement comes from a background in classical and modern dance.

She received a 5-year NIH Physician-Scientist Award to pursue her research in motor control in the laboratory of Dr. Stephen Lisberger at the University of California, San Francisco, where her interests focused on the cellular basis of motor learning. Her expertise in single neuronal electrophysiology in primates has been transferred to the operating room where she performs the intraoperative microelectrode mapping of basal ganglia nuclei during deep brain stimulation procedures for the treatment of Movement Disorders in patients with Movement Disorders. Dr. Bronte-Stewart is the Director of the Stanford Comprehensive Movement Disorders Center, where she and her colleagues assess and treat patients with all types of Movement Disorders. She also directs the Stanford Human Motor Control and Balance Laboratory, where she has developed computerized, quantitative measurements of human motor behavior, which are being implemented in a wide range of research in Movement Disorders. Her research focuses on the neural signatures of abnormal movement in Parkinson’s disease and tremor. This research brings together her expertise in neurophysiology and the quantitative kinematic measures she is suing to record brain signals at the same time as measures of ongoing movements. Dr. Bronte-Stewart’s team is part of the Brain Radio project, where they can record brain signals directly from the neurostimulator under the skin in the chest region. She believes that this is a major step towards developing a demand brain pacemaker similar to the revolution in cardiac pacing that happened after it was possible to record and pace off cardiac arrhythmias.

 Special Guests for Losing our Minds: Cognition and PD


Daniel Weintraub (USA) is Associate Professor of Psychiatry and Neurology at the University of Pennsylvania and Psychiatrist at the Parkinson’s Disease Research, Education and Clinical Center (PADRECC) at the Philadelphia Veterans Affairs Medical Center. A board-certified geriatric psychiatrist, he conducts clinical research in the psychiatric and cognitive complications of Parkinson’s disease and Alzheimer's disease, and is author of more than 100 journal articles, reviews, and book chapters. He completed a NIMH Career Development Award titled "Depression Diagnosis and Treatment in Parkinson Disease”, and has also been Principal Investigator on grants from the VA, the Institute of Aging at Penn, the Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research, and several industry-sponsored studies. His research has focused on the epidemiology, neural substrate, assessment and treatment of depression, psychosis, cognitive impairment and impulse control disorders in Parkinson’s disease. Dr. Weintraub previously served as an Advisor to the Cognitive Work Group of the DSM-V Task Force, was Chair of the Psychiatry Subgroup of the NINDS Common Data Elements (CDE) project, and has been a member of five Movement Disorder Society (MDS) task forces to revise and make recommendations for the assessment of cognitive and psychiatric symptoms in Parkinson’s disease. He currently is on the Editorial Board of Movement Disorders and the Journal of Parkinson’s Disease, a member of the Scientific Advisory Committee of the Lewy Body Dementia Association, on the DSMB’s for Alzheimer's Disease Cooperative Study (ADCS) and ENROLL-HD study sponsored by the Cure Huntington’s Disease Initiative, on the Executive Committee of the Parkinson Study Group (PSG), serves on the Movement Disorder Society Scales Development Committee and the Non-Motor Symptoms Workgroup, and was recently appointed Chair of the Cognitive-Behavioral Work Group for the Parkinson’s Progression Markers Initiative (PPMI) study.


Special Guest for Beyond DBS


Andres Lozano (Canada) holds the rank of University Professor and serves as Chairman of the Division of Neurosurgery at the University of Toronto. He also holds both the R.R. Tasker Chair in Functional Neurosurgery at University Health Network and a Tier 1 Canada Research Chair in Neuroscience.

Dr. Lozano’s research focuses in the area of Functional Neurosurgery and the development of novel therapies for Parkinson’s disease and other movement disorders, and psychiatric disease. He is best known for his work in Deep Brain Stimulation (DBS). His team has mapped out cortical and subcortical structures in the human brain and have pioneered applications of DBS for various disorders including Parkinson’s disease, depression, dystonia, anorexia, Huntington’s and Alzheimer’s disease.

Dr. Lozano has been identified by Thomson Reuters Essential Science Indicators as the most highly cited neurosurgeon in the world for the 11 year period from 2002 to 2012 and the only neurosurgeon to be named to the highly cited authors list He has over 450 publications in neuroscience, serves on the board of several international organizations, including the scientific advisory boards of the Michael J Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research (founding member), Weston Brain Institute (Chair) and Neuroscience Canada.

Dr. Lozano has received a number of awards including the Margolese National Brain Award, Olivecrona medal and the Donald Calne International Award for Parkinson’s Disease Research, has been elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada and the Canadian Academy of Health Sciences and has received the Order of Spain.

Special Guests for Stopping disease progression- Growth factors


Jeffrey Kordower (USA) 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.


Special Guest for Parkinson Plus Conditions 

Lawrence I. Golbe (USA) received his medical training at New York University School of Medicine and training in internal medicine at Hahnemann University and in neurology at NYU-Bellevue Medical Center. He joined the faculty at UMDNJ-Robert Wood Johnson Medical School in 1983, advancing to Professor in 1997. His principal research interests are progressive supranuclear palsy (PSP) and the genetics and epidemiology of PD. In 1997, Dr. Golbe and collaborators reported that in the Contursi kindred, a family that he had identified and worked up over the previous decade, autosomal-dominant PD was associated with a mutation in the gene for alpha-synuclein. His subsequent resesarch has helped identify genes influencing PD in nonmendelian fashion. Dr. Golbe performed the first study of the prevalence and risk factors in PSP and has chaired the Scientific Advisory Board of the Society for Progressive Supranuclear Palsy since 1992. He has been named by Castle-Connolly and New York Magazine as a "Top Doctor" for the past several years and received the American Parkinson's Disease Association's Fred Springer Award in 2003 in recognition of his research accomplishments.


Special Guests for Genetics and PD


Christine Klein (Germany)


Special Guests for L-dopa...waiting for the next act


Angela Cenci-Nillson (Sweden) is a Professor of Experimental Medical Research at Lund University (Lund, Sweden), where she heads the Basal Ganglia Pathophysiology Unit. Her research activities address the pathophysiology of Parkinson’s disease and other movement disorders originating from the basal ganglia (L-DOPA-induced dyskinesia, graft-induced dyskinesia, and Huntington´s disease). Several ongoing projects aim at developing new symptomatic or neurorestorative/neuroprotective treatments for the above conditions.  The Basal Ganglia Pathophysiology Unit is a partner in several EU-funded project consortia, and in centres of excellence for PD research that are supported by the Swedish National Research Council (Multipark,; BAGADILICO,; and the Neuronano Research Centre,  Cenci has advisory appointments at several national and international research organizations, including the Swedish Movement Disorder Society (from 2003); NECTAR (Network of European CNS Transplantation and Restoration) (from 2005); The International Movement Disorders Society (from 2009); The Swedish Parkinson Research Network (from 2010); The M.J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research (from 2010); The International Brain Research Organisation (IBRO, from 2012).



Jean Burns (USA)  is a former web developer and software trainer. She was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease in 2003 and soon after became an active Parkinson’s advocate. She has received both the Alan Bonander Humanitarian Award and the Milly Kondracke Award for her service to the Parkinson’s community. Jean speaks to college students and community groups about the importance of participating in clinical trials. She is human participant #3 in the NIH AAV2-GDNF Gene Therapy clinical trial. Jean is the co-founder of (with Sheryl Jedlinski) with Jean as web developer and graphic designer.  Jean has recently spoken at an NIH Bioethics Grand Round about the lack of a "Safety Net" in case human volunteers of brain surgery clinical trials are injured during surgery and require long term care. She is working to make this lack of care known to the broader medical community.  

Special Guests for I wake to sleep and take my waking slow


Irene Richard (USA) is the Professor of Neurology and Psychiatry and the University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry Rochester, New York. After graduating from Cornell University in 1987 and receiving her MD from the Yale University School of Medicine in 1991, Dr. Richard completed neurology residency at the University of Rochester in 1995, followed by the NIH-funded fellowship training in Movement Disorders and Experimental Therapeutics in 1997. She joined the faculty of the University of Rochester in 1997 where she is currently a Professor of Neurology and Psychiatry.  Dr. Richard provides neurological care for patients with PD, education for medical students, residents and fellows and conducts clinical research aimed at better understanding PD and developing effective treatments.  He research program includes studies of rating scales, progression markers and therapeutics.  Her area of particular interest and expertise involves the psychiatric aspects of the illness. She is the author of numerous scientific articles, editorials and book chapters and has been the recipient of career development awards and research grants, including one from NIH to lead a multi-center clinical trial evaluating the treatment of depression in PD. Dr. Richard serves as a scientific advisor for the Michael J. Fox Foundation and a reviewer for scientific journals and research grants, having participated in NIH study sections and a variety of grant review committees. She has given lectures and chaired workshops and symposia at national meetings including the American Academy of Neurology and The World Parkinson Congress. Dr. Richard's efforts have brought new clinical and research attention to the previously overlooked area of mood disturbances in PD.


Joseph Friedman (USA) is Director of the Movement Disorders Program of Butler Hospital, and Professor and Chief of the Division of Movement Disorders at the Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University, both located in Providence, Rhode Island.  He serves as an Adjunct Professor in the School of Pharmacy of the University of Rhode Island.  Dr. Friedman is also the author of Making the Connection Between Brain and Behavior: Coping with Parkinson's Disease, a book published in 2007 for people with Parkinson's, their families and health professionals.

Before arriving in Rhode Island in 1982, Dr. Friedman received his medical degree from Columbia University in New York and performed his neurology residency at Columbia’s Neurological Institute.  He obtained his B.A. in mathematics at the University of Chicago and his M.A. in mathematics at Washington University.  He also served in the Peace Corps as a math teacher in Ghana.
Dr. Friedman has served as Clinical Director of the American Parkinson Disease Association (APDA) Information and Referral Center of Rhode Island since 1984, as Editor-in-Chief of Medicine and Health, Rhode Island, the state medical journal since 1999 and is currently on the editorial board of Parkinsonism and Related Disorders. He was previously a member of the editorial board of Movement Disorders, and of the Executive Committee of the Parkinson Study Group.


Special Guests for Nonmotor Symptoms


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.


Sam Frank (USA) ...



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.


Special Guest for Placebo Puzzles


Jon Stoessl (Canada) is the 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 both the third and fourth 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.   
Dr. Stoessl sits on the editorial boards of numerous journal 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.

Dr. Stoessl is the current Vice President of the World Parkinson Coalition and will co-chair the WPC 2016 with Dr. Serge Przedborski. He co-chaired the WPC 2013 in Montreal, Canada with Dr. Stanley Fahn.


Special Guests for Optimizing Treatment


Peter Schmidt (USA) joined the National Parkinson Foundation as Chief Information Officer and Vice President, Research and Professional Programs in June 2009 where he is responsible for the Parkinson’s Outcomes Project, a longitudinal study of Parkinson’s disease to identify best practices in care to achieve optimal patient-reported and clinically measured outcomes.  With over 15,000 clinical evaluations of over 7,000 patients, the Parkinson’s Outcomes Project is the largest clinical study of Parkinson’s disease ever conducted and includes the largest set of patient-reported outcome measures ever collected in a prospective study.  Prior to NPF, Schmidt was an investment banker in Norwalk, CT., president a software company supporting chronic disease management, and COO of an on-line education joint venture of Oxford, Stanford, and Yale universities. He is an active member of several trade groups and is widely published in both scientific and trade journals on issues around medicine, health information technology and finance. Dr. Peter Schmidt earned his bachelor’s degree at Harvard University and was awarded an M.S. and Ph.D. from Cornell University, Sibley School of Mechanical Engineering where he studied gait and balance and total joint replacement. He completed a fellowship at the Hospital for Special Surgery in New York.


Michael Okun (USA) is the Adelaide Lackner Professor of Neurology at the University of Florida, and the Administrative Director and co-founder of the UF Center for Movement Disorders and Neurorestoration. Dr. Okun completed his M.D. degree and his neurology residency training at the University of Florida where he graduated with Honors. He completed his fellowship training in movement disorders at Emory University. Currently the center he directs has 45 interdisciplinary faculty members dedicated to care, outreach, education and research for Parkinson’s disease and movement disorders. He serves as the National Medical Director for the National Parkinson Foundation and administrates the NPF Ask the Expert web-forums. He co-chairs the Medical Advisory Board for the Tourette Syndrome Association. Dr. Okun’s research has explored motor and non-motor basal ganglia brain disorders and deep brain stimulation. He has published over 250 peer-reviewed papers exploring cognitive, behavioral, and mood effects of basal ganglia disorders. His newest book on Parkinson's disease has been translated into over 20 languages- Parkinson's Treatment: 10 Secrets to a Happier Life.


Special Guests for What's taking so long?


Todd Sherer (USA) is the Chief Executive Officer of The Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson's Research (MJFF), reporting to the Board of Directors. Formally trained as a neuroscientist, he directs the organization's research strategy and is responsible for the organization's overall scientific and fundraising direction to speed treatment breakthroughs and a cure for Parkinson's disease. Dr. Sherer has been a key architect of the Foundation's strategy to define high-priority research areas for Parkinson's disease - therapeutic targets and approaches that are closest or most critical to practical relevance in patients' daily lives - in order to leverage donor-raised capital to push projects in these areas toward the clinic. He has played a major role in the Foundation's efforts to increase the pharmaceutical industry's investment in Parkinson's disease drug development and engage the patient community to encourage and expand participation in clinical research. Today he is one of the world's foremost experts on the science and business of Parkinson's drug development, speaking frequently on these topics at conferences, to the media and to members of the Parkinson's community. Dr. Sherer's work with the Foundation began in 2003, when, as a postdoctoral fellow at Emory University in Atlanta, he was awarded MJFF funding to investigate the role of environmental factors in Parkinson's disease. He joined the Foundation's staff full time as Associate Director, Research Programs, in April 2004. He was promoted to Vice President, Research Programs, in June 2006 and Chief Program Officer in November 2010, finally assuming the role of Chief Executive Officer in May 2011. Dr. Sherer is a member of the Board of Directors of the Parkinson's Action Network and participates in the Institute of Medicine of the National Academies Forum on Neuroscience and Nervous System Disorders. He is a collaborating scientist for the Coalition Against Major Diseases (CAMD) and a member of the CINAPS Advisory Committee at the National Institute for Neurodegenerative Disease and Stroke, National Institutes of Health. During his career as a bench researcher, Dr. Sherer published over 30 peer-reviewed articles in scientific journals. He earned his PhD in Neuroscience from the University of Virginia and holds a BS in Psychology from Duke University in Durham, North Carolina.


Tom Isaacs (UK) was diagnosed with Parkinson's at the young age of 27 and since then has done everything he can to raise funds, heighten awareness and find a cure for the condition which is perceived by many as a condition affecting the elderly alone.

Having completed his highly successful 1,250-mile sponsored walk in 1999, Tom left his job as Director of a London property company in April 2002 to undertake his Coastin' challenge. By April 2003, Tom had walked 4,500 miles around the British coastline, climbed the highest mountains in England, Scotland and Wales and run the Flora London Marathon, raising over £350,000. In 2004 he was runner-up in the GMTV/Daily Mirror Fundraiser of the Year Award and in 2005 he was elected Charity Personality of the Year. A year later he co-founded The Cure Parkinson’s Trust, an organization of which he is President and which has since gone on to raise over £5.5 million and has been involved in funding and facilitating ground breaking research in Parkinson’s.

Tom was a Board Member of the European Parkinson’s Disease Association from 2005 until 2010. He also represents the interests of people with Parkinson’s on DeNDRoN (the Dementias and Neurodegenerative Diseases Research Network). Tom acted as the patient representative on the Steering Committee for the World Parkinson Congress 2010 organizational committee and continues in this role for the 2013 Congress. At the 2010 Congress he made nine presentations to a variety of audiences. He is also a leading contributor to the SENSE-PARK project, which is a European funded initiative to establish a more personalized, objective measuring device for people with Parkinson’s and those who treat them.

Tom has written a book "Shake Well Before Use” about his walk and his experiences with Parkinson’s, which he conveys with passion, optimism and humor. He speaks regularly about his condition and the ability of people with Parkinson’s to inject urgency into progressing the delivery of new therapies to the clinic.


Special Guests for The Patient Perspective


Pamela Quinn (USA) was a professional dancer and choreographer for twenty years before she developed Parkinson’s disease. She has now been living with Parkinson’s for twenty years more, and has made a second career by combining her past and her present as a movement therapist for other PD patients. She is known for her innovative techniques in coaching through the use of dance and a repertoire of original movement strategies that she has developed. In addition to working one-on-one with patients in private practice, she regularly teaches a class she created called PD Movement Lab for the Brooklyn Parkinson Group and also teaches for New York University’s Movement Disorder program at the Manhattan JCC. Pamela has lectured and given workshops at universities and conferences worldwide, including two World Parkinson Congresses, Columbia University’s Narrative Medicine program, The New York Academy of Medicine, Brown University and at numerous other Parkinson’s venues.  Her videos Welcome to our World and With Grace have both received special recognition at the World Parkinson Congresses, including a first prize in 2010. She was a PD consultant for the film A Late Quartet, working with director Yaron Zilberman and actor Christopher Walken. She lives in New York City with her husband and two children.  You can learn more about her from her website

Sara Riggare (Sweden) was in her early teens in the mid 1980’s when she realized that her body did not always function as others’. She was diagnosed with PD in 2003, at the age of 32 and is living in Stockholm with her husband and daughter. She has been working as a chemical engineer with environmental issues for 14 years but is now a health informatician, using ICT to improve healthcare and medical research.

Sara is involved with PD issues both in Sweden and internationally and wants to increase awareness about young-onset PD and is dedicated to patient education and bringing PWP and their families closer to healthcare professionals and researchers.

Sara was also an Ambassador for the WPC 2013 and is also an acting Ambassador for the WPC 2016.

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