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WPC Scientific Update 2015
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Dag Aarsland (Sweden)
Erwan Bezard (France)
Jennifer G. Goldman (USA)
Andres Lozano (Canada)
Sunil Agrawal (USA)
K. Ray Chaudhuri (UK)  
Etienne Hirsch (France)
Giselle Petzinger (USA)
Roy Alcalay (USA)   Marie-Francoise Chesselet (USA)  Fay Horak (USA)   Richard Smeyne (USA)
Krystof Bankiewicz (USA)
Gammon Earhart (USA)
Jeffrey Kordower (USA)
A. Jon Stoessl (Canada)  
Roger Barker (UK)
Tiago Outeiro (Germany)
Andrew Singleton (USA)
Alexander Troster (USA)
David Burn (UK)
Tom Foltynie (UK)
Peter LeWitt (USA)
Andrew West (USA)


Dag Aarsland (Sweden)
is a psychiatrist who has focused his clinical and research work on the neuropsychiatric issues in Parkinson’s Disease (PD) including psychosis, mild cognitive impairment, dementia, and depression, among others. His clinical dementia research includes interdisciplinary and translation projects related to PD dementia, dementia with Lewy Bodies (DLB), aging and Alzheimer’s disease. He has longstanding experience in these areas and has conducted clinical research trials of therapeutic interventions for neuropsychiatric problems including PD dementia and DLB. He has experience in conducting longitudinal studies including incident cases of PD detailing mild cognitive impairment and prevalent PD cases detailing risk of psychosis, nursing home placement and caregiver burden.  He presented at the WPC
2006 and WPC 2010 as part of the faculty.

Sunil Agrawal (USA) obtained a PhD degree in Mechanical Engineering from Stanford University in 1990 with emphasis on robotics, dynamics, and control. He currently directs the Robotics and Rehabilitation Laboratory (ROAR) and Robotic Systems Engineering Laboratory (ROSE), which have an active group of PhD, MS, UG, and  post-doctoral researchers. Dr. Agrawal’s current and past research has focused on the design of intelligent machines using non-linear system theoretic principles, computational algorithms for planning and optimization,  design of novel rehabilitation machines, and training algorithms for functional rehabilitation of neural impaired adults and children.  (see:

Dr. Agrawal’s  NSF funded robotics research over the years include “Free-floating Space Robots”, “Cable-actuated robotic platforms”, “Flapping-wing micro air vehicles”, “Cable-driven leg exoskeletons”, “Robot enhanced mobility of children”. His NIH supported research includes “Gait training of stroke survivors using robotic exoskeletons (R01)”, “Early mobility training of special needs infants and toddlers (R21)”, “Wearable exoskeleton for training of arm movements for survivors of stroke (Pilot)”.

Dr. Agrawal has pioneerednovel approaches for design, trajectory planning, and optimization of under-actuated dynamic systems using the techniques of static feedback linearization, dynamic feedback linearization, and differential flatness. The fundamentals of this approach are summarized in journal papers, doctoral dissertations, and a research monograph “Differentially Flat Systems”. Dr. Agrawal’s work on robotic exoskeletons and robot-assisted mobility for children is pioneering and is well cited by the research community.

Dr. Agrawal’s research has resulted in several professional honors that include an NSF Presidential Faculty Fellowship from the White House in 1994, a Bessel Prize from Alexander von Humboldt Foundation in 2002,  a Fellow of the ASME in 2004, a Humboldt U.S. Senior Scientist Award in 2007, a Distinguished Visiting Professor at Hanyang University in Korea in 2009 invited by Korea World Class University (WCU) Program, a Best Paper Award at the 35th ASME Mechanisms and Robotics Conference in 2011, and a Best Student Paper Award at the IEEE International Conference in Robotics and Automation in 2012.

Dr. Agrawal has supervised dissertation/theses of 20 PhD and 30 MS students who have completed their degrees. His research has resulted in close to 350 refereed journal and conference papers, 8 US patents, and 10 pending patent applications/disclosures. Currently, Dr. Agrawal serves on the executive committee of ASME Design Division and is slated to be its chair in 2014. Dr. Agrawal has served as the Chair of ASME Mechanisms Technical Committee in 2006 and Chair of ASME Mechanisms and Robotics Conference in 2005. He has served on editorial boards and program committees of several prominent ASME and IEEE sponsored journals and conferences focused on robotics, control, and rehabilitation engineering.


Roy Alcalay (USA)
is the Florence Irving Assistant Professor of Neurology at the Taub Institute and the Movement Disorders Center at the Columbia University Medical Center. He obtained his medical degree from Tel Aviv University, Israel, his neurology training from the Harvard University residency program at Massachusetts General Hospital and Brigham and Women’s Hospital and his movement disorders training at Columbia University. He is a graduate of the Patient Oriented Research and earned Master’s in biostatistics from Columbia University. His research focuses on biomarkers and genetics in Parkinson’s disease and cognitive functioning. He is a Brookdale Leadership in Aging fellow, and his research is supported by the NIH, the Parkinson’s Disease Foundation, the Smart Foundation and the Michael J Fox Foundation.

He presented at the WPC 2013 as part of the faculty.


Krystof Bankiewicz (USA) received his MD degree from Jagiellonian University in Crakow and his PhD degree from the Institute of Neurology and Psychiatry in Warsaw, Poland. After his residency and an appointment as Assistant Professor with the Post-graduate Medical Center in Warsaw, he received a Fogarty Fellowship and became a Visiting Fellow and then Visiting Associate Scientist with the Surgical Neurology Branch of the NINDS at the NIH in Bethesda, Maryland. There, he became Chief of the Central Nervous System (CNS) Implantation Unit in 1991.

Shortly afterward, he came to California to serve as Chief of Preclinical Studies with the Somatix Therapy Corporation in Alameda; the Director of the Division of CNS Implantation and Regeneration with The Parkinson's Institute in Sunnyvale, and from 1994-1998, a Visiting Scientist with the Laboratory for Functional Imaging of the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. From 1997-2001 he returned to the NIH as Acting Chief of the Molecular Therapeutics Section of NINDS. He has been Professor of Neurological Surgery and a Principal Investigator with the Movement Disorders Research Program and the Brain Tumor Research Center at the University of California San Francisco (UCSF) since 1998.

Dr. Bankiewicz is a inventor of 8 patents, and has published more than 100 peer-reviewed research articles. Dr. Bankiewicz has considerable experience in supervising multi-investigator translational programs. He is a Principal Investigator on several multi-center, multi-investigator grants. He has supervised a total of 25 post-doctoral fellows, and manages a core research group of 20 individuals including technicians, post-doctoral fellows, and a senior scientist. He is currently Professor (In Residence) in the Neurosurgery and Neurology Departments at UCSF (San Francisco, CA).

Throughout his career, he has maintained a strong focus on the development of practical approaches to gene and cell replacement therapies, and has displayed a remarkable ability to synthesize several individual technologies into powerful new approaches to the treatment of such serious disease as brain cancer and neurodegenerative disorders of the brain, including Parkinson's disease. Dr. Bankiewicz was instrumental at every stage of the Phase-1 clinical trial for AAV-hAADC gene therapy, now underway at UCSF, in resolving technical and scientific issues with respect to filing an IND application with the FDA, and also in recruiting a clinical team to undertake the clinical trial.


Roger Barker (UK) is the Professor of Clinical neuroscience at the University of Cambridge and is an Honorary Consultant Neurologist at Addenbrooke’s Hospital in Cambridge. He trained in Oxford and St Thomas’ Hospital in London and after completing his general medical training undertook a PhD at Cambridge on neural grafting before completing his neurology training including working with the late David Marsden. He set up his own research group in 1997 and now runs a laboratory investigating basic and clinical aspects of Parkinson’s and Huntington’s disease. He has been involved in gene and cell based trials for patients with these conditions and currently co-ordinates an EU funded transplant programme using human fetal tissue for patients with PD. He has published over 300 papers and is Co-Editor in Chief of the Journal of Neurology.


He presented at the WPC 2006, WPC 2010, and WPC 2013 as part of the faculty.




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 of Neuroscience, Director of the NIHR Biomedical Research Unit in Lewy Body Dementia and a Senior NIHR Investigator.   He is also National Clinical Director for Parkinson’s UK.

David runs the Movement Disorders service in Newcastle upon Tyne, providing a large regional service.  He is an Officer of the International Parkinson and Movement Disorder Society, having previously Chaired their Congress Scientific Programme Committee.  He has published over 220 articles in peer reviewed journals.


 He presented at the WPC 2010, and WPC 2013 as part of the faculty.   




Erwan Bezard (France) has authored or co-authored over 198 professional publications in the field of neurobiology, most of which are on Parkinson's disease and related disorders. Listed in the Top 1% of the most cited neuroscientists (H factor=47; Source: Scopus), he is known for his work (i) on the compensatory mechanisms that mask the progression of Parkinson's disease, (ii) on the pathophysiology of levodopa-induced dyskinesia and (iii) on the mechanisms of neurodegeneration in synucleopathies. His current research interests include the study of the levodopa-induced dyskinesia, the intimate mechanisms of cell death in Parkinson’s disease, the modelling of disease progression and the development of new strategies to alleviate symptoms and/or to slow disease progression.


Bezard is the director of a CNRS research unit located in Bordeaux, the Institute of Neurodegenerative Diseases, which features preclinical and clinical researchers working towards development of therapeutic solutions. He is also a Visiting Professor at the China Academy of Medical Sciences (Beijing, China) where he has set-up and manages a non-human primate facility dedicated to Movement Disorders. He serves on the board of international organizations such as the Michael J. Fox Foundation and Parkinson’s UK. He is Associate Editor of Neurobiology of Disease, a leading journal in the field. He serves on the editorial boards of several other neurobiology journals. Besides consulting for several drug companies in the field of movement disorders, he is a non-executive director of Plenitudes Sarl (France) and Chief Scientific Officer of Motac Neuroscience (UK).


He presented at the WPC 2006 and WPC 2013 as part of the faculty.


K. Ray Chaudhuri (UK) is a Professor in Neurology/Movement Disorders, Consultant Neurologist at Kings College Hospital and Kings College, London, an Academic Health Sciences CentreHe 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 serves as co-chairman of the appointments/liaison committee of the Movement Disorders Society and is currently serving as member of the Scientific Programme Committee (2013-2015). He is the Chairman of the newly-formed MDS non motor study group. He is also a member of the WFN and WCN organizational committee, the task force of practice parameter group for PD and RLS and, more recently, Non Motor Symptoms of Parkinson’s, American Academy Neurology.  Dr. Chaudhuri is the European Editor of Basal Ganglia and is on the editorial board of Parkinsonism and Related Disorders and Journal of Parkinson’s Disease.  Recently, he has been elected as the co-editor in chief for the new Nature Parkinson’s Journal. He also represents UK research and development in the National Institute of Health Research (NIHR) as well as at a local level for London South CLRN neurosciences. He serves in the clinical advisory group of Parkinson’s UK and is an advisor to the European Parkinson’s Disease Association.


Dr. Ray Chaudhuri is the author of 290 papers including reviews, book chapters, co-editor of four books on Parkinson’s disease and Restless Legs Syndrome, and over 300 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 British Medical Association book commendation prize.  He has contributed extensively to educational radio and television interviews including BBC and CNN, newspaper articles and videos.  Dr. Ray Chaudhuri has also lectured extensively on PD and restless legs syndrome at international meetings in the 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 Parkinson’s disease.  In 2005, he was awarded the DSc degree by the University of London and received his Kings College Chair in neurology in 2007. 


He presented at the WPC 2010 and WPC 2013 as part of the faculty.



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).


She presented at the WPC 2006, WPC 2010, and WPC 2013 as part of the faculty.



Gammon Earhart (USA) is a physical therapist and neuroscientist whose work focuses on the neural control and rehabilitation of movement, particularly gait and balance, in Parkinson disease. Gammon completed her physical therapy training at Arcadia University, her PhD at Washington University in St. Louis and a postdoctoral fellowship at Oregon Health & Science University. She is currently Director of the Program in Physical Therapy at Washington University School of Medicine, where she is a Professor of Physical Therapy, Anatomy & Neurobiology, and Neurology.  She leads both the Locomotor Control Laboratory and the Physical Activity Research Center. She is also President of the American Physical Therapy Association Section on Research. Gammon has authored over 100 scientific publications and garnered grant support for her research from many sources including the National Institutes of Health, Parkinson’s Disease Foundation, American Parkinson Disease Association and Davis Phinney Foundation. Gammon’s research on the benefits of dance for people with PD has been featured in the New York Times, in Oliver Sacks’ book Musicophilia, on National Public Radio, and in numerous other media outlets. Gammon’s achievements have also been recognized by various honors including the Outstanding Faculty Mentor Award from Washington University in St. Louis, the Friedman Award for Outstanding Contributions to the Advancement of Geriatric Care, the Arcadia University Alumni Achievement Award, and the Eugene Michels New Investigator Award from the American Physical Therapy Association.


She presented at the WPC 2013 as part of the faculty.



Tiago Outeiro (Germany) graduated in Biochemistry at the University of Porto and was an Erasmus student at the University of Leeds in the UK. Prof. Outeiro did his PhD thesis at the Whitehead Institute for Biomedical research – MIT and worked as a Research Scientist at FoldRx Pharmaceuticals as a Research Scientist and Consultant.

Prof. Outeiro was a Postdoctoral Research Fellow in the Department of Neurology of the Massachusetts General Hospital – Harvard Medical School where he focused on the study of Neurodegenerative disorders such as Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s disease. Prof. Outeiro directed the Cell and Molecular Neuroscience Unit at IMM, Lisbon, Portugal since 2007, and is currently Full Professor and the Director of the Department of Neurodegeneration and Neurorestoration at the University Medical Center Goettingen, in Germany. Prof. Outeiro has authored >110 research articles in international journals and participates in various international collaborative projects with the aim of identifying the molecular basis of neurodegenerative disorders such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease.



Tom Foltynie (UK) is Senior Lecturer and Honorary Consultant Neurologist at the Sobell Department of Motor Neuroscience at the UCL Institute of Neurology and National Hospital for Neurology and Neurosurgery, Queen Square, London. He completed Neurology training in Cambridge where he undertook his PhD in the Epidemiology & genetics of Parkinson’s disease. He is responsible for Movement disorder patients, particularly PD patients undergoing advanced treatments such as DBS, Apomorphine and Duodopa. He  is chief investigator for a trial of Exenatide- a potential neurorestorative treatment for PD, as well as the lead clinician at UCL for a multi-centre trial of fetal dopaminergic cell transplantation for PD, and a proposed trial of Deep Brain stimulation as a treatment for the cognitive problems associated with advanced PD. Dr Foltynie is also leading a trial of Deep Brain Stimulation for the treatment of patients with severe Tourette syndrome. Aside from trial involvement, PD patients with and without DBS are being recruited to research looking at the influence of genetics on PD risk and clinical progression, and the use of functional imaging to explore the mechanism of action of DBS surgery.



Jennifer G. Goldman (USA) is an Associate Professor in the Department of Neurological Sciences, Section of Parkinson’s Disease and Movement Disorders at Rush University Medical Center in Chicago, IL, USA.  Dr. Goldman is a movement disorder neurologist with specialty training in Behavioral Neurology and Neuropsychiatry.  Her research focuses on understanding and improving treatments for cognitive and behavioral features of Parkinson's disease and parkinsonian disorders using neuroimaging and other biomarkers. Dr. Goldman graduated from Princeton University and received her M.D. from Northwestern University Medical School.  She completed her neurology residency training at Washington University in St. Louis, followed by a movement disorder fellowship and a Master of Science degree in Clinical Research at Rush University in Chicago.  She is board certified by the American Board of Neurology and Psychiatry as well as in its subspecialty, Behavioral Neurology and Neuropsychiatry.  As a movement disorder specialist, Dr. Goldman treats patients with Parkinson's disease, atypical parkinsonian disorders, dementia with Lewy bodies, dystonia, and other movement-related conditions.  Her research focuses on understanding and improving treatments for cognitive and behavioral features of Parkinson's disease and parkinsonian disorders using advanced neuroimaging MRI scans and other biomarkers.  Her work has been funded by NIH, Michael J. Fox Foundation, Rush University, and the Parkinson's Disease Foundation.  She has published multiple research articles and book chapters on Parkinson's disease, cognition, and other movement disorders.  Dr. Goldman was the 2013 recipient of the Rush University Faculty Award for Excellence in Education and has lectured nationally and internationally on Parkinson's disease.  Dr. Goldman is the co-chair of the Parkinson’s Study Group Biomarkers Working Group and on the Steering Committees of the Movement Disorders Society Task Force on Parkinson’s disease-Mild Cognitive Impairment (PD-MCI) and Michael J. Fox Foundation BioFIND biomarkers study.  She also serves on the Lewy Body Dementia Association Scientific Advisory Committee, Movement Disorder Society PanAmerican Education Committee, and the Dystonia Foundation’s Medical Advisory Committee for Musicians with Dystonia.  



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.


He presented at the WPC 2006, WPC 2010, and WPC 2013 as part of the faculty.



Fay Horak (USA) is professor of neurology at the Oregon Health and Science University and the Portland VA Medical Center. Dr. Horak studies the neurophysiological basis of balance and gait disorders and their rehabilitation. She is well known her work on the role of the basal ganglia, cerebellum and sensory systems in balance disorders and relates quantitative measures of mobility to functional brain imaging. Dr. Horak’s clinical impact has been on developing comprehensive balance screening tools and translating these tools into objective measures using body-worn sensors for clinical trials and clinical practice.

Dr. Horak has over 200 scientific publications and is on the National Advisory Panel for the National Center for Medical Rehabilitation Research of NIH. Dr. Horak received a prestigious Merit Award from NIH for over 35 years of continuous NIH funding and several national Physical Therapy Association Research Awards for translating her research into improved neurological rehabilitation.


She presented at the WPC 2006, WPC 2010, and WPC 2013 as part of the faculty.



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.

He presented at the WPC 2006 and WPC 2010 as part of the faculty.



Andrew Singleton (USA) received his B.Sc. from the University of Sunderland, UK and his Ph.D. from the University of Newcastle upon Tyne, UK. Dr Singleton’s research initially focused on genetic determinants of dementia, in particular Alzheimer’s disease and dementia with Lewy bodies. His postdoctoral studies were spent at the Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville Florida. Dr Singleton moved to the National Institute on Aging at NIH Bethesda, MD in 2001 and became a principal investigator leading the Molecular Genetics Unit in 2002. In 2007 Dr Singleton became a tenured senior investigator at the National Institute on Aging and in 2008 became the Chief of the Laboratory of Neurogenetics.


Dr. Singleton has published more than 400 articles on a wide variety of topics. His laboratory comprises ~50 staff, including four principal investigators and 3 group leaders. His laboratory works on the genetic basis of neurological disorders including Parkinson's disease, Alzheimer’s disease, dystonia, ataxia, dementia, and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. The goal of this research is to identify genetic variability that causes or contributes to disease and to use this knowledge to understand the molecular processes underlying disease.


Dr. Singleton currently serves on the scientific advisory board of the Michael J. Fox Foundation and the Lewy Body Dementia Association; he is a member of the editorial boards of Neurodegenerative Diseases, Neurogenetics, Movement Disorders, Brain (Associate Editor, Genetics), Lancet Neurology, the Journal of Parkinson’s Disease, the Journal of Huntington’s Disease and Annals of Neurology. Dr. Singleton was awarded the Boehringer Mannheim Research Award in 2005, the NIH Director’s Award in 2008, and the Annemarie Opprecht Award in 2008. In 2012 Dr. Singleton became the first person to win the Jay van Andel Award for Outstanding Achievement in Parkinson’s Disease Research.


He presented at the WPC 2006 and WPC 2010 as part of the faculty. He was slated to present at the WPC 2013 but the US government shutdown kept him from attending!



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.


He presented at the WPC 2013 as part of the faculty.


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.


He presented at the WPC 2006 and WPC 2013 as part of the faculty.



Giselle Petzinger (USA) is a Movement Disorders Specialist and neuroscientist at University of Southern California.  She completed her MD at the University of Southern California, Residency at Yale University, and Movement Disorders Fellowship at Columbia University.  Her research investigates exercise-dependent mechanisms of Neuroplasticity and brain repair in the injured basal ganglia, focusing on Parkinson’s disease. Ongoing clinical studies investigate the differential effects of skill based versus aerobic exercise on cognitive and motor circuitry and functional imaging.  She also works in basic research using animal models of PD and HD to investigate exercise effects on dopamine and glutamatergic neurotransmission in regulating synaptic function, brain circuitry and motor learning and to better understand the peripheral effects of exercise on brain plasticity.  The emphasis of her research is to translate findings gained from animal studies to human clinical trials in order to examine the potential effects of exercise in modifying disease and in order to identify novel therapeutic targets for neuro-restoration.  She has authored many papers on exercise and neuroplasticity in Parkinson’s disease and has presented at numerous international and national conferences and has participated in a number of platform discussions on the role of healthy lifestyle and neuro-rehabilitation in neurodegenerative diseases and aging.  She is also interested in establishing educational modalities regarding healthy lifestyle for all ages and in the medical and non-medical communities both here in the US and abroad.



Richard Smeyne (USA) is currently a Full Member of the Department of Developmental Neurobiology at St. Jude Children's Research Hospital and Affiliated Full Professor in the Department of Anatomy and Neurobiology at the University of Tennessee Health Sciences Center. He received his Ph.D. in Neuroanatomy in 1989 from Thomas Jefferson University in Philadelphia, PA in the lab of Daniel Goldowitz, PhD. Where he examined the development of the cerebellum of the weaver mouse.  From 1989-1992, Dr. Smeyne was a postdoctoral fellow at the Roche Institute of Molecular Biology in the lab of Dr. James Morgan (including a collaboration with Dr. Tom Curran). At RIMB, Dr. Smeyne continued his work on cerebellar development but also was instrumental in creating one of the first transgenic mice with an inducible promoter (c-fos-lacZ). In 1992, Dr. Smeyne received his first independent appointment in the Department of Molecular Biology at the Bristol Myers Squibb Pharmaceutical Research Institute where he collaborated with Dr. Mariano Barbacid to generate and study mice lacking the NGF, BDNF and NT-3 receptors. In 1994, he left BMS to return to Hoffmann-LaRoche to head the program in Neurogenetics.  After disbanding of the RIMB, Dr. Smeyne joined the faculty at St. Jude Children’s Hospital where he has worked for the past 19 years.


Research in the Smeyne lab is focused on the genetics and cell biology of Parkinson’s disease. Three major projects have taken place in the Smeyne lab over the past few years. The first, which recently garnered tremendous popular press interest along with numerous radio show appearances, demonstrated that the highly pathogenic avian influenza virus, H5N1, which has been a scourge in Southeast Asia and still has pandemic potential throughout the world, can be a predisposing etiological factor for developing Parkinson’s disease. Recently, his lab has also showed that the current circulating pandemic flu (H1N1) can also induce neuroinflammation in the brain even in the absence of any apparent neurotropism. The second project follows his longstanding work examining oxidative stress in the nervous system and its role in development of neurodegenerative diseases. In this work, Dr. Smeyne has used an animal model that recapitulates human Parkinson’s disease (PD) to determine if there was a non-pharmacological method for preventing or, at the least, lessening the damage seen in Parkinson’s disease. The Smeyne lab found aerobic exercise could prevent the all of the pathological changes seen in this Parkinson’s model, while smaller amounts of exercise over the same time period offered some, but not total protection. Recently he has identified an early molecular switch that underlies the neuroprotective influences of exercise. The third major project in the lab examines mouse models of Parkinson's disease that result from known genetic mutations. In particular, the lab has been examining mice that carry mutations in the alpha-synuclein or LRRK2 genes to inquire how alterations in these genes may interact with other environmental stressors as modifiers of disease complexity.



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 was 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.

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. He is currently the Vice President of the World Parkinson Coalition and co-chaired the WPC 2013 with Dr. Stanley Fahn and is the co-chair of the upcoming WPC 2016 with Dr. Serge Przedborski.

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.


He presented at the WPC 2006 and WPC 2013 as part of the faculty.



Alexander Troster (USA) is Professor and Chair of the Department of Clinical Neuropsychology at Barrow Neurological Institute at St. Joseph’s Hospital and Medical Center and the Director of Neuropsychology Research in the Barrow Center for Neuromodulation and the Muhammad Ali Parkinson Center.


Dr. Tröster’s expertise includes the neuropsychology of memory and movement disorders (such as Parkinson’s disease and atypical parkinsonian syndromes). He has special interest and expertise in the neuropsychological evaluation of persons undergoing neuromodulation (deep brain stimulation) and other stereotactic and functional neurosurgical procedures. His contributions to the filed have been widely recognized and honored: He is a fellow of the American Psychological Association and the National Academy of Neuropsychology, Past President of the National Academy of Neuropsychology, a recipient of that academy’s distinguished scientific contributions and early career achievement awards, and is a member of numerous professional societies. He is an examiner for the American Board of Clinical Neuropsychology. He serves on grant review panels of the National Institutes of Health, the editorial boards of five professional journals and he has published almost 200 scientific and medical articles and book chapters and has edited two books.


Numerous professional societies, industry and foundations have asked Dr. Tröster to serve in advisory capacities and he has been a member of  the Congress of Neurological Surgeons and Movement Disorders Society’s Consensus Group on Deep Brain Stimulation, The Movement Disorders’ Society Task Force on Mild Cognitive Impairment, The Parkinson Study Group Scientific Review Committee, and the American Psychological Association’s Society for Clinical Neuropsychology Scientific and Practice Advisory Committees. Dr. Tröster has been invited regularly to speak nationally and internationally.


Dr. Tröster is board certified as a clinical neuropsychologist. He received his Doctorate in Clinical Psychology with neuropsychology specialization from the University of California-San Diego & San Diego State University.



Andrew West (USA): The mission of the West laboratory is to identify critical pathogenic mechanisms in neurologic diseases like Parkinson’s disease, develop new and relevant systems that model these mechanisms, and develop new therapeutics that will address the immediate critical needs of those affected with disease. Dr. West co-directs the UAB Center for Neurodegeneration and Experimental Therapeutics (CNET) at UAB. CNET consists of ten laboratories focused on neurodegenerative diseases housed in the Department of Neurology. CNET faculty also includes thirty other laboratories in ten different departments at UAB and UA with primary and peripheral interests in neurodegenerative disease. The goal of CNET is to facilitate collaborative efforts in translational approaches relevant to neurodegenerative disease. Dr. West currently serves as co-Chair of the Parkinson’s Disease Biomarker Program for NIH, and is a member of the NST-2 study section that reviews K99/R00 and F31 MSTP applications for NINDS. 


Background and Training: Dr. West performed research as an undergraduate in the laboratory of Todd Golde focused on mechanisms of Ab toxicity, trained in the laboratories of John Hardy and Matthew Farrer (Mayo Clinic Parkinson’s Udall Center) focused on the genetics and genomics of parkin-linked Parkinson’s disease, and finally performed post-doctoral work with Nigel Maidment (UCLA Udall Center) and Ted and Valina Dawson (Johns Hopkins Parkinson’s Udall Center) with a focus on LRRK2-linked Parkinson’s disease. Through a combination of training in clinical genetics, molecular and cellular neuroscience, and animal models of neurodegeneration, the West laboratory is able to approach the most pressing questions related to the neurobiology of Parkinson’s disease with a unique perspective. Dr. West was previously an F31 and F32 individual recipient and was selected in the first round of K99/R00 grantees, and was subsequently the first at NIH to activate the R00 independence award in the summer of 2007, and rapidly converted the R00 award to R01 funding in a newly founded laboratory at UAB.


Productivity: In a little over a decade, Dr. West has authored more than 50 publications characterizing biochemical mechanisms underlying Parkinson’s disease. The West laboratory has served as a hub for both parkin and LRRK2 research through sharing novel antibodies, DNA plasmids, viral systems, and protocols with dozens of laboratories around the world.

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