Community Search
Board of Directors



Marie-Françoise Chesselet MD, PhD

Vice President:

Roger Barker, BA, MBBS, PhD, MRCP, FMedSci


Ryosuke Takahashi MD, PhD


Rajesh Pahwa, MD


Patrik Brundin, MD, PhD

Alice Nieuwboer, PhD, PT

Linda Olson, MD, FACR

  A. Jon Stoessl, CM, MD, FRCPC, FCAHS

Malú G. Tansey, PhD

Omotola Thomas, MS

Executive Director:

Elizabeth Pollard, MA

President Emeritus
& Founder:

Stanley Fahn, MD 

Past Presidents: Stanley Fahn, MD (2004 - 2013)
  Serge Przedborski, MD, PhD (2013-2016)
   A. Jon Stoessl, CM, MD, FRCPC, FCAHS (2016-2019)



Marie-Francoise Chesslet

Marie-Françoise Chesselet, MD, PhD is Emeritus Distinguished Professor of Neurology and Neurobiology and Emeritus Charles H. Markham Professor of Neurology, in the David Geffen School of Medicine 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, Dr. Chesselet chaired the Department of Neurobiology from 2002 to 2013 and was Interim Chair of the Department of Neurology (2015-2016). She directed the Center for the Study of Parkinson’s Disease, the NINDS-funded UCLA UDALL Center for Parkinson’s disease research, the NIEHS-funded UCLA Center for Gene Environment in Parkinson’s Disease, and the UCLA Advanced Center for Parkinson’s Disease Research of the American Parkinson Disease Association. Chesselet has directed graduate programs at the University of Pennsylvania and UCLA and the NINDS-funded Training Program in Neural Repair from 1998 to 2014. Until her retirement in 2016, her laboratory conducted research on the molecular mechanisms of disorders of the basal ganglia and new treatments for Parkinson’s and Huntington’s diseases. Her work has been supported by the NIH, the Department of Defense, the Michael J. Fox Foundation, Cure HD Initiative, CIRM, and several philanthropies and biopharmaceutical companies. Chesselet has served on the National Advisory Environmental Health Sciences Council and the Science Advisory Boards of the APDA, the Michel J. Fox Foundation, the Hereditary Disease Foundation and the Restless Legs Syndrome Foundation. She is a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, former Chair and current Secretary of its section on Neuroscience. Currently, Chesselet is the President of the World Parkinson Coalition, and a member of the Scientific Committees for the Canadian Weston Brain Institute, Canadian Vanier Fellowships, the Italian Telethon, the Hereditary Disease Foundation, and a consultant for philanthropies and Biotech companies.

Roger Barker

Roger Barker, BA, MBBS, PhD, MRCP, FMedSci is the Professor of Clinical Neuroscience and Honorary Consultant in Neurology at the University of Cambridge and at Addenbrooke's Hospital in Cambridge UK. He trained at Oxford and London and has been in his current position for over 20 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. This included co-ordinating an EU funded Transeuro project looking at fetal cell grafting in patients with early PD. He is now involved in moving stem cell based therapies to clinic for this condition as well as working with companies developing novel gene therapies for PD. He has also undertaken extensive clinically based work on defining the natural history and heterogeneity of Parkinson's disease and its basis. This has recently led to him developing novel models to explore the cellular basis for the different types of PD. He is Co-Editor in chief of the Journal of Neurology and Associate Editor on the Journal of Parkinson's Disease. He is heavily involved with the Cure Parkinson's Trust and also works with Parkinson's UK. He is a Director of the ISSCR.

Patrik Brundin

Patrik Brundin, MD, PhD is Associate Director of Research and Director of the Center for Neurodegenerative Science at Van Andel Institute in Grand Rapids, Michigan, USA. He is one of the top cited researchers in the field of neuroscience with more than 300 publications on Parkinson’s disease and related topics. Dr. Brundin has more than 35 years of experience studying neurodegenerative diseases, Parkinson’s disease pathogenesis and therapeutic neural transplantation into people with Parkinson’s. His current research focuses on pathogenic mechanisms of Parkinson’s disease as well as the development of new therapies that slow or stop disease progression or that repair damaged brain circuits. He was among the first to articulate the “prion-like” hypothesis of Parkinson’s, which describes how abnormal proteins related to the disease spread from cell to cell in the brain, causing the cellular damage that perpetuates Parkinson’s.

In addition to managing his laboratory at Van Andel Institute and serving as director of the Institute’s Center for Neurodegenerative Science, he is the co-editor-in-chief of the Journal of Parkinson’s Disease, a member of the World Parkinson Coalition’s Board of Directors, and chair of the Linked Clinical Trials committee, which aims to repurpose already approved drugs to treat Parkinson’s. Dr. Brundin also has coordinated multiple international research programs. He is heavily involved in the Parkinson’s community and works closely with advocates to find ways to find ways to further research and to improve the quality of life for people with Parkinson’s.

Dr. Brundin is the Program Chair for WPC 2022.

Alice NieuwboerAlice Nieuwboer, PhD, PT works as a full professor in the Department of Rehabilitation Sciences at the University of Leuven. She is head of the Neuromotor Rehabilitation Research Group. She and her team are investigating the mechanisms of gait and balance disturbances in Parkinson's disease (PD) as well as upper limb motor problems. Coming from a motor control perspective, the group established the extraordinary link between freezing of gait and freezing in different effectors. This partially common mechanism is currently refined by ongoing longitudinal work from the group. Alice’s team also investigates the effectiveness of motor learning, virtual reality while walking on a treadmill, offering and withdrawing motor feedback and dual task training. Underlying all these studies is the question whether learning can still occur in neurodegenerative disease and how it will imprint in the brain at the neurological systems level.

Linda OlsenLinda Olson, MD, FACR received her M.D degree from Loma Linda University with the Class of 1976-A. Her residency in Diagnostic Radiology at the White Memorial Medical Center in Los Angeles was interrupted by a train vs. car accident in 1979. Following a year-long medical leave of absence she completed her training and became certified by the American Board of Radiology in 1981. After a Computed Tomography Fellowship at UCSD she joined the Faculty of the Radiology Department at UCSD where she worked the next 30 years; for twenty of those years she was the Director of Breast Imaging. Some of her awards include: Silver Spoon Award for Teaching Excellence presented by Radiology Residents 1987, Marie Curie Award of the American Association of Women Radiologists 1991, Fellow of the American College of Radiology 1993, Honored Alumna Loma Linda University School of Medicine 1994, UCSD Academic Senate Distinguished Teaching Award 1996, San Diego County’s 2011 Physicians of Exceptional Excellence “Top Doctors” Award, Loma Linda University School of Medicine “Women in Courage” Award 2012, UCSD Department of Radiology Lifetime Achievement Award 2012. She is married to David W. Hodgens, M.D. and together they have two children, Tiffany Hodgens Johnson and Brian Hodgens, M.D.

Rajesh PahwahRajesh Pahwa, MD is Professor in the Department of Neurology and Director of the Parkinson’s Disease and Movement Disorder Center at the University of Kansas School of Medicine in Kansas City. Dr Pahwa is a Diplomate of the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology. His research interests are centered around the various aspects of Parkinson’s disease and essential tremor. He is currently involved in various studies related to medical and surgical forms of therapies for Parkinson’s disease and essential tremor. Dr Pahwa has published over 100 peer reviewed articles. In addition he has published numerous chapters and abstracts in leading neurology and movement disorder journals. He has conducted over 100 clinical trials related to Parkinson’s disease and other movement disorders. He is the co-editor of “Handbook of Parkinson’s Disease,” 3rd, 4th and 5th editions, "Therapy of Parkinson's Disease," 3rd edition, “Handbook of Essential Tremor and other Tremor Disorders,” 1st edition, and co-author of the book “Parkinson’s Disease: Questions and Answers,” 4th edition. He is also the Co-Editor in Chief of the International Journal of Neuroscience. He is also an active member of American Academy of Neurology, American Neurological Association, Movement Disorder Society, Kansas City Neurology Neurosurgery Society, Parkinson Study Group, and Tremor Research Group.

Jon Stoessl

Jon Stoessl, CM, MD, FRCPC, FCAHS is Professor & Head of Neurology and Director of the Djavad Mowafaghian Centre for Brain Health at UBC through December 31, 2019. He holds a Tier 1 Canada Research Chair in Parkinson’s, is Deputy Editor of Movement Disorders and will be Editor-in-Chief effective January 2020. He has served on numerous other editorial boards including Lancet Neurology and Annals of Neurology. He recently chaired the Scientific Advisory Board of the Parkinson’s Foundation and has recently completed a term as President of the World Parkinson Coalition. He is a Member of the Order of Canada. Dr. Stoessl uses positron emission tomography to study Parkinson’s, including imaging biomarkers, the basis for complications of treatment and mechanisms of the placebo effect. He has published more than 300 papers and book chapters and has been cited more than 15,000 times in the scientific literature.

He has been a Board member since 2012 and co-chaired the WPC 2013, WPC 2016, and WPC 2019.

Ryosuke TakahashiRyosuke Takahashi, MD, PhD graduated from Kyoto University, Japan in 1983. He completed his neurology residency in Kyoto University Hospital and its affiliated hospitals and worked as a staff neurologist at Tokyo Metropolitan Neurological Hospital. In 1989, he started basic researches on neurodegenerative disorders and neuronal apoptosis as a staff scientist at Tokyo Metropolitan Institute for Neurosciences, then he worked as a postdoctoral fellow with Prof. John C. Reed at the Burnham Institute, California, USA. He became Laboratory Head at RIKEN Brain Science Institute, Japan, in 1999. In 2005, he was appointed Professor and Chair of Neurology at Kyoto University Hospital and Kyoto University Graduate School of Medicine. He served as the chair of the task force for 2011 version of the treatment guidelines for Parkinson’ s disease in Japan. From 2014 to 2018, he served as the President of Japanese Society of Neurology. He also serves as the Vice President of Japanese Society for Neuroscience. He is on the editorial board of Movement Disorders, Journal of Neural Transmission, and Molecular Brain. He has published more than 300 original and review articles in peer-reviewed international journals including Nature, Cell, Neuron, Nature Genetics, Nature Neuroscience and Annals of Neurology. His major research interests are the molecular pathogenetic mechanisms underlying Parkinson’s disease and related disorders and development of disease-modifying therapies against neurodegenerative disorders.

Malu TanseyMalú G. Tansey, PhD obtained her B.S/M.S in Biological Sciences from Stanford University in Palo Alto, CA, and her Ph.D. in Cell Regulation from UT Southwestern in Dallas, TX, where she studied the role of MLCK phosphorylation in regulation of smooth muscle contraction in the laboratory of Dr. James T. Stull in the Department of Physiology.

She joined the laboratory of Eugene M. Johnson Jr. in the Department of Molecular Pharmacology at Washington University in 1996 as a post-doctoral fellow. In collaboration with the laboratory of Jeff Milbrandt in the Department of Genetics, she and her colleagues identified new members of the GDNF Family of Ligands (GFLs: Neurturin, Persephin, and Artemin) and their paired GFR binding co-receptors (GFRalpha2 and 3) and demonstrated their potent bioactivities on multiple neuronal populations. Their work was the first demonstration that ligand-induced recruitment of a neurotrophic receptor (Ret) to lipid rafts for interaction with c-Src was functionally required for GFL-induced neuronal survival and differentiation.

As Group Leader of Chemical Genetics at Xencor Inc. in Monrovia, CA, she was part of a team that developed a new class of TNF inhibitors using a proprietary protein-engineering platform. In 2002, she returned to academia as an Assistant Professor of Physiology at UT Southwestern to investigate the role of TNF signaling in the CNS and its impact on neuronal survival and neurological disorders. Prior to joining the team at University of Florida, she served as a tenured professor of physiology and director of the Center for Neurodysfunction and Inflammation (CNI) at Emory University School of Medicine and a member of the Center for Neurodegenerative Diseases (CND).  She is now Co-Director of the Center for Translational Research in Neurodegenerative Disease at the University of Florida, as well as the Norman and Susan Fixel Chair in Neuroscience and Neurology, Investigator at the Evelyn F. and William L McKnight Brain Institute.
The general research interests of her laboratory include investigating mechanisms underlying CNS-immune system crosstalk in health and disease, in particular the role and regulation of neuroinflammatory and immune system responses in modulating the gene-environment interactions that determine risk for development and progression of neurodegenerative and neuropsychiatric disease.

Omotola ThomasOmotola Thomas, MS is the founder of Parkinson’s Africa – an association committed to improving access to information, education, research, and healthcare for Africans affected by Parkinson’s disease. She was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease in 2016, at 35. Born and raised in Nigeria, she has also lived in America, South Africa, and most recently, England. While in America, she obtained a bachelor’s degree in Systems Engineering; and later, a master’s degree in Project Management; both from the George Washington University.
Omotola is currently serving as a patient advocate for the International Parkinson’s Disease Genomics Consortium (IPDGC) Africa; and as an ambassador for the 6th World Parkinson Congress to be held in Barcelona in 2022. She is also a founding member of PD Avengers – an international group of advocates determined to end Parkinson’s. 

She is a writer, speaker, and visual storyteller. Shortly after her diagnosis in 2016, she created a blog - ParkinStand® - to chronicle parts of her journey with Parkinson’s disease. She volunteers extensively for Parkinson’s related causes and charities. Some of those activities have included: participating in policy roundtable discussions at the EU Parliament in Brussels with MEPs on behalf of those diagnosed with Young Onset Parkinson’s Disease (YOPD); speaking at a pharmaceutical company to enlighten clinicians, researchers, and scientists on the realities of living with Parkinson’s disease; organizing Parkinson’s conferences; securing funding for the purchase of Sinemet for over 100 Nigerian and Ghanaian Parkinson’s patients and running various Parkinson’s awareness and fundraising campaigns.

Executive Director

Eli Pollard

Elizabeth "Eli" Pollard has been with the World Parkinson Coalition® from its inception in 2004 and helped steer the organization, alongside world renowned Parkinsonologist and WPC founder, Dr. Stanley Fahn. Together they worked to grow WPC Inc. from it's sole purpose, of hosting a triennial global Congress on Parkinson's disease, to it's more meaningful place in the community today, as a hub for many of the global PD organizations to connect and intersect online, on teleconferences, or in person at the Congresses. Eli is thrilled with the opportunity to meet the members of the community, to help build the WPC Legacy, and to watch as leading researchers, clinicians, people with Parkinson's and others work together to bring us closer to finding the cause(s) of Parkinson's and a cure for the disease.

Eli graduated from Michigan State University with a Bachelor's degree, and the School for International Training with a Master's degree in International & Intercultural Management. She spent most of her 20s living outside the US in Zimbabwe, Switzerland, and Japan with lengthy stays for research or travel in India, China, and Thailand. She lives in Brooklyn, New York with her husband and two rambunctious children who keep her on her toes when she's not knee deep in WPC work.

President Emeritus & Founder

Stanley Fahn

Stanley Fahn, MD is the founder and Past-President of the World Parkinson Coalition.® He co-chaired the first three World Parkinson Congresses in 2006, 2010, and 2013. He handed over the reigns of the organization in 2013 after nine years of leading the Coalition.

Dr. Fahn is the H. Houston Merritt Professor of Neurology and Director of the Center for Parkinson's Disease and Other Movement Disorders at Columbia University Medical Center . He is the Past-President of the American Academy of Neurology (AAN). He founded the Movement Disorder Society and served as the Chairman of its Steering Committee and was elected its first president. He was the founding co editor of the journal Movement Disorders, and also served as Associate Editor of Neurology for 10 years.

Dr. Fahn has twice served as Chairman of the Advisory Committee on Peripheral and Central Nervous System Drugs for the Food and Drug Administration. He currently serves on an NIH Oversight Committee to review and give advice on clinical trials on neuroprotection for PD. Dr. Fahn and his scientific colleagues at Columbia University were awarded a Morris K. Udall Parkinson's Disease Research Center of Excellence by the National Institutes of Health in 1999, and it is currently ongoing. Dr. Fahn organized and executed the development of the Unified Parkinson's Disease Rating Scale (UPDRS) and modified and popularized the use of the Schwab England ADL score for global severity of this disease. Both of these rating scores are used worldwide, the former to determine the severity of PD, and the latter as a measure of quality of life. He has participated in many clinical trials of a variety of pharmacotherapeutic agents for PD.

Along with Dr. Ira Shoulson; Dr. Fahn was co-founder of the Parkinson Study Group (PSG), a consortium of clinical investigators dedicated to conduct controlled clinical trials on the prevention and treatment of Parkinson's disease. He has received numerous honors and delivered many titled lectures at a variety of universities around the world.


Powered by YourMembership  ::  Legal