U-M named a Parkinson’s Foundation Research Center

July 31, 2019  //  FOUND IN: News

The Parkinson’s Foundation recently named U-M one of four institutions that will receive substantial research funding to design and launch Parkinson’s disease-specific research studies over the next four years.

The selected Parkinson’s Foundation Research Centers aim to drive innovative research developments and advance Parkinson’s disease research toward a cure. Michigan Medicine’s researchers will take a unique path by studying the thalamus in Parkinson’s disease.

“The thalamus has important roles in brain function that haven’t been investigated very much yet in the context of Parkinson’s disease,” said principal investigator Roger Albin, M.D., a professor of neurology. “Because of the makeup of our team, we’re able to combine both basic laboratory work and clinical research in an integrated way.”

The multidisciplinary team includes Albin, Nicolaas Bohnen, M.D., from the departments of neurology and nuclear medicine; Daniel Leventhal, M.D., from the Department of Neurology; Martijn Muller, Ph.D., from the Department of Radiology; Cindy Lusting, Ph.D., from the Department of Psychology in the College of Literature, Science, and the Arts; and William Dauer, M.D., a neurologist formerly at Michigan Medicine.

Of the 66 institutions that applied to become a Parkinson’s Foundation Research Center, only four were selected. The three other institutions include Columbia University Irving Medical Center, University of Florida in collaboration with Emory University and Yale School of Medicine.

Grant recipients were chosen based on selective criteria such as the novelty of the research, the ability to address unmet needs in Parkinson’s research, the synergy of the team members and the program’s potential to find major breakthroughs.     

The newly designated research centers will undertake a minimum of three interconnected research studies. In addition, recognizing that innovation can arise during the research process, 10 percent of the award must be reserved for jumpstarting pilot projects or forming new collaborations. Each center will work collaboratively to find new ways to treat and study Parkinson’s and will receive $500,000 per year for four years, totaling $2 million each.

Adapted from a news release from the Parkinson’s Foundation.