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Michael J. Fox Foundation Funds $1.1 Million for Cutting-edge Approaches to Parkinson's Disease
Date:7/29/2008

ned to three pages. Additionally, postdoctoral researchers are permitted to apply as principal investigators provided the head of their lab serves as administrative PI.

Among the potentially high-impact Rapid Response projects funded so far this year:

  • Asa Abeliovich, MD, PhD, of Columbia University is working to determine whether a gene silencing technique using microRNAs short, noncoding molecules of RNA can be effective in reducing alpha-synuclein, a protein whose aggregation, or clumping, in the brain is a hallmark of Parkinson's pathology.
  • Jian Feng, PhD, of SUNY-Buffalo, and Patrick Alfryn Lewis, PhD, of the Institute of Neurology (London, UK) and John A. Hardy, PhD, University College London (London, UK) are conducting two separate investigations using newly discovered induced pluripotent stem cell (iPS) technology to shed greater light on the Parkinson's-implicated genes parkin and LRRK2. Using iPS, the teams are engineering stem cells from skin cells, then using these engineered stem cells to generate human dopamine neurons with or without mutations in the respective genes. Both projects seek to characterize disease mechanisms set off by genetic mutations and to create new models for testing therapeutic approaches that could prevent these events from occurring.
  • Rahul Srinivasan, MBBS, PhD, and Henry A. Lester, PhD, of the California Institute of Technology are working to better understand epidemiological findings that have consistently shown smoking may protect against PD. The researchers hope to elucidate the mechanisms by which nicotine may protect dopamine neurons through development and validation of a screening test for small molecules that could increase nicotine receptor expression in the brain.
  • Marcus Unger, MD, and Wolfgang Oertel, MD, of Phillips University (Marburg, Germany) want to find better treatments for the digestive problems that dramatically affect Parkinson's pati
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Contact: Holly Barkhymer
hbarkhymer@michaeljfox.org
212-509-0995 x242
The Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson's Research
Source:Eurekalert

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