The Parkinson's Foundation has announced grants totaling more than $1.2 million in support of twenty-seven early-career scientists conducting research on Parkinson's disease.
Awards announced by the foundation, which was formed by the merger of the National Parkinson Foundation and the Parkinson's Disease Foundation in 2016, include $460,000 in support of clinical research fellowships, $550,000 for postdoctoral research fellowships, $138,000 in support of collaborative fellowships, and $60,000 for summer fellowships through a partnership with the American Parkinson Disease Association.
Recipients include Xi Chen, of the Van Andel Research Institute, who was awarded a $100,000 postdoctoral fellowship to study the VPS35 gene, which is suspected to play a role in Parkinson's but is not well understood. Working under the guidance of mentor Darren Moore, whose early research was also funded by the foundation, Chen will study a mouse model to understand how VPS35 might interact with proteins and brain cells and cause Parkinson's-like symptoms. A better understanding of what the gene does could lead to the development of new drugs to prevent or treat Parkinson's in the future.
"We are proud to continue our long-standing tradition of nurturing the careers of the next generation of Parkinson's researchers," said Parkinson’s Foundation CEO John L. Lehr. "Their innovative ideas may one day transform the field for millions worldwide."