Honoring Women in Science Who are Working to #EndParkinsons

At PDF, a division of the Parkinson’s Foundation, we have dedicated more than $115 million to fund the work of leading scientists throughout the world. We are proud of the work that our scientists have done to advance our understanding of Parkinson’s and to improve lives worldwide.

Today, during the International Day of Women and Girls in Science, we call special attention to the women scientists who are working to #EndParkinsons. Over the years, we have supported and collaborated with female pioneers in the field, many of whom are advancing Parkinson’s research. Here are a few of those stories.

Looking Back at Early Leaders in the Field
In 2004, PDF was at the forefront of recognizing women leaders in science. At our annual gala, we recognized four outstanding women scientists for work in Parkinson’s. This was believed to be the first time that leading women scientists in a particular area of neurology were recognized as a group.

Today these women remain leaders in the field. They include:

  • Ann Martin Graybiel, Ph.D., of M.I.T., for her work that helped scientists to understand the functions of the striatum, a part of the brain involved in Parkinson’s.
  • Karen S. Marder, M.D., M.P.H., of the Columbia University Medical Center, for her NIH-funded study on genetic epidemiology, a project on gender and ethnic differences and research on the risk factors for dementia in Parkinson’s.
  • Caroline Tanner, M.D., Ph.D., of the Parkinson’s Institute and Clinical Center for contributions to epidemiology, including studies into the causes of PD and atypical parkinsonism.
  • Anne B. Young, M.D., Ph.D., of Harvard Medical School and Massachusetts General Hospital, for her work on neurotransmitter systems in the basal ganglia, an area of the brain that is implicated in Huntington’s, Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases.

Looking to Today’s PDF-Funded Scientists

Today, as part of the $5 million we invest each year in research leaders, we are supporting up-and-coming female scientists in Parkinson’s.

Here are a few highlights of these talented scientists (for a full list of our research investments, see our website here).

  • Jennifer Goldman, M.D., Ph.D., of Rush University Medical Center (pictured at left), is studying ways to track and ease cognitive difficulties in Parkinson’s.
  • Alexandra Nelson, M.D., Ph.D., of the University of California, San Francisco, is studying why levodopa may lead to side effects in Parkinson’s.
  • Rosalind Roberts, D.Phil., of McGill University (pictured at the top of this post) is studying the role of the cell’s mitochondria in Parkinson’s disease.
  • Our PDF-APDA summer fellows are launching their careers with Parkinson’s research. These include Kiana Khosravian of Emory University, who is studying PD and the gastrointestinal system, and Rachel Mikofsky of Columbia University Medical Center, who is studying the potential of cannabinoid antagonists for treating Parkinson’s.

Look Ahead to A World Without Parkinson’s

This coming June, we are bringing together the best scientific minds in Parkinson’s for a cutting-edge event, to predict the bold ideas that can end Parkinson’s disease.

Among our outstanding faculty are women leaders in science such as Elizabeth M. Bradshaw, Ph.D., of Brigham and Women’s Hospital; Alice Chen-Plotkin, M.D., of the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania; Laura A. Volpicelli-Daley, Ph.D., of the University of Alabama School of Medicine; and Beth-Anne Sieber, Ph.D., of the National Institutes of Health.

As we celebrate a day of #WomeninScience, we say thank you to these scientists and others past, present and future. Because of you, we are coming closer to ending Parkinson’s.

Photo credit: Jennifer Goldman (Joshua Sears Photography).

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