The Parkinson's Disease Foundation (PDF) has expanded its scientific advisory board to guide the organization toward its goals of solving, treating and ending Parkinson's disease.
"PDF's rich history and focus on research has led to our involvement in nearly all clinical trials of new Parkinson's disease medications, beginning with today's gold-standard—levodopa. But now, it is time for a new generation of treatments. The expansion of the scientific advisory board allows PDF to build upon our traditions, under the guidance of the most creative minds in the field, to more quickly discover the treatments that people with Parkinson's disease need most," said James Beck, Ph.D., vice president, Scientific Affairs at PDF.
The newest advisors join a 23-person advisory board led by Stanley Fahn, M.D., PDF's scientific director and emeritus chief of movement disorders at the PDF Research Center at Columbia University Medical Center. Members are chosen for their leadership in the science and care of Parkinson's disease as well as their dedication to PDF's mission of improving the lives and futures of people touched by Parkinson's disease. They are charged with providing strategic direction to PDF's research programs, including the organization's $5 million in annual grant funding to research centers, individual investigators and future leaders in the field.
Un Jung Kang, M.D., has been elected as a member of the scientific advisory board. Kang is the H. Houston Merritt professor of neurology and chief of movement disorders at the PDF Research Center at Columbia University Medical Center. A movement disorder specialist trained through the PDF-funded fellowship program, Kang balances a clinical practice with research focused on understanding the mechanisms underlying neuron degeneration in Parkinson's disease (with the goal of stopping the disease) and neuronal plasticity resulting from dopamine therapies such as levodopa (with the goal of improving the therapeutic effects) for people living with Parkinson's disease.
Matthew J. LaVoie, Ph.D., has been elected as a member of the scientific advisory board. LaVoie is associate professor in the Brigham and Women's Hospital Ann Romney Center for Neurologic Diseases and Harvard Medical School. As a basic scientist, LaVoie's research is focused on understanding the earliest events underlying the pathophysiology of Parkinson's disease through two means: by studying specific inherited gene mutations, such as those on the Parkin and LRRK2 genes that lead to familial Parkinson's disease; and by studying idiopathic Parkinson's disease, with a focus on models of mitochondrial dysfunction.
Margaret E. Rice, Ph.D., has been elected as a member of the scientific advisory board. Rice is a professor in the department of neurosurgery and the department of neuroscience and physiology at the NYU School of Medicine, and is a member of the Parkinson's and Movement Disorders Center at NYU Langone Medical Center. Rice investigates the underlying causes of Parkinson's disease, with a focus on the neurochemistry and neurophysiology of the nigrostriatal dopamine pathway.
Kathleen M. Shannon, M.D., already a member of the scientific advisory board, has been appointed as the new chair of PDF's Medical Policy Committee, a committee of the board. Shannon is professor of neurological sciences at Rush Medical College and a clinician at the PDF Research Center at Rush University Medical Center. As a movement disorder specialist also trained through the PDF-funded fellowship program, Shannon balances her clinical practice with research into the under-recognized non-motor symptoms of Parkinson's disease and neuroprotective therapies to help to reverse or stop the progression of Parkinson's disease.
Dr. Shannon assumes this role from Christopher G. Goetz, M.D., the United Parkinson Foundation professor of neurology in the departments of neurological sciences and pharmacology and head, section of the movement disorders at Rush University Medical Center.