The Parkinson’s Foundation announces the investment of $1.2 million in Parkinson’s research, disbursed via 27 career development and fellowship grants to support the work of promising early career scientists in the field.

“We are proud to continue our long-standing tradition of nurturing the careers of the next generation of Parkinson’s researchers,” says John L. Lehr, chief executive officer of the Parkinson’s Foundation, in a media release. “Their innovative ideas may one day transform the field for millions worldwide.”

Grant programs funded by the Parkinson’s Foundation range from 3 months to 2 years in length, and provide students, postdoctoral researchers, and clinicians with the opportunity to test new ideas, work with mentors, and transition into senior leaders.

Recipients are selected as the result of a competitive application process reviewed by its Scientific Advisory Board, per the release.

The release spotlights a particular standout grant recipient—Xi Chen, PhD, from the Van Andel Research Institute, who is using a $100,000 postdoctoral fellowship to study the role of the VPS35 gene, which was discovered to play a part in Parkinson’s disease.

Working under the guidance of mentor Darren Moore, PD, whose early research was also funded by the Parkinson’s Foundation, Dr Chen will study a mouse model to understand how VPS35 might interact with proteins and brain cells and potentially lead to Parkinson’s symptoms. This understanding of the VPS35 gene may help to develop new drugs to prevent or treat Parkinson’s in the future.

“The Parkinson’s Foundation recognizes that we must support the creativity and ingenuity of the next generation in order to make advances,” states James Beck, PhD, chief scientific officer of the Parkinson’s Foundation, in the release. “We are excited to track results from Dr Chen and others whose work holds potential to help us end Parkinson’s.”

For more information regarding the grant awards and the recipients, visit Parkinson’s Disease Foundation, a division of the Parkinson’s Foundation.

[Source: the Parkinson’s Foundation]