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Spotlight On Research Supported by PDF

Profile of Kathleen M. Shannon, M.D.
Associate Professor, Department of Neurological Sciences
Rush University Medical Center, Chicago

From the time when Dr. Harold Klawans created the renowned Parkinson's Disease and Movement Disorders Center at Rush University, he kept a keen eye focused on the younger scientists and clinicians who would be able to carry on his vision of a center that focused specifically on researching and treating Parkinson's disease. One of these was Dr. Kathleen Shannon, a gifted young investigator and practitioner who received her medical degree from Rush Medical College and went on to complete an internship, a residency and a fellowship in movement disorders at RUMC (then called Rush-Presbyterian St. Luke's Medical Center) under Dr. Klawans' guidance.

Along with Dr. Christopher Goetz, Chief of Movement Disorders at Rush since the death of Dr. Klawans in 1998, and Dr. Cynthia Comella, Dr. Shannon has helped take the Rush program to even greater heights. After spending four years as Co-Director of the Parkinson and Movement Disorders Clinic at Vanderbilt University from 1988-1992, Dr. Shannon returned to the Neurology Department at Rush in 1992. She now continues her work at RUMC as Associate Professor in the Department of Neurological Sciences.

In addition to managing a full schedule of patients and instructing residents and fellows in Parkinson's and other movement disorders, Dr. Shannon conducts clinical research in several areas. Her major current interest is in trials of potential neuroprotective therapies in PD. In her role as Site Principal Investigator at Rush on the Neuroprotection Exploratory Trials in Parkinson's Disease (NET-PD), sponsored by the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS), she made an important contribution to the finding that two potential treatments - creatine and minocycline - are worthy of further study. As a member of the steering committee for this multi-center research effort, Dr. Shannon is helping to determine if these agents have the potential to protect neurons in the Parkinson's brain. Dr. Shannon's research also extends into other areas of movement disorders, such as Huntington's disease and dystonia.

Dr. Shannon is a member of Rush University's Institutional Review Board, which is a committee of physicians, statisticians, researchers, community advocates and others that ensures that a clinical trial is ethical and that the rights of study participants are protected. She also serves as advisor for the PDtrials campaign, an initiative of the major Parkinson's patient-voluntary groups to accelerate the development of new treatments for the disease.

An active reviewer in the academic community, Dr. Shannon has previously served on the editorial board for the journal Neurology and is currently a member of the editorial board of Clinical Pharmacology. She is a member of the American Academy of Neurology, the American Neurological Association and the Movement Disorder Society.

Dr. Shannon's work is supported as part of PDF's matching grant to RUMC. For fiscal year 2006, PDF's grant of $250,000 is matched dollar-for-dollar by Rush's own private fundraising, for a total of $500,000 in private funding.