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Spotlight on Research Supported by PDF

Serge Przedborski, M.D., Ph.D.
Attending Neurologist and Professor of Neurology and Pathology
Columbia University

When the Belgian-born Dr. Serge Przedborski arrived at Columbia University Medical Center in 1991, he was already well-known for his work as a neurologist and psychiatrist at the Erasmus Hospital in Brussels. In the 14 years since joining Columbia, he has climbed the ranks to become one of the most respected neuroscientists in the United States.

Dr. Przedborski heads one of the world's most productive laboratories in the pathogenesis and treatment of Parkinson's disease. Its focus is on the role of cell death in Parkinson's, using experimental animal models of PD to understand more about the mechanisms of cell death and the pathology of the disease. One of the many findings of Dr. Przedborski and his team is that the gas nitric oxide does not, on its own, cause direct damage to dopaminergic neurons, but must react with other species to cause cell death. Such a discovery has led the research team to believe that the process of neurodegeneration is triggered by not one but several factors.

While Dr. Przedborski continues his daily work of uncovering the mysteries of PD, he also does his part to educate future neurologists. To date, Dr. Przedborski has trained 26 scientists and clinicians in the fields of neurology and movement disorders. In his recently designated role as Attending Neurologist, he is responsible for teaching clinical neurology to medical students and supervising young doctors in the movement disorder outpatient clinics. Dr. Przedborski has been an active coursework instructor for several professional organizations, including the American Academy of Neurology and the Movement Disorder Society.

Dr. Przedborski has published more than one hundred peer-reviewed papers on topics such as the relationship of serotonin receptors to dyskinesias, sleep studies in PD, cell death in PD and the effect of apomorphine on dopamine metabolism. His other contributions to the academic world include the publication of hundreds of book chapters, editorial pieces and abstracts. In addition to his own contributions to the content of academic journals, Dr. Przedborski has also served on the review boards of almost 20 prestigious journals, including Annals of Neurology, The Journal of Neuroscience and The New England Journal of Medicine and on the scientific grants review committees of the US Department of Defense, the Parkinson's Disease Foundation, the National Institutes of Health and the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke.

Among his professional and administrative responsibilities is his service as a member of the Scientific Advisory Committee of the Parkinson Study Group, as Secretary of the Board of Directors of the World Parkinson Congress and as Chair of the Scientific Issues Committee of the Movement Disorder Society.

Dr. Przedborski's work is supported as part of PDF's major center grant to Columbia University Medical Center. For fiscal year 2006, the PDF grant to support Columbia is $2.4 million.