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Oren Levy, M.D., Ph.D.


“It is exciting to think that what started as research in cells ... could one day have an impact on patients.”


Oren Levy, M.D., Ph.D.

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PDF Grant Programs

Are you interested in furthering Parkinson's science? View PDF's open grant programs.

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Research We Fund

In 2015, the Parkinson’s Disease Foundation (PDF) is pleased to fund the more than 40 projects below as part of our strategy to solve, treat and end Parkinson’s disease. In selecting investments, we must determine which ones provide the best return — which means those that have the greatest likelihood of improving lives and futures for people touched by the disease.

To make these decisions, we open up competitive applications, accepting ideas from scientists around the world. Then, we continue with review of those applications by our Scientific Advisory Board, made up of scientists who bring experience from the lab; neurologists specializing in PD who bring expertise from the clinic; and people with PD who bring the expertise of living with the disease and a personal understanding of which problems need solutions.

Note PDF will announce additional grants throughout the year.

[+] Research Centers

Research Centers | $1,661,150 Million

Allow talented scientists to collaborate on basic, translational and clinical research.

Columbia University Medical Center
Un Jung Kang, M.D., PI
Roy N. Alcalay, M.D., M.Sc.
Robert E. Burke, M.D.
Lorraine N. Clark, Ph.D.
Stanley Fahn, M.D.
Blair Ford, M.D.,
Jill S. Goldman, M.S., M.Phil.
Lloyd A. Greene, Ph.D.
Sheng-Han Kuo, M.D.
Oren Levy, M.D., Ph.D.
Karen Marder, M.D., M.P.H.
Pietro Mazzoni, M.D., Ph.D.
Eugene Mosharov, Ph.D.
Serge Przedborski, M.D., Ph.D.
Seth L. Pullman, M.D., F.R.C.P.C.
Yaakov Stern, Ph.D.
David Sulzer, Ph.D.
Jean Paul G. Vonsattel, M.D.
Cheryl H. Waters, M.D., F.R.C.P.C.
Ai Yamamoto, Ph.D.

Rush University Medical Center
Christopher G. Goetz, M.D.,PI
Brandon R. Barton, M.D., M.S.
Bryan A. Bernard, Ph.D.
Cynthia L. Comella, M.D.
Jennifer G. Goldman, M.D., M.S.
Deborah A. Hall, M.D., Ph.D.
Katie Kompoliti, M.D.
Jeffrey H. Kordower, Ph.D.
Leo Verhagen-Metman, M.D., Ph.D.
T. Celeste Napier, Ph.D.
Kalipada Pahan, Ph.D.
Kathleen M. Shannon, M.D.
Glenn T. Stebbins, Ph.D.
Dustin R. Wakeman, Ph.D.

[+] Fellowship and Career Development Awards

Fellowship and Career Development Awards | $983,000

Prepare leaders in Parkinson’s research and clinical practice.

Clinical Training Fellowships | $390,500

Columbia University Medical Center
Shabbir Hussan I. Merchant, M.D., Lan Luo, M.D., Madeleine Sharp, M.D., Miriam Sklerov, M.D.

Rush University Medical Center
Meagan Bailey, M.D., Ian O. Bledsoe, M.D.

Postdoctoral Research Fellowships | $300,000

Alpha-synuclein Aggregation Causes Toxicity by Decreasing Functional Forms of the Protein
Matthew Benskey, Ph.D., Mentor: Fredric P. Manfredsson, Ph.D., Michigan State University

Mechanisms for the Modulation of Striatonigral and Striatopallidal Neuron Activity by Phosphodiesterase 10A Inhibition in L-DOPA-induced Dyskinesia
Fernando Padovan-Neto, Ph.D., Mentor: Anthony R. West, Ph.D., Rosalind Franklin University

Deciphering the Mechanism of Action of Parkin Using a Structure-based FRET-reporter System
Matthew Tang, Ph.D., Mentor: Edward Fon, M.D., Montreal Neurological Institute, McGill University

Novel Deep Brain Stimulation Paradigms on Treating Parkinsonian Non-human Primates and the Underlying Physiological Plasticity
Jing Wang, Ph.D., Mentor: Jerrold Vitek, M.D., Ph.D., University of Minnesota

Input- and Cell-type Specific Rewiring of Subcullular Connectivity in the Striatum in Parkinsonian Mice
Yu-Wei, Wu, Ph.D., Mentor: Jun Ding, Ph.D., Stanford University School of Medicine

Phosphorylated Alpha-synuclein Peptides as Biomarkers of Parkinson’s Disease
Li Yang, Ph.D., Mentor: Jing Zhang, M.D., Ph.D.,
University of Washington

Collaborative Fellowships | $142,500

PDF-AANI Clinician-Scientist Development Award | $52,500

(in partnership with the American Brain Foundation)

Parkin Overexpression as a Therapeutic Strategy**
Amber Van Laar, M.D., mentor: J. Timothy Greenamyre, M.D., Ph.D., University of Pittsburgh Medical Center

PDF-PSG Mentored Clinical Research Award | $50,000

(In partnership with the Parkinson Study Group)

Comparative Evaluation of Data-driven Parkinson’s Disease Subtypes for Clinical Research
Tiago Mestre, M.D., M.Sc., Mentor: Connie Marras, M.D., F.R.C.P.C., Ph.D., University of Ottawa

PDF-HHMI Medical Research Fellowship | $40,000

(In partnership with the Howard Hughes Medical Institute)

Correlation of SIRT6 Expression with Differential Vulnerability of Dopaminergic Neurons to Pathology in Normal Aging and Parkinson’s Disease
Alireza Samiei, Mentor: Mel Feany, M.D., Ph.D., Harvard
Medical School

Stanley Fahn Research Fellowships | $100,000

Two years of research support for top-ranked applicants to the Postdoctoral Research Fellowship Program.
Functional Analysis of Dopamine-dependent Circuits Activity in Parkinson’s Disease*
Nan Li, Ph.D., Mentor: Alan Jasanoff, Ph.D., Massachusetts Institute of Technology

In Vivo Modulation of Alpha-synuclein Phosphorylation: Tracking Aggregates in the Living Mouse Brain
Kateri Spinelli, Ph.D., Mentor: Vivek Unni, M.D., Ph.D., Oregon Health & Science University

Summer Student Fellowships | $40,000

Palliative Care in PD: A Mixed Methods Analysis Project
Isabel Boersma, M.S., Mentor: Benzi Kluger, M.D., M.S., University of Colorado School of Medicine

Investigating Clinical and Pathological Differences in Parkinson’s Disease and Related Alpha-synucleinopathies via Immunohistochemistry
Hannah Bucklin, Mentor: Virginia M.-Y. Lee, Ph.D., Perelman School of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania

Evaluation of Striatal Expression for AGTR1 in the StriatoNigral Pathway
Julia Cha, Mentor: Ann Graybiel, Ph.D., Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Role of Glutaredoxin 2 in Mitochondrial Integrity and Dopaminergic Protection in C. elegans Model of PD
Pierce Curran, Mentor: Shu Chen, Ph.D., Case Western Reserve University

Testing the Protective Ability, Mechanism, and Stability of Guanabenz Derivatives for Potential Use in Parkinson’s Disease-Targeted Neuroprotective Therapy
David Dai, Mentor: Lloyd A. Greene, Ph.D., Columbia University Medical Center

Effects of Inosine on Blood Glutathione in SURE-PD Trial
Daniel Di Luca, Mentor: Michael Schwarzschild, M.D., Ph.D., Massachusetts General Hospital

Evaluating c-Abl Phosphorylation of Parkin in Animal Models of Parkinson’s Disease
Preston Ge, Mentor: Ted Dawson, M.D., Ph.D., Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine

Regulation of LRRK2 Activity Through PIRB
William Pan, Mentor: Zhenyu Yue, Ph.D., Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai

Gastric Administration of Paraquat and Lectins Linked to the Parkinsonian-like Gastric Dysmotility in Rats
Michael Skolka, Mentor: R. Alberto Travagli, Ph.D., Penn State Hershey College of Medicine

Role of the Subthalamic Nucleus in Blink Suppression
Maryam Vaseghi-Shanjani, Mentor: Robert Chen, M.A., M.B., BChir., M.Sc., F.R.C.P.C., Toronto Western Research Institute

Student Travel Awards | $13,000

Funding students to present results of their Parkinson’s research at the following conferences:

Eastern North American Region International Biometric Society Spring Meeting

Augmented Beta Rectangular Regression Models: A Bayesian Perspective
Jue Wang, Mentor: Sheng Luo, Ph.D., University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston

45th Annual Society for Neuroscience Meeting

A Common Neuroinflammatory Profile Associated with Intrastriatal
Megan Duffy, Mentor: Caryl E. Sortwell, Ph.D., Michigan State University

Evolution of Limb Kinematics During Fine Motor Skill Acquisition in Rats
Titus John, Mentor: Daniel Leventhal, M.D., Ph.D., University of Michigan

Modulation of LRRK2 Kinase Activity by a Fragment of its COR Domain
Adam Schaffner, Mentor: Zhenyu Yue, Ph.D., Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai

Impaired Alpha-Synuclein Membrane Interaction Promotes Aggregation and Neurotoxicity in Parkinson’s Disease
Daniel Ysselstein, Mentor: Jean-Christophe Rochet, Ph.D., Purdue University

Gordon Conference on Oxidative Stress and Disease

DJ-1 in Grx1 Mediated Dopaminergic Neuronal Protection
William Johnson, Mentor: John Mieyal, Ph.D., Case Western Reserve University

International Society for Posture and Gait Research Congress

Does Anxiety Compete for Processing Resources During Walking and a Dual-task in Parkinson’s?
Brittany Intzandt, Mentor: Quincy J. Almeida, M.Sc., Ph.D., Wilfrid Laurier University

Keystone Symposia: Neuroinflammation in Diseases of the Central Nervous System

Genetic Variant Associated with Altered HLA Expression and PD
George Kannarkat, Mentor: Malú Tansey, Ph.D., Emory University

Meeting of the American Society of Gene & Cell Therapy

rAAV-mediated Regulation of Striatal Nurr1 Expression Alters Development and Severity of Levodopa-induced Dyskinesias in the 6OHDA Rat Model of Parkinson’s
Rhyomi Sellnow, Mentor: Fredric P. Manfredsson, Ph.D., Michigan State University

19th International Congress of Parkinson’s Disease and Movement Disorders The Neuroprotective Potential of Subthalamic Nucleus DBS in an Alpha-synuclein

Overexpression Rat Model of PD
David Luke Fischer, Mentor: Caryl E. Sortwell, Ph.D.,Michigan State University

Genetic Variation and Cognitive Impairment in Parkinson’s Disease Patients from Uruguay
Andrés Lescano, M.D., Mentor: Ignacio Fernandez Mata,Ph.D., University of Washington

[+] International Research Grants

International Research Grants | $330,000

Promote innovative research projects that have high potential to significantly advance the knowledge of Parkinson’s.

Novel Insights into the Properties and Fate of Naturally Secreted Alpha-synuclein*
Georgia Sotiropoulou, Ph.D., University of Patras, Greece

Striatal CaV1.3 Calcium Channel Silencing as a Neuroprotective Target for Levodopa-induced Dyskinesias*
Kathy Steece-Collier, Ph.D., and Fredric P. Manfredsson, Ph.D., Michigan State University

Neuroprotection by XPro1595 in a Chronic MPTP Monkey Model of Parkinson’s*
Malú Tansey, Ph.D., and Yoland Smith, Ph.D., Emory University

Dysfunctional Signalling Mechanism of Neurotransmission in Parkinson’s Disease*
Zhenyu Yue, Ph.D., Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai

[+] Advancing Parkinson's Treatments Grants

Advancing Parkinson's Treatments Grants | $515,000

Facilitate the movement of treatments from “bench to bedside.”

PDF Parkinson's Prevalence Project | $250,000

Prevalence of Parkinson’s Disease in Olmsted County, MN
James Bower, M.D., M.Sc. and Rodolfo Savica, M.D.,M.Sc., Mayo Clinic Rochester

Parkinson’s Disease Prevalence in the Honolulu-Asia Aging Study
G. Webster Ross, M.D., Pacific Health Research & Education Institute

Prevalence and Incidence of Parkinson’s Disease in 4 California Counties 2008-10
Caroline M. Tanner, M.D., Ph.D. University of California San Francisco

Prevalence of Parkinsonism in Kaiser Permanente Northern California
Stephen Van Den Eeden, Ph.D., Kaiser Permanente Division of Research

Verification of PD Diagnosis in Individuals Who Do Not See a Neurologist
Allison Willis, M.D., M.S., University of Pennsylvania

Innovations Awards | $150,000

Parkinson Study Group: Advancing Clinical Research
Michael Schwarzschild, M.D., Ph.D., and Hubert Fernandez, M.D.

Meeting Sponsorship | $115,000

Gordon Research Conference on PD | $100,000
Emerging Research in the Etiology and Pathogenesis of a Complex Disease

David Sulzer, Ph.D., and Andrew Singleton, Ph.D., Columbia University Medical Center and National Institutes of Health

Van Andel Institute Grand Challenges in PD | $3,000
Patrik Brundin, M.D., Ph.D., Van Andel Institute

Fostering New Directions in PD Research: Movement Disorders Course for Graduate and Postdoctoral Students and Junior Neurologists | $10,000
International Parkinson and Movement Disorder Society

American Society for Neural Therapy and Repair Conference | $2,000
Michael Modo, Ph.D., University of Pittsburgh

Conference Awards | $93,000

Fatigue in PD Follow-Up: Cytokine Levels
Christopher Fagundes, Ph.D., M.S., Rice University and Karen Herlofson, M.D., Ph.D., Sorlandet Hospital, Norway.

Global Force PD: Cell Based Therapies for PD
Claire Henchcliffe, M.D., D.Phil., Lorenz Studer, M.D., and Viviane Tabar, M.D., Weill Cornell Medical College and Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center

Palliative Care in Parkinson’s Disease
Benzi Kluger, M.D., M.S., University of Colorado