WPC 2016 Faculty

Amy Amara

Julie Andersen

Julio Angulo

Angelo Antonini

Veerle Baekelandt

Roger Barker

Cecilia Bassich

Michele Basso

James Beck

Mark Bevan

Erwan Bézard

Bastiaan Bloem

Nicolaas Bohnen

Elaine Book

Matthew Brodsky

Gila Bronner

Patrik Brundin

David Burn

Jean Burns

Jane Busch

Colleen Canning

Fulvio Capitanio

Jillian Carson

Manolo Carta

Julie Carter

M. Angela Cenci Nilsson

K. Ray Chaudhuri

Marie-Françoise Chesselet

Sohini Chowdhury

Michelle Ciucci

Jeff Conn

Patricia Davies

David Devos

Sarah Diamond

Alessandro DiRocco

Donato Di Monte

Roseanne Dobkin

Ray Dorsey

John Duda

Gammon Earhart

Terry Ellis

Alberto Espay

Stanley Fahn

Alfonso Fasano

Steve Finkbeiner

David Finkelstein

Peter Fletcher

Edward Fon

Matthew Ford

Steve Ford

Erin Foster

Cynthia Fox

Susan Fox

Joseph Friedman

Tom Gasser

Oscar Gershanik

Anthony Giovinazzo

Dan Gold

Jennifer G. Goldman

Brian Grant

Ming Guo

Mark Guttman

Ruth Hagestuen

Tim Hague

Kirk Hall

Jeff Hausdorff

Etienne Hirsch

Johannes (Hans) Holtslag

Fay Horak

Martin Ingelsson

Alex Iranzo

Tom Isaacs

Stuart Isaacson

Dave Iverson

Stuart Jackson


Danna Jennings

Ryuji Kaji

Hanneke Kalf

Suketu M. Khandhar

Un Kang

Lissa Kapust

Jason Karlawish

Horacio Kaufmann

Benzi Kluger

Jeffrey Kordower

Paul Krack

Anatol Kreitzer

Bob Kuhn

Sheng-Han Kuo

Lucie Lachance

Anne-Louise Lafontaine

Anthony E. Lang

Alice Lazzarini

Albert Leentjens

Amy Lemen

Simon Lewis

Renee Le Verrier

Peter LeWitt

Irene Litvan

Sue Lord

Andres Lozano

Ian Martin

Pablo Martinez-Martin

Eliezer Masliah

Soania Mathur

Helen Mayberg

Sarkis Mazmanian

Joe Mazzulli 

Heidi McBride

Andy McDowell

Pamela McLean

Kalpana Merchant

Anne Messer

Rebecca Miller

Laurie Mischley

Thomas Montine

Miratul Muqit

Celeste Napier

Alexandra Nelson

Samuel Ng

Alice Nieuwboer

John G. Nutt

Michael Okun

Linda Olson

Tiago Fleming Outeiro

Rajesh Pahwa

Jon Palfreman

Leo Pallanck

Sotirios Parashos

Dilys Parker

Malin Parmar

Santiago Perez-Lloret

Joel Perlmutter

Giselle Petzinger

Ronald Pfeiffer

Antonio Pisani

Nilima Prakash

Serge Przedborski

Paul Rabsztyn

Sara Riggare

Beate Ritz

Arthur Roach

Israel Robledo

Lynn Rochester

Mayela Rodriguez Violante

Marina Romero Ramos

Filip Scheperjans

Peter Schmidt

Thomas Schwarz

Michael Schwarzschild

Kathleen Shannon

Sheila Silver


Kristina Simonyan

Tanya Simuni

Marten Smidt

Allison Smith

Vesna Sossi

Mark Stacy

Jon Stamford

David Standaert

Leonidas Stefanis

Claire Stephenson

Diane Stephenson

A. Jon Stoessl

Antonio Strafella

Indu Subramanian

Tanya Sumini

James Surmeier

Daniel Suwyn

Caroline Tanner

Malu Tansey

Alice Templin

Sarah Threlfell

Linda Tickle-Degnen

Veronica Todaro

Ryan Tripp

Vivek K. Unni

David Vaillancourt

Marjolein van der Marck

Marilyn Veomett

Gwyn Vernon

Patrik Verstreken

Sheela Vyas

Hirohisa Watanabe

Daniel Weintraub

Andrew West

Richard Windle

Richard Wyse

Jing Zhang

Heather Zwickey




Amy Amara (USA)is a physician scientist in the Department of Neurology at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. She received a B.A. in biochemistry from Agnes Scott College and M.D. and Ph.D., with distinction, from the Medical College of Georgia. After neurology residency at University of Alabama at Birmingham, she completed fellowship training in both Movement Disorders and Sleep Medicine at UAB. 

Dr. Amara has a particular interest in sleep dysfunction and other non-motor symptoms in patients with Parkinson’s disease. Her main research focus involves investigation of interventions to improve sleep, vigilance, and safety in these patients. She is currently evaluating the effects of exercise on sleep, vigilance, and cognitive outcomes in PD. This study will also explore neuroimaging correlates of these outcomes using resting state functional MRI and magnetic resonance spectroscopy.

Julie Andersen (USA)earned her PhD in Biological Chemistry from University of California, Los Angeles in 1989 followed by post-doctoral training in Neurology at Harvard from 1989-1992.  Currently, she is a Professor at the Buck Institute for Research in Aging in Novato, California. Dr. Andersen’s research interests are directed toward understanding age-related mechanisms underlying redox and iron dysregulation and mitochondrial dysfunction as they relate to neurodegeneration associated with Parkinson’s disease (PD) with the ultimate goal of identifying novel therapeutic targets for the disorder. Dr. Andersen has published over 150 peer-reviewed journal articles and book chapters in the field as well as serving as chair or invited speaker for numerous national and international scientific symposia.  She has earned several honors during her research career including a Nathan Shock Award in Aging Research, a Brookdale National Scholarship, a Glenn Award for Research in Aging, and a National Parkinson's Foundation Parkinson's Pioneer Award. She held the Glenn Chair in Molecular and Cellular Gerontology from 1998-2000. She was named a Fellow of the Society for Free Radical Biology and Medicine in 2013. She is a member of many professional associations/societies (Council Member, Neurotoxicity Society; Member, Brookdale Institute on Aging; Junior Faculty Selection Committee, Ellison Foundation; and Scientific Advisory Council, American Federation for Research in Aging). She has served on the editorial board for eNeuro (JNS's online journal), Aging Cell, FRBM, MAD, and IUBMB Life.

Julio Angulo (USA): is a retired psychologist. He was diagnosed with PD in 2009. His story as a person with Parkinson's (PwP) is similar to the narratives of many, if not most PwP's. He was shocked and disoriented by the diagnosis. Julio experienced anxiety and unstable moods and distanced from others. He lamented the deterioration of many of my physical abilities.

After a few weeks self-pity gave way to self-compassion. Julio stopped ruminating over losses and focused on the abilities he still had left. He restructured my life goals. He embraced the English speaking and Spanish speaking PD community. Julio volunteered, advocated, blogged, co-founded a PD newsletter in Spanish, raised funds, served on boards and committees, presented at conferences--all in the interest of enriching  PwP's quality of life. Through this work he regained my sense of purpose and my vitality. Today, he continues to serve the PD community both locally, nationally and internationally.

Angelo Antonini (Italy): is director of the Parkinson Unit at the Institute of Neurology, IRCCS San Camillo Hospital in Venice and Professor at the University of Padua.

He earned his medical degree from the Università degli Studi di Roma ‘La Sapienza’, Rome. In November 1990 he completed his neurology training with honors and then undertook a visiting fellowship at the PET Department Paul Scherrer Institute, Villigen, Switzerland before starting his PhD in neuroradiology under the supervision of Professor Klaus Leenders. In February 1995 he was promoted to Associate Professor of Neurology at the New York University and worked at the Neuroimaging laboratory of the North Shore University Hospital, NY directed by David Eidelberg. In November 1997 he moved to the Parkinson Institute in Milan where coordinated Clinical Research at the Department of Neuroscience until March 2009.

His research focuses on pharmacology of dopaminergic medications, neuroimaging as well as cognitive and behavioral aspects of Parkinson’s disease, multiple system atrophy, PSP and other movement disorders. In addition he is actively involved in the use of continuous infusion of levodopa and apomorphine as well as deep brain stimulus (DBS) for the treatment of motor complications in advanced Parkinson e dystonia patients.

During his academic career he has received several awards, published more than 300 peer-reviewed manuscripts and several book chapters. He serves as reviewer for the main neurology journals. He is the Chair of the European Education Committee of the Movement Disorders Society, Treasurer of the Association of Parkinsonism and Related Disorders and Secretary of the Italian Parkinson and Movement Disorders Association LIMPE.

Veerle Baekelandt (Belgium)

Roger Barker (UK): is the Professor of Clinical Neuroscience and Honorary Consultant in Neurology at the University of Cambridge and at Addenbrooke’s Hospital. He trained at Oxford and London and has been in his current position for over 13 years having completed an MRC Clinician Scientist Fellowship just prior to this.

His main interest are in the neurodegenerative disorders of the nervous system in particular Parkinson’s disease and Huntington’s disease. He combines basic research looking at novel therapies (including cell transplants) to treat these conditions with clinically based work on defining the natural history and heterogeneity of both Huntington’s disease and Parkinson’s disease and is the co-ordinator of the FP& Transeuro project looking at fetal cell grafting in patients with early PD.

Cecilia Bassich (USA): earned her Ph.D. at the University of Maryland, College Park,  in Speech Language Pathology.  Her doctoral dissertation investigated voice disorders in Young-onset Parkinson Disease.  Currently, she is a Clinical Associate Professor at Towson University Department of Audiology, Speech Language Pathology and Deaf Studies. Dr. Bassich is also  Director of the Voice Center at the Towson University Institute for Well-Being. Previously, she worked for 10 years at the National Institutes of Health, where her research focused on Parkinson disease. She is currently a consultant and member of the Allied Team Training for PD, sponsored by the National Parkinson Foundation (NPF) and a consultant for Cure PSP.  Her most recent publication is entitled Interprofessional education increases knowledge, promotes team building, and changes practice in the care of Parkinson’s disease in which she coauthored with her Allied Team Training for Parkinson, NPF. The manuscript was published in Parkinsonism and Related Disorders, 2016.

Michele A. Basso (USA): received her PhD in Behavioral Neuroscience from StonyBrook University working with Dr. Craig Evinger. As a student, Michele revealed the brain circuits giving rise to the glabellar tap sign and the hyperexcitable blink reflex abnormalities in a rodent model of Parkinson's disease. During her post doctoral work with Robert Wurtz at NEI/NIH, Michele began work on monkey models and motor decision-making. Dr. Basso currently is Professor and Director of the Fuster laboratory of Cognitive Neuroscience at UCLA, and her research program combines the work of her graduate and post doctoral work in an effort to understand the circuits underlying cognitive function and dysfunction in monkeys, mice and humans with a special emphasis on the basal ganglia and Parkinson's disease. Formerly serving as Chair of the Mechanisms of Sensory Perceptual and Cognitive Processes study section for NIH, Michele also contributes to the national Neuroscience community as an Associate Reviewing Editor for the Journal of Neurophysiology and the Chair of the Ethics Committee for the Society for Neuroscience.

James Beck (USA)


Mark Bevan (USA): Dr. Bevan’s research is focused on basal ganglia microcircuitry, activity, integration, plasticity and disease. He has received multiple awards for his work, including a Jacob Javits Neuroscience Investigator award from NIH-NINDS in 2012. Dr. Bevan’s laboratory utilizes a range of classical and cutting-edge research approaches including electron microscopy, ex vivo and in vivo electrophysiology, 2-photon imaging and uncaging, optogenetics and chemogenetics. Dr. Bevan is a member of NIH-NINDS Study Section NSD-B, serves on several Editorial Boards, including Molecular and Cellular Neuroscience, and is the current Vice Chair of the Basal Ganglia Gordon Research Conference.

Erwan Bézard (France): INSERM Research Director, has authored or co-authored over 210 professional publications in the field of neurobiology, most of which are on Parkinson's disease and related disorders. Listed in the Top 1% of the most cited neuroscientists (H factor= 60 – Google Scholar), he is known for his work on the compensatory mechanisms that mask the progression Parkinson's disease and on the pathophysiology of levodopa-induced dyskinesia, the intimate mechanisms of cell death in Parkinson’s disease, the modelling of disease progression and the development of new strategies to alleviate symptoms and/or to slow disease progression.

Bezard is the director of a CNRS research unit located in Bordeaux, the Institute of Neurodegenerative Diseases, which features preclinical and clinical researchers working towards development of therapeutic solutions. He is also a Visiting Professor at the China Academy of Medical Sciences (Beijing, China) where he has set-up and manages a non-human primate facility dedicated to Movement Disorders. He serves on the board of international organizations such as the Michael J. Fox Foundation and Parkinson’s UK. He is Associate Editor of Neurobiology of Disease and of Synapse, two leading journals in the field. He serves on the editorial boards of several other neurobiology journals. Besides consulting for several drug companies in the field of movement disorders, he is a non-executive director of Plenitudes Sarl (France), Motac Neuroscience (UK) and Motac Cognition (USA).

Bastiaan Bloem (Netherlands): is a consultant neurologist at the Department of Neurology, Radboud university medical center, the Netherlands. He received his M.D. degree (with honours) at Leiden University Medical Centre in 1993. In 1994, he obtained his PhD degree in Leiden, based on a thesis entitled “Postural reflexes in Parkinson’s disease”. He was trained as a neurologist between 1994 and 2000, also at Leiden University Medical Centre. He received additional training as a movement disorders specialist during fellowships at ‘The Parkinson's Institute’, Sunneyvale, California (with Dr. J.W. Langston), and at the Institute of Neurology, Queen Square, London (with Prof. N.P. Quinn and Prof. J.C. Rothwell). In 2002, he founded and became Medical Director of the Parkinson Centre Nijmegen (ParC), which was recognised from 2005 onwards as centre of excellence for Parkinson’s disease. Together with Dr. Marten Munneke, he also developed ParkinsonNet, an innovative healthcare concept that now consists of 64 professional networks for Parkinson patients covering all of the Netherlands (www.parkinsonnet.nl). Because of the evidence-based quality improvement and significant cost reduction, ParkinsonNet has received multiple awards, including the prize ‘Best Pearl for Healthcare Innovation’ in 2011. In September 2008, he was appointed as Professor of Neurology, with movement disorders as special area of interest. He is currently Past-President of the International Society for Gait and Postural Research, and is on the editorial board for several national and international journals. He is also member of the International Executive Committee of the Movement Disorder Society. In 2009, he joined the board of ZonMw (The Netherlands Organisation for Health Research and Development). He has two main research interests: cerebral compensatory mechanisms, especially in the field of gait & balance; and healthcare innovation, aiming to develop and scientifically evaluate patient-centred collaborative care. Prof. Bloem has published over 450 publications.

Nicolaas Bohnen (USA): is Professor of Radiology and Neurology at the University of Michigan. He directs the Dementia and Movement Disorders Clinic at the Ann Arbor VA. Dr. Bohnen attended medical school and completed PhD training in neuropsychology in the Netherlands. He received residency training in neurology at the Mayo Clinic and nuclear medicine at the University of Michigan with fellowship training in movement disorders. He is the director of the UM Functional Neuroimaging, Cognitive and Mobility Laboratory where his clinical and PET imaging research has a focus on neurobiological correlates of dopamine-resistant mobility and cognitive disturbances in Parkinson disease (PD). His research is funded by grants from the NIH, the Department of Veterans Affairs, and the Michael J. Fox Foundation.

Elaine Book (Canada): is the Clinic Social Worker and Center Leader for the NPF Center of Excellence, the Pacific Parkinson’s Research Centre, at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, Canada.  Elaine earned her BSW from the University of Manitoba and her MSW from the University of British Columbia with her thesis focusing on caregiver stress.  Elaine has worked in the field of Social Work for over 25 years in a variety of community and hospital settings with an interest in the geriatric population.  Social work roles have included individual and family work as well as work as a leader of support groups.  Continuing education has been ongoing and has included training in cognitive behavioral therapy, advance care planning and social work instruction. Elaine has also been a speaker at several PD support group meetings, neurology meetings and served on the faculty of the Allied Team Training Program (NPF).  Elaine’s dedication to improving the lives of people with Parkinson’s is greatly influenced by the determination of the patients she works with on a daily basis.

Matthew Brodsky (USA): is a neuroscientist and clinician specializing in Movement Disorders.  As an Associate Professor in the Department of Neurology at Oregon Health & Science University in Portland, he serves as the Medical Director of OHSU’s Deep Brain Stimulation Program, and the Director of the Neurotoxin Injection Program.  Dr. Brodsky is dedicated to improving the lives of those with Parkinson’s disease and other movement disorders through research, clinical care, and education. He sees patients at OHSU and teaches movement disorder fellows, neurology residents and medical students in these clinics and in lectures throughout the year.

Dr. Brodsky’s main research focus is on premotor biomarkers of PD and innovative neuroprotective and neuro-restorative interventions. His current biomarker research utilizes ultra-high field MRI to image dopamine cells in the brain. He is also an active collaborator in the PSG and NET-PD efforts in finding a neuroprotective treatment for PD.

Dr. Brodsky enjoys fostering community in the field of neuroscience to advance research and dialogue.  He co-founded the Pacific Northwest Basal Ganglia Coterie in 2005, a regional group of neuroscientists who meet annually, and has also organized several courses on deep brain stimulation that have educated clinicians from throughout the U.S.  He has been invited to speak internationally, and has authored numerous articles in peer-reviewed journals. He also enjoys taking time to speak to PD support groups throughout the Pacific Northwest.

Dr. Brodsky earned a B.A. in psychology at New York University in 1991 and an M.D. at The Mount Sinai School of Medicine in 1996. Also at Mount Sinai, he completed his internship in medicine, residency in neurology, and fellowship in Movement Disorders. Dr. Brodsky joined the faculty at OHSU in 2002.

An avid guitarist and outdoorsman, he lives in Portland with his wife and their three sons.

Gila Bronner (Israel): is a certified sex therapist, director of the Sex Therapy Services, in the Sheba Medical Center, Israel (since 2004). Gila offers a specific sexual counseling for patients and partners at the Movement Disorders Institute (Neurology) at the same hospital. She is also the director of the sex therapy training program in her hospital (designed for physicians and psychotherapists).

From 1984 until now, Gila has been training physicians and health professionals in coping with issues of sexual health promotion, sexual rehabilitation and sex education. In 1997- 2003 Gila was the sex therapist in the departments of neurology, psychiatry, oncology and cardiology (Tel-Aviv Medical Center), contributing to a multidisciplinary approach. In the neurologic department she specialized in treating patients with Parkinson's disease (PD), epilepsy, multiple sclerosis and CVA. In the geriatric and psycho-geriatric departments she assisted staff members and families to cope with dementia related inappropriate sexual behavior.

Gila's volunteer work involves counseling and leading the Israeli Family Planning Association (1985-2000), chairperson and board member at the Israeli association of sex therapists (2002-today). She was the chair-person of the scientific committee of the European congress of sexology 2002, and a member of the scientific committees of the World Congress of Sexology 2005, 2007, 2010 and 2013. 

She has published scientific articles, chapters in scientific books, sex education books for children, adolescents and elders and articles in the media. 

Her international activities include training of physicians and healthcare professionals in Portugal, Sweden, Canada, Croatia, Czech Rep., Slovenia, Ireland, Australia, South Korea, Greece, Scotland, England, Germany, Trinidad, Singapore, South Korea, Turkey, USA and Cyprus. 

Her language proficiency includes: English and Hebrew (very good), German (good), French, Spanish & Polish (fair).

Patrik Brundin (USA): Since 2012, Dr. Patrik Brundin is the Director of the Center for Neurodegenerative Science and the inaugural holder of the Jay Van Andel Endowed Chair in Parkinson Research at the Van Andel Research Institute, Grand Rapids, Michigan, USA. Dr. Brundin is an internationally renowned expert in the field of Parkinson’s and neurodegenerative disease research with a career in this area that spans over 30 years, including key involvement in some of the first clinical neural transplantation trials. He obtained his M.D. (1992) and Ph.D. (1988) at Lund University in Sweden where he was Professor of Neuroscience in 2000-2014. He has published over 300 papers, coordinated several multidisciplinary research networks specializing in Parkinson’s research and was identified as a ISI Highly Cited Scientist in his area. His main current research interests are related to alpha-synuclein acting in a prion-like fashion; animal models of Parkinson’s disease; drug repurposing; and development of disease-modifying therapies in Parkinson's disease. He is co-Editor-in-chief of the Journal of Parkinson’s Disease.

David Burn (UK): is Professor of Movement Disorder Neurology at Newcastle University and Honorary Consultant Neurologist for Newcastle upon Tyne Hospitals Foundation Trust.  He is Director of the University’s Institute of Neuroscience, Director of Newcastle Biomedicine’s Clinical Ageing Research Unit and a NIHR Senior Investigator.   He was appointed as National Clinical Director for Parkinson’s UK in 2014.

He qualified from Oxford University and Newcastle upon Tyne Medical School in 1985.  His MD was in the functional imaging of parkinsonism.  He runs the Movement Disorders service in Newcastle upon Tyne which provides a large regional service.  Research interests include dementia associated with Parkinson’s disease and progressive supranuclear palsy.  

He was a member of the Special Interest Committee Task Force of the International Movement Disorder Society for Diagnostic Criteria for Parkinsonian Disorders (2002-3) and the Parkinson’s Dementia Task Force (2004-6).   He was appointed NIHR-Clinical Research Network Specialty lead for Neurodegeneration in 2015.  Professor Burn is Treasurer of the International Parkinson and Movement Disorder Society, having previously served as Chair of the MDS Congress Scientific Programme Committee (2011-2012).  He has published over 240 articles on movement disorders in peer reviewed journals.

Jean Burns (USA): was diagnosed with PD in January 2003. Her first symptom was an intermittent tremor in one finger in her left hand. Six months after her diagnosis, she joined her first clinical trial for a new treatment. Unfortunately as with so many hopeful new clinical trials, it failed. Over the past 12 years Jean has advocated on behalf of clinical trials; she is on the MJFF PPMI Patient Committee. Jean is also co-Chair of the “Advocates for Parkinson Committee” for the World Parkinson Congress, and is a member of the WPC 2016 Steering Committee. In March 2014 Jean joined the NIH GDNF GENE Therapy Phase I clinical trial. Jean is patient number 3 for the trial, and there will eventually be a total of 24 human trial participants. This trial involves brain surgery, many tests and a commitment of 5 years on Jean’s end. Jean has changed the direction from one of advocacy to one of working with scientists, doctors, and organizations regarding clinical trials in efforts to ensure that everyone in the system treats clinical trial participants better.

Jane Busch (USA): is a former practicing dentist In Cross Plains, WI, and a current fitness instructor with a focus on Parkinson’s disease.  She teaches fitness classes at Harbor Athletic Club, where she teaches a dance class for people with Parkinson’s.

Dr. Busch worked in a private dental practice for nearly 17 years, leaving in 1999 to become Director of Education for the Academy for Excellence in Dental Technology, an academic training program for dental technicians through D&S Dental Laboratory, Inc. For several years, she also was a post-graduate dental instructor at Madison Area Technical College.

Dr. Busch frequently speaks to groups about dental health, exercise and dance in Parkinson’s. She is the author of “The Magic of Movement” Parkinson Exercise Manual and DVD.She is a member of several professional societies including Omicron Kappa Upsilon National Dental Society, the American Dental Association, the Wisconsin Dental Association and the Dane County Dental Society. Dr. Busch serves as Vice-president on the Board of Directors and chair of the Exercise Committee for the American Parkinson Disease Association-Wisconsin Chapter. She is the Founder, CEO and Chair of the LIFE Foundation (Lifestyles Initiative for Fitness Empowerment), a community based health initiative fostering healthy lifestyles with evidence-based strategies. 

She is a certified fitness instructor in Zumba Gold (2009), Zumba (2010), trained in Parkinson Wellness Recovery (2011) and Dance for PD (2012). She completed her undergraduate degree at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and went on to complete a Bachelor of Science in Dentistry and Doctorate of Dental Surgery at the University of Minnesota School of Dentistry-Minneapolis.

Nicole Calakos (USA): is an Associate Professor of Neurology and Neurobiology at Duke University Medical Center. Dr. Calakos cares for patients with Movement Disorders and maintains an active laboratory research program. Her laboratory studies the normal mechanisms of learning through synaptic plasticity and how these processes are disrupted in disease. Current efforts focus on understanding the contributions of striatal synaptic plasticity to behavior normally, as in the expression of habit, and in disease contexts such as compulsive behavior, dystonia and Tourette’s. 

Dr. Calakos received her bachelor’s degree from the University of California at Berkeley, her M.D. and Ph.D. degrees from Stanford University, and residency training in Neurology at the University of California at San Francisco. 

In addition to critical support from private foundations, her work is supported by the NIH.  Her laboratory has been recognized nationally and internationally for its contributions.  Awards include the McKnight Neurosciences Memory and Cognitive Disorders award, Klingenstein Fellowship in the Neurosciences, Harrington Discovery Institute Scholar-Innovator award, NARSAD Young Investigator award and Tourette’s Syndrome Association Early Career Investigator award. Dr. Calakos has served on the Board of Directors for the American Neurological Association, NIH study sections concerning synaptic function and mechanisms of neuropsychiatric disease, and scientific advisory boards for the Tourette’s Syndrome Association and the Bachmann Strauss Dystonia and Parkinson Disease Foundation.

Related Web Links: https://www.neuro.duke.edu/research/faculty-labs/calakos-lab

Colleen Canning (Australia): is Head, Discipline of Physiotherapy, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Sydney, Australia.  She leads the Parkinson’s disease research team and the Neurological Physiotherapy teaching team in the Faculty and is former Course Director of postgraduate and undergraduate physiotherapy programs. Her research interests include investigations of the contribution of motor impairments to disability and falls in Parkinson’s disease; as well as the effectiveness of interventions designed to reduce disability and falls. She has extensive national and international collaborations and her research output includes over 70 papers in international peer-reviewed journals, 1 edited book and 9 book chapters. She regularly presents at national and international conferences and has recently accepted invitations to present her research findings in the USA, Netherlands, Belgium, United Kingdom, Malaysia, Singapore and Australia.

Fulvio Capitanio (Spain): is an economist and ITC manager. He was diagnosed with Parkinson's in 2007 and retired from his job in 2009. In January of 2008, with a group of PD friends he met over the Internet, he started an online organization called "Unidos contra el Parkinson” (together against Parkinson's disease) at http://portal.unidoscontraelparkinson.com.

In October 2009 Fulvio coordinated the group's Second International Meeting in Spain dedicated to promote the importance of complementary therapies in PD treatment.  In March 2010 Unidos contra el Parkinson edited a comic "Through the eyes of a child” to help parents to explain PD to their children, which was translated into 8 languages. 

In April 2010 Fulvio started the project "Run for Parkinson’s”, a worldwide event involving more than 100 cities from 12 different countries to run and walk miles to raise awareness on PD http://run4parkinson.org/. Fulvio is now dedicated to help young onset people with PD.

Jillian Carson (Canada): was diagnosed with Parkinson in 2009 at the age of 49. Her symptoms began after a neck injury with spinal cord damage. Once the neck was fused, she noticed a tremor and cramping in her right arm. Up until this time Jillian led a very active life, which included working as a self employed physiotherapist for 25 years. She knew too well the symptoms of Parkinson and it's devastating effects on those who live with the neurodegenerative disease.

Exercise is her specialty and Jillian was not going to allow her diagnosis to stop promoting exercise and wellness.

Jillian retired from her job in 2011 and trained with Dr. Becky Farley a neuroscientist and physiotherapist. Jillian became a certified PWR!Therapist. She continues to use her physiotherapy skills volunteering and exercising in her local Parkinson community in Victoria BC, Canada. Her emphasis is on living well with Parkinson through Parkinson specific exercises. She founded the ParkinGo Wellness Society   www.parkingo.org.

Jillian is a Parkinson's Movement Ambassador and is a strong advocate for better quality of life for people living with Parkinson's around the world. Her video, A Physiotherapist's Journey with Parkinson's, was shown at the opening ceremony WPC 2013 in Montreal.

Manolo Carta (Italy): graduated from the University of Cagliari (Italy) in 2000 with a degree in biology. From the same institution he obtained a PhD in human nutrition (2004), studying the effect of nutrients deprivation on motor and mnemonic functions. In early 2005 Dr. Carta joined Professor Anders Björklund´s group at Lund University, first as a postdoctoral fellow and then as Assistant Professor. Since then, he has focused his interests on Parkinson's disease and understanding the mechanisms underlying the appearance of levodopa-induced dyskinesia. Dr. Carta's work on the role of the serotonin system in dyskinesia has identified a key mechanism in the appearance of this motor complication induced by long-term treatment with L-DOPA, and a possible new therapeutic target. 

He now holds a position as Associate Professor at the University of Cagliari, Italy, where he established his own research group. His research has been supported by The Michael J. Fox Foundation, the Parkinson Disease Foundation, the Swedish Parkinson Foundation, the Italian Ministry of University and Research and the Sardinian Regional Government.

Julie Carter (USA): is a nurse practitioner and Professor of Neurology at Oregon Health and Science University. She received her BSN and MS from OHSU.  She joined the department of neurology in 1979 and was one of the original founders of the Parkinson Center of Oregon (PCO).

Ms. Carter has dedicated her career to improving the lives of people with Parkinson’s disease and their families. She approaches Parkinson’s disease as a family centered disease and brings a family centered emphasis to her practice as a nurse practitioner and to innovative program development at the PCO.   She has been instrumental in the creation of the annual patient and family symposium, family caregiver series, young person with PD symposium, newly diagnosed workshop, the Strive to Thrive (self-management) program for PD, and most recently the PD palliative care program. 

Ms. Carter has a special research interest in family caregiving and Parkinson’s disease. She has been an investigator in multiple clinical trials and is an original member of the Parkinson Study Group. She has authored numerous articles and is a popular speaker to both lay and professional audiences.

M. Angela Cenci Nilsson (Sweden): heads the Basal Ganglia Pathophysiology Unit at Lund University. The group is part of three centres of excellence supported by the Swedish National Research Council (the Basal Ganglia Disorders Linnaeus Consortium, www.med.lu.se/bagadilico; Multipark, www.med.lu.se/multipark, and the Neuronano Research Centre, www.med.lu.se/nrc).  The group´s research focuses on molecular and cellular alterations affecting the basal ganglia in Parkinson’s disease and related movement disorders. The results are used to identify potential treatments as well as biomarkers for particular clinical purposes. M. A. Cenci obtained a Medical Degree and a clinical specialization in Neurology at the University of Verona (Italy). This clinical education was followed by a PhD degree in Neurobiology at Lund University under the supervision of Anders Björklund. At Lund University, Cenci Nilsson received appointments as Assistant Professor (1993-2002), Associate Professor of Neuroscience (2002-2008), and Professor of Experimental Medical Science (from 2008). Cenci´s group has pioneered the development of symptomatic models of parkinsonism and L-DOPA-induced dyskinesia in rodents, and used these models to uncover disease mechanisms and inform therapeutic developments. For this research, Cenci Nilsson received the Erik K. Fernström Award for Young Promising Investigators (2003), and the Medal of Honours for Parkinson´s Research by the Swedish Parkinson’s Disease Foundation (2006). M.A. Cenci serves on the scientific advisory boards and steering committees of several national and international research organizations (including the International Brain Research Organisation, the FENS Committee for Higher Education and Training, the International Movement Disorders Society Award Committee, and The M.J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research).

K. Ray Chaudhuri (UK): is the Clinical Director of the National Parkinson Foundation International Centre of Excellence at King’s College  and Kings College Hospital London, Lead of the King’s Neuroscience Research and Development unit and Chairman of the Movement Disorders Society Non-motor Study Group at Denmark Hill Campus in London.

Professor Ray Chaudhuri also sits on the Nervous Systems Committee of the UK Department of Health, National Institute of Health Research, and serves as a member of the Scientific Programme Committee of the International Parkinson’s and Movement Disorders Society. In addition, he serves as a member of clinical advisory groups to Parkinson’s UK and the European Parkinson’s Disease Association. Having published over300 papers and co-edited 4  books on PD and restless legs syndrome, Professor Ray Chaudhuri currently serves on the editorial board of numerous international journals including Basal Ganglia,  the Journal of Parkinson’s Disease and is the editor in chief of the newly launched Nature Parkinson’s Journal. . Professor K Ray Chaudhuri has particular expertise in non-motor aspects of PD focused on subtyping, sleep and pain.

Marie-Françoise Chesselet (USA): is the Charles H. Markham Professor of Neurology, and Distinguished Professor in the Departments of Neurology and Neurobiology in the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA. After receiving her M.D. and Ph.D. degrees in Paris, France, she held research positions in France and faculty positions at the Medical College of Pennsylvania and the University of Pennsylvania, before joining UCLA in 1996. At UCLA, Dr. Chesselet chaired the Department of Neurobiology from 2002 to 2013 and is currently Interim Chair of the Department of Neurology. In 1998, she created the Center for the Study of Parkinson’s Disease at UCLA which included a NINDS-funded UCLA UDALL Center for Parkinson’s disease research from 1998 to 2013, a NIEHS-funded UCLA Center for Gene Environment in Parkinson’s Disease from 2002 to 2014, and the UCLA Advanced Center for Parkinson’s Disease Research of the American Parkinson Disease Association since 1998. Dr. Chesselet has directed graduate programs at the University of Pennsylvania and UCLA and the NINDS-funded Training Program in Neural Repair from 1998 to 2014. Her laboratory conducts research on the molecular mechanisms of disorders of the basal ganglia and new treatments for Parkinson’s and Huntington’s diseases. Her work has been extensively supported by the NIH, the Department of Defense, the Michael J. Fox Foundation, Cure HD Initiative, the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine, and several bio pharmaceutical companies. Dr. Chesselet is a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and retiring chair of its section on Neuroscience. She completed a 4 years term on the National Advisory Environmental Health Sciences Council and currently serves of the Science Advisory Boards of the Hereditary Disease Foundation, the APDA, and the Michael J. Fox Foundation, and is a member of the Board of Directors of the World Parkinson Coalition.

Sohini Chowdhury (USA)

Michelle Ciucci (USA): is an Associate Professor at the University of Wisconsin-Madison in the Departments of Communication Sciences and Disorders, Surgery-Otolaryngology, and the Neuroscience Training Program. Dr. Ciucci’s NIH-funded work is directed at improving diagnosis and treatments for neurogenic communication and swallowing disorders. She works with basic science techniques as well as human clinical populations. Her larger research framework aims to elucidate the relevant neurobiological processes that affect disease progression and how targeted exercise may slow or reverse the degenerative processes. Understanding these mechanisms will lead to better treatments and functional outcomes for patients with Parkinson Disease, including drug discovery and repurposing along with behavior interventions.


Jeff Conn (USA)is the Lee E. Limbird Professor of Pharmacology at Vanderbilt University and Director of the Vanderbilt Center for Neuroscience Drug Discovery (VCNDD).  Dr. Conn received a Ph.D. in Pharmacology from Vanderbilt and pursued postdoctoral studies at Yale University, before joining the faculty of the Department of Pharmacology at Emory University in 1988.  In 2000, Dr. Conn moved to Merck and Company in West Point, PA as Senior Director and Head of the Department of Neuroscience.  Dr. Conn moved to Vanderbilt University in 2003 where he is the founding director of the VCNDD, with a primary mission of facilitating translation of recent advances in basic science to novel therapeutics.  Under his leadership the VCNDD advanced novel molecules from multiple major programs into development for major brain disorders with industry partners, including Johnson and Johnson, Astrazeneca, Bristol Myers Squibb, and others.   Each of these major efforts are focused on novel mechanisms for therapeutic action.  Dr. Conn has served as Editor in Chief of Molecular Pharmacology and in editorial positions with multiple other international journals.  He has served the Scientific Advisory Boards of multiple foundations, research institutes, and companies.   He served as Chairman of the Neuropharmacology Division of the American Society for Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics (ASPET), Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and on multiple national and international committees. He has received numerous awards, including the ASPET-Astellas Award in Translational Pharmacology, the Pharmacia - ASPET Award for Experimental Therapeutics, V. Sagar Sethi Mental Health Research Award,  Jacob K. Javits Neuroscience Investigatior Award from the National Institute of Neurological Disorders & Stroke, ISI Most-Cited Scientists in Pharmacology, and others.  Dr. Conn’s current research is focused on development of novel treatment strategies for schizophrenia, Parkinson’s disease, and other serious brain disorders.

Patricia (Pat) Davies (USA): has organized large international conferences for over 35 years. In 1991 she was recruited from her home country, the UK, for a position with the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund in Washington DC, where for 16 years she managed the joint Bank/Fund Annual and Spring Meetings.

She retired in 2007, and in 2009 was diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease. In 2010 Pat attended the 2nd World Parkinson Congress in Glasgow and was inspired to volunteer her services to assist with future meetings. She is now a member of the WPC Steering Committee, and Advocates for Parkinson Committee, and is Secretary of the Board of the World Parkinson Coalition. 

Staying as busy as possible is, for Pat, the best way of dealing with Parkinson’s Disease. Among other things, she works with the homeless in Washington DC, and has recently completed her second term as president of the board of Georgetown Ministry Center (GMC), a day center for the homeless which is open 365 days a year and provides shower and laundry facilities, computers, medical and psychiatric help, as well as food and other support. Pat serves on the GMC board and executive committee, and also helps to organize a year-round Saturday and Sunday night supper program for the homeless. 

As a Research Advocate for the Parkinson’s Disease Foundation, she participates in as many clinical trials as she can, and as a member of a Parkinson’s support group, Pat especially enjoys working with the newly diagnosed, and people with Parkinson’s who live alone.

David Devos (France): obtained his Doctor of Neurology and Doctor of Neuroscience degrees from the University of Lille, France. 

Between 2002 and 2010, he worked as a hospital physician in the Department of Parkinson’s disease and movement disorders of the Centre Hospitalier Universitaire of Lille, where he is now Professor in Medical Pharmacology of the University of Lille.

His main research interest, in the research team INSERM U1171, is in developing new symptomatic and disease-modifying strategies in neurodegenerative diseases, such as Parkinson’s disease, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, dementia and cerebellar ataxia. 

His researches are mainly based upon clinical trials but also include preclinical, translational and clinical studies in neuropsychopharmacology.

He received in 2013 the European pharmacology scientific award (EACPT): best scientific work of the two last years (methylphenidate in Parkinson’s disease published in Lancet Neurology).

He received in 2014 grants from the European Commission Horizon 2020 PHC13 2014-2015 of 6 000 k€ to set up a European multicentre randomised clinical trial (25 centres, 8 countries, 338 de novo patients with Parkinson’s disease): “Conservative iron chelation as a disease-modifying strategy in Parkinson’s disease: a multicentre, parallel-group, placebo-controlled, randomized clinical trial of deferiprone (FAIR-PARK-II)” (http://fairpark2.eu)

Donato Di Monte (Germany)is currently Professor and Senior Research Group Leader at the German Center for Neurodegenerative Diseases (DZNE) in Bonn, Germany. He also acts as the Center’s Deputy Scientific Director. His research interest and expertise is on mechanisms and risk factors underlying the pathogenesis of human neurodegenerative disorders and, in particular, Parkinson’s disease. Significant contributions of his work include (i) the development and characterization of animal models mimicking pathological and biochemical features of Parkinson’s disease, (ii) elucidation of mechanisms underlying dopaminergic cell degeneration, (iii) assessment of the effects of aging and toxic exposures on neuronal vulnerability to degenerative processes, and (iv) evaluation of neuroprotective strategies for therapeutic intervention. Most recently, his investigations have focused on experimental models (e.g., viral vector-mediated transduction) and mechanisms (e.g., inter-neuronal protein transfer) of alpha-synuclein pathology.

Sarah Diamond (USA): is a native Floridian and received her MD from the University of Miami, Miller School of Medicine in 2008.  She completed her Internal Medicine Residency, Chief Residency and Gastroenterology Fellowship at Oregon Health and Science University in Portland, OR. Diamond completed additional training in gastrointestinal motility at UCLA Medical Center under the mentorship of Dr. Jeffery Conklin and completed The Nestle Clinical Nutrition Fellowship under the mentorship of Dr. Steven McClave and Dr. Robert Martindale.  She has been delighted to join the faculty at OHSU after completing fellowship in 2015.  In her clinical practice, Sarah sees general GI patients as well as patients with motility and/or nutrition problems. Her research interests include motility, nutrition and gender differences in academic medicine.

Alessandro DiRocco (USA):


Roseanne Dobkin (USA): is an Associate Professor of Psychiatry at Rutgers University- Robert Wood Johnson Medical School. She completed her Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology at the Medical College of Pennsylvania- Hahnemann University (2002) and a postdoctoral fellowship in Clinical Psychopharmacology, at Robert Wood Johnson Medical School (2003). She has been conducting mental health research in Parkinson’s disease (PD) for the past 14 years. To date, Dr. Dobkin's research has addressed the efficacy of face-to-face cognitive-behavioral treatment (CBT) for depression in PD (dPD) in a randomized controlled trial, and the development and pilot-testing of several different telephone-based CBT interventions for dPD. She has systematically examined barriers to mental health care utilization in PD, and the use of telemedicine to leverage access to specialized mental health care in the PD community. Dr. Dobkin is also a practicing psychologist and the mental health lead for the University of Delaware’s Parkinson’s Disease Telemedicine Clinic. She has two randomized-controlled trials exploring the effectiveness of telehealth treatment for depression in PD (phone and web-based videoconferencing) currently in progress. Dr. Dobkin's research has been funded by the National Institutes of Health, the Patterson Trust Awards Program in Clinical Research, the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research, the Parkinson’s Unity Walk, and the Health Services and Research Development Division (HSR&D) of the Veteran Affairs Administration.

Ray Dorsey (USA): is the David M. Levy Professor of Neurology and Director of the CHET and Center for Health and Technology at the University of Rochester Medical Center. Dr. Dorsey is helping investigate new treatments for movement disorders and improve the way care is delivered for individuals with Parkinson disease and other neurological disorders.  Using simple web-based video conferencing, he and his colleagues are seeking to provide care to anyone anywhere. 

Dr. Dorsey previously directed the movement disorders division and neurology telemedicine at Johns Hopkins and worked as a consultant for McKinsey & Company.  He earned his BS at Stanford University, MD at the University of Pennsylvania, and MBA at the Wharton School.  Dr. Dorsey’s research has been published in the leading medical, neurology, and economic journals and has been featured on National Public Radio, The New York Times, and The Wall Street Journal.

John Duda (USA): is the Director of the Parkinson's Disease Research, Education and Clinical Center (PADRECC) of the Cpl. Michael J. Crescenz VA Medical Center and an Associate Professor of Neurology at the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania. For the past 15 years, he has worked with his colleagues in Philadelphia to provide state-of-the-art care for thousands of Veterans with PD and related disorders. In collaboration with the other 5 PADRECCs in the VA system, they have advanced care for all Veterans by helping to develop national guidelines for care, and by developing the National VA PD Consortium, which serves as a model for providing access to expert-level care across the nation’s largest integrated healthcare network. His research activities have included basic science investigations into the role of Lewy pathology in the pathophysiology of Parkinson’s disease and related disorders as well as investigations into the mechanisms involved in the development of chronic traumatic encephalopathy. He has also conducted clinical research in Parkinson’s disease with studies of deep brain stimulation therapy, transcranial magnetic stimulation, the benefits of a plant-based, whole food diet, and the use of olfaction as a biomarker of disease diagnosis and progression. He has received research grants from the Department of Veterans Affairs, NIH, the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson Research, the Samueli Foundation and the Pennsylvania State Department of Health. He is a founding and current member of the Scientific Advisory Board for the Lewy Body Dementia Association. He has served on the Editorial Boards of Movement Disorders and npj Parkinson’s Disease and has been a peer reviewer for over 30 journals. He has authored more than 100 scientific publications including articles in JAMA, Science, Neuron, The New England Journal of Medicine and Neurology.

Gammon Earhart (USA): is Professor of Physical Therapy, Neuroscience and Neurology at Washington University in St. Louis, where she serves as Director of the Program in Physical Therapy.  She is also President of the American Physical Therapy Association Section on Research.  Dr. Earhart studies nervous system control of movement, with a particular emphasis on walking and balance.  Her work aims to understand mechanisms underlying movement difficulties associated with Parkinson disease (PD) and then use this information to develop novel approaches to treatment and management of the disease.  Gammon has published more than 100 peer-reviewed publications, many of them focused on exercise for people with PD.

Terry Ellis (USA): is an Assistant Professor at Boston University, College of Health & Rehabilitation Sciences in the Department of Physical Therapy & Athletic Training.  Dr. Ellis is also the Director of the Center for Neurorehabilitation at Boston University and the Director of the American Parkinson Disease Association National Rehabilitation Resource Center housed at Boston University.  Her research focuses on investigating the impact of exercise and rehabilitation on the progression of disability in individuals with Parkinson disease.  She has a particular interest in identifying barriers to exercise and using mobile health technology to help persons with Parkinson disease overcome these barriers to engage in lifelong exercise.  Dr. Ellis has a Ph.D. in Behavioral Neurosciences from Boston University School of Medicine and is a licensed physical therapist with board certification in Neurologic Physical Therapy.  She has published numerous articles and lectures internationally on topics related to rehabilitation in persons with Parkinson disease.

Alberto Espay (USA): is Associate Professor and Endowed Chair of the James J and Joan A Gardner Center for Parkinson’s disease at the University of Cincinnati. He has published over 100 articles and book chapters, and co-written four books, including Common Movement Disorders Pitfalls (Highly Commended BMA Medical Book Award in 2013) and Disorders of Movement. Dr. Espay has received the Dean’s Scholar in Clinical Research Award (2006-09), the Dystonia Coalition Career Development Award (2010-2012), the NIH-funded KL2 Research Scholars Mentored Award (2010-12), and the NIH-funded K23 Career Development Award (2011-16). He currently serves as Chair of the Technology Task Force (2014-2016), Chair of the Membership and Public Relations Committee of the International Parkinson and Movement Disorders Society (MDS) (2013- 2015), and Chair of the Movement Disorders Section of the American Academy of Neurology (AAN) (2014-2016). He is a former Associate Editor for Movement Disorders and current Associate Editor for the Journal of Clinical Movement Disorders. He became honorary member of the Mexican Academy of Neurology in 2008, joined the Best Doctors in America list in 2009, received the Business Courier’s Forty Under 40 award in 2010, and the Patients' Choice and Compassionate Doctor awards in 2011.

Stanley Fahn (USA): is the H. Houston Merritt Professor of Neurology and Director Emeritus of the Center for Parkinson’s Disease and Other Movement Disorders at Columbia University in New York. His major research interest is in experimental therapeutics, and he has participated in many clinical trials, especially in Parkinson disease (PD). In 1986, he co-founded (with Dr. Ira Shoulson) the Parkinson Study Group (PSG), a consortium of clinical investigators dedicated to conducting controlled clinical trials on the prevention and treatment of PD. 

In 1985, he co-founded (with Dr. David Marsden) The Movement Disorder Society and was elected its first president. He was the founding co editor of the journal Movement Disorders for 10 years. He developed the Unified Parkinson’s Disease Rating Scale (UPDRS) and co-developed the Tremor Rating Scale and the Fahn-Marsden Dystonia Rating Scale. Dr. Fahn was chief organizer of the first three World Parkinson Congresses. He co-organized the first four international dystonia symposia and published the proceedings of those conferences.  The American Academy of Neurology (AAN) honored Dr. Fahn with the Wartenberg Award for outstanding clinical research in 1986, the first Movement Disorder Prize for outstanding contributions in this field in 1997, and their A. B. Baker Award for outstanding educator in neurology in 1996. He served as President of the AAN from 2001 to 2003. In 2002, Dr Fahn was elected a member of the US National Academies. He co-authored Principles and Practice of Movement Disorders with Drs. Joseph Jankovic and Mark Hallett. Dr Fahn continues to be active in patient care, research, and teaching and has trained over 130 movement disorder fellows, including many who are professors of neurology around the globe.

Alfonso Fasano (Canada): is an Associate Professor of Medicine in the Division of Neurology at the University of Toronto. He graduated from the Catholic University of Rome, Italy, in 2002 and became a neurologist in 2007. After a 2-year fellowship at the University of Kiel, Germany, he completed a PhD in neuroscience at the Catholic University of Rome. In 2013 he joined the Movement Disorder Centre at Toronto Western Hospital, where he is the director of the surgical program for movement disorders. Dr. Fasano’s academic interests are in the areas of advanced management of movement disorders, particularly deep brain stimulation for Parkinson’s disease, dystonia and tremor. He is also interested in the pathophysiology of abnormalities of gait, posture and stability.

Steve Finkbeiner (USA): Associate Director & Senior Investigator, Gladstone Institute of Neurological Disease; Director, Taube/Koret Center for Neurodegenerative Disease Research; Director, Hellman Family Foundation Program in Alzheimer’s Disease Research; Professor of Neurology and Physiology, University of California, San Francisco. Dr. Steve Finkbeiner studies the molecular mechanisms that are responsible for learning, memory, and neurodegeneration. Dr. Finkbeiner received his BS from Wheaton College in 1986 and earned an MD/PhD in Neuroscience from Yale University in 1991. He completed an internship in internal medicine and was the chief resident in neurology at UCSF. He then held positions at Harvard Medical School, and in 1999 he was one of the first investigators at the Gladstone Institute of Neurological Disease.


David Finkelstein (Australia): Associate Professor Neuroscience, the University of Melbourne Australia, Heads the Parkinson’s disease Laboratory at the Florey Institute. My research interests are centered on the physiology of control of movement (Basal Ganglia), age related neurodegeneration and regeneration. He has used this basic science knowledge and applied it into developing novel therapeutic avenues for the treatment of Parkinson’s disease and Atypical Parkinson’s.  He worked on a compound has successfully completed Phase IIa trials in both Alzheimer’s disease (2008) and Huntington’s disease (2014) and is scheduled to enter phase III trials for Huntington’s disease next year.  In addition, work on two novel chemical entities designed to interact with metals will progress to into Phase 1 testing in 2016.  In 2016 he was elected to Chair the board of Parkinsons Victoria  (http://www.parkinsonsvic.org.au/;  Parkinson’s Victoria raises awareness and funds for services and research to improve the quality of life for 27,000 people living with Parkinson’s in Victoria. Every day through our multi-disciplinary health team we provide information, education, advice and peer support services to improve the quality of life of the Parkinson’s community.)


Peter Fletcher (UK): is a Consultant Physician in the Department of Old Age Medicine at Gloucestershire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust. He specialises in Movement Disorders and shares service delivery with colleagues in Old Age Medicine, Neurology and Psychiatry as well as colleagues from nursing and the allied health professions. From a clinical base in Cheltenham, he runs clinics on three sites across a very rural county.

Dr Fletcher is a founder member and Academic Director of the Parkinson’s Academy and has contributed to all Masterclasses from their inception in 2002 to date. He is past Chair of the British Geriatrics Society Movement Disorders Section and President of the Cheltenham branch of Parkinson’s UK. He was the local Principal Investigator for the PDMED (PD medicines), PDGEN (PD genetics) and PDREHAB (PD rehabilitation) studies and is currently active in the planning and/or recruitment for further studies.

Dr Fletcher is an Honorary Reader at the University of Bristol. He has an MSc in Medical Education and leads for the Medical School on interprofessional learning and personal and professional development in the curriculum. He examines third, fourth and fifth year medical students for the University of Bristol. He examines the Diploma of Geriatric Medicine and examines and hosts PACES examinations all for the Royal College of Physicians of London. He is active in education research.

Edward Fon (Canada): is Professor of Neurology and Neurosurgery at McGill University and Scientific Director of the Montreal Neurological Institute (MNI). He is a Clinician-Scientist and attending neurologist at the Hospital (MNH), where he specializes in movement disorders and is the Director of the McGill Parkinson Program and the FRQS Quebec Parkinson Network. His research focuses on the molecular events leading to the neuronal degeneration in Parkinson's disease (PD). He is particularly interested in the function and cell biology of PD genes, parkin and PINK1. His work has been published in prestigious journals including Science, Nature, Nature Cell Biology, Nature Reviews in Drug Discovery, Molecular Cell, Neuron and EMBO J. He has received several awards during the course of his career including the CIHR Clinician-Scientist award, the FRQS National Scholar, the Prix de Jeune Chercheur Blaise Pascal and the EJLB Foundation Scholar. Dr. Fon’s research is supported by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR), the National Parkinson Foundation (NPF), Brain Canada, the Canadian Consortium on Neurodegeneration in Aging (CCNA) and NSERC.

Matthew Ford (USA): received a BS in Physical Therapy from Quinnipiac University ('92), MA in Motor Learning from Teacher's College, Columbia University ('95), and PhD in Kinesiology-Motor Behavior from Penn State University ('03). Prior to his current position as Physical Therapy Department Chair at Samford University in Homewood, AL, he was Associate Professor in Physical Therapy at University of Alabama at Birmingham ('01-'13), and as Assistant Professor in Physical Therapy at Saint Francis University, Loretto, PA ('97-'01). Dr. Ford is on the Board of Directors of the Davis Phinney Foundation and actively involved in community based wellness programs for persons with Parkinson's Disease across the state of Alabama. He has spent over a decade involved in both wellness programs and exercise related research for persons with PD.


Steve Ford (UK): is the Chief Executive of Parkinson’s UK, the UK’s Parkinson’s support and research charity working to find a cure and improve life for everyone affected by Parkinson’s.

For the last 10 years under Steve’s leadership, Parkinson’s UK has made significant progress towards its vision to find a cure and improve life for everyone affected by Parkinson’s. Steve is also chair of the Neurological Alliance, an umbrella body of 70 charities representing 8 million people living with a neurological condition.

Steve was elected as a member of AMRC Executive Council in 2015.  The national membership organisation for the health and medical research charity world.  With 139 member charities, spending £1.3bn a year on research in the UK.   The Executive Council is responsible for the overall governance and strategic direction of the association.

Steve joined Parkinson’s UK after a career as General Manager and Chief Executive of a National Health Service Trust.

Steve has a BA (Hons) in Economics from Warwick University.

Erin Foster (USA): is Assistant Professor of Occupational Therapy, Neurology, and Psychiatry at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, MO. Dr. Foster received her doctorate in occupational therapy and completed postdoctoral training in clinical neuroscience and cognitive neuropsychology at Washington University School of Medicine. During her postdoctoral fellowship, she was selected for a multi-disciplinary clinical investigation-training program and received her master’s of science in clinical investigation. Dr. Foster’s is the Director of the Cognitive and Occupational Performance Laboratory. Her research focuses on understanding how cognitive dysfunction in Parkinson’s disease impacts everyday life and how occupational therapy can best address it. She is a current recipient of an NIH-K23 Career Development Award and several other research grants related to cognition in Parkinson’s disease. As a consultant with the Program in Occupational Therapy’s Community and In-Home Services Practice, Dr. Foster helps guide therapists treating clients with Parkinson’s.



Cynthia Fox (USA)received her doctorate degree in Speech and Hearing Sciences from the University of Arizona, Tucson.  Her training included a focus in the areas of neuroscience and motor control.  She is an expert on rehabilitation and neuroplasticity and the role of exercise in the improvement of function consequent to neural injury and disease.  Dr. Fox is a world leader in administration of LSVT LOUD speech treatment for people with Parkinson disease.  Dr. Fox began working with Dr. Ramig over 20 years ago conducting efficacy research on LSVT in people with Parkinson disease.  She was the first to apply this treatment to disorders other than Parkinson disease (e.g., multiple sclerosis) and pioneered the application to pediatric populations including children with cerebral palsy and Down syndrome.  Dr. Fox worked closely on the development of a physical therapy program, LSVT BIG that was modeled after the speech treatment protocol.  More recently, she has collaborated in the development of a novel HYBRID approach that simultaneously delivers speech and physical therapy for people with Parkinson disease.   Dr. Fox has been a key part of the LSVT Training and Certification Workshop faculty developing and delivering LSVT LOUD and LSVT BIG Training and Certification Workshops globally.  Currently there are over 20,000 speech, physical and occupational therapists in 69 countries trained to deliver the LSVT protocols.  Further, Dr. Fox has numerous publications in these areas of research and has presented extensively nationally and internationally.  Dr. Fox is a Co-Founder and Vice President of Operations of LSVT Global, Inc. and a Research Associate at the National Center for Voice and Speech in Denver, CO.

Susan Fox (Canada): is Associate Professor of Neurology at the University of Toronto,  and Associate Director of the Movement Disorders Clinic at Toronto Western Hospital.  She is secretary-elect  of the International Executive Committee of the International Parkinson and Movement Disorder Society; Co-editor of the MDS website and chair of the evidence based medicine committee for the MDS. Her research interests include pre-clinical studies investigating disease mechanisms of Parkinson’s disease and other movement disorders; as well as phase II and phase III clinical trials of new treatments for Parkinson's disease and dystonia She has received research funding from NIH, CIHR, Parkinson Society Canada and Michael J Fox Foundation for research into PD. She has published over 120 peer reviewed papers, reviews and book chapters in the field; and is a regular speaker at national and international conferences.



Joseph Friedman (USA)completed medical school and neurology residency at Columbia University in New York. He has been a clinical movement disorders specialist at Brown University since 1982 and currently is the Director of the Movement Disorders Program at Butler Hospital and Professor and Chief, Division of Movement Disorders, Dept of Neurology at the Alpert School of Medicine at Brown University. He has participated in numerous studies in Parkinson's disease and his personal research has mainly focused on behavior problems in PD, particularly psychosis and fatigue, as well as drug induced movement disorders. He has been clinical director of the APDA PD Information and Referral Center since 1985, and has been active in the PD support group community in RI since 1982. He has been editor in chief of Rhode Island Medical Journal, the state medical society journal since 1999,has served on the editorial board of Parkinsonism and Related Disorders and Movement Disorders and has served as a peer reviewer  for over 80 national and international medical journals. His video introduction to  PD for lay people has been viewed by over 200,000 on You Tube. His PDF sponsored video on hallucinations has also been popular. He has published many articles in the medical literature as well as articles for the PWP community.


Tom Gasser (Germany): is a clinical neurologist and neuroscientist. He studied Medicine at the University of Freiburg, Germany, and at Yale University Medical School, New Haven, Connecticut. He trained as postdoctoral fellow at the Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School in Boston, Massachusetts and in 1999 he became Assistant Professor of Neurology at the University of Munich. Since 2002, he is Professor of Neurology and Director of the Department of Neurodegenerative Diseases at the Hertie-Institute for Clinical Brain Research, University of Tübingen, and since 2013 Coordinator for Clinical Research at the German Center for Neurodegenerative Diseases, Tübingen, Germany.

His areas of research are the genetic and molecular basis of Parkinson’s disease (PD), dystonias and other movement disorders, as well as their diagnosis and treatment. His work primarily focuses on the identification of genes and risk loci that are involved in the development of PD, and the analysis of the functional consequences of their variations. 

One of his major achievements is the discovery that mutations in the LRRK2 gene cause the most common form of autosomal dominantly inherited PD and the publication in NEURON has been cited over 1.200 times. Together with international collaborators, he contributes to genome-wide association study in Parkinson’s disease, establishing the importance of common genetic variability for the etiology of sporadic PD.

In 2010, Thomas Gasser received the Dingebauer Award for Parkinson’s disease research of the German Society of Neurology and the K.J. Zülch Award of the Max-Planck-Society in 2011. He is author and co-author of over 400 peer-reviewed papers and was awarded several prestigious research grants. Currently, he is coordinator of three large research consortia and serves as President of the German Society of Neurogenetics.


Oscar Gershanik (Argentina): is a Professor and Scientific Director of the Institute of Neuroscience at the Favaloro Foundation University Hospital in Buenos Aires, Argentina. He is also the Director of the Movement Disorder Unit at the same institution and Director of the Laboratory of Experimental Parkinsonism, a basic research laboratory, at the Institute of Pharmacological Research under the jurisdiction of the National Council for Scientific Research and Technology and the University of Buenos Aires, Argentina. Dr. Gershanik received medical training at the University of Buenos Aires where he graduated "Magna Cum Laude”, and did his post-graduate neurology training at the French Hospital in Buenos Aires, under the mentorship of Prof. Alfred Thomson. He completed a Parkinson’s disease and movement disorders fellowship, at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York under Prof. Melvin Yahr, and later on was invited as Associate Professor of Neurology and Pharmacology, in the Neurology Department of the University of New Jersey Rutgers Medical School under Prof. Roger Duvoisin. His research interests have been focused early on, on the study of dopamine receptors interactions, on trophic mechanisms induced by levodopa therapy in animal models of Parkinson’s disease, and lately on plastic and molecular changes underlying the development of levodopa-induced dyskinesias, and has published extensively on those topics. Dr. Gershanik is and has always been actively involved in clinical practice in the field of movement disorders; and teaching, both at the undergraduate and post-graduate level, having trained numerous young neurologists, both from Argentina and abroad, in the field of movement disorders. He has lectured extensively both locally and abroad and actively participates at the international level; he has been an officer of The International Parkinson and Movement Disorder Society (IPMDS) and a member of different committees within that society. As of June 2015 he has become the President of IPMDS.

Anthony Giovinazzo (Canada):



Dan Gold (USA): is a neurologist at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine with fellowship training in neuro-ophthalmology and additional training in neuro-vestibular disorders. Dr. Gold maintains an active clinical practice, and is also heavily involved with neurology and ophthalmology resident and medical student education, giving frequent lectures on topics related to his subspecialty expertise in addition to leading a weekly neuro-ophthalmology/ocular motor bedside teaching rounds for residents and students.



Jennifer G. Goldman (USA)is an Associate Professor in the Department of Neurological Sciences, Section of Parkinson’s Disease and Movement Disorders at Rush University Medical Center in Chicago, IL, USA.  Dr. Goldman is a movement disorder neurologist with specialty training in Behavioral Neurology and Neuropsychiatry.  Her research focuses on understanding and improving treatments for cognitive and behavioral features of Parkinson's disease and parkinsonian disorders using neuroimaging and other biomarkers. Dr. Goldman graduated from Princeton University and received her M.D. from Northwestern University Medical School.  She completed her neurology residency training at Washington University in St. Louis, followed by a movement disorder fellowship and a Master of Science degree in Clinical Research at Rush University in Chicago.  She is board certified by the American Board of Neurology and Psychiatry as well as in its subspecialty, Behavioral Neurology and Neuropsychiatry.  As a movement disorder specialist, Dr. Goldman treats patients with Parkinson's disease, atypical parkinsonian disorders, dementia with Lewy bodies, dystonia, and other movement-related conditions.  Her research focuses on understanding and improving treatments for cognitive and behavioral features of Parkinson's disease and parkinsonian disorders using advanced neuroimaging MRI scans and other biomarkers.  Her work has been funded by NIH, Michael J. Fox Foundation, Rush University, and the Parkinson's Disease Foundation.  She has published multiple research articles and book chapters on Parkinson's disease, cognition, and other movement disorders.  Dr. Goldman was the 2013 recipient of the Rush University Faculty Award for Excellence in Education and has lectured nationally and internationally on Parkinson's disease.  Dr. Goldman is the co-chair of the Parkinson’s Study Group Biomarkers Working Group and on the Steering Committees of the Movement Disorders Society Task Force on Parkinson’s disease-Mild Cognitive Impairment (PD-MCI) and Michael J. Fox Foundation BioFIND biomarkers study.

She also serves on the Lewy Body Dementia Association Scientific Advisory Committee, Movement Disorder Society PanAmerican Education Committee, and the Dystonia Foundation’s Medical Advisory Committee for Musicians with Dystonia.

Brian Grant (USA): is a retired professional athlete who played 12 years in the NBA as a Power Forward and was the heart & soul of five teams – the Sacramento Kings, Portland Trail Blazers, Miami Heat, Los Angeles Lakers and Phoenix Suns (1994-2006).

Born on March 5, 1972 in Columbus, Ohio, Brian was brought up in a small town in Georgetown, Ohio. He started playing basketball when he was 13 years old and developed a passion for the sport as he played for Georgetown High School and the Xavier University Musketeers.

Brian was drafted in the first round, eighth overall, in the 1994 NBA Draft by the Sacramento Kings and played on the team as a power forward for three years, before signing with the Portland Trail Blazers. After two years, he signed a deal with the Miami Heat to play in a center position. In the summer of 2004 he was traded to the Los Angeles Lakers and in the following season to the Phoenix Suns.

During his time as an NBA player, Brian made significant contributions to the communities he played in. Brian also started his own foundation, the Brian Grant Foundation, in order to assist seriously ill children, their families and under-privileged youth. His contributions were recognized by the NBA when he was awarded the J. Walter Kennedy Citizenship Award in 1999.

After retiring and moving back to his adopted hometown of Portland, Oregon, Brian was diagnosed with Young Onset Parkinson’s disease in 2008 at the age of 36. Today, Brian serves as both an advocate and an inspiration for those living with Parkinson’s.

Brian is the proud father of seven: sons Amani, Elijah, Jaydon, Jonavan, and Brian, and daughters Maliah and Anaya.

Ming Guo (USA):

Mark Guttman (Canada): is the Director of the Centre for Movement Disorders in Toronto, Ontario.  The Centre for Movement Disorders is a National Parkinson Foundation Centre of Excellence based on its support of clinical and research efforts in Parkinson’s disease.

Dr. Guttman has extensive experience in clinical and research activities relating to Huntington’s disease. In addition to providing multi-disciplinary care to HD patients and families, he is involved with peer reviewed HD research and sits on the Steering Committee of ENROLL HD. He is a consultant to CHDI and is actively engaged in many HD research collaborations.

Dr. Guttman’s academic and research experience includes work at Division of Neurology, Department of Medicine, University of Toronto, the Clarke Institute of Psychiatry and the Toronto Hospital.


Ruth Hagestuen (USA): started her Parkinson’s career over 30 years ago as nurse and outreach coordinator with the Center now knows as the Struthers Parkinson’s Center in Minneapolis, Minnesota.  Her initial experience with this interdisciplinary team dedicated to the care of persons with Parkinson’s and their family members has been formative to work since that time, She was invited to join the staff of the National Parkinson Foundation (NPF) where she was able to work for 10 years with affiliates nationally and internationally to develop strategies to better meet needs of persons with Parkinson’s through care initiatives, professional education, support and outreach initiatives.  She served as Director of the NYU Parkinson’s and Movement Disorders Center from 2009-2011 before relocating to Minneapolis where she again joined the Struthers Parkinson’s Center team in the conceptualization and initial development of the Struthers Parkinson’s Care Network (SPCN).

Ruth continues in her role with the National Parkinson Foundation as Director of Allied Team Training for Parkinson (ATTP) and as consultant with NPF to the Edmond J. Safra National Parkinson’s Wellness Initiative. She is active in the International Parkinson and Movement Disorders Society and currently serves on the Education Committee of the Pan American Section of the Society.


Tim Hague (Canada): is a Professional Speaker, Parkinson’s Advocate and Registered Nurse. He was diagnosed with Young Onset Parkinson’s Disease at the early age of 46 and of the many side effects that accompany this disease the most thrilling was its influence in getting him on The Amazing Race Canada!  Tim and his son Tim Jr. were not only selected but went on to win Season #1 of this award winning reality television show. Tim travels across North America and internationally sharing his story of Strength and Courage. His is a message of hope and inspiration of how to 'Live Your Best'.


Kirk Hall (USA): is a husband, father, and grandfather living in the Denver area who was diagnosed in 2008 with Parkinson’s disease (PD). He had to figure out how to “wrap his mind” around this unexpected development. It was his faith that ultimately led him to the realization that he had been given an opportunity to at least try, with the help of his care partner (Linda), to help his fellow PWPs (persons with Parkinson’s) and their care partners. The seeds were planted for Kirk’s “second career” as a PD author, speaker and advocate.  Kirk began speaking at PD support group meetings and events in 2011 after writing his first children’s book. This was a new “voice” that they were not used to hearing. In the years that followed, the value of patient input, perspective, focus and participation have become a central theme in the development of enhanced treatments and research.  His three books are on the recommended reading lists for the Parkinson Disease Foundation (PDF), National Parkinson Foundation (NPF), Michael J. Fox Foundation (MJFF), Lewy Body Dementia Association (LBDA) and Viartis. His blog, which was included in Healthline’s Top Ten PD blog list for 2015, can be found on his website at www.shakypawsgrampa.com. Kirk and Linda participate in the PDF Parkinson’s Advocates in Research (PAIR) and Parkinson Study Group (PSG) programs. They are members of a patient advisory council (providing patient perspective and input for design, implementation, and analysis) for a PD Palliative Care study funded by the Patient Centered Outcome Research Institute (PCORI). They also participated in an International PD Palliative Care Conference held in Denver during October 2015.  Shortly after, Kirk and Dr. Benzi Kluger accepted an invitation. to do a PD palliative care presentation at PCORI's first annual conference in Washington, D.C .


Jeff Hausdorff (Israel): completed his undergraduate degree in engineering at The Cooper Union, graduate degrees at Boston University and MIT, and post-doctoral training at Harvard Medical School. Subsequently, he was an instructor in medicine and assistant professor there. He served as the associate director of the Institute for Nonlinear Dynamics in Physiology and Medicine in Boston and as a research affiliate at MIT. He is an associate editor for two international, peer-reviewed journals, the Journal of Gerontology Medical Sciences and the Journal of NeuroEngineering and Rehabilitation, and frequently reviews for other journals. Prof. Hausdorff is also a board member of the International Society of Posture and Gait Research and the International Society for the Measurement of Physical Behaviour.

Prof. Hausdorff’s laboratory investigates the neural underpinnings of movement, gait, postural control, and falls in health (e.g., normal, aging, maturation) and pathology (e.g., Parkinson's disease, post-stroke, Alzheimer's disease). Examples of areas of interest include studies of the stride-to-stride fluctuations of gait; genetic contributions; bilateral coordination; cognitive function-motor interactions, and ambulatory monitoring. Mobility, balance and gait are considered on three inter-related planes: a) studies of underlying physiologic and patho-physiologic mechanisms (e.g., white matter contributions to sub-types of Parkinson's disease; imaging studies of frontal lobe function and its association with dual-tasking); b) development of new "bio-markers" for early diagnosis and for quantitative tracking of disease progression, aging, and the response to therapeutic interventions (e.g., long-term, at-home monitoring using body-fixed sensors); and c) development and assessment of novel interventions for enhancing balance, gait and cognitive function and for reducing the risk of falls (e.g., studies using virtual reality, pharmacologic therapy, and non-invasive brain stimulation). He and his research team have received widespread recognition for their cutting edge work that integrates the fields of neurology, geriatrics, gerontology, physiology, physical therapy, and engineering.


Etienne Hirsch (France): is a neurobiologist involved in research on Parkinson’s disease and related disorders. He obtained his PhD in 1988 from the University of Paris VI (Pierre et Marie Curie). He is currently the director of the Insitute for Neurosciences, Cognitive sciences, Neurology and Psychiatry at INSERM and the French alliance for life and health science Aviesan, the associate director of the research center of the Institute of Brain and spinal cord (ICM), head of “Experimental therapeutics of  Parkinson disease” at the ICM at Pitié-Salpêtrière hospital in Paris and since November 2015 in charge of the research aspects of French national plan on neurodegenerative disorders . His work is aimed at understanding the cause of neuronal degeneration in Parkinson’s disease and is focused on the role of the glial cells, the inflammatory cytokines and apoptosis but also on the consequences of neuronal degeneration in the circuitries downstream to the lesions. He is member of several advisory boards including, French Society for Neuroscience (past-President), Scientific Advisory board at INSERM. He obtained several prizes including Tourette Syndrome Association Award in1986, Young researcher Award, European Society for Neurochemistry in 1990, Grand Prix de l’Académie de Sciences, Prix de la Fondation pour la recherche biomédicale « Prix François Lhermitte » in 1999, Chevalier de l’ordre des palmes académiques in 2009, Prix Raymond et Aimée Mande of the French National academy of Medicine in 2011, Member of the French National Academy of Pharmacy in 2011. He is author of more than 200 peer reviewed articles.

Johannes (Hans) Holtslag (Netherlands): was diagnosed with Parkinson's disease in 2007. He thought he would never be acting again but his physiotherapist suggested to create a theatre production of his own experiences with the Parkinson's disease. And so he did. Hans shared his story and wrote his book 'Vibrating Tears'.  'I walk through my Park in Sun, the sun is shining at my back. My shadow is projected in front of me. I turn my face to the sun. My shadow is projected behind me. The Park in Sun is a nice place to be.' 'Yes is a magic word, if you embrace your diagnose you can let go.' 'If you have a lot of self-pity there is a beautiful future behind you'.

Hans perfomed more than fifty times and in November last year for 1500 Parkinson professionals. His mission is to inspire people with the message: having your diagnose is not being your disease.


Fay Horak (USA): is a Professor of Neurology and the director of the Balance Disorders laboratory at Oregon Health and Science University and the Portland VA.  Dr. Horak is a physical therapist and neuroscientist who is internationally known for her research on the physiology of balance disorders in Parkinson’s disease and their rehabilitation. Dr. Horak received a BS degree in physical therapy from the U of Wisconsin, a MS in neurophysiology from the U of Minnesota and a PhD in neuroscience from the University of Washington in Seattle.  She has received many national awards from the American Physical Therapy Association and has received a prestigious MERIT award from the National Institutes of Health for over 35 years of continuous funding.  Dr. Horak has over 220 peer-reviewed papers and is on the Council for the National Center of Medical Rehabilitation Research of NIH.

Dr. Horak’s laboratory is considered the premier balance disorders laboratory in the world.  She has characterized normal balance responses to postural perturbations from a moving surface and how Parkinson’s disease affects control of balance and gait.  She has shown how levodopa and deep brain stimulation can impair balance control and how exercise intervention can improve balance and gait.  Dr. Horak’s research has shown how balance control is less like a stereotyped reflex and more like a complex motor skill that can be trained or rehabilitated.  Dr. Horak has several patents for new technology to measure and rehabilitate balance disorders and has developed a popular new clinical balance assessment tool, called the BESTest.  Her novel, instrumented mobility system, called Mobility Lab, allows clinicians to quickly and accurately quantify balance and gait disorders using wireless, wearable sensors.


Martin Ingelsson (Sweden): Being a specialist in Geriatric Medicine at Uppsala University Hospital and an Associate Professor of Experimental Geriatrics at Uppsala University, Dr. Martin Ingelsson is dedicated to the care of patients with various neurodegenerative disorders and to the advancement of novel therapies and diagnostic methods for this patient group.

Among his achievements, Dr. Ingelsson has published more than 90 original papers, reviews and book chapters. He has studied amyloid-beta, tau and alpha-synuclein, proteins involved in the pathogeneses of Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease. He has characterized the presence of soluble and insoluble forms of aggregated amyloid-beta and alpha-synuclein and described the regulation of the corresponding genes in brains from patients with the respective disorders. Different cell and animal models are now being used to explore the aggregation behavior of these proteins, with a focus on understanding neurotoxic mechanisms and utilize such knowledge to design novel diagnostic and therapeutic approaches. Most notably, monoclonal antibodies that are selective against toxic oligomeric forms of alpha-synuclein have been generated and are now being evaluated as tools for immunotherapy. In a recently concluded study, Dr. Ingelsson was able to show that peripheral treatment with an oligomer-selective antibody against alpha-synuclein could lower the levels of such species in the central nervous system of a transgenic Parkinson’s disease mouse model. Ongoing studies will show whether this type of treatment also can prevent or ameliorate early motor and behavioural abnormalities in such mice.


Alex Iranzo (Spain): graduated in Medicine (1991) and defended his PhD thesis (2002) at the Universidad de Barcelona, Spain. Presently, he is neurologist consultant at the Neurology Service and at the Multidisciplinary Sleep Unit of the Hospital Clinic of Barcelona, Barcelona, Spain, and Associate Professor of the University of Barcelona of Medicine. He is investigator of Institute D' Investigacions Biomèdiques August Pi i Sunyer (IDIBAPS) and CIBERNED. He is a member of numerous national and international societies such as the American Academy of Neurology, Movement Disorder Society, American Academy of Sleep, World Association of Sleep Medicine, European Sleep Society, International REM Sleep Behavior Disorder Group, European Restless Legs Syndrome Society, European Narcolepsy Network, Spanish Society of Neurology and Spanish Sleep Society. Dr. Iranzo has widely published as first and corresponding author in peer reviewed journals. Presently, he is at the editorial board of the journal Sleep Medicine, and treasurer of the Spanish Sleep Society.


Tom Isaacs (UK): is the co-founder and President of The Cure Parkinson’s Trust which has committed and facilitated significant funds to research around the world.

Having been diagnosed with Parkinson's at the young age of 27 and since then has done everything he can to raise funds, heighten awareness and find a cure.  Tom left his job as Director of a London property company in 2002 to undertake his Coastin' challenge. By April 2003, Tom had walked 4,500 miles around the British coastline, climbed the highest mountains in England, Scotland and Wales and run the London Marathon raising over £350,000.

In 2005, he was elected UK Charity Personality of the Year. Tom was a Board Member of the European Parkinson’s Disease Association from 2005 until 2010.  Tom has been heavily involved with all four World Parkinson Congresses and chaired the Patient Advisory Committee on two occasions.  He is a co-founder of Parkinson’s Movement, an organisation which provides an independent voice for people with Parkinson’s and has made significant progress with addressing some of the problems experienced in clinical trials, in particular, recruitment and outcome measures.

In 2012 Tom was awarded the prestigious, Dr Rana International Parkinson’s Community Service Award. He was also one of the torchbearers in the run up to the 2012 Olympic Games.

Tom has written a book “Shake Well Before Use” about his walk and his experiences with Parkinson’s which he conveys with passion, optimism and humour. He speaks regularly about his condition and the ability of people with Parkinson’s to inject urgency into progressing the delivery of new therapies to the clinic. He has written articles and been published in the Lancet Neurology, the Journal of Clinical Investigations and the Journal of Parkinson’s Disease for which he is on the editorial board.

Stuart Isaacson (USA): is Clinical Associate Professor of Neurology at the FIU Herbert Wertheim College of Medicine.  Dr. Isaacson received his medical degree from Northwestern University School of Medicine in Chicago, Illinois.  He completed fellowships at the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda Maryland, and in NY at the Mount Sinai Medical Center under Warren Olanow, Melvin Yahr, and Mitchell Brin. In 1999, Dr. Isaacson established the Parkinson’s Disease and Movement Disorders Center of Boca Raton, where he directs a team of movement disorder neurologists and clinical coordinators combining a holistic approach to medical therapy with access to state-of-the-art clinical research trials to find new treatments and ultimately a cure for Parkinson’s disease and related movement disorders.  He has been involved in over 100 clinical trials and has served on national and international committees for many drug development programs and trials, as well as for the Parkinson Study Group and the Movement Disorders Section of the American Academy of Neurology.  Dr. Isaacson has authored or co-authored nearly 200 abstracts, journal articles, and book chapters, and has presented research results at national and international scientific meetings.  He has also worked closely with national foundations, including the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research.  Dr. Isaacson is a member of the American Academy of Neurology, the Movement Disorders Society, the Section on Movement Disorders of the AAN, the Parkinson’s Study Group, the Huntington’s Study Group, and has been recognized in Best Doctors in America, America’s Top Physicians, and Florida SuperDoctors.

Dave Iverson (UK): is an independent film producer and veteran journalist. His most recent film is “Capturing Grace”, a feature documentary about a group of dancers with Parkinson’s disease and their unique collaboration with the world renowned Mark Morris Dance Group. The film has screened to sold out audiences nationally and internationally and was broadcast on PBS during the summer and fall of 2015. Iverson was also the writer, correspondent and co-producer/director of the 2009 PBS Frontline documentary “My Father, My Brother and Me” which explored his family saga with Parkinson’s as well as the scientific, ethical and political issues raised by this condition.

In addition to his film and broadcast work, Iverson now serves as Contributing Editor for the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research and is a founding member of the foundation’s Patient Council.


Stuart Jackson (Canada): has had a long and productive career in medical physics, working in the academic and health care industries of the United Kingdom, the United States and Canada for over forty years. His main area of focus has been in Nuclear Medicine although he has published widely in other applications of physics in medicine. Dr. Jackson has worked in the clinical trials industry and is familiar with the regulatory aspects of clinical studies. He has always had a strong interest in technology transfer and has been involved with several successful commercial ventures based on his research. Although he is currently retired from full time academic work he still holds Academic positions as an Associate Professor and teaches and consults in the area of Nuclear Medicine and radiation safety to several Health Districts.

Parkinson's Disease has has been part of his life for many years. Initially when his father in-law was diagnosed with the problem in the early 1970's when therapeutic treatment was in it's infancy. Then, several years later he was hired to join a small team of two physicists and two engineers who built one of the first clinical PET scanners in the United States at Mount Sinai Hospital on Miami Beach. As  a Medical Physicist his role was to write the image display and reconstruction software for the device, for which the primary use at the time was the investigation of PD. Then, many years later about twelve years ago to be exact, he suspected that the physical changes he himself was experiencing were in fact those of PD. He is currently well controlled, optimistic, tries to be active and laugh as much as possible.


Danna Jennings (USA): is a Senior Director of Clinical Research and Vice President and oversees all clinical activities at Molecular NeuroImaging (MNI).  Her career has been centered on CNS clinical research, including clinical therapeutic trials and investigator-initiated clinical imaging trials involving the development of biomarkers for neurodegenerative disorders. The scope of her work makes her ideally suited to serve as the lead investigator for translational studies at MNI that involve application of evaluating therapeutics and receptor occupancy studies conducted with functional imaging (PET and SPECT) imaging. Her research includes the design and implementation of studies aimed at the development of imaging biomarkers for eligibility and monitoring disease progression in of Parkinson and Alzheimer disease clinical trials.  In addition she has served as a clinical investigator on over 40 clinical trials evaluating the safety and efficacy of therapeutics for neuropsychiatric conditions.  As an established clinical trial investigator, she is frequently called upon as a consultant for study design and feasibility.  She is also a member of the Steering Committee of the Parkinson Associated Risk Syndrome (PARS) study evaluating pre-diagnostic markers of Parkinson’s disease, the Parkinson Progression Marker Initiative (PPMI) and the Systemic Synuclein Sampling Study (S4). As an active member of the Parkinson and Alzheimer research community, Dr. Jennings also serves on grant review committees for the Michael J Fox Foundation, the Parkinson Disease Foundation and the Alzheimer’s Association.


Ryuji Kaji (Japan):

Hanneke Kalf (Netherlands): is a speech-language pathologist and assistant professor at the department of Rehabilitation of the Radboud university medical center in Nijmegen, the Netherlands. She got her diploma in speech-language therapy in 1982 at the University of Applied Sciences in Utrecht, her master’s degree in clinical epidemiology from the University of Amsterdam in 2005 and earned her PhD in 2011 at the Radboud University in Nijmegen with her thesis 'Drooling and dysphagia in Parkinon's disease'. She combines clinical work with research projects, supervision of PhD candidates and development of postgraduate education. She is specialized in the assessment and treatment of dysarthria and oropharyngeal dysphagia in adults, in particular in patients with Parkinson’s disease. Through the years, her specific expertise made her an appreciated invited speaker at international congresses. Since 2006 she is involved in ParkinsonNet, the Dutch model for multidisciplinary care for people with Parkinson’s disease. Currently, she is also the co-chair of the Health Professionals (Non-Physicians) Special Interest Group of the International Parkinson and Movement Disorders Society.

Suketu M. Khandhar (USA)is a board certified neurologist working at Kaiser Pemanente in Sacramento. He completed a fellowship in Parkinson’s disease and Movement Disorders from the University of California, San Francisco. Currently he is the Medical Director of the Movement Disorders Program at Kaiser Pemanente, Northern California. He works with a team of specialists focusing on surgical treatments for Parkinson’s disease, Essential Tremor, and Dystonia. He has championed multi-disciplinary care using the Kaiser integrated practice model.


Un Kang (USA)

Lissa Kapust (USA): has devoted her career to addressing psychosocial issues for those with neurological illness. With heartfelt sincerity, Ms. Kapust believes that patients and family members have been her best teachers over the decades of her professional life. She brings that enthusiasm from Boston to the WPC! On faculty at Harvard Medical School, she is involved in clinical practice, program development, teaching, research, writing and public speaking.  She has assumed a leadership role with the National Parkinson's Foundation (NPF) Center of Excellence at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (BIDMC).  She is committed to the team approach to care.  Looking through the wide angle lens, she developed a broad range of "Wellness Works" programs that include Tai Chi, Drumming, Yoga, Zumba, Tango and PD Golf.  She brought to Boston highly successful Rock Steady Boxing classes. A video on this program, which can be seen on youtube, now inspires others with PD and demonstrates the many benefits of this novel workout.  Ms. Kapust also founded "DriveWise"; a hospital based program offering objective assessment when driving safety is in question. Since 2015, Ms Kapust has participated in an exiting collaborative program between the BIDMC and Levinthal-Sidman JCC (funded by the Edmond J. Safra National Parkinson's Initiative).  This collaboration includes PD exercise programs, educational symposiums and care partner support groups.  Ms. Kapust leads the weekly support groups that take place in parallel to the innovative movement programs for PWP. The group builds on members sharing experiences, challenges and strategies for maintaining hope. This model builds community amongst PWP and family members and demonstrates wonderful institutional partnership. She comes to Portland eager to teach and learn!

Jason Karlawish (USA): is a Professor of Medicine, Medical Ethics and Health Policy, and Neurology at the University of Pennsylvania. He is the Director of Penn’s Neurodegenerative Disease Ethics and Policy Program; co-Director of the Penn Memory Center; the Director of the Alzheimers Disease Center’s Outreach and Recruitment Core; and director of a CDC funded Healthy Brain Initiative Center. His clinical practice focuses on the diagnosis and treatment of persons with Alzheimers disease and related disorders.

Dr. Karlawish’s research focuses on ethical and policy issues encountered in research and care that engages older adults with late-life cognitive disorders such as Alzheimers Disease and Parkinsons Disease, and cognitive aging. His has investigated issues in dementia drug development, informed consent, quality of life, research and treatment decision making, biomarkers, pre-clinical concepts of Alzheimers disease, and voting by persons with cognitive impairment and residents of long term care facilities. He developed the ACED -- the assessment for capacity for everyday decisionmaking -- an instrument to assist in judging a person’s capacity to manage their functional deficits that has been adopted widely by providers in care management and adult protective services.

His current research includes developing safe and effective methods to disclose Alzheimers disease biomarker and genetic results to cognitively normal older adults, (this work in collaboration with the NIA-Lilly sponsored A4 Study, the NIA-Novartis sponsored Alzheimers Prevention Initiative trial, and the European Prevention of Alzheimers Disease Initiative); understanding the ethical, psychological and legal impacts of applying precision medicine to the brain; developing assessment tools for adult protective service investigators to assess client capacity to manage an immanent risk; and examining how technology can promote cognitive health with a particular focus on the banking and financial services industries. To learn more about his research and writing, visit www.jasonkarlawish.com.


Horacio Kaufmann (USA): is Professor of Neurology and Professor of Medicine at New York University where he also holds the Axelrod Chair for dysautonomia research and directs the Dysautonomia Center. Dr. Kaufmann received his medical degree from the National University of Buenos Aires in Argentina. After residency training in Internal Medicine, he completed Neurology residency and fellowship at Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York. 

His research has focused on the function and dysfunction of the autonomic nervous system and its abnormalities in neurological disorders. The US National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), the National Institute of Health (NIH), the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the Dana Foundation, the Michael J Fox Foundation and the Dysautonomia Foundation, Inc have funded Dr. Kaufmann’s research.

Dr. Kaufmann published the first complete autopsy findings in patients with pure autonomic failure, establishing this disorder as a synucleinopathy related to Parkinson disease. He described the vestibulo sympathetic reflex in humans, a feed forward mechanism that helps maintain blood pressure during movement. Recently, he defined the autonomic phenotype of the Riley Day syndrome (Hereditary Sensory and Autonomic Neuropathy type III, or Familial dysautonomia) as a developmental disorder of the afferent neurons of the baroreceptor reflex. He was the principal investigator of the   multinational clinical trials that led to the approval by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) of two agents for the treatment of neurogenic orthostatic hypotension. He is the PI of an ongoing NIH-sponsored multinational study of the natural history of the synucleinopathies.

Dr. Kaufmann serves as the Editor-in-Chief of Clinical Autonomic Research. He lives in New York City with his wife, Lucy Norcliffe-Kaufmann PhD, and two children George (age 9) and Dolores (age 5).


Benzi Kluger (USA): is an Associate Professor of Neurology and Psychiatry and Director of the Movement Disorders Center and Neurology Supportive and Palliative Care Programs at the University of Colorado. He completed medical school and neurology residency at the University of Colorado and fellowships in behavrioal neurology and movement disorders at the University of Florida. His research is focused on non-motor symptoms (fatigue and cognitive dysfunction) in Parkinson’s disease including improving our understanding of their neurophysiology, testing alternative therapies (e.g. acupuncture) and developing novel therapeutic approaches (e.g. non-invasive neurostimulation). His research has been funded by the National Institutes of Health, the Michael J. Fox Foundation, the Patient Centered Outcomes Research Institute, the Colorado Clinical and Translational Sciences Institute and the Department of Defense. He also initiated and directs one of the first team-based outpatient palliative care programs in the United States dedicated to meeting the needs of patients and families affected by neurological illnesses including Parkinson's disease and is currently leading a randomized controlled trial of outpatient palliative care for Parkinson's disease patients and caregivers. He has worked with several patient advocacy groups including the Parkinson's Association of the Rockies, the Davis Phinney Foundation, and the Parkinson Disease Foundation's Patient Advocates In Research (PAIR) program.

Jeffrey Kordower (USA): is the Jean Schweppe-Armour Professor of Neurological Sciences, Professor of Neurosurgery, Director, Research Center for Brain Repair, Section Head of Neuroscience, and Director of the Neuroscience Graduate Program at Rush University Medical Center.  He received his B.A. and M.A. from the City University of New York and his Ph.D. in Neuropsychology from that same institution in 1984.  He received an Honorary Doctorate of Science from that same institution in 2004.

Dr. Kordower is an international authority in movement disorders, with special expertise in experimental therapeutic strategies in Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease, and Huntington’s disease using nonhuman primate models.  He has published landmark papers in cell replacement strategies including the first demonstration that fetal dopaminergic grafts can survive, innervate, and form synapses in patients with Parkinson’s disease that was published in the New England Journal of Medicine. His demonstration that long-term grafts in such patients can form Lewy bodies was recently published in Nature Medicine. He has published studies including the lead article in Science demonstrating gene delivery of trophic factors, GDNF and neurturin can prevent the emergence of motor symptoms and nigrostriatal degeneration in nonhuman primate models of PD. He was the first to demonstrate that gene delivery of trophic factors can obviate neurodegenerative processes in nonhuman primate models of Huntington’s disease and Alzheimer’s disease, these studies being published in Nature and The Journal of Comparative Neurology.

Dr. Kordower has published over 350 papers, has lectured all over the world, has been on over 20 Editorial boards, and is on the SAB’s of many biotech companies. He is a Past-Councilor and Past President of the American Society for Neural Transplantation, Past-Chair for the Committee for the Use of Animals for SFN, and is a founding and current SAB member for the Michael J. Fox Foundation.


Paul Krack (Switzerland): is Professor of Neurology in charge of the deep brain stimulation program in movement and behavioural disorders at the Clinic of Neurology, Department of Clinical Neurosciences, Geneva University Hospital. He is involved in translational research at the Neurology Department of Basic Neurosciences, Medical Faculty, University of Geneva, Switzerland. Dr. Krack trained in Movement Disorders with Professor Günther Deuschl in Kiel, Germany and with Professor Pierre Pollak in Grenoble, France. He has been a member of the team of Professors Benabid and Pollak, who had been pioneering deep brain stimulation in Grenoble. He particularly contributed to development of subthalamic stimulation in Parkinson’s disease and in obsessive compulsive disorders. He has received international recognition for his research on the impact of deep brain stimulation on motor and non-motor symptoms of Parkinson’s disease. He has published more than 200 peer reviewed articles and chapters. His H-Factor is 55 and his work is cited about 1000 times per year in scientific publications. The main topics of interest of Paul Krack are cognitive and behavioural aspects of PD, behavioural effects of deep brain stimulation in neurologic and psychiatric disorders, and basal ganglia involvement in the physiology of human behaviour. Dr. Krack is member of the Movement Disorder Society since 1991, and he has been active in various scientific committees of the MDS since 2001.


Anatol Kreitzer (USA): earned a bachelor’s degree in linguistics at the University of California, Berkeley, in 1996 and his PhD in neurobiology at Harvard University in 2001. He conducted postdoctoral research in the Nancy Pritzker Laboratory at Stanford University with Dr. Robert Malenka until 2007, when he established his laboratory at Gladstone. Dr. Kreitzer’s research focuses on the function of basal ganglia circuitry in motor control and reinforcement learning. He is an expert in synaptic plasticity, neuromodulation, and the emerging field of optogenetics—the application of genetic and optical techniques to remotely control neurons in behaving animals. Dr. Kreitzer was among the first to characterize the function of endocannabinoid signaling at synapses in the central nervous system. More recently, Dr. Kreitzer has identified key neural circuits involved in Parkinson’s disease, along with cell-type specific synaptic and circuit changes that occur in the basal ganglia after loss of dopamine. He has been honored with awards that include the Pew Scholar Award, the McKnight Scholar Award, and the Society for Neuroscience Young Investigator Award.

Bob Kuhn (Canada): is a Canadian lawyer by training, and practiced for more than 35 years in the Vancouver area of British Columbia. Currently, he serves as the President of Trinity Western University (the largest Christian University in Canada), from which he graduated in 1972. He was diagnosed with Parkinson's disease in January, 2006, and has since been active in the Parkinson's community, seeking to raise public awareness and funds for various organizations. This fund-raising effort included completing a 50 hour coast-to-coast endurance motorcycle ride (San Diego, California to Jacksonville, Florida) in 2014.  Bob served as a World Parkinson Congress Ambassador in 2013, at which Congress he spoke about his around the world tour in 2012.  It was for that tour that he created "Parky" the raccoon as his way of introducing Parkinson's disease to children and others in a non-threatening manner.  Bob has spoken extensively on the subject of living with Parkinson’s, and is also the author of "Positively Parkinson's", a blog that focuses on remaining positive despite the diagnosis of PD. He has been involved in two documentary films, the first being "Undefeated", used for awareness and education purposes by the Parkinson's Society of British Columbia, and "Today We Ride", the chronicle of his 2014 cross-country endurance motorcycle ride.

Sheng-Han Kuo (USA):


Lucie Lachance (Canada): is a Clinical Nurse Specialist in Movement Disorders at the Montreal Neurological Hospital and Montreal General Hospital within McGill University Health Center since 2001. She completed her Master degree in Sherbrooke University in Clinical Sciences in 1996. With the McGill Disorders Program Team, she evaluated, delivered and coordinated appropriate care for patients with complex needs and provided support and educational assistance to their families over the continuum of care required by the progressing condition associated with the Parkinson Disease and other movement disorders. One of the leader of the Movement Disorders Program at the MUHC, her activities extend well outside the MUHC as she provide guidance and disseminate best practices to nurses, allied health care professionals and others clinical partners regarding issues related to care and interdisciplinary team effectiveness in the treatment of Parkinson. She is a part time lecturer at McGill University for students under graduate and graduate program in Nursing. She was involved with Parkinson Canada as a board member until 2013. She is now on medical advisory board for Parkinson Canada. In addition, she was involved on the local organizing committee and comprehensive care program subcommittee for the World Parkinson Congress which took place in Montreal in 2013 and on same program committee for WPC 2016.


Anne-Louise Lafontaine (Canada):


Anthony E. Lang (Canada): is Professor and Director of the Division of Neurology at the University of Toronto, Director of the Morton and Gloria Shulman Movement Disorders Center and the Lily Safra Chair in Movement Disorders at the Toronto Western Hospital, the Jack Clark Chair for Parkinson’s Disease Research at the University of Toronto and Director of the Edmond J. Safra Program in Parkinson’s Disease at the University Health Network and the University of Toronto. He has published over 600 peer-reviewed papers and over 100 book chapters. In 2011 he was listed as the most highly cited investigator in the field of Parkinson’s disease for the decade 2001-2009 and in 2013 he was listed as one of the most influential (top-400) living core biomedical researchers based on publications between 1996 and 2011.  He has been regularly listed as a  Thomson Reuters Highly Cited Researcher and was listed in their 2015 World’s Most Influential Scientific Minds (analysing citation data over an 11-year period (2003-2013) and identifying those who published the greatest number of highly cited papers). He served as the President of the Movement Disorder Society from 2007- 2009 and was CoEditor-in-Chief of the international journal Movement Disorders from 1996 to 2003. He has given many named lectures and won a number of awards including being appointed as an Officer of the Order of Canada in 2010. In 2014 he was elected by the International Parkinson and Movement Disorder Society as an Honorary Member “in recognition of his extraordinary contribution to the field of Movement Disorders”.

Alice Lazzarini (USA): is a (retired) Clinical Assistant Professor in Neurology at Rutgers-Robert Wood Johnson Medical School.  In addition to Parkinson disease, she has contributed to research on X-linked mental retardation, spinocerebellar ataxia (SCA), Restless Legs Syndrome, as well as Huntington disease, for which she participated in the development of the first predictive testing protocols.

Named one of the twenty top authors in Parkinson disease research from 1996 through 2006, she authored a family study that supported a genetic component to Parkinson disease (Neurology 1994). She was then part of the Rutgers/National Institutes of Health/University of Naples team that discovered the location of PARK1, the first Parkinson disease-causing gene mutation (Science 1996), and she was first to report an association of tau with Parkinson’s (Neurology 1997).

Then, in 2004, she realized she was developing symptoms of Parkinson disease, the very same disease that she had spent years studying. Thus, she began a very different journey—one of self-discovery. She chronicles this story in a memoir, Both Sides Now: A Journey From Researcher to Patient.

Albert Leentjens (Netherlands): studied medicine in Antwerp, Belgium, and Rotterdam, the Netherlands, where he obtained his MD in 1988. He subsequently specialized in Psychiatry at the University Medical Centre Rotterdam, the Netherlands. From 1996 he works in the Department of Psychiatry of Maastricht University Medical Centre, Maastricht, the Netherlands. Here he received his PhD in 2002 studying the role of serotonin in depression in Parkinson's disease. He is presently working as Associate Professor of Psychiatry. He published more than 120 papers and book chapters in the field of neuropsychiatry, with a special focus on the psychopathology of movement disorders. He has been principal investigator to a number of national and international multicenter studies into affective and cognitive disorders in patients with Parkinson's disease. He contributed the Dutch multidisciplinary guideline "Parkinson's disease', and served on the 'Scientific Issues Committee' of the Movement Disorder Society  from 2011 to 2013.

He has edited a number of books among which the Dutch 'Handbook of Consultation Psychiatry', the Dutch 'Handbook of integrated Care', and the Dutch 'Handbook of Deep Brain Stimulation for neurological and psychiatric disorders'.  He was chair of the Section of General Hospital Psychiatry of the Dutch Psychiatric Association and chair of the European Association of Consultation-Liaison Psychiatry and Psychosomatics (EACLPP, currently known as EAPM). He is Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of Psychosomatic Research.

Amy Lemen (USA): oversees all programs and services for the Marlene and Paolo Fresco Institute for Parkinson’s and Movement Disorders, New York University Langone Medical Center. She is the Managing Director of the Edmond J. Safra National Parkinson’s Wellness Initiative, founded in partnership with the Fresco Institute, the National Parkinson Foundation and JCC Manhattan to establish a network of collaborative academic medical centers and Jewish Community Centers across the United States to improve the lives of individuals living with Parkinson’s. She is the founding NYU coordinator of the Edmond J. Safra Parkinson’s Wellness Program-NYC, a partnership between the Fresco Institute and JCC Manhattan to provide a comprehensive model of exercise, support, education and community for individuals living with Parkinson’s in New York City and the region. Amy is the co-founder of the Fresco Institute’s Interdisciplinary Home Visit Program for Parkinson’s, a clinical care and research program designed to extend specialized services into the home for vulnerable patients and families throughout New York City. She is the founder of the Fresco Institute’s master of social work educational training program and is Adjunct Assistant Professor, NYU Silver School of Social Work. She was the recipient of the Emerging Social Work Leader Award from the National Association of Social Workers – New York City Chapter in 2015. Amy provides clinical care at the Fresco Institute as a psychotherapist specializing in helping individuals, care partners, couples and families with the emotional adaptation of living with Parkinson’s and other neurodegenerative diseases.


Simon Lewis (Australia):  is an NHMRC-ARC Dementia Fellow who works as a Consultant Neurologist at the Royal Prince Alfred Hospital and is Professor of Cognitive Neuroscience at the University of Sydney.  He is the Clinical Director of the Ageing Brain Clinic and Director of the Parkinson's Disease Research Clinic at the Brain & Mind Research Institute and heads the NSW Movement Disorders Brain Donor program.  He has published over 130 peer review papers, 2 books and 3 book chapters and has attracted over $5 Million in funding from various sources including the NHMRC, ARC and Michael J Fox Foundation to support his research interests targeting quality of life in PD.


Renee Le Verrier (USA)is a stroke survivor, certified yoga instructor, author and person living with Parkinson’s. Renee modifies yoga to benefit people with movement disorders. She has taught at Massachusetts General Hospital, for a stroke recovery program and with the Massachusetts Chapter of the APDA. Currently, she teaches weekly classes with the Northwest Parkinson Foundation.

The large library of yoga books she keeps featured very few on Parkinson’s. So she wrote
Yoga for Movement Disorders: Rebuilding Strength, Balance and Flexibility for Parkinson’s Disease and Dystonia as well as its Companion DVD. Renee also shares insights and resources on yoga and Parkinson’s in her blog. HealthLine named it Best of the Web in 2014 and 2015.

Other books by Renee include a yoga alphabet book,
A, B, C…X, Yoga, Z and A Treasure Hunt for Mama and Me: Helping Children Cope with Parental Illness. She wrote the first working with her son. The second was written for him.

Look for her young adult novel, Duke’s Code, in October and two books on service dogs in 2017. Renee writes and teaches in the Seattle area where she lives with her husband, son, and a variety of four-legged friends. 


Peter LeWitt (USA):

Irene Litvan (USA): is the Tasch Endowed Chair of Parkinson Disease Research at the University of California San Diego (UCSD), Professor of Neurosciences and Director of the UCSD National Parkinson Foundation Movement Disorder Center of Excellence. She is a fellow of the American Neurological Association and American Academy of Neurology. She serves or has severed on many boards and committees of the International Parkinson Disease and Movement Disorder Society, American Academy of Neurology, World Federation of Neurology, World Parkinson Congress and medical scientific boards. She was the local chair and co-chair of the 19th International Parkinson Disease and Movement Disorder Society Congress. She is a movement disorder specialist, behavioral neurologist and neuroepidemiologist with more than 25 years of experience conducting clinical trials and leading multidisciplinary and multiple-site clinical studies. Dr. Litvan received the National Institutes of Health merit award for leading international multiple-center studies to evaluate and improve the clinical diagnostic criteria of parkinsonian neurodegenerative disorders. She has published more than 250 peer-reviewed articles and chapters, and is senior editor of 4 books. Dr. Litvan is committed to mentoring students, residents, fellows and junior faculty to become clinical translational scientists.

Sue Lord (UK): is a Senior Research Associate at the Institute of Neuroscience, Newcastle University, UK. Her key areas of research interest include gait, falls and the interplay between these and cognition in aging and in people with Parkinson's disease. She is also involved in research to understand the role of vision during gait. Sue also works clinically as a physical therapist in a Movement Disorders Clinic.


Andres Lozano (Canada): is University Professor and Chairman of Neurosurgery at the University of Toronto and holds both the RR Tasker Chair in Functional Neurosurgery and a Tier 1 Canada Research Chair in Neuroscience.

He is best known for his work in Deep Brain Stimulation (DBS).  His team has mapped out cortical and subcortical structures in the human brain and have pioneered  applications of DBS  for various disorders including  Parkinson’s disease, depression, dystonia, anorexia, Huntington’s and Alzheimer’s disease.

Prof. Lozano has over 500 manuscripts published or in press and is, according to Thompson Reuters, the most cited neurosurgeon in the world for the 11 year period from 2002 to 2012. He has trained over 50 international fellows in Functional Neurosurgery, many who have become leaders in their field.  Prof. Lozano serves on the board of several international organizations and is a founding member of the scientific advisory board of the Michael J Fox Foundation and the Weston Brain Institute.  He has received a number of awards including the Margolese National Brain Award, the Olivecrona medal and the Pioneer in Medicine award, has been elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada and the Canadian Academy of Health Sciences and has received the Order of Spain.


Ian Martin (USA): is originally from London, England, where he completed a B.S. in biochemistry at King's College, London, before moving to the U.S. to pursue graduate studies in neuroscience. Ian completed his postdoctoral training with Drs. Ted and Valina Dawson at Johns Hopkins University in 2015 and recently started my own laboratory in the Jungers Center for Neurosciences Research at Oregon Health and Science University. His laboratory is dedicated to understanding fundamental mechanisms of Parkinson's development. Our main focus is on how mutations in the PD-associated gene LRRK2 (leucine-rich repeat kinase 2) lead to the disease and specifically how an elevation of LRRK2 kinase activity by these mutations results in an age-related loss of dopamine neurons.


Pablo Martinez-Martin (Spain): is Neurologist and Scientist Researcher of the Spanish Public Boards of Research at the National Center of Epidemiology, Carlos III Institute of Health (ISCIII) and Consortium for Biomedical Research in Neurodegenerative Diseases (CIBERNED – ISCIII), Madrid, Spain, since 2006. 

He has been Scientific Director of the Research Unit for Alzheimer’s Disease at the Alzheimer Center Reina Sofia Foundation (2006-2014); Head of the Section of Neuroepidemiology at the National Center of Epidemiology, ISCIII, Madrid, Spain (2001-2006); and Head of the Department of Neurology in the Hospital de Getafe (Madrid) (1991-2001) and Central Red Cross Hospital (Madrid) (1988-1991). Associated Professor of Neurology, Department of Health Sciences, School of Medicine, Complutense University, Madrid (1989-1993).

He has received 14 awards in Neurosciences and Aging. Member of several international Study Groups, Steering Committees for research, and Task Forces of the Movement Disorder Society and the European Federation of Neurological Societies. Chair of the Committee on Rating Scales Development of the International Parkinson and Movement Disorder Society since 2013. 

Main research lines of Dr. Martinez-Martin are: Assessment instruments (rating scales, questionnaires), Patient-Reported Outcomes, particularly health-related quality of life; Outcomes research; Neurodegenerative diseases, particularly Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s diseases; Dementia.

He has published over 375 articles in scientific journals, 99 chapters of book and 17 books as editor or co-editor. He has given 173 lectures as Invited Professor in teaching institutions, 176 talks in scientific events, and presented more than 415 reports to congresses. Chair and Convenor of 55 Scientific meetings and Teaching courses.

Eliezer Masliah (USA)


Soania Mathur (Canada): is a family physician living outside of Toronto, Ontario who had to resign her practice as a result of her Young Onset Parkinson's Disease a full twelve years after her diagnosis at age 27. Now she is a dedicated speaker, writer, educator and Parkinson's advocate. She speaks passionately about the challenges of adjusting physically and emotionally and the coping strategies available to patients.

Dr. Mathur is an active speaker in Canada and the US at patient-directed conferences and also serves as a resource for education projects.  She works with The Michael J. Fox foundation for Parkinson’s Research and serves on their Patient Council.  She is a member of The Brian Grant Foundation Advisory Board that helps to create educational programming and is on the executive for Parkinson’s Movement North America. She is also on the Program Committee for the World Parkinson Congress 2016 and the editorial board of the Journal of Parkinson’s Disease. She was the sole contributor for the About.com Parkinson’s website and is a regular contributor to Huffington Post Blog and others. She is the founder of Designing A Cure Inc. (www.designingacure.com) which was initially created to raise funds directed towards research and awareness of Parkinson's disease and now serves as a platform to educate and inspire those living with this disease to take charge of their lives, to live well with Parkinson's. Dr. Mathur has a special interest in helping educate the youngest affected by the stress of this chronic disease. To help facilitate dialogue between children and their loved ones, she has authored two books: “My Grandpa’s Shaky Hands”and “Shaky Hands – A Kid’s Guide To Parkinson’s Disease”. All proceeds from the sales of these books will be donated back to support Parkinson’s research and other efforts that serve the PD community.

Helen Mayberg (USA): is Professor of Psychiatry, Neurology and Radiology and the Dorothy Fuqua Chair in Psychiatric Neuroimaging and Therapeutics at Emory University.  Over the last 25 years, her multi-disciplinary depression research team has worked to integrate cutting-edge imaging strategies, quantitative behavioral and psychophysiological metrics, and experimental treatment trials to define brain-based biomarkers that can optimize treatment selection for individual patients.  This work was foundational for the first studies of subcallosal cingulate deep brain stimulation for treatment resistant depression and remains the cornerstone of current studies to both refine and optimize DBS implementation and characterize network mechanisms mediating its antidepressant effects. Dr. Mayberg is a neurologist, trained at Columbia's Neurological Institute in New York, with fellowship training in nuclear medicine at Johns Hopkins. She is a member of the National Academy of Medicine, among other honors, and participates in a wide variety of editorial, advisory and scientific activities across multiple fields in neuroscience.


Sarkis Mazmanian (USA): is the Louis & Nelly Soux Professor of Microbiology in the Division of Biology & Biological Engineering at the California Institute of Technology (Caltech). Dr. Mazmanian received his training in microbiology and immunology at the University of California, Los Angeles, exploring mechanism by which Gram-positive pathogens anchor surface protein adhesins during bacterial infection. He was a Helen Hay Whitney Fellow at Harvard Medical School where he studied how symbiotic bacteria promote healthy maturation of the immune system. Dr. Mazmanian has won numerous awards including a Searle Scholar, Damon Runyon-Rachleff Innovation Award, was named by Discover Magazine as one of the Best Brains in Science under 40, and received the MacArthur Foundation “Genius” award. His laboratory focuses on the study of beneficial bacterial molecules from the human gut microbiome as novel therapies for immunologic and neurologic disorders.


Joe Mazzulli (USA)received his Ph.D. in neuroscience from the University of Pennsylvania in 2007 in the lab of Harry Ischiropoulos, where he utilized Parkinson’s cell and mouse models to study the effects of dopamine oxidation on a-synuclein aggregation. He then conducted post-doctoral studies in the neurology department at Massachusetts General Hospital / Harvard Medical School in the lab of Dimitri Krainc, where he examined the role of lysosomes in neurodegenerative diseases. His post-doctoral work focused on the mechanism of lysosomal GBA1 – related Parkinson’s disease where he helped to uncover a bi-directional link between Gaucher disease glucocerebrosidase and a-synuclein aggregation. He is currently an assistant professor of neurology at Northwestern Feinberg School of Medicine in Chicago, IL. His laboratory is focused on determining how a-synuclein misfolding and aggregation result in neurodegeneration using patient-derived midbrain dopamine cultures. Dr. Mazzulli is also a scientific co-founder and scientific advisory board member of Lysosomal Therapeutics, Inc, a company that utilizes lysosomal biology to develop treatments for Parkinson’s disease and related neurodegenerative disorders. 

Heidi McBride (Canada): is a graduate of McGill (B.Sc ’91, Ph.D with Gordon Shore in ’96) and completed her post-doctoral training in the lab of Marino Zerial at the EMBL in Heidelberg, Germany in 2000. Heidi trained in the fields of mitochondrial protein import and the molecular mechanisms of endocytosis, Rab activation and SNARE assembly. As an independent investigator, her group has focused on understanding the fundamental behaviour of the mitochondria and how they are integrated into the cellular environment. Heidi started her research lab at the University of Ottawa Heart Institute (2000-2011), and then moved to McGill University where she is now a Full Professor in the Department of Neurology and Neurosurgery, with a cross appointment in the Department of Anatomy and Cell Biology. Heidi is honoured to teach and train an amazing and brilliant cohort of undergraduates, grad students and post-doctoral fellows, without whom there would be nothing! She is engaged in a number of meaningful collaborations both within the Rare Neurological Disease Group at the Montreal Neurological Institute, and with her colleagues around the world. As a basic science lab, they work hard to apply and test our discoveries within multiple disease paradigms; something only made possible through active, fun and enriching collaboration. Together they are a dynamic, creative and multidisciplinary team tackling the complex problems of neurodegenerative diseases like ALS, Parkinsons, Huntingtons, Multiple Sclerosis, and various forms of Ataxias.

Andy McDowell (New Zealand): is an award winning marketing consultant, husband and father of two young girls living with early onset Parkinson's Disease.

Diagnosed with early onset Parkinson’s disease in December 2009, aged he wrote a poem "Smaller" for his children - to help them understand what was happening to him. He turned that poem into a short film that went on to win the Grand Prize and People’s Choice Awards at WPC 2013.  Andy has had a documentary series made about his battle with Parkinsons and the subsequent DBS surgery undertaken in 2014 and has contributed to Parkinsons NZ, Young Parkinsons Network (UK), Power Through Project (WPC) and speaks publicly about his experience. Whilst no longer working Andy devotes himself to his children, exercise and his blog (www.smaller.co.nz).  As he says “Parkinsons may have made me smaller, but I’ve still got a lot to do"


Pamela McLean (USA): is an Associate Professor of Neuroscience at the Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville and the Director of the Neurobiology of Disease Program at Mayo Graduate School/Mayo College of Medicine. She received her PhD from Boston University School of Medicine in 1998 and completed a post-doctoral fellowship at Massachusetts General Hospital in 2001 She was faculty at MGH until 2012, when she moved to Mayo Clinic Florida. During her time at MGH she established her research program in Parkinson’s disease with a focus on the neurobiology of alpha-synuclein. Her research uses state-of-the-art cell based assays, novel imaging techniques, and whole animal models to investigate molecular mechanisms underlying neurodegeneration in PD, dementia with Lewy bodies and related disorders.  Dr. McLean has published extensively and her research is currently supported by the NIH and the Michael J Fox Foundation.


Kalpana Merchant (USA): has deep expertise in the neurobiology of chronic neurodegenerative disorders (Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease) and psychiatric disorders (schizophrenia, major depressive disorder).  In addition, she specializes in translational strategies aimed at improving the success rate of drug development.

In March 2014, Kalpana established a life sciences business that provides consultancy services for drug discovery and translational research that facilitate drug development.  In this capacity, she is an advisor to the Michael J Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research and life sciences venture companies and several start-up pharmaceutical companies. She continues to remain engaged in training and mentoring graduate students, postdoctoral scientists and junior faculty through her adjunct academic positions at Purdue University and Northwestern University.

Prior to establishing TransThera Consulting Co, Kalpana worked in the US pharmaceutical industry for nearly 21 years as a scientific contributor to drug discovery and development as well as in leadership and management roles. Most recently she was at Eli Lilly and Company as the Chief Scientific Officer for Tailored Therapeutics, where she and her team were accountable to enable personalized therapies and facilitate clinical development via delivery of biomarkers.

Kalpana received her PhD in neuropharmacology from the University of Utah. Following a postdoctoral research fellowship at University of Washington, she was appointed as an Assistant Professor of Psychiatry at the same institution. She was recruited to Lilly in 2003 from a position of Senior Research Advisor and Fellow at Pharmacia Corp., where she had contributed to neuroscience drug discovery research for 10 years.

Kalpana is engaged in the wider scientific community via her service on NIH Study Sections, Workshops and Advisory Panels, the scientific advisory board for the Michael J Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research, The Wellcome Trust Review Board as well as membership in professional societies.

Anne Messer (USA): received her PhD in Molecular Biology from the Univ. Oregon Institute of Molecular Biology, studying the genetics of membrane permeation in E. coli.  She made the transition to neurogenetics as a Helen Hay Whitney postdoctoral fellow with Dr. Richard Sidman, Harvard Medical School. Although her major project was with cerebellar development mutants of mice, there was also an active program in retinal disease mutants, with many parallels and interests. During her tenure as an independent neurogenetics research scientist at the Wadsworth Center of the NY State Department of Health (directing the Molecular Genetics Program, and the Laboratory of Human Genetics), and professor of Biomedical Sciences, Univ. at Albany (founding chair of the neuroscience track), she has published over 100 papers on genetics, mechanisms, and therapeutics for neurodevelopmental and neurodegenerative diseases, including papers in Nature, Nature Genetics, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Molecular Therapy, and major neuroscience journals. She has been funded by multiple NIH grants and several disease foundations, while reviewing grants for over 25 NIH study sections, and 12 national and international funding agencies. In the late 1990s, she pioneered the use of engineered antibody fragments (nanobodies and intrabodies) to counteract the cellular effects of misfolding proteins in stressed and aging cells. Since then, she has amassed a body of publications applying this technology to Huntington’s and Parkinson’s disease, ranging from antibody engineering and nanobody selection to in vivo delivery by novel gene therapies. She recently moved her most relevant technology and extensive expertise to the not-for-profit Neural Stem Cell Institute/ Regenerative Research Foundation, to bring these powerful approaches to the exciting stem cell work being done by her long-term colleagues, Drs. Sally Temple and Jeff Stern.

Rebecca Miller (USA): is a licensed clinical psychologist and Assistant Professor at the Yale School of Medicine, Department of Psychiatry. She received her masters and doctorate from Long Island University, Brooklyn, interned at Connecticut Mental Health Center (CMHC) and completed postdoctoral work at the Yale Program for Recovery and Community Health, where she continues to hold a position doing training and research in person centered approaches, peer support, and citizenship for people with mental illness. She currently serves as Director of Peer Support and Family Initiatives at CMHC, where she uses her own lived experience with mental illness to inform her work. Becca lives with Parkinson’s Disease, being diagnosed at age 39 when her daughter was 9 months old, and after living with undiagnosed symptoms for many years.

Laurie Mischley (USA): studied naturopathic medicine at Bastyr University, and epidemiology and nutritional sciences at the University of Washington.  The focus on her work is on describing conditionally essential nutrients in Parkinson’s disease (PD) and describing nutritional requirements unique to individuals with neurodegenerative diseases.

She has published on coenzyme Q10 deficiency in PD, completed her Master’s thesis on lithium deficiency in PD, and is currently completing her doctoral dissertation on glutathione deficiency in PD.  In addition to her work on nutritional requirements in PD, she is principal investigator on ‘CAM Care in PD,’ an internet-based study striving to identify those individuals with the slowest progressing disease, the “positive deviants,” and describe the variables common to their success. (www.CAMCarePD.bastyr.edu) She recently completed a study on the role of Cannabis in PD tremor.  

Passionate about patients having a voice in research and practice, she developed the Patient Reported Outcomes in PD (PRO-PD) rating scale. (www.PROPD.org) She is author of the book, Natural Therapies for Parkinson’s Disease and maintains a small private practice in Seattle, WA, USA.

Thomas Montine (USA): received his education at Columbia University (BA in Chemistry), the University of Rochester (PhD in Pharmacology), and McGill University (MD and CM). His postgraduate medical training was at Duke University, and he was junior faculty at Vanderbilt University.  Currently, Dr. Montine is the Nancy and Buster Alvord Endowed Professor in Neuropathology and Chair of the Department of Pathology at the University of Washington where he also is Adjunct Professor of Neurological Surgery.  Dr. Montine is Adjunct Professor of Neurology at Oregon Health & Science University.

Dr. Montine is the founding Director of the Pacific Northwest Udall Center (one of 9 NINDS-funded Morris K. Udall Centers of Excellence for Parkinson’s Disease Research), which emphasizes a vision for precision medicine that comprises functional genomics, development of surveillance tools for pre-clinical detection, and discovery of molecularly tailored therapies.

The focus of the Montine Laboratory is on the structural and molecular bases of cognitive impairment. Our goal is to define key pathogenic steps and thereby identify new therapeutic targets. The Montine Laboratory addresses these prevalent, unmet medical needs through a combination of neuropathology, biomarker development and application early in the course of disease, and experimental studies that test hypotheses concerning specific mechanisms of neuron injury and approaches to neuroprotection.

Miratul Muqit (UK): is a Wellcome Trust Senior Clinical Fellow and Consultant Neurologist at the University of Dundee and Ninewells Medical School Hospital. He obtained his medical degree from the University of Edinburgh and during this time undertook research in the laboratory of Flint Beal in Boston where his curiosity into understanding Parkinson's was piqued. He was a Kennedy Scholar at Harvard University studying Neurobiology before receiving his PhD from UCL Institute of Neurology under the supervision of Nick Wood. During his PhD he made a major contribution to the discovery of PINK1 mutations in familial Parkinson's patients. Miratul undertook his residency in Neurology in London including at the National Hospital for Neurology and Neurosurgery at Queen Square training under Andrew Lees. He established a laboratory at the MRC Protein Phosphorylation and Ubiquitylation Unit in Dundee in 2008 to investigate the PINK1 kinase. In recent years his laboratory has made ground breaking advances on the function of PINK1 including the co-discovery that it functions as a ubiquitin kinase to induce phospho-ubiquitin on damaged mitochondria (with Richard Youle and Noriyuki Matsuda). He is recipient of several awards including the Queen Square Prize in Neurology in 2006 and the Linacre Lecture of the Royal College of Physicians in 2013.

T Celeste Napier (USA): is a Professor in the Departments of Pharmacology and Psychiatry, and the Director for the Center for Compulsive Behavior and Addiction, at Rush University Medical Center in Chicago, Illinois, USA.  Dr. Napier has received continuous research support from the USA National Institutes of Health (NIH) since 1990.  Her research has also been supported by several foundations, including the Michael J. Fox Foundation.  Her scientific interests involve normal and abnormal neuroplasticity in adult basal ganglia and limbic systems.  Focus is on the neuroplasticity of motivational behaviors that influence learning and healthy decision-making versus those associated with drug and behavioral addictions.  Her work encompasses addiction co-morbidity with neurological diseases, and she pioneered the development and assessment of rat models of Parkinson’s disease comorbidity with behavioral addiction and impulse control disorders.  Her research directly translates into medication development for these brain disorders.  Dr. Napier’s extensive academic service includes President of the Chicago Chapter of the Society for Neuroscience, member on several other scientific society councils and NIH scientific review committees, organizer of international conferences, and editor or reviewer for over 30 scientific journals and books.  Her community service includes serving as an advisor/board member for community-based addiction treatment centers and education centers, and a foundation for disadvantaged children.  She has provided expert testimony to the USA Congress Committee on Science, Space and Technology, Subcommittee on Research and Technology, and to the Illinois House of Representatives, Heroin and Youth Task Force.  She is the recipient of several awards, including the 2015 Career Achievement Award from the Chicago Chapter of the Society for Neuroscience.

Alexandra Nelson (USA): is the Richard and Shirley Cahill Endowed Chair in Parkinson’s Disease Research in the UC San Francisco Department of Neurology.  She completed her MD and PhD training in the Medical Scientist Training Program at UC San Diego, where she trained under the mentorship of Sascha du Lac, using electrophysiology to study motor learning in mice. After Neurology residency at UCSF, she completed postdoctoral fellowship training in the laboratory of Anatol Kreitzer, using electrophysiology to better understand basal ganglia circuit function. She established her own laboratory in 2014, devoted to unraveling the cellular and circuit mechanisms of movement disorders. In mouse models of movement disorders, including Parkinson’s Disease, Dystonia, and Dyskinesia, her laboratory uses a combination of electrophysiology and optogenetics to determine the cell types and patterns of activity which give rise to abnormal movement. Dr Nelson is also a behavioral and movement disorders neurologist and cares for patients with neurodegenerative movement disorders, including Huntington’s Disease, cerebellar ataxias, and atypical parkinsonism.

Samuel Ng (Malaysia): is the President and Co-Founder of the Perak Parkinson’s Association (PPA)—a voluntary organization established in 2012 by a group of Persons with Parkinson’s, their caregivers, family members and friends.

Through the PPA, Samuel strives to provide Advice, Awareness, Advanced medical information/treatment and Active networking. The PPA is an affiliate of the Malaysian Parkinson’s Disease Association and the World Parkinson’s Congress (Coalition).

Samuel’s on-going personal battle with Parkinson’s since he was 42 (in 2007), which resulted in him having to resign from a 16-year-stint with a top pharmaceutical company, has created in him  a deep understanding for people with Parkinson’s.

His tireless passion and commitment is to provide those with Parkinson’s, the necessary, vital and up-to-date help, healing, hope and a healthy attitude to face the disease with pride and perseverance. Part of his pursuit involves travelling far and wide.

For past three years Samuel’s and his team of committee members lead PPA through many successful events and activities. PPA manages to outreach, create awareness and recognition in the Parkinson’s community. On Sunday, 11th October 2015, Perak Parkinson's Association team of committee members partner with Davis Phinney Foundation team to organized The Victory Summit held in Hotel Casuarina@Meru Ipoh, Perak, Malaysia. It was an amazing conference that attended 800 people and booster the moral of the Malaysia Parkinson's Community. The Victory Summit Ipoh, Perak, Malaysia was a great success and some attendees feedback, I'm not afraid PD anymore because we are not alone. Samuel and his group of PPA committees did successfully brought out numbers of denial PwP that hidden in their house and some is back their normal life.

Alice Nieuwboer (Belgium): works as a full professor in the Department of Rehabilitation Sciences at the University of Leuven. She is head of the Neuromotor Rehabilitation Research Group. She and her team are investigating the mechanisms of gait and balance disturbances in Parkinson's disease (PD) as well as upper limb motor problems. Coming from a motor control perspective, the group established the extraordinary link between freezing of gait and freezing in different effectors. This partially common mechanism is currently refined by ongoing longitudinal work from the group. Alice’s team also investigates the effectiveness of motor learning, virtual reality while walking on a treadmill, offering and withdrawing motor feedback and dual task training. Underlying all these studies is the question whether learning can still occur in neurodegenerative disease and how it will imprint in the brain at the neurological systems level.

John G. Nutt (USA): received his medical degree and a master’s degree in Pharmacology from Baylor College of Medicine. He completed a residency in Neurology at the University of Washington in 1976 and fellowships in Clinical Pharmacology at the Addiction Research Institute in Lexington, Kentucky (1971-73) and in Movement Disorders and Experimental Therapeutics at NIH-NINDS Experimental Therapeutics Branch (1976-78).

Dr. Nutt joined the OHSU faculty in 1978 and is currently a Professor of Neurology and Physiology & Pharmacology. 

Dr. Nutt is an expert clinician and has been listed as an “America’s Top Doctors” for many years.  He has received teaching awards from medical students and neurology residents.  He is the founder and former director of the OHSU Movement Disorder Fellowship. 

Dr. Nutt has gained international recognition for his innovative research in movement disorders. His background in pharmacology has made him a world leader in testing novel symptomatic and neurorestorative therapeutics for Parkinson's disease. He is widely recognized for his work on the pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics of levodopa which has provided clinical and scientific insight on the most important therapy for PD. Dr. Nutt is a frequent scientific consultant for the development of new therapeutic agents for Parkinson's disease.  He has also become a world leader in understanding the gait and balance problems in the elderly and particularly PD and ways to better manage these problems.  He has published over 250 research articles and 85 invited chapters and reviews.  He received the American Academy of Neurology Movement Disorders Research Award in 2011 and the Movement Disorder Society honorary membership in 2013.

Michael Okun (USA): received his M.D. from the University of Florida where he graduated with Honors, and following residency he was trained at Emory University in basal ganglia physiology and movement disorders.

He is the Administrative Director and Co-director of the Center for Movement Disorders and Neurorestoration The center has over 40 interdisciplinary faculty members from 10 UF departments and 6 colleges.  Dr. Okun has championed interdisciplinary care both at UF and in his role as the  National Medical Director for the National Parkinson Foundation since his appointment in 2006.

Dr. Okun was a co-founder of the Center for Movement Disorders and Neurorestoration and has implemented its completely patient-centric approach to care.  He is also the Medical Advisor for Tyler’s Hope for a Dystonia Cure, and the Co-Chair of the Medical Advisory Board for the Tourette Syndrome Association (TSA).

Dr. Okun has been supported by grants from the National Parkinson Foundation, the National Institutes of Health, the Bachmann-Strauss Foundation, the Tourette Syndrome Association (TSA), the Parkinson Alliance, and the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Disease Research.  He is known internationally as the  “Ask The Doctor” and for writing the What’s Hot column on the National Parkinson Foundation website.

Okun’s research career explores motor and non-motor basal ganglia brain areas.  He has been a vital part of many studies exploring the cognitive, behavioral, and mood effects of deep brain stimulation (DBS). Okun is the Adelaide Lackner Professor of Neurology, and has published over 350 peer-reviewed articles.  He is a poet (Lessons From the Bedside, 1995) and is an associate editor for the New England Journal of Medicine Journal Watch Neurology.  He has been invited to speak about Parkinson disease, Dystonia, Tourette, DBS and movement disorders all over the world.


Linda Olson (USA): received her M.D degree from Loma Linda University with the Class of 1976-A.  Her residency in Diagnostic Radiology at the White Memorial Medical Center in Los Angeles was interrupted by a train vs car accident in 1979.  Following a year-long medical leave of absence she completed her training and became certified by the American Board of Radiology in 1981. After a Computed Tomography Fellowship at UCSD she joined the Faculty of the Radiology Department at UCSD where she worked the next 30 years; for twenty of those years she was the Director of Breast Imaging.  Some of her awards include: Silver Spoon Award for Teaching Excellence presented by Radiology Residents 1987, Marie Curie Award of the American Association of Women Radiologists 1991, Fellow of the American College of Radiology 1993, Honored Alumna Loma Linda University School of Medicine 1994, UCSD Academic Senate Distinguished Teaching Award 1996, San Diego County’s 2011 Physicians of Exceptional Excellence “Top Doctors” Award, Loma Linda University School of Medicine “Women in Courage” Award 2012, UCSD Department of Radiology Lifetime Achievement Award 2012. She is married to David W. Hodgens, M.D. and together they have two children, Tiffany Hodgens Johnson and Brian Hodgens, M.D.

Tiago Fleming Outeiro (Germany): graduated in Biochemistry at the University of Porto and was an Erasmus student at the University of Leeds in the UK. Prof. Outeiro did his PhD thesis at the Whitehead Institute for Biomedical research – MIT and worked as a Research Scientist at FoldRx Pharmaceuticals as a Research Scientist and Consultant. Prof. Outeiro was a Postdoctoral Research Fellow in the Department of Neurology of the Massachusetts General Hospital – Harvard Medical School where he focused on the study of Neurodegenerative disorders such as Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s disease. Prof. Outeiro directed the Cell and Molecular Neuroscience Unit at IMM, Lisbon, from 2007 to 2014, and is currently Full Professor and the Director of the Department of Neurodegeneration and Neurorestoration at the University Medical Center Goettingen, in Germany. Prof. Outeiro has authored >130 research articles in international journals and participates in various international collaborative projects with the aim of identifying the molecular basis of neurodegenerative disorders such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease.


Rajesh Pahwa (USA): is Professor in the Department of Neurology and Director of the Parkinson’s Disease and Movement Disorder Center at the University of Kansas School of Medicine in Kansas City. Dr Pahwa is a Diplomate of the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology. His research interests are centered around the various aspects of Parkinson’s disease and essential tremor. He is currently involved in various studies related to medical and surgical forms of therapies for Parkinson’s disease and essential tremor. Dr Pahwa has published over 100 peer reviewed articles. In addition he has published numerous chapters and abstracts in leading neurology and movement disorder journals. He has conducted over 100 clinical trials related to Parkinson’s disease and other movement disorders. He is the co-editor of “Handbook of Parkinson’s Disease,” 3rd, 4th and 5th editions, "Therapy of Parkinson's Disease," 3rd edition, “Handbook of Essential Tremor and other Tremor Disorders,” 1st edition, and co-author of the book “Parkinson’s Disease: Questions and Answers,” 4th edition. He is also the Co-Editor in Chief of the International Journal of Neuroscience. He is also an active member of American Academy of Neurology, American Neurological Association, Movement Disorder Society, Kansas City Neurology Neurosurgery Society, Parkinson Study Group, and Tremor Research Group.

Jon Palfreman (USA): is a professor emeritus of journalism at the University of Oregon. He is an Emmy, duPont, and Peabody Award-winning journalist, a Nieman Fellow, and the recipient of the Victor Cohn Prize for Excellence in Medical Science Reporting. In addition to producing more than forty primetime documentaries for the BBC and PBS, Palfreman is the author of Brain Storms: the Race to Unlock the Mysteries of Parkinson's and a coauthor of The Case of the Frozen Addicts. He lives in Lexington, Massachusetts.

Leo Pallanck (USA): graduated from the University of California, Davis with a major in Biochemistry in 1985. After working for a year each at Genentech corporation and the University of California, San Francisco, Leo began graduate school at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York city in 1987. He conducted his graduate work with the late Dr. LaDonne Schulman, studying the mechanisms by which nucleic acids are recognized by nucleic acid binding proteins. While in graduate school, he became interested in the use of model organisms to study problems of relevance to diseases of the nervous system. To further pursue this interest Leo chose to conduct postdoctoral work with Dr. Barry Ganetzky at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, where he used genetic and molecular approaches to study mechanisms of neurotransmitter release in the fruit fly Drosophila melanogaster.   In 1997, he accepted a faculty position in the department of Genetics at the University of Washington.  Shortly after his arrival at the University of Washington, Leo extended the focus of my laboratory to the study of neurodegenerative disorders, of which Parkinson’s disease is a major effort.  He is currently a professor in the Department of Genome Sciences (formerly Genetics).


Sotirios Parashos (USA): is a neurologist with the Minneapolis Clinic of Neurology, the Physician Lead for Medical Research at the Struthers Parkinson's Center, a National Parkinson Foundation Center of Excellence, and Clinical Professor of Neurology at the University of Minnesota. Dr. Parashos' research into Parkinson's disease focuses on non-dopa-responsive symptoms such as falls and cognitive dysfunction, the natural progression of Parkinson's disease, and the role of the multidisciplinary and interdisciplinary care in the management of Parkinson's disease. He has co-authored many articles published in peer-reviewed journals, a book on Navigating Life with Parkinson Disease, and has given numerous lectures on Parkinson's disease to professional and lay audiences. Dr. Parashos serves on the Community Advisory Board of the Struthers Parkinson’s Center, on the Work Group for Parkinson’s Disease Physician Performance Measure Development of the American Academy of Neurology, and on the Parkinson's Outcome Project of the National Parkinson Foundation. He completed his basic medical training at the Aristotle University in Thessaloniki, Greece; a two-year Fogarty Fellowship in Neuropharmacology at the Experimental Therapeutics Branch of the NINDS/NIH, in Bethesda, MD; a Neurology residency at the University of Minnesota, in Minneapolis, MN; a Ph.D., in Experimental Physiology of the Nervous System, at the Aristotle University; and an Advanced Clinical Fellowship in Movement Disorders, at the Mayo Clinic, Rochester, MN. He has had been in active clinical neurology practice continuously since 1996, with a focus on movement disorders and particularly Parkinson’s disease.


Dilys Parker (New Zealand): Dily's working life began and ended in nursing.  Along the way she was also employed in related social service fields including health promotion, community health development, nursing education, community agency management and counselling.   In addition she has a long history of voluntary work in the not for profit sector.  This includes being a member of a number of local and national project groups and being a trustee on the Board of Parkinson’s New Zealand.  

Dilys has lived in Great Britain and New Zealand and enjoys the international connections this affords her.  She is a contributing editor to Parkinson’s Movement on line magazine "On The Move".   More recently she has become interested in self tracking her condition and is a member of an international Parkinson Quantified Self group.  

Dilys is interested in working with people with Parkinson’s to raise the profile of the condition and ensure standards and protocols for treatment are on the health agenda especially in her own country.    Though she likes contributing at a national and international level her greatest pleasure is in being alongside and supporting others with PD as they come to understand their condition and work through to their optimum treatment and self care plan.   

Dilys has lived with Parkinsons since 2008.  She is currently a World Ambassador for WPC 2016.

Malin Parmar (Sweden): is a Professor of cellular neuroscience at Lund University. Together with her lab she has shown in a series of high profile publications how human fibroblasts can be converted into neurons, how glial cells can be reprogrammed into neurons in vivo, and how functional dopamine neurons can be generated from human embryonic stem cells. Her work has a strong translational focus and she is a member of several European consortia, a founding member of the global network GForce-PD, and she was recently been awarded a prestigious grant from the European Research Council.

Santiago Perez-Lloret (Argentina)is a leading expert in neurophysiology and neuropharmacology with more than 70 papers published in international medical journals and several chapters in first-line medical books. After obtaining his MD and PhD, he also pursued master courses in pharmacoepidemiology, clinical pharmacology and biostatistics at the Universities of Bordeaux and Paris, obtaining the status of Certified Physician Investigator by the ACRP (USA). He is professor of Clinical Epidemiology at the Catholic University and holds a position as Associate Researcher at the Cardiology Research Institute, National Research Council. His main areas of interests are the development of new treatments for motor and non-motor symptoms and safety of antiparkinsonian drugs. He is member of the Movement Disorder Society, where he collaborates in several committees, including the Educational Committee of the PanAmerican Section, the Scales Development Committee and the Evidence-based Medicine Committee.

Joel Perlmutter (USA): received his undergraduate degree in biochemistry from Princeton University, an MD from University of Missouri in Columbia and completed a neurology residency at Washington University in St. Louis.  He was a visiting research registrar with CD Marsden at the Maudsley and Kings College in London.  He is the Elliot Stein Family Professor of Neurology, Professor of Radiology, Neuroscience, Occupational Therapy and Physical Therapy.  He is Head of Movement Disorders at Washington University, the NeuroClinical Research Unit, The American Parkinson Disease Advanced Research Center at Washington University and the Huntington Disease Society of America Center of Excellence.  He serves on the Scientific Advisory Boards of the American Parkinson Disease Association and the Dystonia Medical Research Foundation.  He is co-PI of the Dystonia Coalition (PI: Hydar Jinnah at Emory), a multicenter U54 for studying focal dystonias.  He serves as head of the Standards Committee of the Huntington’s Study Group. He is the co-chair of the Scientific Advisory Committee of the Parkinson Study Group.  He has been a past Co-Chair of the Board of Scientific Counselors of NINDS.  Perlmutter served on the Institute of Medicine Committee that wrote the 2009 report on “Conflict of Interest in Medical Research, Education and Practice.” His research interests include development of biomarkers for PD, investigations of dementia in PD, investigations of pathophysiology of PD and dystonia, studies of deep brain stimulation and development of new neuroimaging methods.  His research spans animal models and patient-oriented research; he has published more than 230 peer-reviewed articles.  He has had more than 25 years of continuous NIH funding for his research.  He is a fellow of the American Academy of Neurology and the American Neurological Association.  He is also a member of the Movement Disorders Society, the International Basal Ganglia Society and the Society for Neuroscience.

Giselle Petzinger (USA): is a movement disorders specialist and translational neuroscientist at the University of Southern California, Keck School of Medicine.  She completed her MD at the University of Southern California, her Neurology Residency at Yale University, and Movement Disorders Fellowship at Columbia University.  Her research in Parkinson’s  (PD) and Huntington’s disease (HD) investigates the underlying molecular and cellular mechanisms by which experience in the form of intensive treadmill exercise can facilitate neuroplasticity within motor and cognitive circuits affected in these disorders. Her work also focuses on translating findings gained from animal studies to human clinical trials in order to examine the potential effects of exercise on disease modification and in order to identify novel therapeutic targets for facilitating brain repair.   She has recently been funded by the National Parkinson’s Foundation to study exercise effects on mild cognitive impairment in individuals with Parkinson’s disease and alterations in underlying neuronal cortical-striatal connectivity and function using fMRI.


Ronald Pfeiffer (USA):

Antonio Pisani (Italy): is a physician-scientist with a long standing interest in the basic and clinical aspects of basal ganglia dysfunction, with a specific interest in dystonia and Parkinson’s disease. As Head of the Neurophysiology and Plasticity laboratory at Fondazione Santa Lucia, in Rome, he provides guidance in the planning and execution of the experiments. Since 2003-2004, he has been deeply involved in research on dystonia, focusing on the role of striatal function in the pathogenesis of this movement disorder. In detail, he focused on the functional interplay between striatal dopamine and acetylcholine, characterizing the alterations occurring in distinct rodent models of DYT1 dystonia and monogenic parkinsonisms. His long-term commitment to this field of research is witnessed by the number of peer-review publications as well as by the organization of 5 editions of an international workshop on dystonia (2007-2015). As a neurologist involved full-time in clinical practice, he’s responsible for the “Neuropathophysiology Unit” of the University Hospital Policlinico Tor Vergata in Rome, and involved in movement disorders outpatient service, as well in clinical trials on Parkinson’s disease patients.

Nilima Prakash (Germany): is a Professor of Biodiversity, Genetics and Molecular Biology at the Hamm-Lippstadt University of Applied Sciences. She pursued her studies in Biology at the University of Konstanz (Germany) and received her Doctoral Degree from the University of Hamburg (Germany) in 1998. Dr. Prakash subsequently spent her Postdoctoral Research Fellowships at the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm (Sweden) and at the Weizmann Institute of Science in Rehovot (Israel). After returning to Germany, she worked as a Research Scientist at the Max Planck Institute of Psychiatry in Munich. In 2004, she became a team leader at the Institute of Developmental Genetics, Helmholtz Zentrum München. In June 2015, she joined the faculty at the Hamm-Lippstadt University of Applied Sciences. Dr. Prakash is an expert in neurodevelopmental biology. Her work has focused on the development of the mesodiencephalic dopaminergic neurons, including the Substantia nigra pars compacta (SNc) dopaminergic neurons that are most affected in Parkinson’s Disease. More recent work of her group has shown that developmental pathways are also important for the sustained survival of the mesodiencephalic dopaminergic neurons in the normal and diseased adult brain, and for the generation of specifically SNc dopaminergic neurons from pluripotent stem cells in the culture dish.

Dr. Prakash has published several review articles and book chapters about mesodiencephalic dopaminergic neuron development and other neurodevelopmental themes. She is also recipient of the Science Prize Weihenstephan of the City of Freising 2013, the Speaker Award of the Helmholtz Zentrum München Science Day 2009, and of an Abstract Award from the International Society for Developmental Neuroscience (ISDN).

Serge Przedborski (USA): is the Page and William Black Professor of Neurology. He holds a joint appointment in the Departments of Neurology, Pathology and Cell Biology and is the Director of the Columbia Translational Neuroscience Initiative, the Co-Director of the Center for Motor Neuron Biology and Disease, the Vice-Chair of Neurology, and a faculty member of the graduate program in Neurobiology and Behavior at Columbia University. Dr. Przedborski attended medical school at the Université Libre de Bruxelles (ULB), Belgium, and did his internship and residency in Neurology and Psychiatry at the ULB-Erasme Academic Medical Center, Belgium. He obtained both his MD degree (1983) and then a PhD degree in neurological sciences (1991) from the ULB. He then did a fellowship in movement disorders with Dr. Stanley Fahn at Columbia University, where he became Assistant Professor in 1991. The research conducted in Dr. Przedborski’s laboratory is geared toward unraveling the molecular basis of neurodegeneration and devising therapeutic strategies to hamper the processes that cause neuronal death, the source of many debilitating disorders. In keeping with this goal, to what extent and by which mechanisms do cell-autonomous and non-cell autonomous deleterious processes contribute to the demise of specific subpopulation of neurons in neurodegenerative disorders, such as Parkinson’s disease represent a main line of research in his laboratory. These research efforts are supported by federal grants from both NIH and the DoD and by private agencies including the Parkinson's Disease Foundation, MDA, ALSA, Project-ALS, and P2ALS/Target-ALS. Dr. Przedborski is the current president of the World Parkinson Coalition, a nonprofit organization dedicated to providing an international forum to learn about the latest scientific discoveries, medical practices, caregiver initiatives and advocacy work related to Parkinson's disease.

Paul Rabsztyn (Netherlands): was born on May 25 1958 in Deest, The Netherlands. He finished his study for registered nurse (RN) in 1983 and he worked as a RN in several hospitals and on several wards from 1983 to 1991. In the meantime he successfully finished a study Management in Healthcare and in 1996 he received his registration as a sexologist, after finishing the sexology study on the University of Rotterdam and Utrecht. His main work is at the Radboud University Nijmegen Medical Centre and the Rijnstate Hospital Arnhem.  The population in these settings comprises patients with a diversity of (chronicle) illnesses, including patients with Parkinson disease. He is member of the Parkinson Network in the Netherlands. 

Besides patient care he is also involved in several sexual education healthcare programs in the Netherlands.


Sara Riggare (Sweden): is currently pursuing a PhD in health informatics at Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm, Sweden. She experienced her first symptoms of Parkinson in 1984, around age 13, graduated with a master of science from The Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm in 1994 and worked with risk assessments and scenario analysis of polluted industrial sites for 14 years. Around 2010, Sara decided that she wanted to combine her patient experiences with her engineering skills and try to improve the situation for herself and others with chronic diseases. She therefore started studying at the master's program in health informatics at Karolinska Institute.

Her research is focused around selfcare for Parkinson:
How can PwP improve their own health by engaging more in their own care and disease management?
And how can technology facilitate that process?


Sara speaks frequently at different conferences, topics ranging from self-tracking and self-monitoring (with or without technology), self-management/selfcare, patient-centered care, quality improvement in healthcare, citizen science, Quantified Self, patient empowerment, and health informatics.

Sara is an advisor to the Swedish Medical Products Agency, a member of the Swedish government's council for Life Science and of the British Medical Journal's patient panel.

Beate Ritz (USA): is a Professor of Epidemiology and Environmental Health Sciences at the UCLA Fielding School of Public Health and of Neurology at the UCLA Geffen School of Medicine.  Her research investigates occupational, environmental, and genetic factors influencing chronic neurologic diseases including neurodegenerative disorders (Parkinson’s disease (PD), dementia) and neurodevelopmental disorders (autism, cerebral palsy). She co-directed the NIEHS-UCLA Center for Gene-Environment Studies of Parkinson’s disease and is the principle investigator of two large population-based Parkinson’s studies, one located in California and the other in Denmark. These studies examine risk factors for Parkinson’s disease etiology and progression. She directs the Southern California PD registry and received the APDA (American Parkinson’s Disease Association) award for outstanding contributions to the advancement of Parkinson's disease research in 2009. She is a Collegium Ramazzini Fellow, served on multiple National Academy of Sciences-IOM committees, and is a member of the Scientific Review Panel on Toxic Air Contaminants for the state of California.



Arthur Roach (UK): is Director of Research at Parkinson’s UK, where he is responsible for the strategy to convert the demands and priorities of people living with Parkinson’s into better treatments and a deeper understanding of the condition.  He brings to this role over 25 years of experience of research into neurodegenerative diseases and the discovery and development of new treatments, conducted in leading universities and drug companies in both North America and Europe.


Israel Robledo (USA): was diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease in 2007 at age 42. Soon after coming to terms with his diagnosis, he became involved as an advocate for increased clinical trial participation and health-related quality of life issues related to Parkinson’s Disease. 


He currently serves as PAN Texas State Director and is a member of the Board of Directors for the Parkinson’s Action Network, the Executive Council for Parkinson’s Movement, an initiative of the Cure Parkinson’s Trust in England, an Integration Panel member for the Congressionally Directed Medical Research Programs (Neurotoxin Exposure Program for Parkinson’s Research), and a member of the Editorial Board for the Journal of Parkinson’s Disease.Israel also serves in an advisory/support capacity for the Parkinson’s Disease Foundation as a Research Advocate, the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research as a Fox Trial Finder Ambassador and a Partners in Parkinson’s Ambassador, and as an Ambassador for the fourth World Parkinson Congress, and the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute.

Most recently, Israel served as Co-chair of the Program Committee and Chair of the Advocacy and Government Committee for the third World Parkinson Congress held in Montreal, Canada, in 2013.

Lynn Rochester (UK): is Professor of Human Movement Science and a member of the Institute of Neuroscience, Newcastle University.  She graduated as a physiotherapist specialising in neuro-rehabilitation and completed a PhD in neuroscience in 1992.  She is Director of the Brain and Movement Research Group (BAM) (http://research.ncl.ac.uk/bam/) which she set up when she joined Newcastle University in 2008.  The group is comprised of a multidisciplinary team of clinicians, clinical scientists and clinical engineers with a research focus on age related gait and mobility disorders.  She is based in the Clinical Ageing Research Unit, a translational clinical research platform, where she is Deputy Director.  Her main research interests are in neurodegenerative disease focused on the motor and non-motor mechanisms of gait and falls, surrogate markers of disease and disease progression, development and evaluation of novel interventions, and technological applications in healthcare.  She serves on various National and International committees and takes a key role in governance and professional leadership within the university developing clinical academic careers for healthcare professionals.  She also leads an academic physiotherapy team which is integrated into the Regional Movement Disorders Service.


Mayela Rodriguez Violante (Mexico): graduated from the Neurology Speciality Program at the National Institute of Neurology and Neurosurgery, Mexico City (2006). Additionally took a postgraduate course of Neuropsychiatry at the National Institute of Neurology and Neurosurgery and a fellowship on Movement Disorders at the Movement disorders clinic at Hospital Clinic in Barcelona, Spain (2006-2007). Postgraduate degrees include a Master in Sciences granted by the National Autonomous University of Mexico. (2008-2010) and a semi-presential Master in Movement Disorders by the University of Murcia, Spain (2012-2014).


Currently working at Instituto Nacional de Neurología y Neurocirugía in the Movement disorder clinic since 2007.

Academic appointments include: Principal Professor of the Parkinson’s disease and Movement Disorders one-year fellowship at the Instituto Nacional de Neurología y Neurocirugía since 2010. Adjunct professor of Neurology at the same Institution since 2009. Coordinator of the Movement Disorder Study Group of the Mexican Academy of Neurology from 2013-2015. Currently member of the Education Commimitee of the International Parkinson and Movement Disorder Society (2015-2017), as well as member of the MDS Multiple System Atrophy (MSA) Study Group and MDS Orphan Topic Study Group. Have published over 50 papers on Parkinson's disease in peer-reviewed journals.

Marina Romero Ramos (Denmark): graduated from the University Of Sevilla where she received her PhD degree “suma cum laude” in 2000 at the Dept. Biochemistry and Molecular Biology. Her thesis work focused on the role of antioxidants in the dopaminergic system. 


Later she moved to USA to start her postdoctoral training with Prof. M-F Chesselet at UCLA School of Medicine, studying the use of non-neural stem cells for neural replacement. 

In the summer 2002, she became a Marie Curie Fellow and during the following 3 years worked characterizing viral vector based alpha-synuclein model of Parkinson’s Disease with Prof. D. Kirik and Prof. A. Bjorklund in Lund University (Sweden). 

She is now Associate Professor at the Faculty of Health of Aarhus University (Denmark), where she leads the CNS Disease Modeling group since 2006. Her research interest is focused on the study in animal models of the different factors involved in the neurodegeneration in Parkinson’s disease, such as protein mishandling and inflammatory events. Since 2014 she leads the Au Ideas Center NEURODIN focus on the neuroinflammatory process in Parkinson’s disease. Her current research is funded by the Danish Parkinson Foundation, M.J. Fox Foundation, the AUFF and Lundbeck Foundation among others.


Filip Scheperjans (Finland): studied medicine at the University of Düsseldorf (Germany) and gained international experience as a visiting student at the National Hospital for Neurology and Neurosurgery (London, UK), Mount Sinai School of Medicine (New York City), and Helsinki University Hospital (Finland). After graduating in 2006 he received his doctoral degree from the University of Düsseldorf in 2008. His thesis concerned the cytoarchitectonical and neurochemical anatomy of the human superior parietal cortex and was supervised by Prof. Karl Zilles at the C. & O. Vogt Institute for Brain Research and the Institute of Medicine at the Research Center Jülich. His thesis was awarded best medical thesis at the University of Düsseldorf in 2008. Now living in Finland he works as attending neurologist and clinical researcher at the Department of Neurology of Helsinki University Hospital. His main research interests are movement disorders and acute neurology including stroke, status epilepticus and neuroimaging. Currently, his main focus is on the role of microbiota in Parkinson’s disease and his group was the first to demonstrate microbiome community structure alterations in Parkinson’s disease. For his groundbreaking work in this field he was awarded the Uschi Tschabitscher Prize for Young Neurologists by the European Academy of Neurology in 2014. The related publication was amongst the most accessed and cited papers of the journal Movement Disorders in 2015.



Peter Schmidt (USA):


Thomas Schwarz (USA): has been a Professor at Boston Children's Hospital and Harvard Medical School since 2000. Prior to that he was on the faculty at Stanford Medical School and a postdoctoral fellow at UCSF. His lab has focused on topics of neuronal cell biology, including questions of axonal transport, mitophagy, synapse formation, and synaptic function. They use both genetic and cell biological methods to explore the cell biology that underlies neuronal function and neurodegeneration.



Michael Schwarzschild (USA): serves as Chair of the Parkinson Study Group (PSG) Executive Committee. The PSG (http://www.parkinson-study-group.org/) is a consortium of clinical investigators, coordinators and allied professionals dedicated to improving the lives of people with Parkinson's through the conduct clinical trials and research of the highest quality. It comprises over 130 credentialed clinical sites in the US and Canada, and is working with counterparts worldwide to develop a highly trained, flexible global network for PD trials.

Dr. Schwarzschild, a Professor of Neurology at Harvard Medical School, also directs the Molecular Neurobiology Laboratory at the Mass General Institute for Neurodegenerative Disease, focusing on the role of purines -- including adenosine, inosine, caffeine and urate — in mouse models of Parkinson's disease. Benefiting from interdisciplinary collaborations across basic, epidemiological and clinical neurosciences he is working to advance neurobiological insights to disease-modifying therapies for people with Parkinson's disease.


Kathleen Shannon (USA): completed her BA  degree in Biology at Northwestern University in 1976, and her MD at Rush Medical College in 1981.  Internship, residence and fellowship in movement disorders were completed at Rush-Presbyterian-St. Luke’s Medical Center (now Rush University Medical Center).  Following 3.5 years on the faculty at Vanderbilt University,   she returned to Rush in January 1992 where she continues to have an active clinical practice focused on Movement Disorders as well as an active clinical research career focused on clinical therapeutics in movement disorders and gastrointestinal changes across the lifespan in Parkinson’s disease.  


Her clinical practice has focused on movement disorders, especially Parkinson’s disease, parkinsonisms, tremor, Huntington’s disease, chorea and dystonia.  She is founder and director of the Huntington’s Disease Society of America Center of Excellence clinic.   

Her experience in clinical trials includes participation as site investigator or steering committee member in numerous clinical trials for novel interventions (oral medications, surgical interventions) in Movement Disorders.  Over the past 7 years, she has worked with partners in the Section of Gastrointestinal Diseases and Nutrition (Dr. Keshavarzian) and the Center for Brain Repair (Dr. Kordower) on a highly innovative line of research investigating the role of gut-derived sterile inflammation in the genesis or progression of Parkinson’s disease.  This highly innovative research has garnered a high level of interest within the movement disorders field and the lay press, as well as philanthropic (1 million dollar research endowment), and foundation (Parkinson Disease Foundation; Michael J. Fox Foundation) support.

She has been active in education at the institutional, regional, national and international level, with regular teaching and plenary activities at national and international meetings as well as regular contributions to print and electronic materials.  She has had several terms of service for National and International professional organizations.


Sheila Silver (USA): is a board certified clinical sexologist in private practice in Portland, OR.   She has a Masters in Marriage, Family and Child Therapy and earned her doctorate in Human Sexuality from The Institute for Advanced Study of Human Sexuality.  She is a trained sex counselor, group facilitator, sex educator, and has worked as a psychotherapist since 1988.


Dr. Silver is a member of the American College of Sexologists,  the American Association of Sex Educators, Counselors and Therapists, and a member of the Society for the Scientific Study of Sex.

Her specific areas of expertise are desire discrepancies, orgasm difficulties, pain with intercourse, alternative relationships, and maintaining intimacy in the face of chronic illness, particularly Parkinson’s disease.

Dr. Silver acts a consultant for mental health professionals, medical doctors, physical therapists, and clergy on their cases relating to sexuality. She also presents at professional conferences and offers workshops on the topic of maintaining physical and emotional intimacy throughout life.


Kristina Simonyan (USA): obtained her MD degree with high honors from Yerevan State Medical University, Armenia, in 1992 and completed residency in Otolaryngology in 2001. She obtained her PhD degree in Neurobiology from TiHo University of Hannover and German Primate Center in 2003 as well as her second medical degree, Dr. med., from University of Göttingen, Germany, in 2004. Dr. Simonyan spent the following six years as a research fellowship in neuroimaging and movement disorders at NIH/NINDS under the mentorship of Dr. Christy Ludlow and Dr. Mark Hallett. She assumed the faculty position at Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in 2009, where she is currently an Associate Professor of Neurology and Otolaryngology and Director of Dystonia and Motor Control Laboratory. 

Dr. Simonyan’s clinical and research interests are in the brain organization for motor control of skilled behaviors. As an otolaryngologist, she has been interested in the impairments of voice and speech production, which led her to study the neuroanatomical organization of the laryngeal motor cortex in the rhesus monkey in German Primate Center and vocal motor control of songbirds in RIKEN Brain Science Institute, Japan. She became interested in clinical phenomenology and pathophysiology of dystonia, especially its focal task-specific form, such as spasmodic dysphonia, writer’s cramp and musician’s dystonia, that impair the motor control of highly skilled and uniquely human behaviors. Dr. Simonyan’s research in the field of dystonia neuroimaging made significant advances in our understanding of brain functional, structural and neurochemical aberrations in focal dystonias, especially spasmodic dysphonia. Her current major research program is focused on the combined use of multi-modal neuroimaging, genetics, and neuropathology for elucidation of causative pathophysiology of focal dystonia and other movement disorders, such as Parkinson's disease and tremor. Dr. Simonyan’s research in dystonia is supported by several grants from NIH/NIDCD and NINDS.



Tanya Simuni (USA):




Marten Smidt (Netherlands)was born on March 18, 1965 in the Netherlands. He did his Biology study at the University of Groningen and did my PhD work on gene regulation at Biochemistry department of the same University. Marten did his first Post Doc at the University of Utrecht where he laid the foundation of my work in molecular neurodevelopment by identifying key transcription factors in the development of several neuronal system besides mesodiencephalic dopaminergic (mdDA) neurons. The work on the neurodevelopmental programming of these latter mentioned group neurons has become a focus in my work for most of the time I spend in Utrecht. A hallmark in my work was the identification and functional characterization of the transcription factors Pitx3, Lmx1a/b, Nurr1 and En1 in mdDA neurons. In 2009 I became full professor in Molecular Neurodevelopment. In 2011 I changed institutes to chair a new research group Molecular NeuroSciences at the University of Amsterdam. In this positions I was able to broaden my work an attract new talented researchers. 

Currently, the team works on stem cells, molecular neurogenomics, cortical development and neurophysiological- and molecular determinants of mdDA neuronal development and function.

Allison Smith (USA): After surviving Colon Cancer at age 24, Allison was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease when she was 32 years old. Three years of hiding the symptoms of my illness, with the support of her medical team, she decided to undergo Deep Brain Stimulation surgery (DBS).  It was at that moment when she made a choice to take the negative and turn it into a positive by giving back to families who struggle with neurological disorders.  In 2010, Allison launched the program "Parkinson’s in Balance" which offers support groups, fitness classes and social events at no cost to the community.  Then in 2013, she started the "Perky Parkie" blog, which shares her humorous, ironic moments of her adventures with Parkinsons' disease.  Allison is a California Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, working at Neurology and Movement Disorder Clinic, with an emphasis on chronic illness, chronic pain, health and fitness. She is also a personal trainer certified through National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM)  and a Certified PWR! Moves Instructor.


Vesna Sossi (Canada): is a Professor in the University of British Columbia (UBC) Physics and Astronomy Department and the UBC Djavad Mowafaghian Center for Brain Health. She directs the UBC Positron Emission Tomography (PET) imaging centre, which is known for its use of imaging as applied to Parkinson’s disease. Her main areas of interest are the investigation of neurochemical mechanisms that lead to an increased risk of Parkinson’s disease (PD) and mechanisms that contribute to treatment-related complications. She uses PET imaging to explore how alterations of the dopaminergic, serotonergic and cholinergic systems contribute to different trajectories of disease progression. Recently, she began exploring if neuroiflammation may contribute to PD pathogenesis and if genetic mutations may increase susceptibility to inflammatory triggers. She complements data from patient studies with information derived from imaging and behavioral observations obtained from rodent models of genetically-associated PD. Her other areas of interest are PET image analysis and instrumentation. She published more than 150 peer review papers, is funded by several granting agencies, including the Michael J Fox Foundation, and sits on several national and international review panels.


Mark Stacy (USA): is a Professor of Neurology, Chief of the Movement Disorders Division and directs the Duke University National Parkinson Foundation, Center of Excellence. He also serves as Vice Dean for Clinical Research at Duke University, and directs the Duke Human Research Protection Program.

He has been a member of the Parkinson’s Disease and Movement Disorders Society since 1990 and is currently a member of the International Executive Committee, and also serves as a member of the Executive Committee of the Parkinson Study Group.

Dr. Stacy received medical training in the United States at the University of Missouri and completed a Movement Disorders fellowship at Baylor College of Medicine. His clinical and research interests include motor and non-motor symptoms in Parkinson’s Disease (PD), and has focused on Impulse Control Disorders in PD. He has published more than 250 manuscripts and one volume, The Handbook of Dystonia.


Jon Stamford (UK): has a dual interest in Parkinson's. For 23 years he was a career academic with research interests focused on the brain dopamine systems, particularly in the context of Parkinson's. He received a first-class honours BSc in pharmacology from the University of Bath in 1980, a PhD in neuropharmacology from the London Hospital Medical College in 1985 and was awarded a doctor of science (DSc) from the University of Bath in 2000. For 12 years he headed a research laboratory looking, inter alia, at presynaptic control of dopamine function in the motor and limbic forebrain. During his academic career, Jon had more than 200 publications including books, review articles, research papers, invited chapters, and published meetings abstracts. In 2006, shortly after leaving academia, and in one of those ironies of life that one can do without, Jon was diagnosed with Parkinson's himself. Since diagnosis, Jon has been on the editorial board of The Parkinson, before joining the Cure Parkinson's Trust in 2011. In addition to his involvement with CPT, Jon is also director and co-founder of Parkinson's Movement (a grassroots global patient advocacy organisation), editor-in-chief of On The Move, and co-founder of Parkinson's Inside Out (a think tank of neuroscientists and healthcare practitioners afflicted with Parkinson's). He has written four books on the experience of living with Parkinson's in a family context (Slice of Life, Coming to Terms, A Piece of My Mind and Heads or Tales) and is a regular blogger. Jon currently takes many of the medications he once researched.


David Standaert (USA): graduated from Harvard College in 1982. He received his M.D. and Ph.D. degrees from Washington University in St. Louis. He completed a one-year internship in Medicine followed by a three-year Neurology residency at the University of Pennsylvania. He was appointed a Howard Hughes Medical Institute Physician Research Fellow, and completed a three-year research and clinical fellowship in Neurology (Movement Disorders) at Massachusetts General Hospital in 1995. He subsequently joined the faculty at Harvard Medical School and MGH, where he served as Director of the MGH/MIT Udall Center of Excellence in PD Research.

Dr. Standaert relocated to the University of Alabama at Birmingham in July of 2006 and is now the John N. Whitaker Professor and Chair of the Department of Neurology. He serves as Director of the Division of Movement Disorders, the Director of the APDA Advanced Center for Parkinson Research at UAB, and Director of the UAB Bachmann-Strauss Center for Dystonia and Parkinson Disease. He sees patients in a weekly clinic and oversees many clinical trials for new treatments of Parkinson's disease. He is Chair of the Scientific Advisory Board of the American Parkinson Disease Association, a member of the Scientific Advisory Board of the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson Research, an Associate Editor of the journal Movement Disorders, and a member of the Board of Directors of the American Neurological Association. He is a member of the Board of Directors of the UAB Health System, and Chair of the UAB Health Services Foundation Advisory Committee.

Dr. Standaert’s laboratory works on understanding both the root causes of Parkinson’s disease as well as the origin of the disabling symptoms that appear after long term treatment of the disease.



Leonidas Stefanis (Greece): is Professor of Neurology and Neurobiology at the Medical School of the University of Athens, Director of the Second Department of Neurology at “Attikon” Hospital, and collaborating investigator at the Foundation of Biomedical Research of the Academy of Athens (BRFAA), where he leads a research group working on Neurodegenerative Diseases. More specifically, his research involves the genetic basis of Parkinson’s Disease and related disorders, the mechanisms of neurotoxicity evoked by aberrant alpha-synuclein, as well as the pathogenic effects of genetic alterations in other genes linked to Parkinson’s Disease.  He has co-authored more than 100 publications in high-impact journals, he has received funding from various national and international funding sources, and he has served as member of the Editorial Board of important journals in the area of Neurobiology, as well as of committees of evaluation of research proposals, such as the European Research Council.



Claire Stephenson (UK): joined Parkinson’s UK as Research Support Network Manager in November, 2013. The Parkinson’s UK Research Support Network (RSN) brings together people driven to help find a cure and better treatments for Parkinson’s. It is an online network of over 2000 people with the key aims of increasing awareness and understanding of Parkinson’s research and encouraging people affected by Parkinson’s to participate in research and work with researchers to shape research. Over 95% of the Research Support Network members are people with Parkinson’s, their carers, family members or friends.

There is a growing evidence base to suggest that patients, carers and researchers should be working together to improve the quality, appropriateness and relevance of research and ensures that it addresses issues of importance to patients. Claire’s work within Parkinson’s UK is to support researchers and people affected by Parkinson’s to work together effectively to plan, manage and disseminate vital Parkinson’s research. This partnership working can range from identifying and prioritising questions to joint management of research projects, as well as the evaluation and translation of research into tangible benefits to people affected by Parkinson’s.

Whilst partnership working between patients, carers and researchers in Parkinson’s research has significantly improved, there is more work to be done. The World Parkinson’s Congress brings together people affected by Parkinson’s, researchers, funders, health professionals and charities from all over the world where discussions, information sharing and partnership working can ensure that best practice has no borders and all Parkinson’s research is relevant to and benefits people affected by Parkinson’s.



Diane Stephenson (USA): is a neuroscientist by training with 30 years combined experience in academic neuroscience and drug discovery. She is passionate about translational science and has a long-time dedication to the discovery of therapies to treat diseases of the nervous system. Diane received her undergraduate degree in Biochemistry at University of California, Santa Barbara and her Ph.D. in Medical Neurobiology from Indiana University. In her academic career, Diane focused her research on Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis and Alzheimer's disease (AD), while in industry she focused on drug discovery for Alzheimer's disease, stroke, Parkinson's disease and Autism Spectrum Disorders. From 1981-1989, Diane was an associate research scientist at the ALS and Neuromuscular Research Foundation in San Francisco. During her career in industry, focus included animal model characterization (primate and rodent toxin and genetic models) and evaluation of drug candidates for Parkinson’s disease. As an ambassador for public-private partnerships, she has initiated numerous external academic collaborations including worldwide alliances. Diane joined Critical Path Institute as Director of the Coalition Against Major Diseases (CAMD) in 2011. In her current role, Diane leads a multidisciplinary team comprised of academic experts, industry scientists, patient advocacy groups and regulatory experts collectively aimed at accelerating treatments for neurodegenerative diseases.



A. Jon Stoessl (Canada): is Professor & Head of Neurology and Co-Director of the Djavad Mowafaghian Centre for Brain Health at UBC & Vancouver Coastal Health. He holds a Tier 1 Canada Research Chair in Parkinson’s, was previously the Director of the Pacific Parkinson’s Research Centre and National Parkinson Foundation Centre of Excellence at UBC. Dr. Stoessl is Deputy Editor of the Movement Disorders Journal and sits on the editorial boards of Lancet Neurology, Journal of Parkinson’s Disease, Parkinsonism & Related Disorders and Translational Neurodegeneration. He has served on numerous scientific advisory boards and is the past Chair of the Scientific Advisory Boards of the Parkinson Society of Canada and Ontario Mental Health Foundation as well as the Interdisciplinary Adjudication Committee of the Canada Research Chairs program. He serves on the Board of the International Association of Parkinsonism & Related Disorders, chairs the Mentoring Committee of the Parkinson Study Group, co-chairs the Steering Committee for the World Parkinson Congress, is Vice-President of the World Parkinson Coalition, previously served on the International Executive Committee of the Movement Disorders Society and chaired the MDS Awards Committee. He is a Member of the Order of Canada and a Fellow of the Canadian Academy of Health Sciences. Dr. Stoessl’s research involves the use of positron emission tomography to study Parkinson’s disease and related disorders, including the use of imaging as a biomarker, the basis for complications of treatment and mechanisms of the placebo effect. He has more than 10000 citations and has published more than 280 papers and book chapters.



Antonio Strafella (Canada): is a Canada Research Chair in Movement disorders and Neuroimaging, a Professor in the dept. of Medicine/Neurology at UHN, University of Toronto, Senior Scientist in the Division of Brain Imaging & Behaviour Systems at the Krembil Research Institute and Senior Scientist in the Research Imaging Centre at CAMH. He is using a number of PET tracers and novel radio-ligands to investigate the pathophysiology of motor, cognitive (e.g. MCI) and behavioral symptoms (e.g. ICDs, Hallucinations) in Parkinson’s disease.




Indu Subramanian (USA)received her medical degree in 1996 from the University of Toronto, Canada. She interned for a year in San Diego Mercy Hospital before joining the UCLA Neurology Residency Program. Dr. Subramanian received her Movement Disorder Fellowship training at UCLA.  Upon completing her two year fellowship training, Dr. Subramanian has stayed on as Associate Clinical Professor at UCLA . She established the movement disorder clinic at the West Los Angeles Veterans Administration and has recently assumed the position of the Director of the South West PADRECC ( Parkinson Disease Research, Education and Clinical Care). She has developed an interest in complementary and alternative medicine with a special interest in Yoga and Mindfulness. She underwent a 200 hour yoga teacher training in 2015 with Annie Carpenter and is currently studying to be a mindfulness instructor to teach MBSR under the direction of J.G.Serpa .She is designing a yoga teacher training program for yoga instructors who are interested in working with PD patients.  She is working with Richard Rosen and Vickie Bell on designing a manual for yoga teaching in PD and videos for PD patients to learn yoga.  Another area of interest is in palliative care and hospice care in Parkinson disease and she is currently mentoring a palliative care neurology fellow at the West LA VA. She serves on the advisory board of the Brian Grant Foundation Power through Project.


Tanya Sumini (USA): is the Director of the Parkinson’s Disease  and Movement Disorders Center at Northwestern University.

She joined the faculty of the Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine in 2000 to build and lead a multidisciplinary movement disorders center that is recognized by the National Parkinson’s Foundation and Wilson’s Foundation as a Center of Excellence, serving as a training model in the region. She is the lead investigator of a number of clinical trials on experimental pharmacology, non-motor manifestations, and pharmacological management of PD. She is currently the Investigator of more than a dozen PD clinical trials. She is the national principal investigator on a multicenter phase 3 clinical trial supported by a 16 million dollar grant from the National Institute of Health that is evaluating isradipine as a potential disease-modifying agent in early PD. She serves on a number of Steering Committees for the PD national clinical trials, several committees of the Parkinson Study Group and the National Parkinson Foundation. She is the Site PI and serve on the Steering Committee for the largest PD biomarker initiative funded by the MJFF (PPMI study). She is the site PI for the Network for Excellence in Neuroscience Clinical Trials Northwestern Clinical Site (U10). She has more than hundred publications in peer-reviewed scientific journals and book chapters and she has lectured nationally and internationally on PD and other movement disorders.

Dr Simuni is an active member of the American Academy of Neurology, American Neurological Association, and the Movement Disorders Society as well as the Parkinson’s Study Group, and REM Behavior Disorders Study Group.



Dalton James Surmeier (USA): is the Nathan Smith Davis Professor and Chair of the Department of Physiology at the Feinberg School of Medicine at Northwestern University and Director of the Morris K. Udall Research Center of Research Excellence for Parkinson’s Disease at Northwestern University. Dr. Surmeier received his Ph.D., in Physiology and Biophysics from the University of Washington in 1983. In 1998, he moved to the Department of Physiology at Northwestern University and assumed his current position in 2001. Dr. Surmeier’s research program focuses on the basal ganglia – neural structures controlling movement and intimately involved in the pathophysiology of Parkinson’s and Huntington’s diseases. He was elected as a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and has received many other scientific awards including the NARSAD Established Investigator award, the Riker Award, the Picower Foundation Award, Jacob Javits Neuroscience Investigator Award and BAM Patient Impact Research Award.



Mark Daniel Suwyn (USA): won national recognition as a reporter and editor before being diagnosed with Parkinson's at 39. Soon after diagnosis Dan left journalism to study cognitive neuroscience. Today, he uses both his journalism and neuroscience knowledge as a trusted advisor to Fortune 500 and Inc. 5000 companies, helping them create the culture necessary for people to do their best work. 


Back in 2013, after suffering through depression, addiction and severe motor symptoms that severely limited his ability to walk or talk, Dan had Deep Brain Stimulation surgery at the Medical College of Georgia. The surgery – along with a team of neurologists, cognitive behavior specialists, physical and speech therapists, massage therapists, good friends and an amazing wife and daughters – has brought Dan back from the brink. He is using his new-found energy to champion a "team of professionals" approach to Parkinson's treatment as a member of the Michael J. Fox Foundation Patient Council.


Caroline Tanner (USA): is the Director of the  Parkinson’s Disease Research, Education and Clinical Center at the San Francisco Veterans Affairs Medical Center and Professor in the  Department of Neurology, University of California – San Francisco. Her clinical practice specializes in movement disorders. Her research interests include investigations of the descriptive epidemiology, environmental and genetic determinants, biomarkers, early detection, nonmotor disease features and interventions for the secondary prevention, disease modification and symptomatic treatment of movement disorders and neurodegenerative diseases. Dr. Tanner and her colleagues have identified associations between exposures including certain pesticides, solvents and persistent environmental pollutants and increased risk of Parkinson’s disease, and a greater risk in individuals with certain genetic variants (gene-environment interaction).

Dr. Tanner is past co-chair of the Parkinson Study Group (PSG) and has  conducted numerous clinical trials with the PSG and other groups. Other research interests include work to facilitate collaborative research and improve patient access to research and clinical care, locally and internationally, including telemedicine, use of mobile technology and patient reported outcomes. An additional area of focus is the identification of PD-associated biomarkers (Parkinson’s Progression Markers Initiative).

Dr. Tanner serves on the Scientific Advisory Boards of the Michael J. Fox Foundation and the National Spasmodic Dysphonia Association, on the Linked Clinical Trials Committee of the Cure Parkinson’s Trust, and on committees for NIH and the American Academy of Neurology (AAN).  Her honors include the AAN Movement Disorders Research Award in 2012 and the White House Champions of Change for Parkinson’s in 2015.



Malu Tansey (USA): obtained her B.S/M.S in Biological Sciences from Stanford University in Palo Alto, CA, and her Ph.D. in Cell Regulation from UT Southwestern in Dallas, TX, where she studied the role of MLCK phosphorylation in regulation of smooth muscle contraction in the laboratory of Dr. James T. Stull in the Department of Physiology.

She joined the laboratory of Eugene M. Johnson Jr. in the Department of Molecular Pharmacology at Washington University in 1996 as a post-doctoral fellow. In collaboration with the laboratory of Jeff Milbrandt in the Department of Genetics,  she and her colleagues identified new members of the GDNF Family of Ligands (GFLs: Neurturin, Persephin, and Artemin) and their paired GFR binding co-receptors (GFRalpha2 and 3) and demonstrated their potent bioactivities on multiple neuronal populations. Their work was the first demonstration that ligand-induced recruitment of a neurotrophic receptor (Ret) to lipid rafts for interaction with c-Src was functionally required for GFL-induced neuronal survival and differentiation.

As Group Leader of Chemical Genetics at Xencor Inc. in Monrovia, CA, she was part of a team that developed a new class of TNF inhibitors using a proprietary protein-engineering platform. In 2002, she returned to academia as an Assistant Professor of Physiology at UT Southwestern to investigate the role of TNF signaling in the CNS and its impact on neuronal survival and neurological disorders. She is now a tenured Associate Professor of Physiology at Emory University in Atlanta, GA and a member of the Center for Neurodegenerative Disease. The general research interests of her laboratory include investigating mechanisms underlying CNS-immune system crosstalk in health and disease, in particular the role and regulation of neuroinflammatory and immune system responses in modulating the gene-environment interactions that determine risk for development and progression of neurodegenerative and neuropsychiatric disease.


Alice Templin (Canada): graduated from the University of Western Ontario ( BScPT) and practised physiotherapy in Ontario (Canada), London (England), New Zealand and Australia, concentrating on adult neurological rehabilitation. She also obtained certification for Teaching English as a Second Language and have taught ESL (part time and as a volunteer) for several years. Alice was diagnosed with Parkinson's Disease 15 years ago and became active as a volunteer with Parkinson Society Canada and Parkinson Society Eastern Ontario (now Parkinson Canada Inc.), receiving the Volunteer of the Year Award in 2010 and the Mimi Feutl Award in 2014. She was delighted to be on the Program Committee (Comprehensive Care) and Parkinson Advocates Committee for WPC 2013 in Montreal, Canada. Currently, she is honored to participate with the planning of the 4th WPC in Portland, Oregon as Co-Chair of the Advocates for Parkinson's Committee. Involvement in these events and activities, combined with keeping active in other ways, especially physically, help her to manage the manifestations of  Parkinson's as I encounter them. Alice tries to do something new every year - last year it was curling, this year tai chi ...maybe next year she'll make a quilt.



Sarah Threlfell (UK): As a Senior Research Fellow in the Oxford Parkinson’s Disease Centre, Sarah's research explores monoamine transmission properties in rodent models of Parkinson’s disease. She records monoamine release and reuptake using the near real-time electrochemical detection technique; fast-scan cyclic voltammetry at carbon fibre microelectrodes in acute brain slices. These studies of release are complemented by measures of monoamine content from brain regions using HPLC with electrochemical detection to improve our understanding of both how the processes governing exocytosis are altered in Parkinsonian models, and whether this is accompanied by changes in the overall content of monoamines.

In parallel, she uses optogenetic technology to light-activate genetically-targeted populations of neurons to further our understanding of fundamental neuromodulatory mechanisms operating within monoamine systems in the basal ganglia – a group of subcortical nuclei in the brain which become dysfunctional in Parkinson’s disease. Sarah is currently establishing dual-recombinase optogenetics to explore the factors which might underlie selective vulnerability of subtypes of dopamine neuron in Parkinson’s disease.



Linda Tickle-Degnen (USA): is Professor of Occupational Therapy in the School of Arts & Sciences at Tufts University. She directs her Health Quality of Life Lab in research that crosses the disciplines of rehabilitation science and experimental social psychology.  Her work focuses on the health and well-being outcomes of facial movement, social functioning and self-management activity for living with Parkinson’s disease and other chronic conditions. With her computer science colleagues, she is developing socially assistive robots for Parkinson's disease. Her research is funded by the U.S. National Institutes of Health and the National Science Foundation.



Veronica Todaro (USA)has led the national programs of the Parkinson’s Disease Foundation (PDF) since joining the organization in 2004. 

In this role, she has pioneered national programs focused on patient engagement both at PDF and in the broader community. She has advocated amongst industry, government, academia, and nonprofits to change our understanding of “patients” to include the recognition that people with Parkinson’s are the ultimate consumers whose insights should drive our work to find a cure for the disease.

Ms. Todaro’s work includes the creation of the 
Parkinson’s Advocates in Research program. Under her direction, the program has trained more than 280 volunteers (people with Parkinson’s and care partners) to serve on the frontlines with the professionals seeking better treatments for their disease. In addition to driving the volunteer component of the program, Ms. Todaro has forged relationships with research professionals to ensure that opportunities exist for these trained patient advocates to share their insights. She and her team provide regular guidance to research professionals and patient advocates on how they can work together to find the cure.

Ms. Todaro’s focus on patient engagement also led to the creation of 
PDF’s People with Parkinson’s Advisory Council, which she launched in 2006 as the first of its kind in the community. The 14 members of this council serve as key advisors on PDF’s programs of research, education and advocacy.

More recently, she has worked to launch new patient leadership programs that help to reach new communities and address unmet needs, including the Women and PD Initiative and PD SELF, a pilot program developed by Diane Cook. 

Ms. Todaro has been recognized for her leadership in patient engagement and community-centric programming by many organizations in the field. For example, she has been an invited speaker at national and international conferences, including those convened by the 
National Institutes of Health, the US Food and Drug Administration, the Society for Clinical Trials and the World Parkinson Congress.

Ms. Todaro currently serves as a member of the  Patient Engagement Advisory Panel for the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI). She is a representative to the Executive Committee for the Clinical Trials Transformation Initiative (CTTI)
and previously served as Chair of CTTI's Patient Leadership Council (PLC). She also serves on the Institutional Review Board at the North Shore-Long Island Jewish Health System. Lastly, she is a past member of the editorial board for the Global Forum the journal of the Drug Information Association (DIA) and currently serves on the DIA Advisory Council for North America. 

Prior to working with PDF, Ms. Todaro held several leadership positions in the public health field, including with Planned Parenthood.

Ms. Todaro completed her master’s degree in Public Health in Planning and Administration at the University of Michigan and her bachelor’s degree in Public Policy at Cornell University.


Ryan Tripp (Canada): was diagnosed with Parkinson's disease in July of 1996, at an age of 47 years old. He worked as a P.E. teacher and administrator for 23 years. Three year's later he was forced to take a long-term disability leave from his profession. Despite this, the PD diagnosis, depression and a fractured marriage, his strong family values and close ties to his 2 sons and 4 grandchildren, he eventually found help and a renewed sense of purpose, meaningful daily goals at home and volunteering in his community plus fun and laughter.  


Finally, with Parkinson Society, he has been a strong consistent fundraiser, an enthusiastic advocate in his community, at Queen's Park in Toronto and on Parliament Hill in Ottawa.

Ryan has attended the past 3 WPC's. He was part of the 1st Global Ambassadors Team for 2013 and has accepted a 2nd term as one of the WPC 2016 A-Team in Portland, Or. USA. He continues to share information on "living alone with Parkinson's' and the need for a "team of support" in the community, to successfully survive. He states that adaptations are required for record keeping and learning new technologies are paramount in monitoring changes for himself and his Movement Disorder Specialist. The patient and the caregiver must be part of the process in achieving meaningful solutions to problems and the ultimate "cure!"

His personal code encompasses; to live with intention, walk to the edge, listen hard, practice wellness, play with abandon, laugh, choose, with no regret, continue to learn, appreciate your friends, do what you love, and, make every day count. It is a gift, so accept the present!

Let's be positive and united in our attack on Parkinson's by changing the "I" in illness to a "W", and make it wellness!  "Carpe Diem!"


Vivek K. Unni (USA): is an assistant professor in the Parkinson Center of Oregon, the Department of Neurology and the Jungers Center for Neurosciences Research at Oregon Health & Science University (OHSU) in Portland. He is a physician-scientist who both cares for people afflicted with parkinsonism and does basic science research to understand and treat these disorders better. Dr. Unni has undergraduate and master’s degrees from Stanford University and earned his M.D., Ph.D. from Columbia University. He did his internship at St Luke’s–Roosevelt Hospital, and neurology residency and fellowship in movement disorders at the Harvard Partners - Brigham & Women’s Hospital and Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) programs. After training, Dr. Unni was on the faculty at Harvard Medical School and was a staff neurologist in the Movement Disorders Division of the Neurology Dept. at MGH until his move to OHSU in the fall of 2011. A word from Dr. Unni regarding his research: “My goal is to understand how the protein alpha-synuclein is involved in Parkinson’s disease (PD) and related disorders. Many lines of evidence suggest that increased alpha-synuclein levels can directly cause disease. One hypothesis for how this occurs is that increased alpha-synuclein levels cause this protein to aggregate with itself to form potentially toxic species that then cause neurons to die. The situation is complicated, however, because alpha-synuclein can form many kinds of aggregates, some of which are potentially toxic and others which could be protective. My work uses powerful new imaging approaches we have pioneered to study alpha-synuclein in the living brain in PD models. Currently, there are no FDA-approved drugs for these diseases that slow or halt their often inexorable progression - but my goal is to discover new knowledge that will give us the opportunity to change this fact.”



David Vaillancourt (USA): is currently a Professor of Applied Physiology and Kinesiology, Biomedical Engineering, and Neurology at the University of Florida.  Vaillancourt’s research focuses on how the brain regulates movement with a specific focus on voluntary and involuntary motor disorders. His research program uses advanced neuroimaging techniques to study the functional and structural changes in the brain of people with movement disorders that span Parkinson’s disease, tremor, dystonia, and ataxia.  He has conducted studies investigating interventions including rehabilitative, surgical, and pharmacological interventions, and published this work in journals that include Brain, Journal of Neuroscience, JAMA Neurology, Neurology, Human Brain Mapping, Neuroimage, Cerebral Cortex, and Neurobiology of Aging.  He has been continuously funded by NIH since 1999, and now directs several grants from NIH.  Active work in his lab includes progression studies focused on changes in the brain for Parkinson’s disease and Parkinsonism, studies of tremor and brain connectivity, and pharmacological and neuroimaging studies for dystonia in mouse and human.  He is a currently Chair of the NIH Study Section Motor Function Speech and Rehabilitation and reviews grants for the Michael J. Fox Foundation and National Parkinson Foundation.  At UF, he created the course entitled “Movement Disorders” which is now the foundation course for a T32 training grant from the NIH for training doctoral students across molecular, cellular, imaging, and behavioral backgrounds in movement disorders.



Marjolein van der Marck (Netherlands): is a post doctoral fellow at the department of Geriatric Medicine of the Radboud university medical center, Nijmegen, The Netherlands. She obtained her BSc and MSc degree in Human Nutrition and Health at Wageningen University and Research Center. She conducted research on several topics, including weight changes in patients with Parkinson's disease who received deep brain stimulation. Fascinated by the complexity of this disorder, she started her PhD project on team-based care in the management of Parkinson's disease at the department of Neurology of the Radboudumc. She authored several scientific articles and book chapters on multidisciplinary care. Additional fields of interest included nutrition and weight issues and falls prevention in Parkinson's disease. Currently, dr. Van der Marck is appointed as a post doc fellow and project leader at the department of Geriatric Medicine on the innovative organisation of network-based care via DementiaNet and scientific evaluation of this approach. Furthermore, she supervises PhD students and coordinates various research projects including drugs trials, national guideline development for participation of elderly in research, and project on informal care support. Her expertise lies within complex, multispecialty care and related evaluations on (cost-)effectiveness within clinical settings, with a focus on models of integrated care for Parkinson’s disease, dementia and frail elderly. Furthermore, Dr Van der Marck is Dutch representative for the European Young Leaders in Dementia, and Board Member for the Dutch Alzheimer Society and coordinator of the Alzheimer Café in Nijmegen.



Marilyn Veomett (USA): was shocked by her diagnosis of Parkinson’s in 1997 at the age of 50.  She was totally unprepared for the news and angry with the doctors who pronounced it.  She was frightened, unbelieving, and confused.  She was fit and led an active life.  She saw herself as a master multi-tasker with energy to challenge the Energizer bunny.  She couldn’t possibly have this disease.

She set out to learn everything she could about Parkinson's and its management through medication, exercise, diet, and attitude, yet continued to live at her usual frantic pace for almost 10 more years.

At 60, she retired and began her journey of acceptance. In time, she learned that Parkinson's, despite being an uninvited and obnoxious daily companion, is also a great teacher. These are some of the lessons she is learning from Parkinson's:


- Life is unpredictable; the present is all we can count on, so live it well.

- Be aware of all the good things in your life and be grateful for each and every one.

- Appreciate your camaraderie with all those who live with any type of loss or limitation (isn’t that everyone?).- Living well with Parkinson's is hard, but possible and worth the effort.

- Cultivate humility, simplify your life as much as possible, enlist the help of caring and skilled professionals and nurture relationships with family and friends.

Marilyn is a lifelong learner and teacher, with graduate degrees in psychology and developmental biology. Marilyn had DBS surgery in 2015.

Gwyn Vernon (USA):



Patrik Verstreken (Belgium): obtained his degree in bio-engineering from the university of Brussels in 1998. He joined the Graduate school of Biomedical sciences at Baylor College of Medicine and under the mentorship of Hugo Bellen he obtained a PhD in Developmental Biology in 2003.  After post doctoral training and with support of a Marie Curie Excellence grant he became a group leader at VIB and joined the faculty of the university of Leuven (KU Leuven) in 2007. Patrik obtained an ERC starting grant in 2011 and an ERC consolidator grant in 2015.

Patrik Verstreken has made important contributions to our understanding of synaptic function in health and neurodegenerative disease.  Using fruit flies and more recently also human neurons derived from embryonic stem cells, Patrik’s work has focussed on key proteins, lipids and mitochondria that regulate synaptic activtiy and how these molecules and organelles are misregulated in Parkinson’s disease.  Patrik’s work has led to the discovery of specific presynaptic and organellar defects in Parkinson’s disease and in strategies as to how these defects can be suppressed.


Sheela Vyas (France):


Hirohisa Watanabe (Japan): is Research Professor of Brain and Mind research center at Nagoya University, Nagoya Japan since 2013. He obtained his MD degree from the Mie University in 1993 and received his neurological training at the Nagoya Daini Red Cross Hospital and Nagoya University Hospital.  He received his PhD degree for studies on progression and prognosis of multiple system atrophy from Nagoya University Graduate School of Medicine in 2003. Dr Watanabe was assistant professor at the Department of Neurology, Nagoya University Graduate School of Medicine, during 2006-09, and has been a lecturer during 2009-13. He is a member of Neurology, Internal medicine and Movement Disorder Society of Japan and American Academy of Neurology and International Movement Disorder Society. His major research interest is the study of natural history, neuroimaging, autonomic function and pathology of movement disorders, especially those of Parkinson's disease and multiple system atrophy. He is certificated as the specialist of neurology and internal medicine from the corresponding Japanese societies.



Daniel Weintraub (USA): is Associate Professor of Psychiatry and Neurology at the University of Pennsylvania, and Psychiatrist at the Parkinson’s Disease Research, Education and Clinical Center (PADRECC) at the Philadelphia VA Medical Center.  A board-certified geriatric psychiatrist, he conducts clinical research in the psychiatric and cognitive complications of Parkinson’s disease (PD) and Alzheimer's disease, and is author of approximately 200 journal articles, reviews, and book chapters.  He completed a NIMH Career Development Award focused on depression in PD, and has also been Principal Investigator on grants from the VA, Penn, the Fox Foundation, and industry-sponsored studies, as well as Director of the Clinical Core of the Penn Udall Center.  His research has focused on the epidemiology, neural substrate, assessment and treatment of depression, psychosis, cognitive impairment and impulse control disorders in Parkinson’s disease.  Dr. Weintraub previously served on the Executive Committee of the Parkinson Study Group (PSG), was an Advisor to the Cognitive Work Group of the DSM-V Task Force, was Chair of the Psychiatry Subgroup of the NINDS Common Data Elements (CDE) project, and has been a member of five Movement Disorder Society (MDS) task forces to revise and make recommendations for the assessment of cognitive and psychiatric symptoms in Parkinson’s disease.  He currently is Associate Editor of Movement Disorders Journal, a member of the Scientific Advisory Committee of the Lewy Body Dementia Association, is a grant reviewer for the Weston and Fox Foundations, on the DSMB of ENROLL-HD study sponsored by the Cure Huntington’s Disease Initiative and Chair of the DSMB for the Alzheimer’s Disease Cooperative Study (ADCS), on the Movement Disorder Society Scales Development Committee and the Steering Committee of the Non-Motor PD Study Group, and is Chair of the Cognitive-Behavioral Work Group and member of the Steering Committee for the Parkinson’s Progression Markers Initiative (PPMI) study.



Andrew West (USA): is an Associate Professor of Neurology and holds the John A. and Ruth R. Jurenko Endowed Professorship in Neurology. Dr. West received his undergraduate degree from Alma College and his PhD in molecular neuroscience from the Mayo Clinic School of Medicine in Rochester, Mn. He then went on to complete a postdoctoral fellowship at UCLA Neuropsychiatric Institute in Los Angeles and a second postdoctoral fellowship followed by an instructor faculty position in the Department of Neurology at Johns Hopkins.


Dr. West co-directs the UAB Center for Neurodegeneration and Experimental Therapeutics (CNET). CNET consists of 30 laboratories in 10 different departments with primary and peripheral interests in neurodegenerative disease. The goal of CNET is to facilitate collaborative efforts in translational approaches relevant to neurodegenerative disease. In 2008, the West laboratory opened at the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) with a mission to identify critical pathogenic mechanisms underlying neurologic diseases like Parkinson’s disease, develop new and relevant systems that model these mechanisms, and develop new therapeutics that will address the immediate needs of those affected with disease.


Richard Windle (USA): was diagnosed in 2009. His interest in Parkinson's research started the following year when he attended the World Parkinson's Congress in Glasgow. Needless to say, but he also attended WPC  in Montreal and will be in Portland in 2016. He chairs the meetings of the Parkinson's UK Research Support Network Development Team in London. He is a social scientist by background and has a joint honours degree in psychology and statistics and a master's degree in social statistics. He has authored reports into subjects as diverse as student finance, the market for digital radio, transport in London and attitudes towards the police in London.

Richard Wyse (UK): For the past 9 years, as Director of Research & Development for the Cure Parkinson’s Trust, Richard Wyse has been involved in a large number of pre-clinical and clinical programs involving a range of regenerative medicine approaches (cell transplantation, stem cell, and growth factor infusions) as well helping to drive forward a multitude of new drugs and biological targets all aimed at greatly improving the long term treatment of Parkinson’s disease. Rather than symptomatic therapies, most of his focus has been directed towards bringing forward powerful new disease-modifying therapeutics aimed at stopping neurodegeneration on a long term basis This focus directly addresses the greatest unmet need for PD patients since successful disease-modifying treatments that stop the trajectory of neurological decline, will directly impact on patients for their entire life ahead, and their quality of life throughout.

The result of this strategic approach is that several highly promising disease-modifying therapeutics now appear to be emerging and are currently undergoing rigorous testing in clinical trials in PD patients.  Richard originally came from a background of academic medicine and, as well as Parkinson’s disease, has written more than 120 research and clinical publications in cardiology, genetics, pediatrics, oncology and ophthalmology. As with most in The Cure Parkinson’s Trust, Richard was strongly motivated to join our determined and unrelenting search for a fundamental cure by the personal involvement of a close friend and colleague who had Parkinson’s disease.



Jing Zhang (USA): Professor of Pathology, with an endowed chair, in the University of Washington (UW) School of Medicine in Seattle, Washington. Dr. Zhang is also the Chair of Department of Pathology and Center Excellence for Molecular Diagnostics affiliated with Peking University Health Science Center and Peking University Third Hospital. Dr. Zhang received his initial undergraduate and medical training in Shanghai, China (Second Military Medical College). After graduating from a PhD program in Cell Biology at Duke University in 1995, he finished his medical residency and fellowship in Anatomic Pathology and Neuropathology, respectively, at Vanderbilt University in 2001. Currently, Dr. Zhang is a practicing neuropathologist as well as an ocular pathologist both in UW Medicine and Peking University. Besides his clinical duties, Dr. Zhang also leads a research team that is focused on neurodegenerative disorders, especially Parkinson's disease and related disorders, including Alzheimer's disease. He is particularly interested in translational medicine, with biomarker discovery and validation as the major emphasis. Dr. Zhang is the winner of 2007 Alzheimer's Award for his proteomics investigation of biomarkers in human cerebrospinal fluid. Dr. Zhang has published about 200 SCI papers, with an H-Index of 55 and over 10,000 citations based on Google Scholar Citation database (January, 2016). More details on his research can be found in his website: http://www.pathology.washington.edu/research/labs/zhang/


Heather Zwickey (USA): is the Dean of Research and Graduate Studies at the National College of Natural Medicine (NCNM), director of Helfgott Research Institute, and Professor of Immunology. Dr. Zwickey trained at the world renowned National Jewish Medical and Research Center in Denver.  She received a Ph.D. in Immunology and Microbiology from the University of Colorado Health Sciences Center. Dr. Zwickey went on to complete a postdoctoral fellowship and teach medical school at Yale University. In 2003, Dr. Zwickey launched the Helfgott Research Institute at NCNM. She also used her expertise in program development to establish the School of Research and Graduate Studies at NCNM, and serves as its leader.  She has developed Masters programs in Integrative Medicine Research, Nutrition, and Global Health. At Helfgott Research Institute, Dr. Zwickey applies her immunology expertise to natural medicine. She studies the immunological and neurological mechanisms involved in nutrition, herbal medicine, acupuncture, and mind-body therapies. She studies nutrition and Parkinson’s disease, and has particular interest in the brain-gut axis. Dr. Zwickey sits on the medical advisory board and the board of directors of the Brian Grant Foundation.


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