World Without Parkinson's: A Look Into the Future

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730 3rd Avenue

New York, NY 10017

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Join us for a cutting-edge scientific event marking the 200th anniversary of James Parkinson's, "An Essay on the Shaking Palsy." The event brings together innovators in research, health care and technology to identify trends that will speed solutions and end the disease for 10 million people worldwide.

Leaders in the field, including those funded by the Parkinson’s Foundation, will present on promising research discoveries and trends. The event will offer ample networking opportunities and will include an intimate interview with world-renowned Parkinsonologist Stanley Fahn, M.D., who will discuss influential scientific advances in Parkinson's to date and the ideas he predicts will speed progress in the future.

Researchers, neurologists and health innovators are encouraged to attend. All are welcome.

Thanks to generous supporters, we are delighted to lower the cost to attend the event to $25!

Media inquiries can be directed to mbarry@pdf.org

Planning Committee

Patrik Brundin, M.D., Ph.D., Van Andel Research Institute (Chair)
Ray Dorsey, M.D., University of Rochester Medical Center
Michael S. Okun, M.D., University of Florida College of Medicine, Parkinson’s Foundation Center of Excellence
Beth-Anne Sieber, Ph.D., National Institutes of Health


To chart a path toward “A World Without Parkinson’s,” the event will examine four key areas of science.

7:30 AM Registration Opens

8:10 AM Welcome

John L. Lehr, CEO, Parkinson’s Foundation

8:15 AM Opening Remarks

Patrik Brundin, M.D., Ph.D., Van Andel Research Institute
Dave Iverson, journalist, writer and producer

8:40 AM to 10:30 AM Living + PD

What is the future for diagnosis and care in Parkinson’s? How will physicians and patients connect and how can those connections influence the Parkinson’s community?

  • The Future of Parkinson’s Care, Bastiaan R. Bloem, M.D., Ph.D., Radboud University Nijmegen Medical Centre, Netherlands, Parkinson’s Foundation Center of Excellence and Ray Dorsey, M.D., University of Rochester Medical Center
  • Design for Better Health, Dennis Boyle, M.S., IDEO
  • People with Parkinson’s in the Digital Age: Will We Need Neurologists in the Future? Sara Riggare, Ph.D. Candidate, Karolinska Institutet, Sweden

Moderated by Dave Iverson

11:00 AM to 12:30 PM Predicting + PD

By the time a person is diagnosed with Parkinson’s, the disease has been years in the making. How can we predict who will develop it? In the absence of a cure or neuroprotective therapies, how can we responsibly support and treat individuals who may receive an early diagnosis?

  • Linking PD to the Genome, Epigenome, Microbiome, Exposome: Deeper in Confusion or Closer to a Solution?, Haydeh Payami, Ph.D., Professor of Neurology and Genetics, University of Alabama at Birmingham
  • Innate Immunity, Genetics and Parkinson’s Disease, Elizabeth M. Bradshaw, Ph.D., Brigham and Women's Hospital
  • Finding Biomarkers for Parkinson’s Disease, Alice Chen-Plotkin, M.D., Perelman School of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania, Parkinson’s Foundation Center of Excellence

Moderated by Beth-Anne Sieber, Ph.D., National Institutes of Health

12:30 PM to 1:00 PM Looking Back, Looking Ahead: An interview with Stanley Fahn, M.D.

In this intimate Q&A led by Dr. Brundin, hear what world-renowned Parkinsonologist Dr. Fahn considers the most influential scientific advances in Parkinson’s to date and the ideas he predicts will speed progress in the future.

1:00 PM to 2:00 PM Lunch

2:00 PM to 3:30 PM Measuring + PD

How is technology driving us toward better ways of measuring Parkinson’s, its symptoms and its progression? How can we integrate the art of clinical assessment with objective measures? How do our answers shed light on the knowledge that Parkinson’s has several diverse etiologies?

  • The Implications of Consumer Technologies as Serious Tools for Parkinson's Measurement, Max A. Little, Ph.D., Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Aston University
  • A Paradigm Shift for Disease-modifying Therapies Using Imaging, David Vaillancourt, Ph.D., University of Florida College of Medicine, Parkinson’s Foundation Center of Excellence
  • New Neuroscientific Tools and Necessary Neuroethical Tasks, James Giordano, Ph.D., Georgetown University, Parkinson’s Foundation Center of Excellence

Moderated by Michael S. Okun, M.D., University of Florida College of Medicine, Parkinson’s Foundation Center of Excellence

3:30 PM to 3:45 PM Break

3:45 PM to 5:15 PM Modifying + PD

What will the next generation of Parkinson’s therapies look like? How can they stop or slow the disease to transform quality of life for people living with Parkinson’s?

  • Targeting Alpha-synuclein to Slow the Progression of Parkinson's Disease, Laura A. Volpicelli-Daley, Ph.D., University of Alabama School of Medicine
  • DNA Barcoded Nanoparticles for High Throughput In Vivo Targeting Analysis, James Dahlman, Ph.D., Georgia Institute of Technology
  • ​Closed Loop Neuromodulation for Parkinson’s Disease: Present and Future, Helen Bronte-Stewart, M.D., M.S.E., Stanford University

Moderated by Bastiaan Bloem, M.D., Ph.D., Radboud University Nijmegen Medical Centre, Parkinson’s Foundation Center of Excellence

5:15 PM to 5:35 PM Final Keynote & Closing Remarks

Patrik Brundin, M.D., Ph.D., Van Andel Research Institute

5:45 PM to 6:45 PM Reception





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Faculty Biographies

Dr. Bastiaan Bloem

Bastiaan Bloem, M.D., Ph.D., is Consultant Neurologist at the Radboud University Medical Centre in Nijmegen, The Netherlands, a Parkinson's Foundation Center of Excellence.

In addition to founding the Parkinson Centre Nijmegen (ParC), Dr. Bloem (with Dr. Marten Munneke) developed ParkinsonNet, an innovative network of professionals in the Netherlands who are dedicated to improving Parkinson’s care. ParkinsonNet has received multiple awards, including the ‘Best Pearl for Health Care Innovation’ Prize (2011) and the Value-Based Health Care Prize (2015).

Dr. Bloem is past president of the International Society for Gait and Postural Research, member of the International Executive Committee of the Movement Disorder Society, and newly-appointed member of the Executive Scientific Advisory Board of The Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research.
Dr. Bloem received his medical degree with honors from Leiden University Medical Centre and received his doctorate from Leiden based on a thesis entitled “Postural reflexes in Parkinson’s disease.” He received additional training as a movement disorders specialist during fellowships at The Parkinson's Institute and the Institute of Neurology, Queen Square, London.

Dennis BoyleDennis Boyle, M.S., is Partner and Founding Member of IDEO, a health and wellness practice in Palo Alto, CA.

At IDEO, Mr. Boyle works with clients in the medical and consumer health care industries to develop innovative products and strategies for promoting healthful living and behavior change. Over the course of his IDEO career, he has helped build and nurture many key, long-term client relationships, including Silicon Valley tech firms, Fortune 100 consumer businesses and health care companies. He has contributed to more than 50 patents. He has helped to shape IDEO’s approach to teaching design thinking through workshops and created the TechBox at IDEO, a collection of tools used for creative problem-solving, research, and in communication both inside and outside the company. He is also a Consulting Assistant Professor for the Design Division at Stanford University Mechanical Engineering School. He teaches, “Design for Health,” a course in which students are placed on teams that work directly with individual patients to promote healthy behaviors in order to avoid long-term chronic illness.

Mr. Boyle received his bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from the University of Notre Dame and his master’s degree in product design from Stanford University.

Dr. Elizabeth Bradshaw

Elizabeth Bradshaw, Ph.D., is Assistant Professor of Neurology at Harvard Medical School, and Assistant Scientist at Brigham and Women’s Hospital.

A main focus of Dr. Bradshaw’s work has been understanding the role of the innate immune system in neurodegenerative diseases, including Parkinson’s. Currently, one of Dr. Bradshaw’s major research interests is the translation of findings from these studies, to molecular outcomes and potentially therapeutically targetable molecules in innate immune cells.

Dr. Bradshaw received her doctorate from Tufts University and performed her postdoctoral research at the Ann Romney Center for Neurologic Diseases at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School.

Dr. Patrik Brundin

Patrik Brundin, M.D., Ph.D., is Director of the Center for Neurodegenerative Science and the inaugural holder of the Jay Van Andel Endowed Chair in Parkinson’s Research at the Van Andel Research Institute in Grand Rapids, MI.

Dr. Brundin is an internationally-renowned expert in the field of Parkinson’s and neurodegenerative disease research, whose career spans more than 35 years, including key involvement in some of the first clinical neural transplantation trials. His current research interests are related to alpha-synuclein acting in a prion-like fashion; animal models of Parkinson’s disease; drug repurposing; and the development of disease-modifying therapies in Parkinson's disease. In addition to leading his lab at the Institute, he is co-editor-in-chief of the Journal of Parkinson’s Disease, a member of the World Parkinson Coalition’s Board of Directors and chair of the Linked Clinical Trials committee.

Dr. Brundin received both his medical degree and doctorate from Lund University in Sweden.

Dr. James Dahlman
James Dahlman, Ph.D., is Assistant Professor of Biomedical Engineering at Georgia Tech. He is also one of the first recipients of the Parkinson’s Disease Foundation Stanley Fahn Junior Faculty Award.

Dr. Dahlman’s lab works at the interface of chemical engineering, nanotechnology, genomics and gene editing, designing nanotechnology for targeted drug delivery and in vivo combination therapies for Parkinson’s and health conditions. For example, his lab has designed nanoparticles that deliver RNAs to the lung and heart that have been used by over ten labs across the US, and are under consideration for clinical trials. Recently, they developed a method to quantify the targeting and biodistribution of dozens (or hundreds) of distinct nanoparticles at once. They will use this new technology to deliver nucleic acids to new cell types, and study how the chemical structure of nanoparticles affects their behavior in animals.

Dr. Dahlman received his doctorate in medical engineering at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and Harvard Medical School and his postdoctoral fellowship at Broad Institute of MIT.

Dr. Laura Volpicelli-Daley

Laura Volpicelli-Daley, Ph.D., is Assistant Professor of Neurology at the University of Alabama School of Medicine.

Dr. Volpicelli-Daley’s primary research interest focuses on alpha-synuclein inclusions, including the mechanisms by which they form in neurons, how they alter membrane traffic in neurons (and possibly compromise neuronal function), and how other genes implicated in Parkinson’s impact their formation. She uses a wide range of approaches such as live cell and high resolution imaging in primary cultured neurons, pharmacology, mouse and rat models and behavior.

Dr. Volpicelli-Daley received her doctorate in neuroscience from Emory University and completed her postdoctoral fellowship in Cell Biology at Yale University. She received further training in Parkinson's with Virginia Lee, M.B.A., Ph.D., at the University of Pennsylvania.

Dr. Ray Dorsey

Ray Dorsey M.D., is the David M. Levy Professor of Neurology and Director of the Center for Human Experimental Therapeutics at the University of Rochester Medical Center.

Through novel applications of technology, Dr. Dorsey and his colleagues seek to enable anyone anywhere to receive care, participate in research and benefit from therapeutic advances. He previously directed the movement disorders division and neurology telemedicine at Johns Hopkins. In 2015, he was recognized as a White House “Champion for Change” for Parkinson’s. Dr. Dorsey’s research has also been published in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal and leading medical, neurology and economic journals, as well as featured on National Public Radio.

Dr. Dorsey received his medical degree from the University of Pennsylvania.

Dr. Stanley Fahn

Stanley Fahn, M.D., is the H. Houston Merritt Professor of Neurology, as well as founder and Emeritus Director of the Center for Parkinson's Disease and Other Movement Disorders at Columbia University Medical Center, a Parkinson’s Foundation Center of Excellence. He is also a world-renowned expert in Parkinson’s and a member of the Parkinson's Foundation Board of Directors.

Dr. Fahn previously served as Scientific Director for the PDF division of the Parkinson’s Foundation. In this role, he helped guide $5 million in annual grants to promising Parkinson’s investigators around the world. As a leading authority on Parkinson’s, he organized and modified the Unified Parkinson's Disease Rating Scale and the Schwab England ADL score, which are used worldwide to determine Parkinson’s severity and measure quality of life. He co-founded the Parkinson Study Group that is dedicated to clinical research. He also founded the International Parkinson and Movement Disorder Society, and founded and served as President of the World Parkinson Coalition. He co-chaired the first three World Parkinson Congresses. In 2006, he was honored with the Page and William Black Humanitarian Award for his ongoing commitment to Parkinson’s research.

Dr. James Giordano

James Giordano, Ph.D., is Professor in the Departments of Neurology and Biochemistry, Chief of the Neuroethics Studies Program of the Pellegrino Center for Clinical Bioethics, and Co-director of the O’Neill-Pellegrino Program in Brain Science and Global Health Law and Policy at Georgetown University Medical Center in Washington, DC, a Parkinson’s Foundation Center of Excellence. He is Distinguished Visiting Professor of Brain Science, Health Promotions and Ethics at the Coburg University of Applied Sciences in Coburg, Germany, and was formerly Fulbright Visiting Professor of Neuroscience and Neuroethics at the Ludwig-Maximilians University in Munich, Germany.

Dr. Giordano currently serves as an appointed member of both the Department of Health and Human Services Secretary’s Advisory Council for Human Research Protection, and the Neuroethics, Legal and Social Issues Advisory Panel of the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA). In addition, he is Senior Science Advisory Fellow to the Strategic Multilevel Assessment Group of the Joint Staff of the Pentagon, serving to advise the Joint Staff about developments in brain science that are of importance to military medicine, national security, intelligence and defense.

Dr. Giordano is the author of over 250 publications and seven books in neuroscience and neuroethics, and 12 governmental white papers on bioscience, biotechnology and biosecurity. He is Editor-in-Chief of the international journal Philosophy, Ethics, and Humanities in Medicine, and Associate Editor of the Cambridge Quarterly of Health Care Ethics - Neuroethics Now and Clinical Neuroethics sections. His ongoing work focuses upon neural mechanisms of decision-making and neuropsychiatric spectrum disorders, and neuroethical issues arising in and from the use of advanced neuroscientific techniques and technologies.

Dr. Giordano was named a Presidential Point of Light by President George H. W. Bush for recognition of his contribution to science and society, and was elected to the European Academy of Sciences and Art in acknowledgment of his work in brain science and ethics.

Dave Iverson

Dave Iverson is an independent film producer and veteran journalist.

His most recent film, “Capturing Grace,” is a feature documentary about a group of dancers with Parkinson’s disease and their unique collaboration with the world renowned Mark Morris Dance Group. It sold out to audiences nationally and internationally. Mr. 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 disease.

Mr. Iverson now serves as Contributing Editor for The Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research and is a founding member of their Patient Council.

Dr. Max Little

Max A. Little, Ph.D., is an applied mathematician and statistician. He is best known for his multi-disciplinary research, which includes the use of consumer technologies such as telephones and smartphones to detect the symptoms of Parkinson's remotely.

Dr. Little received his degree in mathematics from the University of Oxford.

Dr. Michael Okun

Michael Okun, M.D., is Chair of Neurology and Co-director of the Movement Disorders Center located within the McKnight Brain Institute and the University of Florida College of Medicine in Gainesville, FL, a Parkinson’s Foundation Center of Excellence. Dr. Okun works with Centers of Excellence to help foster the best possible environments for Parkinson’s care, research and outreach. He is also a member of the Parkinson's Foundation Board of Directors.

Dr. Okun has dedicated much of his career to assisting in the development of care centers for people living with movement disorders. He helps to keep the Parkinson’s community informed by running the popular "Ask the Doctor" forum on Parkinson.org and writing monthly blogs. He enjoys a prolific research career, largely focused on exploring the non-motor features of the basal ganglia portion of the brain and on understanding the cognitive, behavioral and mood effects of deep brain stimulation in Parkinson's. He has served as National Medical Director of the National Parkinson Foundation division of the Parkinson’s Foundation since 2006.

Dr. Haydeh Payami

Haydeh Payami, Ph.D., is the Strain Endowed Chair, and Professor of Neurology and Genetics at the University of Alabama at Birmingham and Faculty Investigator at the Center for Genomics Medicine at HudsonAlpha Institute for Biotechnology. Dr. Payami is the founder and the Lead Principal Investigator of the NeuroGenetics Research Consortium (NGRC), which has one of the largest data sets on Parkinson’s and has been a pioneer in genomic studies, gene-environment interactions, and interaction of microbiome with host genome in the pathogenesis of Parkinson’s.

The mission of Dr. Payami’s lab is to identify the genes that interact with environmental risk factors, with the goal of predicting who is at risk of developing Parkinson’s and what they should avoid; genes that modulate disease progression, with the goal of learning ways to delay the onset and stop neurodegeneration; and genes that determine efficacy and toxicity of drugs, with the goal of personalizing treatment for maximum benefit. The lab is also working to understand the mechanisms that underlie the disease, including why it affects so many systems of the body and cause such varied problems.

Dr. Payami received her Ph.D. in Genetics from University of California at Berkeley, where she was formally trained in mathematical and population genetics.

Dr. Alice Chen-Plotkin

Alice Chen-Plotkin, M.D., is a physician-scientist and Associate Professor in the Department of Neurology at the University of Pennsylvania, a Parkinson's Foundation Center of Excellence. At Penn, she also runs a research group studying neurodegeneration and cares for people living with Parkinson’s disease.

Dr. Chen-Plotkin is active in many Parkinson’s disease biomarker development efforts, most notably as member of the national steering committee for the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NIH-NINDS) Parkinson’s Disease Biomarker Program since 2012, chairing the steering committee in 2013. Her lab specializes in the use of large-scale unbiased screens to generate leads in Parkinson’s disease and other neurodegenerative diseases, as well as following these leads downstream in targeted mechanistic studies in cell culture and animal model systems. The ultimate goal of these studies is to translate bench-based findings originating from patient-derived materials, back into diagnostics or therapeutic targets for neurodegeneration.

Dr. Chen-Plotkin began her training at Oxford University as a Rhodes Scholar, returning to Harvard for medical school and Massachusetts General Hospital and Brigham and Women’s Hospital for neurology residency.

Sara Rigarre

Sara Riggare is a Ph.D. Candidate at Karolinska Institutet, Sweden and a person living with Parkinson’s.

Ms. Riggare spent 14 years working as an environmental consultant. After a Parkinson’s diagnosis at age 32, she shifted her career path to focus on health education. She is interested in combining her experiences as a person living with Parkinson’s with her engineering skills to improve life for herself and others with chronic diseases. Her research is focused around self care, e.g., how can people living with Parkinson’s improve their own health by engaging n their care and disease management? How can technology facilitate that process?

Ms. Riggare is currently a Ph.D. Candidate at Karolinska Institutet for health informatics. She obtained her master of science in Chemical Engineering at KTH Royal Institute of Technology in Sweden.

Beth-Anne Sieber, Ph.D., is Program Director for the Neurodegeneration Group at NINDS.

Dr. Sieber’s current duties at NINDS include management of a grants portfolio on Parkinson’s disease, which includes neurobiological approaches to understand neuronal loss and alterations in circuitry, as well as grants in the areas of gene therapy, deep brain stimulation, non-motor aspects of the disease and Parkinsonian disorders. She also manages the Udall Centers of Excellence for Parkinson's Disease Research program and serves as Chair of the Parkinson's Disease Working Group, which coordinates and facilitates research programs and other activities related to Parkinson’s disease within the NINDS.

Dr. Sieber received her bachelor’s degree in biology and psychology from Rutgers University, after which she received her doctorate in Physiology and Neurobiology from a joint program between Rutgers and the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey.

Dr. Helen Bronte-Stewart

Helen Bronte-Stewart, M.D., M.S.E., is the John E. Cahill Family Professor of Neurology and Neurological Sciences, Director of the Stanford Movement Disorders Center and Stanford Human Motor Control and Balance Laboratory, and Co-director of the Stanford Balance Center.

Dr. Bronte-Stewart has created a rigorous translational research program in motor control at Stanford University and developed Quantitative DigitoGraphy (QDG), a novel keyboard technology, and the first metric of freezing of gait as validated measures of abnormal movement in Parkinson’s disease. She uses these tools to investigate brain signaling in basal ganglia disorders, during voluntary and involuntary movement. She is especially interested in neurostimulation as a therapy and as an investigational tool. She has published extensively and has received awards for scholarship and teaching in mathematics, bioengineering and neurology.

Dr. Bronte-Stewart received both of her degrees from the University of Pennsylvania.

David Vaillancourt, Ph.D., is Professor of Applied Physiology and Kinesiology, Biomedical Engineering and Neurology at the University of Florida (UF), a Parkinson’s Foundation Center of Excellence.

Dr. 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, including Parkinson’s disease. Active work in his lab includes progression studies focused on changes in the brain for Parkinson’s and Parkinsonism, studies of tremor and brain connectivity, and pharmacological and neuroimaging studies for dystonia in mice and humans. He has conducted studies investigating rehabilitative, surgical, and pharmacological interventions, and published this work in journals including Brain, Journal of Neuroscience, JAMA Neurology, Neurology, Human Brain Mapping, Neuroimage, Cerebral Cortex, and Neurobiology of Aging.

Dr. Vaillancourt has been continuously funded by NIH since 1999, and now directs several grants from NIH. He is 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.

Dr. Vaillancourt received his master’s and doctoral degrees from Pennsylvania State University, and completed his postdoctoral training at the University of Illinois at Chicago.

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