PSG Mentored Clinical Research Award (MCRA)

The mission of the Parkinson Study Group is to advance knowledge about the cause(s), pathogenesis and clinical impact of Parkinson disease and related disorders and to develop and implement scientific strategies to examine promising therapeutic interventions.

The Mentored Clinical Research Award is funded by grants from the Parkinson’s Foundation to the Parkinson Study Group (PSG). The purpose of this grant is to support patient-oriented clinical research in Parkinson’s disease (PD) or other parkinsonian disorders in order to address the unmet needs of people living with these conditions.

Proposal Criteria

  • The research plan should entail patient-oriented research in PD or other parkinsonian disorders, and address unmet needs of people living with these conditions.
  • The research findings should have the potential for broad application among the PD/parkinsonism community.
  • The work proposed should have potential to lead to advances in clinically relevant treatment options.
  • The proposal should be hypothesis driven and carry an appropriate data analysis plan.
  • The scope of work should be achievable within the 1 year funding period and appropriate for the budget of the award.
  • The project should include a clearly described mentorship plan.

Award Details for Grant Cycle 2024-2025

Level of Support: $100,000 for 1 year – This funding can be used however necessary to support the completion of the project. A detailed budget is required with the application.

The call for applications will start on February 1, the deadline to apply is April 15, and the program will run June 1, 2024 – May 31, 2025.

Eligibility:

  • Any early career investigator (i.e., MD or PhD within 5 years of completing training) seeking to become an independent researcher in the field of PD, or
  • Any established investigator beginning a new line of research for which preliminary clinical data are needed.

Application Process

  • Cover letter stating intent and clearly stating if submission is a revision of a proposal previously submitted.
  • Applications that have been revised and are being resubmitted should include a brief Introduction (no more than 1 page) addressing the response to the prior reviewers’ comments. Indicate actual changes in the revised application using some convention, such as bold, italic or highlighting text, unless the changes are so extensive that this is not practical. In the latter case, please indicate this clearly in the introduction to the revised application.
  • Abbreviated NIH format proposal (maximum=6 pages) to include the specific aims of the study, background, preliminary studies, research design and methods, plus references, and a protocol synopsis and schedule of activities, if applicable.
  • Clinical research proposals need not be pre-approved by institutional IRB, but should include a Human Subjects section that addresses concerns pertaining to risk, benefit and consent (not included in the 6 page limit).
  • A Budget and brief Budget Justification are required for all funds requested. No indirect costs will be funded.
  • An NIH-style biosketch.
  • A letter of support from the PSG Mentor that you intend to work with endorsing the project.

Applications will be reviewed by the PSG Mentorship Committee according to the criteria and timelines described. Successful applicants will be required to submit a written summary of progress at six months and at one year after funding. The awardee will be required to attend a future PSG annual meeting in order to present the results of their research, with meeting expenses to be supported by the PSG separate from the grant award.

Please note that awardee(s) will be given the first half of the award amount upon the start of their project. In order to receive the remainder of the funding, the PSG Mentoring Committee will review the 6-month progress report to ensure that adequate progress is being made.

For any questions about about the application or eligibility, please reach out to Sarah Sperling.

MCRA Application Form

You must be registered and logged in to access this form.

PSG 2022-2023 Mentored
Clinical Research Awardee

Mitra Afshari, MD, MPH

Dr. Mitra Afshari is an Assistant Professor of Neurology at Rush University in Chicago, IL, Division of Movement Disorders Neurology where she works as a clinician, deep brain stimulation specialist, young investigator, and Associate Fellowship Director.  Mitra is originally from Chicago, where she completed her undergraduate (Biomedical Engineering), medical school, and residency training at Northwestern University. She completed her fellowship at the University of California – San Francisco (UCSF), where she received comprehensive training in neuromodulation for Movement Disorders and her research interest in technology-enabled care blossomed under the auspices of Drs. Nicholas Galifianakis, Caroline Tanner, and Jill Ostrem. Mitra’s research career goal is to become an independent health services researcher, interfacing technology and clinical care to develop innovative and accessible clinical care solutions for patients with Parkinson’s Disease. This goal reflects her training in Biomedical Engineering, Public Health, and Movement Disorders Neurology. The project Mitra will be working on, under the fine mentorship of Dr. Christopher Goetz, involves the testing of a novel and innovative telemedicine-based protocol to improve home safety and prevent falls in PD patients. The data from this project is informing a larger trial for fall prevention for which she has submitted an NIH K23 proposal.