The PSG Mentoring Committee (MC) has three main roles.
1. To solicit, review, and select candidates to receive the Parkinson’s Disease Foundation supported mentored clinical research award. This is a major award in support of a project that is a practical training ground for individuals to acquire new skills and expertise in clinical research.
1. To serve as a resource for individuals who need assistance in formulating and developing protocols to the point where they are ready for review by the Scientific Review Committee.
1. To develop and organize innovative programs to promote interest in Parkinson’s disease research, facilitate the development of mentorship relationships, and increase awareness of resources within the PSG that can provide opportunities for initiating research efforts.
The Mentoring Committee oversees the PSG Advisor Program. Implemented in 2009, the PSG Advisor Program helps new investigators find a local mentor or specific research funding sources for their research.
The PSG Visiting Mentorship Program is funded by a grant from Sunovion Pharmaceuticals. The goal of this program is to promote the continued development of newly trained movement disorders clinician-researchers into world-class investigators. This initiative focuses on the mentorship of young investigators committed to clinical research in the Parkinson arena by seasoned, established clinical investigators. While there are several courses and conference that a young investigator can participate in, there is no substitute for a personal mentor-mentee relationship, where the mentor can review the mentee’s proposed initiative(s), and meet with the mentee’s team, local set up, and provide in-person sage advice.
Available funds: PSG will award up to four awards totaling $7,450, including $5,000 for mentor honorarium and $2,450 for travel, meals, and incidentals related to mentoring.
The PSG MCRA is for new investigators in patient-oriented research in Parkinson’s disease and related disorders.
The Mentored Clinical Research Award (MCRA) for new investigators is funded by the Parkinson’s Foundation (PF) and Sunovion. The PF collaborates with the PSG to encourage the professional and scientific development of young investigators on their path to independence. To this end, this grant supports a new investigator for a one year project in patient oriented research in Parkinson disease (PD) or other parkinsonian disorders. The new investigator works under the mentorship of an experienced investigator. Training should enhance the junior clinical research skills. The research plan should address unmet needs of people living with PD, have the potential for broad application among the PD community, and lead to advances in clinically relevant treatment options.
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.
Gregory Pontone, MS, MHS and Jared Hinkle, Johns Hopkins University, were awarded $12,500 to study “Phenotypic and Prognostic Significance of Panic Disorder in PD”.
Peter LeWitt, MD, Henry Ford W Bloomfield Hospital, W. Bloomfield, MI was awarded $30,000 to study “Polyamine Biomarkers of PD Progression”.
Ruth Schneider, MD, University of Rochester Medical Center, Rochester, NY, was awarded $31,653 to study “Early vs Delayed Initiation of Dopaminergic Treatment in PD”.
Anne-Marie Wills, MD, MPH, Massachusetts General Hospital, Charlestown, MA was awarded $22,950 to study “Body Mass Index and PD Survival”.
Click on any red project title to download the abstract.
Rachel Biemiller, MD, University of Rochester Medical Center, Rochester, NY was awarded $25,000 to study “PD phenotype and response to dopaminergic therapy: a secondary analysis of the CALM-PD trial”.
Connie Marras, MD, PhD and Genetics/Environmental Risk Working Group was awarded $11,000 to study “The PSG PD Risk Factor Data Inventory: Developing a resource to facilitate data-mining studies”.
Ivan Bodis Wollner, MD, DSc, Professor of Neurology and Ophthalmology, Director, Parkinson Disease Clinic, Kings County Hospital Center and Attending Neurologist, SUNY Health Science Center at Brooklyn, New York, was awarded $14,000 to study “The relationship between levodopa therapy and inner retinal layer thickness by OCT in patients with PD”.
Elizabeth L. Stegemoller, PhD, Postdoctoral Fellow, Neurobiomechanics Laboratory, Department of Applied Physiology and Kinesiology, University of Florida, Center for Movement Disorders and Neurorestoration, Gainesville, Florida was awarded a $24,995.18 grant supported by the Parkinson’s Disease Foundation for her planning project entitled “Effects of Singing on Speech and Swallowing in Patients with Parkinson’s Disease”.
February 2012 Ivan Bodis-Wollner, MD, DSc, Professor of Neurology and Ophthalmology, Director, Parkinson Disease Clinic, Kings County Hospital Center and Attending Neurologist, State University of New York – Health Science Center at Brooklyn, New York, was awarded a $9,930 grant supported by the Parkinson’s Disease Foundation for his planning project entitled “Synucleinopathy of the retina in Parkinson disease”.
Click on any red project title to download the abstract.
Peter LeWitt, MD, Wayne State University, Director, Parkinson’s Disease and Movement Disorders Program, Michigan, was awarded a $12,559 grant from the PSG and Parkinson’s Disease Foundation for his datamining project entitled “COMT met genotype polymorphism and cognitive performance in PD with and without selegiline treatment”.
Matthew Menza, MD, Professor, Psychiatry & Neurology, Robert Wood Johnson Medical School, New Jersey, was awarded a $9,200 grant from the PSG and Parkinson’s Disease Foundation for his datamining project entitled “An Exploration of the Association of Inflammatory Cytokines and the Non-Motor Symptoms of PD in Patients in DATATOP”.
Un Jung Kang, MD, Professor of Neurology, University of Chicago Medical Center, was awarded a $7,600 grant from the PSG and Parkison’s Disease Foundation for his datamining project entitled “The role of motor learning in dopaminergic therapy of PD”.
Xuemei Huang, MD, PhD, Associate Professor of Neurology, Penn State Hershey Medical Center, was awarded a $13,200 grant from the PSG and Parkinson’s Disease Foundation for her datamining project entitled “Serum cholesterol level as a predictor of progression in PD”. Dr. Huang will be working with Honglei Chen of NIEHS and co-investigator’s Alberto Ascherio of Harvard School of Public Health and Michael Schwarzschild or Harvard Medical School.
Timothy J. Collier, PhD, Professor of Neurology, University of Cincinnati Medical Center, was awarded a $25,000 grant from the PSG and Parkinson’s Disease Foundation for his datamining project entitled “Antidepressant Induced Delay of Motor Symptoms in PD (AIDS-PD)”. The co-investigator, Katrina Paumier, BS, is a PhD candidate under Dr. Collier’s direction. This project will be coordinated with the PSG Genetics and Environmental Working Group funded project on “Impact of commonly-prescribed medications on PD progression” led by Andrew Siderowf, MD, MSCE.
Click on any red project title to download the abstract.
Robert A. Hauser, MD, Professor of Neurology, Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics at the University of South Florida, was awarded a $25,000 grant from the PSG and Parkinson’s Disease Foundation for his datamining project entitled “Determination of Minimally Clinically Important Change in Early and Advanced Parkinson’s Disease”. Peggy Auinger, MS is co-PI on the project.
Marian Evatt, MD, MS, Assistant Professor of Neurology at Emory University and Assistant Director of the Movement Disorders Program at Wesley Woods Hospital, Atlanta, GA, was awarded a $25,000 grant from the PSG and Parkinson’s Disease Foundation for her datamining project entitled “Vitamin D Insufficiency: Prevalence and Clinical Correlates in the DATATOP Cohort”. Vin Tangpricha, MD, PhD and Mahlon R. Delong, MD serve as co-PIs on the project.
Ergun Uc, MD, Associate Professor of Neurology at Carver College of Medicine, University of Iowa, was awarded a $25,000 grant from the PSG and Parkinson’s Disease Foundation for his datamining project entitled “Weight loss in Parkinson’s disease”. This was a collective effort of the PSG Other Non-Motor Features of PD Working Group with Carlos Singer, MD, Jay Rao, MD, and David Oakes, PhD as co-investigators.
Connie Marras, MD, PhD, Assistant Professor at Toronto Western Hospital, University of Toronto Movement Disorders Centre, was awarded a $25,000 grant from the PSG and Parkinson’s Disease Foundation for her planning project entitled “Environmental exposures modifying clinical expression of LRRK2-associated Parkinson’s disease”. Caroline Tanner, MD, PhD and Anthony Lang, MD serve as co-PIs on the project.
Jing Zhang, MD, PhD, Associate Professor of Pathology, Shaw Endowed Professorship in Neuropathology Division of Neuropathology Harborview Medical Center, University of Washington School of Medicine, Seattle, WA, was awarded a $25,000 grant from the PSG and Parkinson’s Disease Foundation for his datamining research proposal entitled “Using human cerebrospinal fluid samples collected in DATATOP study for biomarker discovery in patients with Parkinson’s disease”. This was a collective effort of the PSG Biomarkers Working Group. Un Jung Kang, MD will be an active participant and advisor on this project. Michael McDermott, PhD will provide statistical support.
Michael Schwarzschild, MD, PhD, Associate Professor of Neurology, at Harvard Medical School, MassGeneral Institute for Neurodegenerative Disease, Massachusetts General Hospital has been awarded a $25,000 grant from the PSG and Parkinson’s Disease Foundation for his datamining project entitled “Predicting PD Progression Subtypes by CSF Urate Pathways”. Alberto Ascherio, MD, PhD serves as co-PI on the project.
Ergun Uc, MD, Assistant Professor of Neurology, of the Divisions of Movement Disorders & Neuroergonomics, Department of Neurology, University of Iowa Hospitals & Clinic, was awarded a $25,000 grant from the PSG and Parkinson’s Disease Foundation for his datamining project entitled “Predictors and Course of Cognitive Decline and Depression Early in the Course of PD based on the DATATOP Cohort”.This was a collective effort of the PSG Cognitive/Psychiatric Working Group with John Growdon, Kelvin Chou, Karen Marder, Irene Litvan, Michel Panisset, Steve Anderson, and Peter Como all as co-investigators. Michael McDermott, PhD is the statistical co-PI.