Scientists seek greater understanding of complex disease with Parkinson Society Canada funding


TORONTO, ON, September 23, 2014 – Parkinson Society Canada (PSC) and its regional partners have great expectations for the 29 new grant, fellowship and student awards funded to advance our knowledge of Parkinson’s, a complex disease. One of the most promising of this year’s recipients is Jean-François Trempe, assistant professor at McGill University, who received a New Investigator Award.

Trempe, whose great-uncle had Parkinson's, wants to solve the puzzle of Parkinson's through basic understanding about the way the disease works. He is studying the structure and shape of PINK1, a protein that plays a critical role in familial Parkinson's disease. Learning the shape of this protein could eventually help researchers develop a drug to repair the protein when it is damaged, to help it do its intended job of keeping brain cells healthy.

“Medical history tells us that whenever we get the structure of a molecule, it gives us so many ideas on how to fix it,” says Trempe. “There is a saying that a picture is worth a thousand words – a structure is worth a thousand experiments.”

Parkinson Society Canada (PSC) is the only health charity that specifically funds Parkinson’s research in Canada; funding research that investigates most aspects of the disease, including: causes, complications, cognitive impairment, biomarkers, neuroprotection and quality of life.

Funding for this cycle totals $1,645,332 to support new Parkinson’s research projects in Canada over the next two years. Parkinson Society Canada’s National Research Program is currently committed to investing a total of $2,015,332, including 11 research awards now in their second year. The National Research Fund has now funded more than 450 research awards, totaling more than $24 million since 1981.

The 2014 to 2016 research awards* include:

  • 10 Pilot Project Grants
  • 2 Psychosocial Pilot Project Grants
  • 3 New Investigator Awards
  • 4 Basic Research Fellowships
  • 2 Clinical Movement Disorders Fellowships
  • 6 Graduate Student Awards
  • 1 Psychosocial Doctoral Award
  • 1 Psychosocial Research Grant

* A detailed list of the researchers, project titles, affiliations and funding amounts can be found here.


About Parkinson Society Canada’s National Research Program:

Since 1981, Parkinson Society Canada’s National Research Program has invested more than $24 million in research that has expanded our knowledge of Parkinson’s disease. The program invests in:

  • High-quality, innovative Canadian research by established and promising investigators.
  • Discovery stage research where investigators test new theories and pursue promising new leads.
  • Researchers at the beginning of their careers in order to foster the next generation of Parkinson’s scientists.
  • Novel research to build greater capacity, promote creativity and engage more researchers.

Parkinson Society Canada’s National Research Program funds research into the cure, cause, improved treatment and/or understanding of Parkinson’s disease, related disorders including: Multiple System Atrophy (MSA), Progressive Supranuclear Palsy (PSP), other Parkinson’s conditions and the impact these diseases have on society.

About Parkinson Society Canada:

Parkinson Society Canada is the national voice of Canadians living with Parkinson’s, a neurodegenerative disease. Through regional partners and 240 chapters and support groups, it provides education, support, and advocacy on behalf of over 100,000 Canadians living with Parkinson’s every day and the health professionals that serve them. Funding innovative research helps expand knowledge on prevention, diagnosis and treatment of Parkinson’s and will ultimately lead to a cure. www.parkinson.ca.

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Contact: Kelly Mills
Parkinson Society Canada
kelly.mills@parkinson.ca
416-227-9700, ext. 3469; 1-800-565-3000, ext. 3469