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

National Research Program investment surpasses $25 million

TORONTO, ON, September 29, 2015 – Parkinson Society Canada (PSC) and its network of partners have great expectations for the 15 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 Louis-Éric Trudeau, a professor at the University of Montreal, who received a one-year pilot project grant of $44,250 from PSC’s National Research Program.

Neuroscientist Trudeau has identified a critical difference in the structure of brain cells. He found that dopamine-producing cells in the substantia nigra are much larger and consume much more energy than other cells. Trudeau thinks that this may be why they are more vulnerable than other cells to whatever process is killing the neurons in Parkinson’s disease.

“Like a motor constantly running at high speed, these neurons need to produce an incredible amount of energy to function. They appear to exhaust themselves and die prematurely,” said Trudeau. “For all major diseases of the brain, new therapies come after we know why the cells start to die,” Trudeau says.

Parkinson Society Canada is the largest non-government funder of Parkinson’s research in Canada; investing in science that explores most aspects of the disease, including: causes, complications, cognitive impairment, biomarkers, neuroprotection and quality of life.

We are currently funding 26 projects. Including 11 research awards in their second year, and the 15 new projects, the National Research Program is currently committed to investing $1,264,079. These latest awards represent a total of $924,090 committed to support new research projects* in Canada during the next two years as follows:

  • 5 Pilot Project Grants
  • 2 New Investigator Awards
  • 4 Basic Research Fellowships
  • 1 Clinical Movement Disorders Fellowship
  • 3 Graduate Student Awards

The National Research Program has funded 483 grants and awards, totaling more than $25 million since 1981.

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

About Parkinson Society Canada’s National Research Program:

Since 1981, Parkinson Society Canada’s National Research Program has invested more than $25 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 cause, improved treatments, and understanding of Parkinson’s disease, and 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. Working with partners, 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. Each day more than 10 Canadians are diagnosed with Parkinson’s and by 2031, the number of Canadians with Parkinson’s will double. Funding innovative research helps expand knowledge on progression, diagnosis and treatment of Parkinson’s and will ultimately lead to a cure.


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