Parkinson Canada Research Program Funds 20 new grants in 2020-22 Funding Cycle

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2020 was a challenging year for researchers in all fields as uncertainty struck labs across the country. Delays may have slowed the progress of some projects, however they have not impacted the determination of the Canadian Parkinson’s research community who are working hard to seek better treatments and ultimately a cure. 

Our yearly grants were delayed by several months and it wasn’t until December when we received confirmation that your donations would allow us to meet the recommendation of our Scientific Advisory Council and fund 20 new grants, valued at $1,015,000 in new commitments. 

The 2020-2022 cycle funds projects across a range of streams, all of which seek to better understand the pathology, develop new treatments and improve the lives of Canadians with Parkinson’s.  

They include: 

  • One new Clinical Movement Disorders Fellowship aimed at increasing access to specialized care for Parkinson’s. 
  • One new Clinical Research Fellowship designed to encourage more Canadian medical specialists who provide care to also conduct Parkinson’s research, improving the broader body of knowledge so they understand both the implications of research and its impact on patients. 
  • Five Pilot Project Grants and Two New Investigator Awards aimed at helping new research projects get started and supporting new researchers establish successful careers in the Parkinson’s field. 
  • Four Basic Research Fellowships to help young scientists explore biomedical research in Parkinson’s disease. Investing in their research training ensures more talented young investigators specialize in Parkinson’s research.
  • And Seven Graduate Student Awards to support a range of projects with great potential while encouraging talented doctoral students to specialize in Parkinson’s research during the early stages of their training.

More specifically, these projects will have a potential impact on symptoms management, quality of life and development of new biomarkers.

For instance, the research of Dr. Matthew Krause aims to investigate transcranial electrical stimulation as an alternative and less invasive method to deep brain stimulation. This helps people with Parkinson’s cope with their motor symptoms, which currently cannot be managed by medication.

Dr. Kaylena Ehgoetz Martens studies freezing of gait, which compromises the quality of life and independence of people with Parkinson’s, to identify situations that could lead to freezing episodes and develop therapies to prevent them.

Finally, Dr. Silke Appel-Cresswell whose research on the gut could potentially develop new biomarkers for disease detection and identify new treatment targets.

Read full project summaries on each of the funded researchers and the overall role of the Parkinson Canada Research Program here.

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