Parkinson's Action Network Showcases Groundbreaking Parkinson's Research at Postdoctoral Investigator Poster Session

On Monday, February 27, the Parkinson's Action Network hosted its first-ever Postdoctoral Investigator Poster Session.  At this event, postdoctoral investigators from leading medical colleges and universities showcased their research with potential implications for Parkinson's disease, and shared how grateful they were for the opportunity to meet and talk with Parkinson's advocates from across the country who were in Washington for PAN's Leadership Forum.

The more than 100 attendees browsed the displays, spoke with researchers, and learned more about what kind of work is being done not just to understand Parkinson's disease, but also get closer to better treatments and a cure.

"We were pleased with the turnout and excitement around this inaugural poster session, and we can't wait to do it again next year," said PAN CEO Amy Comstock Rick.  "To see researchers engaging with people with Parkinson's, talking about their work, and then going to Capitol Hill later in the week to meet with their elected officials about research funding really brought our work full circle."

The researchers then stayed in Washington that week for the 2012 PAN Leadership Forum where they learned about PAN's work in Washington on behalf of the Parkinson's community, heard from government officials about federally funded work, and talked with others about how to educate and raise awareness about Parkinson's disease and the work they do.  They became engaged advocates who are now an important component of PAN's powerful grassroots network.

"This session gave me an opportunity to meet with many people with Parkinson's and recognize their difficulties in daily life; now I know why I have to work harder," said Biju Chandu of the University of Texas at San Antonio.

You can click here to see photos of the poster session, and "meet" the researchers who presented their work.  For further reference, below is a list of the researchers, their institution affiliations, and the title of their study:

1)  Ravi Akundi
University of Kentucky
Neurological, cell signaling and metabolic defects in PINK1-deficient mice support a link between diabetes and early-onset Parkinson's disease

2)  Navneet Ammal Kaidery
Weill Cornell Medical College
Targeting Nrf2-mediated gene transcription by extremely potent synthetic triterpenoids attenuate dopaminergic neurotoxicity in the MPTP-mouse model of Parkinson's disease

3)  Carolina Cebrián Parajon
Columbia University
Expression of MHC-I on substantia nigra and locus coeruleus of human control and Parkinson's disease subjects:  Implications in dopaminergic neuronal degeneration

4)  Lama Chahine
University of Pennsylvania
Clinical and Biochemical Differences between Parkinson's Disease Patients With and Without Mutations in the Glucocerebrosidase Gene

5)  Biju Chandu
University of Texas, San Antonio
Bone marrow-derived microglia based neurturin delivery protects against dopaminergic neurodegeneration in a mouse model of Parkinson's disease

6)  Arthur Fitzmaurice
University of California, Los Angeles
In vitro, in vivo, and epidemiologic studies implicate aldehyde dehydrogenase inhibition in the pathogenesis of Parkinson's disease

7)  Kalynda Gonzales
Emory University
Regulation of Striatal Cholinergic Interneurons: Synaptic Inputs from GABAergic Neurons in non-Human Primates

8)  Hakeem Lawal
David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA
Over-expression of the vesicular monoamine transporter protects dopaminergic neurons against environmental toxins in a Drosophila model for sporadic Parkinson's disease

9)  Yunjong Lee
Johns Hopkins University
Accumulation of the parkin substrate AIMP2 leads to a progressive and selective dopaminergic degeneration via PARP1 activation

10)  Pei Chen Lee
University of California, Los Angeles
Traumatic brain injury, Paraquat Exposure and Parkinson's Disease:  A Study of Environment-Environment Interactions

11)  Elly Liao
University of Minnesota
Pathological activation of c-Abl and p53 by alpha-synuclein pathology:  Potential therapeutic targets for PD?  

12)  Iddo Magen
University of California, Los Angeles
Cognitive dysfunction and cholinergic alterations prior to DA loss in mice over-expressing wild-type human alpha-synuclein (Thy1-aSyn mice)

13)  Laurie Sanders
University of Pittsburgh
Mitochondrial DNA damage:  An early biomarker in Parkinson's disease?

14)  Sindhu Srivatsal
University of Washington
People with Parkinson Disease and "Normal" MMSE Score Have a Broad Range of Cognitive Performance

15)  Elizabeth Stegemöller
University of Florida
Rate-dependent impairments in repetitive finger movements in Parkinson's disease are associated with changes in movement-related cortical oscillations and coherence

16)  Christina Vaughan
Rush University
Executive Function Correlates with Axial Signs as Detected by the MDS-UPDRS

17)  Jiasheng Zhang
University of California, San Francisco
HIPK2 as a Therapeutic Target in Mitochondrial Damage and Degeneration of Ventral Midbrain Dopaminergic Neurons

If you are a researcher and interested in presenting at future poster sessions, or working with PAN as an advocate for research funding, please contact Elizabeth Kwasnik, Outreach Program Assistant, at 202.638.4101 x111, or [email protected]

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