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Two Van Andel Institute scientists awarded grants to research Parkinson's disease

Dr Hong-yuan Chu Courtesy of Van Andel Institute.png
Posted at 1:44 PM, Oct 27, 2021
and last updated 2021-10-27 13:44:54-04

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — Two Van Andel Institute scientists and their collaborators have been awarded more than $15 million to fund advanced Parkinson’s disease research and accelerate development of new therapies.

The Collaborative Research Network grants come from Aligning Science Across Parkinson’s.

Dr. Michael Henderson from Van Andel Institute and colleagues from Yale University and the University of Pennsylvania will use a $9 million grant to try to identify areas and cell types in the brain that may be particularly vulnerable to Parkinson’s disease.

“This award has allowed us to assemble a fantastic group of scientists to tackle some of the most difficult questions in Parkinson’s disease research,” said Dr. Michael Henderson.

Van Andel Institute’s Dr. Hong-yuan Chu along with colleagues from Emory University, SUNY Downstate and INSCOPIX will use a $6.3 million grant to investigate the brain’s motor cortex, which helps manage movement and its role in Parkinson’s. Dr. Hong-yuan Chu said, “Parkinson’s is a complex disorder that has long evaded attempts to fully reveal its underpinnings and, as such, has stymied attempts to slow or stop disease progression. I am hopeful our mechanistic studies will reveal new insights into the brain circuits impacted by the disease at the cellular and synaptic levels, and provide a path forward for new therapeutic development.”

More than 7 million people have Parkinson’s worldwide and there is no cure.