News release

14 Jan 2016

Renowned neuroscientist Jeffrey H. Kordower expands his Parkinson’s research to Michigan

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (January 14, 2016)—Esteemed neuroscientist and leading Parkinson’s disease expert Jeffrey H. Kordower, Ph.D., of Rush University Medical Center, has accepted a joint appointment at Van Andel Research Institute (VARI) as part of a collaboration to develop new and better therapies for Parkinson’s.

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Jeffrey H. Kordower, Ph.D.

There is a great need for treatment strategies that not only reduce symptoms, but that also slow or repair the damage caused by the disease, which affects seven to 10 million people globally. To date, there have been few major, paradigm-shifting breakthroughs in therapeutic development for Parkinson’s, with the exception of levodopa, the current gold standard for treatment first implemented in the late 1960s, and deep-brain stimulation therapy, which was introduced more than two decades later. While these therapies can have a substantial positive impact on quality of life, they do not slow disease progression or repair damage.

“Given all that we’ve learned in recent years about the mechanisms behind Parkinson’s, there is a tremendous sense in the research and advocacy communities that we are on the cusp of developing revolutionary new therapies that target the molecular basis of the disease,” said Patrik Brundin, M.D., Ph.D., director of VARI’s Center for Neurodegenerative Science and a long-time collaborator of Kordower. “Dr. Kordower is a world-renowned expert in the design and performance of critical preclinical studies and then translating them into clinical trials for people with Parkinson’s. We’re thrilled to formally align our efforts.”

Kordower’s appointment will streamline his ability to collaborate with VARI scientists on a common goal—to better understand the cause of cell death that underlies Parkinson’s disease and to tailor therapies to slow, stop or reverse that process. He will retain his primary appointment at Chicago’s Rush University Medical Center, where he is the Jean Schweppe-Armour Professor of Neurological Sciences and director of both the Research Center for Brain Repair and the Neuroscience Graduate Program.

“It’s exciting to formalize my longstanding collaboration with Dr. Brundin—we are cut from a similar cloth scientifically and I think working together this way will synergize our research programs. It also will provide additional opportunities for me to collaborate with the other outstanding scientists at the Institute and with colleagues at nearby Michigan State University,” Kordower said.

Kordower has authored nearly 400 papers and book chapters on movement disorders and has served on the editorial boards of more than 20 scientific journals. He is a past president of the American Society for Neural Therapy and Repair, is a current member of the International Executive Committee for the Movement Disorders Society and is both a founding Scientific Advisory Board member and former Executive Scientific Advisory Board member for the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research.

 

ABOUT VAN ANDEL RESEARCH INSTITUTE

Van Andel Institute (VAI) is an independent nonprofit biomedical research and science education organization committed to improving the health and enhancing the lives of current and future generations. Established by Jay and Betty Van Andel in 1996 in Grand Rapids, Michigan, VAI has grown into a premier research and educational institution that supports the work of more than 330 scientists, educators and staff. Van Andel Research Institute (VARI), VAI’s research division, is dedicated to determining the epigenetic, genetic, molecular and cellular origins of cancer, Parkinson’s and other diseases and translating those findings into effective therapies. The Institute’s scientists work in onsite laboratories and participate in collaborative partnerships that span the globe.100% To Research, Discovery & Hope®

MEDIA CONTACT

Beth Hinshaw Hall, beth.hinshawhall@vai.org, 616.234.5519