GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (Sept. 23, 2020) — Van Andel Institute (VAI) will present globally recognized Parkinson’s disease experts Daniela Berg, M.D., and Ron Postuma, M.D., M.Sc., with the 2020 Jay Van Andel Award for Outstanding Achievement in Parkinson’s Disease Research at 2:10 p.m. today during its virtual Grand Challenges in Parkinson’s Disease symposium.
The award honors their groundbreaking efforts to identify the earliest symptoms of Parkinson’s disease and to translate their findings into new diagnostic criteria. Dr. Berg is the chair and director of the Department of Neurology at Christian-Albrechts-University in Kiel, Germany. Dr. Postuma is a professor of neurology at McGill University in Montreal, Canada.
Many Parkinson’s symptoms, such as loss of sense of smell, constipation and severe sleep disturbances, can appear years or even decades before the onset of the disease’s hallmark motor symptoms. Understanding these symptoms give scientists important opportunities to understand the disease and develop ways to slow or stop disease progression — a feat that is not possible with current treatment strategies.
ABOUT THE JAY VAN ANDEL AWARD
The Jay Van Andel Award for Outstanding Achievement in Parkinson’s Disease Research was established in 2012 in memory of Van Andel Institute founder Jay Van Andel, who battled Parkinson’s disease for a decade before his death in 2004. The award is given to scientists who have made outstanding contributions to Parkinson’s disease research and who have positively impacted human health.
ABOUT VAN ANDEL INSTITUTE
Van Andel Institute (VAI) is committed to improving the health and enhancing the lives of current and future generations through cutting edge biomedical research and innovative educational offerings. Established in Grand Rapids, Michigan, in 1996 by the Van Andel family, VAI is now home to more than 400 scientists, educators and support staff, who work with a growing number of national and international collaborators to foster discovery. The Institute’s scientists study the origins of cancer, Parkinson’s and other diseases and translate their findings into breakthrough prevention and treatment strategies. Our educators develop inquiry-based approaches for K–12 education to help students and teachers prepare the next generation of problem-solvers, while our Graduate School offers a rigorous, research-intensive Ph.D. program in molecular and cellular biology. Learn more at vai.org.