Sep. 28  —  Sep. 29, 2022

2022 Grand Challenges in Parkinson's Disease

–Grand Challenges in Parkinson’s Disease brings together hundreds of scientists, clinicians and people with Parkinson’s to explore the latest in Parkinson’s disease translational research. The 2022 symposium, Modifying Progression — From Molecules to Trials, will highlight recent advances that may fuel development of therapies to slow or stop disease progression — something not possible with current treatments. Speakers will highlight both the underlying molecular science of Parkinson’s and the outcomes of new clinical trials. They also will explore the role of mitochondrial function, neuroinflammation, alpha-synuclein and lysosomes in Parkinson’s, with a focus on how these factors may be targeted with disease-modifying treatments. Lastly, they will spotlight new insights into GLP-1 agonists and c-Abl inhibition as potential therapeutic avenues.

Van Andel Institute and Cure Parkinson’s are thrilled to once again host Rallying to the Challenge, a meeting designed for and by people with Parkinson’s, advocates and care partners that delves into how the Parkinson’s community can impact and accelerate research.


Non-students: $100

Students: $50

Rallying to the Challenge (people with Parkinson’s and care partners): $50

Refund Policy:

Refund requests must be made in writing by Sept. 23, 2022. After Sept. 23, refund requests will not be honored. If you are not able to attend, a substitute may attend in your place. The name and email address of the substitute must be emailed to Kim Cousineau at [email protected] prior to Sept. 23, 2022.

Wednesday, September 28, 2022

8:00 am 


Chief Scientific Officer, Van Andel Institute

Peter Jones, Ph.D., DSc (hon)
8:05 am 

Introduction of Keynote Speaker

Adjunct Faculty, Van Andel Institute

Patrik Brundin, M.D., Ph.D.
8:10 am 

Jay Van Andel Award for Outstanding Achievement in Parkinson’s Disease Research lecture

University of Toronto and Toronto Western Hospital

Anthony E. Lang, O.C., M.D., RCP, FAAN, FCAHS, FRSC

Disease modification in Parkinson’s Disease: Targets and challenges

9:10 am 


9:25 am 


Session 1: Mitochondrial function in Parkinson’s disease (Session Chair: Randy Schekman, Ph.D. – University of California, Berkeley)

9:40 am 

J. Timothy Greenamyre, M.D., Ph.D.

Pittsburgh Institute for Neurodegenerative Diseases, University of Pittsburgh

J. Timothy Greenamyre, M.D., Ph.D.

Parkinson’s gene—environment interactions at the mitochondrion

10:10 am  This event will be broadcast live

Oliver Bandmann, M.D., Ph.D.

Sheffield Institute for Translational Neuroscience

Oliver Bandmann, M.D., Ph.D.

The neuroprotective potential of ursodeoxycholic acid (UDCA) in Parkinson’s disease (VIRTUAL)

10:40 am  This event will be broadcast live

Nandakumar Narayanan, M.D., Ph.D.

University of Iowa

Nandakumar Narayanan, M.D., Ph.D.

Glycolysis-enhancing drugs and neurodegeneration in Parkinson’s disease (VIRTUAL)

11:10 am 

Abstract Selected Talk


Jennifer A. Johnston., Ph.D.

Changing the Course of Disease Progression with Parkin Therapeutics: The Master Regulator of Mitochondria, Autophagy and Inflammation

11:25 am 


11:40 am 


Session 2: GLP-1 Agonists (Session Chair: Richard Wyse, Ph.D. – Cure Parkinson’s)

1:00 pm 

Dilan Athauda, MRCP, BSc, Ph.D.

Consultant Neurologist & Senior Lecturer, University College London

Dilan Athauda, MRCP, BSc, Ph.D.

The GLP-1 receptor as a target in Parkinson’s disease 

1:30 pm  This event will be broadcast live

Wassilios Meissner, M.D., Ph.D., FEAN

University Hospital Bordeaux

Wassilios Meissner, M.D., Ph.D., FEAN

Clinical trial of lixisenatide in patients with early PD (VIRTUAL)

2:00 pm 

Michele Tagliati, M.D., FAAN

Cedar-Sinai Medical Center

Michele Tagliati, M.D., FAAN

A phase II, randomized, double-blinded, placebo-controlled trial of liraglutide in Parkinson’s disease

2:30 pm 


2:45 pm 


Session 3: c-Abl Inhibition (Session Chair: M. Judith Peterschmitt, MD, MMSc – Sanofi)

3:00 pm 

Milton Werner, Ph.D.

Inhibikase Therapeutics, Inc.

Milton Werner, Ph.D.

Clinical studies of a potential disease-modifying agent for Parkinson’s disease:  IkT-148009

3:30 pm  This event will be broadcast live

Tanya Simuni, M.D., FAAN

Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine

Tanya Simuni, M.D., FAAN

Clinical trials of c-Abl inhibition in Parkinson’s (VIRTUAL)

4:00 pm 

Philippe Damier, M.D., Ph.D., FEAN

University of Nantes

Philippe Damier, M.D., Ph.D., FEAN

Radotinib to slow down Parkinson disease neurodegeneration: preliminary results of a phase IIa study

4:30 pm 

Abstract Selected Talk

Van Andel Institute

Kaitlyn Westra, B.S.

Exploring transcriptional differences and the role of cellular senscence in cortex tissue of Parkinson’s disease patients by single-nuclei RNASEQ

4:45 pm 


5:00 pm  - 7:30 pm

Poster session and dinner

Dinner tickets must have been purchased during registration.

Thursday, September 29, 2022

Session 4: Alpha-synuclein (Session Chair: Michael Henderson, Ph.D. – Van Andel Institute)

8:00 am 

Tiago Outeiro, Ph.D.

University Medical Center Goettingen

Tiago Outeiro, Ph.D.

Glycation: a biomarker and target for therapeutic intervention in Parkinson’s disease

8:30 am 

Denise Barbut, M.D., FRCP

Enterin, Inc.

Denise Barbut, M.D., FRCP

Targeting alpha-synuclein in the enteric neuron to treat Parkinson’s disease

9:00 am 

Gunther Staffler, Ph.D.

AC Immune SA

Gunther Staffler, Ph.D.

Towards a Parkinson’s disease vaccine: Targeting aggregated alpha synuclein species using ACI-7104

9:30 am 

Abstract Selected Talk

University of Plymouth

Camille B Carroll, Ph.D.

Towards a Multi-Arm, Multi-Stage Platform trial of Disease modifying approaches in Parkinson disease. The Edmond J Safra ACT-PD Initiative.

9:45 am 


10:00 am 


Session 5: Neuroinflammation (Session Chair: Darren Moore, Ph.D. – Van Andel Institute)

10:15 am 

Ashley Harms, Ph.D.

The University of Alabama at Birmingham

Ashley Harms, Ph.D.

Alpha-synuclein and the immune response in PD

10:45 am 

David Standaert, M.D., Ph.D.

The University of Alabama at Birmingham

David Standaert, M.D., Ph.D.

Neuroinflammation in human Parkinson disease

11:15 am 

Pete Thornton, Ph.D.

NodThera Inc.

Pete Thornton, Ph.D.

Brain penetrant NLRP3 inhibitors for the treatment of Parkinson’s Disease

11:45 am 


12:00 pm 


1:00 pm 

10 years of iLCT – Chaired by Darren Moore, Ph.D. – Van Andel Institute

Richard Wyse, Simon Stott and Patrik Brundin

Richard Wyse, Ph.D.
Simon Stott, Ph.D.
Patrik Brundin, M.D., Ph.D.
1:30 pm 

Findings from the Rallying 2022

1:50 pm 

Tom Isaacs Award Presentation

Session 6: Lysosomal Targets (Session Chair: Ashley Harms, Ph.D. – UAB | The University of Alabama at Birmingham)

2:15 pm 

Lena Burbulla, Ph.D.

Biomedical Center, LMU Munich

Lena Burbulla, Ph.D.

Convergence of Mitochondrial and Lysosomal Dysfunction in Parkinson’s disease

2:45 pm 

M. Judith Peterschmitt, MD, MMSc


M. Judith Peterschmitt, MD, MMSc

GBA-Parkinson’s disease: Lessons learned from the MOVES-PD study and challenges ahead

3:15 pm 

Ravi Jagasia, Ph.D.

Hoffmann-La Roche AG

Ravi Jagasia, Ph.D.

Targeting neuronal β-glucocerebrosidase deficiency with an enzyme-based Brain Shuttle molecule

3:45 pm 


4:00 pm 

Closing remarks

Consultant Neurologist & Senior Lecturer, University College London

Dilan Athauda is an Honorary Consultant Neurologist at the Department of Clinical and Movement Neurosciences at The National Hospital for Neurology & Neurosurgery, and a Senior Clinical Lecturer at the Institute of Neurology, University College London. His primary interests involve neuroprotection in Parkinson’s disease, with an emphasis on how Type 2 diabetes and metabolic dysfunction influence neurodegeneration. His work involves utilising human-induced pluripotent stem cells to explore cellular pathways underlying neurodegeneration, and as a tool for drug discovery and biomarker evaluation. He is a co-investigator on the Exenatide-PD3 and Exenatide-MSA clinical trials, which are evaluating the use of exenatide, a Glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) agonist, as potential treatment for Parkinson’s disease and Multiple System Atrophy; and is a member of the Edmond J. Saffa ACT-PD working group – a project bringing together a range of experts to successfully produce a multi-arm, multi-stage clinical trial which would greatly advance current challenges in Parkinson’s research and deliver much-needed results to those in need.

Professor of Movement Disorders
Honorary Consultant Neurologist,
Sheffield Institute for Translational Neuroscience

Prof. Bandmann went to Medical School in Munich, Germany and did his PhD at the Institute of Neurology, Queen Square, London. He is now based at the Sheffield Institute for Translational Neuroscience (SITraN). His group undertook the first ever drug screen in genetically stratified Parkinson’s disease patient tissue. 2000 compounds were assessed for their rescue effect on mitochondrial function. Ursodeoxycholic acid (UDCA) was identified as a particularly promising compound. UDCA has already been in clinical use for > 30 yr and is therefore an ideal candidate for the drug-repositioning strategy. He subsequently took UDCA into a phase II, proof of concept clinical trial, the “UP Study” (UDCA in Parkinson’s disease, NCT03840005). The novel trial design included 31PMR-spectroscopy to confirm target engagement and sensor-based assessment of motor impairment to objectively quantify disease progression. 

President and CMO, Enterin, Inc.

Dr. Denise Barbut is a Professor of Neurology & Former Chief of the Neurovascular Division and of the Stroke research Program at Weill-Cornell Medical College, Cornell University. Her scientific interests have centered on neuroprotection and neurodegenerative disorders.  She trained as a neurologist in the UK and the USA, receiving her MD. from University College, London. Her post-graduate training included Imperial College, the Brompton, the National Hospital for Neurology and Neurosurgery and Cornell University. She is a Fellow of the Royal College of Physicians of the UK. Subsequently she became Professor of Neurology at Cornell University. She holds close to 200 patents and has published over 70 peer-reviewed articles. Her current research interests are focused on the role of aminosterols in the prevention and treatment of neurodegenerative diseases. She co-founded Enterin with Michael Zasloff in 2016, and currently serves as President, CMO, and Board Member. 

Heisenberg Professor for Metabolic Biochemistry of Neurodegenerative Diseases,
Biomedical Center, LMU Munich

Lena Burbulla, PhD, serves as Heisenberg Professor for Metabolic Biochemistry of Neurodegenerative Diseases at the Biomedical Center, LMU Munich, since July 2021. She spent the past 9 years at MGH, Harvard Medical School, Boston, and Northwestern University, Chicago, where she conducted compelling research on pathologic mechanisms in Parkinson’s disease with a focus on dysfunctional dopamine metabolism and its contribution to diminished glucocerebrosidase function during her time as postdoctoral research fellow and Research Assistant Professor in the laboratory of Dimitri Krainc.  

The overarching goal of her own laboratory is now to further define the underlying determinants of vulnerability of dopaminergic neurons in the substantia nigra leading to midbrain neuron loss in PD and related disorders. Therefore, iPSC cultures are differentiated into midbrain dopaminergic neurons, but also astrocytes and microglia, to examine cell autonomous as well as the contribution of non-cell autonomous factors to neuron degeneration. Specifically, her lab is interested in the interactions between dopamine, iron, and oxidant stress with an emphasis on deciphering species-specific differences that may explain the incomplete recapitulation of human pathology in currently available animal models.  

University of Nantes

Philippe Damier attended the University of Grenoble in France and, after completing his undergraduate studies in Biological Sciences, graduated from the Medical School in 1989. He was resident in Neurology at the University of Paris VI Pitié-Salpêtrière. He obtained a thesis in Neurosciences (PhD) in 1994 and spent a year as a postdoctoral fellow in Ann Graybiel’s lab (Boston, MA). Philippe became an assistant professor in Pitié-Salpêtrière hospital in 1995, before heading the Clinical Research Center in 1997 (under Yves Agid’s chair).

In 1999, he was appointed as a full professor of Neurology at the University of Nantes. Amongst Professor Damier’s responsibilities at the Medical School, University Hospital of Nantes, he chaired both the Department of Neurology and the Clinical Research Center. He is currently in charge of the expert center in Parkinson’s disease for the West part of France and president of scientific committee of the French Parkinson patient association.

He has published more than 250 scientific articles in international journals, most of them in the field of Parkinson’s disease and movement disorders.

In 2011, he got a Master in Business Administration in Melbourne (Australia). He published three books about managerial decision (2014, 2017, 2022).

Love Family Professor & Vice Chair of Neurology
Director, Pittsburgh Institute for Neurodegenerative Diseases
University of Pittsburgh

Dr. Tim Greenamyre is the Love Family Professor and vice-chair of neurology and director of the Pittsburgh Institute for Neurodegenerative Diseases (PIND) and the American Parkinson Disease Association Advanced Center for Parkinson’s Disease Research at the University of Pittsburgh. He completed his MD, PhD and residency training in Neurology at the University of Michigan. He has been listed as one of the ‘Best Doctors in America’ since the mid-1990s. His laboratory studies mechanisms of neurodegeneration in Parkinson’s disease, with a focus on gene-environment interactions. Translational studies use pharmacological and ‘gene therapy’ approaches. He was Chair of the 2019 Parkinson’s Disease Gordon Research Conference. For 17 years he was editor-in-chief of the scientific journal Neurobiology of Disease, and he is a current member of the SAB of Science Translational Medicine.

Assistant Professor, University of Alabama at Birmingham

Ashley S. Harms is an assistant professor at the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) in the Department of Neurology and the Center for Neurodegeneration and Experimental Therapeutics. As a dedicated neuroimmunologist, Dr. Harms studies the cellular and immunological mechanisms underlying the initiation and progression of alpha-synucleinopathy disorders, with emphasis on antigen presentation and adaptive immunity. Utilizing novel genetic and viral model approaches to study the role of immune cell subsets, her lab focuses on how the protein alpha-synuclein contributes to microglial activation, peripheral immune cell infiltration, and subsequent activation of the immune response in Parkinson’s disease and multiple system atrophy. 

Neuroscientist, Lab Head and CNS Drug Discovery Project Leader, Neuroscience and Rare Disease Discovery in Roche Pharma and Early Development,
F. Hoffmann-La Roche AG

Ravi Jagasia, Ph.D., is a Neuroscientist, lab head and CNS drug discovery project leader in Neuroscience and Rare Disease Discovery in Roche Pharma and Early Development. Dr. Jagasia holds a Ph.D. from the Max-Planck Institute für Neurobiologie and LMU München, and Master ’s and Bachelor’s of Science from the University of Toronto Department of Physiology. His lab focuses on modelling neuronal development disorders, lysosomal storage disorders, Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s using pluripotent stem cell derived neurons. Projects started in his lab in both rare diseases such as Angelman’s Syndrome or in Alzheimer are now in clinical trials.

Professor and Jack Clark Chair for Parkinson’s Disease Research, University of Toronto

Director, Edmond J. Safra Program in Parkinson’s Disease, the Rossy Progressive Supranuclear Palsy Program and the Morton and Gloria Shulman Movement Disorders Clinic
Lily Safra Chair in Movement Disorders, Toronto Western Hospital, University Health Network

Dr. Lang is Professor and previous Director of the Division of Neurology at the University of Toronto where he holds the Jack Clark Chair for Parkinson’s Disease Research. He is the Director of the Edmond J. Safra Program in Parkinson’s Disease, the Rossy Progressive Supranuclear Palsy Program and the Morton and Gloria Shulman Movement Disorders Clinic and holds the Lily Safra Chair in Movement Disorders at the Toronto Western Hospital, University Health Network. He has published over 900 peer-reviewed papers and is one of the most highly cited investigators in the field of Movement Disorders. Among his awards and distinctions he was appointed as an Officer of the Order of Canada in 2010; in 2011 he was elected a Fellow of both the Canadian Academy of Health Sciences and the Royal Society of Canada; in 2014 he was elected by the International Parkinson and Movement Disorder Society (MDS) as an Honorary Member “in recognition of his extraordinary contribution to the field of Movement Disorders”; and in 2017 he was the recipient of the first MDS Pan-American Section Leadership Award. In 2018 he received the Weston Brain Institute International Outstanding Achievement Award for work in accelerating the development of therapeutics for neurodegenerative diseases of aging and in 2020 he received the Dean’s Lifetime Achievement Award for global impact from the University of Toronto.

Head, Department of Neurology for Neurodegenerative Diseases, University Hospital Bordeaux

Co-Chair, French Reference Center for MSA

Deputy Director, Institute for Neurodegenerative Diseases

Prof. Meissner is Head of the Department of Neurology for Neurodegenerative Diseases at the University Hospital Bordeaux, Co-chair of the French Reference Center for MSA, and Deputy Director of the Institute for Neurodegenerative Diseases (CNRS UMR 5293) at the University Bordeaux. He received his medical degree in 1997 from Humboldt University Berlin in Germany and his Board Certification in Neurology in 2005 after completing his residency at the Charité University Hospital in Berlin and the University Hospital Bordeaux. In 2005, he was awarded a PhD in Neuroscience at the University Bordeaux. He was appointed Professor of Neurology at the University Bordeaux in 2012.

Prof. Meissner has served on several MDS Committees since 2013, including a leadership role as Chair of the International Education Committee between 2017-2019, and is the current MDS Treasurer-Elect. He has authored more than 190 peer-reviewed publications in the field of movement disorders, mostly dealing with PD and MSA, and has given over 125 invited lectures in more than 25 countries. His current research focuses on biological and clinical markers of disease progression in PD and MSA, and the development of new preclinical models and treatments for these disorders in a translational approach.

In his current research activities, Prof. Meissner chairs the MDS UMSARS Revision Task Force. He is co-coordinator of the LIXIPARK trial and has recently led a phase 1 trial with two vaccines directed against a-synuclein in MSA patients as part of the SYMPATH consortium. He has further coordinated the ARTEMIS consortium, which has evaluated the efficacy of distinct strategies targeting a-synuclein in preclinical models of MSA.

Juanita J. Bartlett professor, Neurology Research

Vice Chair for Basic and Translational Research, Department of Neurology, University of Iowa

Dr. Narayanan is the Juanita J. Bartlett professor of Neurology Research and Vice Chair for Basic and Translational Research in the Department of Neurology at the Carver College of Medicine in the University of Iowa.  He also is an Associate Professor an Associate Director of the Iowa Neuroscience Institute, and Associate Director of the Clinical Neuroscience Training Program.

He is originally from Seattle, Washington.  He received BA from Stanford University and received an MD and PhD from Yale Medical School, where he also completed a residency in neurology. He came to the University of Iowa in 2012 to launch his lab studying the basic mechanisms of prefrontal dopamine. He leads a multidisciplinary clinic focused on Parkinson’s disease.

He received the Donald B. Lindsley Prize for the best dissertation from the Society for Neuroscience, the S. Weir Mitchell Award for best residency research from the American Academy of Neurology, and the Jon Stolk Award for movement disorders research from the American Academy of Neurology.

Full Professor and Director of the Department of Experimental Neurodegeneration,  University Medical Center Goettingen

Prof. Tiago Outeiro graduated in Biochemistry at the University of Porto and was an Erasmus student at the University of Leeds in the UK. Prof. Outeiro did his PhD thesis at the Whitehead Institute for Biomedical research – MIT and worked as a Research Scientist at FoldRx Pharmaceuticals as a Research Scientist and Consultant. Prof. Outeiro was a Postdoctoral Research Fellow in the Department of Neurology of the Massachusetts General Hospital – Harvard Medical School where he focused on the study of Neurodegenerative disorders such as Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s disease. Prof. Outeiro directed the Cell and Molecular Neuroscience Unit at IMM, Lisbon, from 2007 to 2014, and is currently Full Professor and the Director of the Department of Experimental Neurodegeneration at the University Medical Center Goettingen, in Germany. Prof. Outeiro holds a joint Professor position at Newcastle University in the UK. Prof. Outeiro has authored >250 research articles in international journals and participates in various international boards and in collaborative projects with the aim of identifying the molecular basis of neurodegenerative disorders such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease. He has been awarded multiple prizes and grants in Germany, from the European Union, and from other international funding agencies. Currently, Prof. Outeiro is a visiting Professor at UFRJ.

Global Project Head, Parkinson’s Disease in Neurology Development,

Dr Judith Peterschmitt is the Global Project Head for Parkinson’s disease in Neurology Development at Sanofi; prior to that she served as the Clinical Lead of the Rare Disease Therapeutic Area at Sanofi Genzyme.

Dr. Peterschmitt has over 18 years of experience in clinical development. She has worked in multiple programs, including venglustat for GBA-Parkinson’s disease and Gaucher disease type 3, Cerdelga®, an oral GCS inhibitor for Gaucher disease type 1, and enzyme replacement therapies for lysosomal storage disorders: Olipudase alpha, in development for acid sphingomyelinase deficiency, Myozyme® (alglucosidase alfa) and Aldurazyme® (laronidase) for Pompe disease and mucopolysaccharidosis type I respectively.

Prior to joining Genzyme in 2004, Dr. Peterschmitt was a full-time geneticist and the Medical Director of the Center for Treatment of Lysosomal Storage Diseases, and of the Newborn Screening Program at Hospital Nacional Posadas, in Buenos Aires, Argentina.

Dr. Peterschmitt gained her MD at the National University of Buenos Aires, Argentina and a Masters in Medical Sciences (Clinical Investigation) from Harvard–MIT Division of Health Sciences and Technology, MA, USA. She completed her training in pediatric and child neurology in Buenos Aires, newborn screening in Japan, and clinical and biochemical genetics at Boston Children’s Hospital, MA, USA.

Arthur C. Nielsen Jr. Professor of Neurology

Director, Parkinson’s Disease and Movement Disorders Center

Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine

Dr. Simuni joined the faculty of the Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine in 2000 to build a multidisciplinary movement disorders center that is recognized by the Parkinson’s Foundation, Huntington Disease Society of America and Wilson’s Foundation as a Center of Excellence and serves as a training model in the region. She is the lead investigator of a number of clinical trials on experimental pharmacology, non-motor manifestations, and pharmacological management of PD. She serves on a number of Steering Committees for the PD national clinical trials, several committees for PSG and the PF. She is the Site PI and Steering Committee member for the largest PD biomarker initiative (PPMI study) and site PI for the Network for Excellence in Neuroscience Clinical Trials (NEXT). Dr. Simuni is an active member of the American Academy of Neurology, American Neurological Association, the Movement Disorders Society as well as the Parkinson’s Study Group

AC Immune SA

Günther Staffler is a biotech industry executive and multidisciplinary researcher with more than 25 years’ experience in bio-chemical and immunology research and in the establishment and management of drug development programs. He has extensive leadership and strategic oversight experience in early discovery to early clinical phase drug development phases with strong involvement in manufacturing operations. Before joining AC Immune, he was Chief Technology Officer at AFFiRiS AG where he led the development of different active immunotherapies for the treatment of non-communicable chronic diseases, including Parkinson’s disease and Hypercholesterolemia. Günther completed his degree in biochemistry and immunology at the University of Vienna. Apart from his research work at the Institute for Immunology he has been lecturer at the University of Vienna and at the University of Applied Sciences, FH Krems & Vienna.

John N. Whitaker Professor and Chair of the Department of Neurology, University of Alabama at Birmingham

Director, Alabama Morris K. Udall Center of Excellence in Parkinson’s Disease Research

Dr. Standaert graduated from Harvard College and received M.D. and Ph.D. degrees from Washington University in St. Louis. Following Neurology residency at the University of Pennsylvania, he was appointed a Howard Hughes Fellow and completed a three-year research and clinical fellowship in Movement Disorders at Massachusetts General Hospital. He was a member of the faculty at Harvard Medical School from 1995 to 2006 and then relocated to the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB). Currently he is the John N. Whitaker Professor and Chair of the Department of Neurology and a senior member of the faculty of the Division of Movement Disorders. He directs the NIH-funded Alabama Morris K. Udall Center of Excellence in Parkinson’s Disease Research. He is Chairman of the Scientific Advisory Board of the American Parkinson Disease Association, a Deputy Editor of the journal Movement Disorders, a Fellow of both the American Neurological Association and the American Academy of Neurology, a Councilor of the Association of University Professors of Neurology, and a member of the NIH/NINDS Board of Scientific Counselors. His lab has a long-standing interest in the basic mechanisms underlying Parkinson disease as well as the complications of therapy. 

Caron and Steven D. Broidy Chair, Movement Disorders; Director, Movement Disorders Program; Vice Chair, Department of Neurology; Professor, Neurology
Cedars Sinai

Dr. Michele Tagliati is a clinician and clinical researcher, investigating advanced therapeutics of Parkinson’s disease, dystonia and other movement disorders. He was among the pioneersdeveloping the use ofdeep brain stimulation (DBS) for movement disorders in the United States. Dr. Tagliati attended medical school and neurology residency in Rome, Italybefore moving to New York in 1993. He completed a second residency in neurology at the Mount Sinai School of Medicine, during which time he was Chief resident. Following residency, he completed a fellowship in Movement Disorders at Beth Israel Medical Center and afterward joined the Departmentof Neurologyas an attending and faculty at Albert Einstein College of Medicine. In 2004, Dr. Tagliati moved back to MountSinai, where he was anAssociate Professor of Neurology and Division Chief of Movement Disorders. In 2010, accepted the position of Vice Chairman of Neurology and Director of Movement Disorders at Cedars Sinai Medical Centerin Los Angeles. In2015, he was awarded the Caron and Steven D. Broidy Endowed Chair for Movement Disorders.Dr. Tagliatihas received research grants and support in excess of 4 million dollars fromvarious agencies and foundations and has been a Principal Investigator in over 45 clinical trials exploring new medical and surgical therapies for Parkinson’s disease and dystonia. Currently, his research is directed at the study of non-motor and pre-motor symptoms of Parkinson’s disease, including investigator-initiated trials of liraglutide in Parkinson’s disease and adrenergic blockers in subjects at high risk of developing PD. Dr. Tagliati holds 2 international patents on subjects related to Parkinson prevention and DBS optimization.Dr. Tagliati is a diplomate of the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology.He has published over 120 peer-reviewed articles and 30 book chapters. In addition, heis co-author of the patient reference book Parkinson’s Disease for Dummies.Dr. Tagliati has lectured at conferences and academic institutions around the world and is one of the premier educators of DBS management, having directed –among others -theDBS programming course at the annual meeting of the American Academy of Neurology. An active member of the American Academy of Neurology and the Movement Disorders Society, Dr. Tagliati also serves in theEditorial Boardof the Journal of Parkinson’s Diseaseand Nature Parkinson’s disease.

Director of Translational Science, NodThera

Pete Thornton is currently Director of Translational Science at NodThera Inc., a biotech focused on the discovery and development of NLRP3 inhibitors for the treatment of inflammatory and neuroinflammatory disease. Previously, he has worked on multiple anti-inflammatory drug projects at GSK, Biogen-Idec, MedImmune, and AstraZeneca. For the most part, Pete has supported early and late discovery projects in the neurodegeneration and pain therapy areas, gaining a wealth of experience in leading small and large molecule projects from target validation, through lead optimisation to first time in human studies. Pete holds a Batchelor of Science in Pharmacology from the University of Bristol and a Ph.D. in Neuroinflammation from the University of Manchester. He has published widely in the field of neuroinflammation with particular emphasis on glial and cerebrovascular inflammatory mechanisms in disease.

President and CEO, Inhibikase Therapeutics, Inc.

Dr. Milton Werner is the President and Chief Executive Officer of Inhibikase Therapeutics, a company developing novel protein kinase inhibitor therapeutics to treat neurodegenerative disease and viral infection inside and outside of the brain. Previously, Dr. Werner served as Vice President of Research at Celtaxsys, a cell-free immunotherapeutics company. From September 1996 until June 2007, Dr. Werner was a Head of the Laboratory of Molecular Biophysics at The Rockefeller University in New York City. Throughout his scientific career, Dr. Werner has been an innovator integrating chemistry, physics, and biology into a comprehensive approach to solving problems in medicine, including an explanation of the origin of “maleness” in humans, the mechanistic basis of several forms of leukemia and lymphoma and, more recently, the development of therapeutics that can halt and potentially reverse functional loss in neurodegenerative disease. 

Dr. Werner is the author or co-author of more than 70 research articles, reviews, and book chapters and has given lectures on his research work throughout the world. He is the recipient of numerous private and public research grants totaling more than $30 million. He is the recipient of several awards, including the Naito Memorial Foundation Prize, the Young Investigator Award from the Sidney Kimmel Cancer Foundation, the Research Chair from the Brain Tumor Society, and a $1 million Distinguished Young Scholars in Medical Research Award from the W. M. Keck Foundation. Dr. Werner received his Doctor of Philosophy in Chemistry from the University of California, Berkeley, and his Bachelor of Science in Biochemistry from the University of Southern California, and he was an NIH intramural postdoctoral fellow prior to his tenure at the Rockefeller University. 

When is Grand Challenges in Parkinson’s Disease and Rallying to the Challenge? How much does it cost?

Grand Challenges in Parkinson’s Disease and Rallying to the Challenge will take place September 28-29, 2022. The symposium and meeting will be offered in a hybrid format, both on-site at Van Andel Institute and virtually. Registration will open in spring 2022 and close in September 2022.

What if I need or other accommodations?

Please contact Kim Cousineau at [email protected] to discuss any special accommodation needs.

How do I become a sponsor?

Please contact Kim Cousineau at [email protected] for more information on sponsorship opportunities.

What is the refund policy?

Refund requests must be made in writing to the Midwest Metabolism Meeting by Sept. 23, 2022. After Sept. 23, refund requests will not be honored. If you are not able to attend, a substitute may attend in your place. The name and email address of the substitute must be emailed to Kim Cousineau at [email protected] prior to Sept. 23, 2022.

Code of Conduct Guidelines

We are dedicated to providing a harassment-free, non-discriminatory symposium experience for all participants, regardless of race, color, national origin, religion, sex, age, disability, pregnancy, height, weight, marital status, veteran status, sexual orientation, gender identity, or other personal characteristics covered by applicable law. We will not tolerate harassment of conference participants in any form. We expect participants at our events to engage in constructive and professional discussions at all times. Harassment can include unwelcomed attention, inappropriate comments or jokes that refer to gender differences, sexual topics, requests for dates, or other sexual activities as well as the use of language that may demean or degrade individuals. These behaviors are not appropriate for any of our conference venues, including talks, workshops, networking sessions, poster sessions, social networking platforms, and other online media platforms. Any participant violating these guidelines will be removed from the symposium at the discretion of the conference organizers.

Anyone who has experienced the above, or who has witnessed such behavior, should notify Kim Cousineau at [email protected] Anonymous reporting may also be done through the EthicsPoint Hotline.

Jay Van Andel Award for Outstanding Achievement in Parkinson’s Disease Research

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 Jay Van Andel

Entrepreneur and philanthropist Jay Van Andel, perhaps best known as the co-founder of Amway, founded Van Andel Institute in 1996 with his wife Betty. Mr. Van Andel saw opportunity in the landscape of his hometown of Grand Rapids, Michigan, and imagined a thriving center for biomedical research, health care and the life sciences industry. He forged ahead in pursuing this dream despite his diagnosis of Parkinson’s, which eventually took his life in 2004.

In his autobiography, An Enterprising Life, Mr. Van Andel wrote, “Research into the causes and potential cures for Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, and other diseases is promising but requires much more support…I hope that my own contributions to medical research will be followed by increased support from other entrepreneurs, charitable foundations, and concerned individuals.”

Past Winners

2021 — Ted Dawson, M.D., Ph.D.
2020 — Daniela Berg, M.D., and Ron Postuma, M.D., M.Sc.
2019 — Ellen Sidransky, M.D.
2018 — K. Ray Chaudhuri, M.D., FRCP, D.Sc.
2017 — J. William Langston, M.D.
2016 — Stanley Fahn, M.D.
2015 — Robert Nussbaum, M.D., and Maria Grazia Spillantini, Ph.D., FMedSci, FRS
2014 — Andrew John Lees, M.D., FRCP, FMedSci
2013 — Alim-Louis Benabid, M.D., Ph.D.
2012 — Andrew Singleton, Ph.D.

Poster abstracts may be submitted during the registration process. The deadline to submit an abstract is September 2, 2022. For questions or to be added to our email list, please contact Kim Cousineau.


Students, postdoctoral fellows, faculty and research staff are welcome to submit an abstract. If the number of submitted poster abstracts exceeds the space, the organizers will select the abstracts that are most relevant to the conference theme.

Abstract format

Submitted abstracts should represent original research. The title should be brief and descriptive, and the body should include rationale, methods and results. Please prepare abstracts using the below template.

Abstract submission

Poster abstracts should be submitted during the registration process.


Questions regarding abstract submission, posters, or the poster session can be directed to Kim Cousineau at [email protected].


Presenting Author1,2, Other Author1, and Last Author1,3(Style = Authors)

1First Dept., Institution, City, State, Country, 2Second Dept., Institution, City, State, Country, and 3Last Dept., Institution, City, State, Country (Style = Affiliations)

Body of abstract using 300 words or less. Define each abbreviation at first use. All fonts should be Arial, 11 pt. and text should be single-spaced. Once you have filled in this template, choose File>Save As and save your file as a Word document (.doc or .docx) with the filename lastname_abstract. (Style = Body)



Jennifer Lamberts1 and Patrik Brundin1

1Department of Neurodegenerative Science, Van Andel Institute, Grand Rapids, MI, United States

The pathological hallmark of Parkinson’s disease (PD) is protein-rich, intraneuronal inclusions known as Lewy bodies and Lewy neurites, which are composed primarily of aggregates of misfolded a-synuclein (a-syn) protein. Recent studies suggest…

Join in the discussion on our Rallying to the Challenge Facebook Group here.

Wednesday, September 28, 2022
9:30 am EST (2:30 pm BST) to 5:00 pm EST

8:00 am  – Jay Van Andel Award for Outstanding Contributions in Parkinson’s Research Lecture
Anthony Lang, O.C., M.D., RCP, FAAN, FCAHS, FRSC, University of Toronto

9:45 am EST / 2:45 pm BST – Welcome and opening comments
Shaun Hindley, Team Spark
Soania Mathur, M.D., PD Avengers

9:50 am – Session 1: Biology and Pre-Clinical Overview

9:50 am – What to target in Parkinson’s?
Simon Stott, Ph.D.

10:15 am – Trials and tribulations of Parkinson’s studies
Introduced by Rick Lay, Cure Parkinson’s
Denise Barbut, Enterin

11:00 am – Tea/Coffee (Stretch and Move Break)

11:20 am – Session 2:  Clinical Trials, Barriers, Motivators, Facilitators

11:20 am – Trials of disease-modifying therapy: Approaches and challenges
Dr. Anthony Lang, University of Toronto

12:00 p.m. – Lunch and from 12.30 – WHO technical brief and Congress Bill to End Parkinson’s – a discussion led by Larry Gifford and Tim Hague, PD Avengers

1:00 pm – Survey Findings
Rosie Fuest
Emma Lane, Ph.D.

1:40 pm – Followed by break-out groups to discuss findings and feedback

2:40 pm – Tea/Coffee (Stretch and Move Break)

3.00 pm – Session 3: Insights from people with Parkinson’s informing research

3:00 pm – Panel discussion: How do insights from people with Parkinson’s inform both clinical and lab-based Parkinson’s research?
Dr. Jon Stamford, Dr. Tim Greenamyre, Dr. Darren Moore and Dr. Randy Schekman

4:00 pm – How patient involvement in trial design is having an impact
Camille Carroll, Ph.D.

4:30 pm – LEARNING to Inform Trials of the Future
Emma Lane, Ph.D., University of Cardiff

Q&A to follow

Thursday, September 29, 2022
9:00 a.m. EST/2:00 p.m. BST to 12:30 p.m. EST/5:30 p.m. BST

9:00 a.m. – Welcome and opening comments
Shaun Hindley, Team Spark
Larry Gifford

9:10 am – Session 4: Clinical Studies

9:10 am – MiND: Collaborating to find genetic and epigenetic changes in Parkinson’s
Darren Moore, Ph.D., Van Andel Institute

9:30 am – The GLP-1 Trials
Wassilios Meissner, M.D., Ph.D., FEAN
Tom Foltynie, MBBS, MRCP, Ph.D. (to be confirmed)

Oliver Bandmann, M.D., Ph.D. (pre-record)

Tanya Simuni, M.D., FAAN (pre-record)

10:40 am – Tea/Coffee (Stretch and Move Break)

11:00 am Session 5: Future of Clinical Trials

11:00 am – Inclusive Research:  Women with Parkinson’s
Dr. Soania Mathur

11:20 am – The Challenge of Proving Efficacy
Dr. Katie Kopil
Gary Rafaloff
Diane Stephenson
Shaun Hindley

12:00 pm – Lunch and move to the main auditorium for 1:00 pm

1:00 pm – Findings from Rallying 2022: Surveys and PD Avengers

1:20 pm – Tom Isaacs Award: Presented by Lyndsey Isaacs and Professor Patrik Brundin, Ph.D. 

1:30 pm – 10 years of iLCT (Main Auditorium) Chaired by Darren Moore, Ph.D.
Patrik Brundin, Ph.D.
Richard Wyse, Ph.D.
Simon Stott, Ph.D. 

Q&A to follow

The annual Grand Challenges in Parkinson’s Disease symposium, one of the most comprehensive Parkinson’s and neurodegenerative disease events in the United States, will take place Sept. 28–29, 2022. The 2022 symposium will offer a hybrid format with an on-site option at Van Andel Institute and a virtual option.

Grand Challenges in Parkinson’s Disease brings together global leaders in Parkinson’s and neurodegenerative disease research and features presentations aimed at professionals in the research/medical field, caregivers and people with Parkinson’s. The symposium provides attendees with insights into groundbreaking Parkinson’s disease research and highlights how translational research can impact new therapies and treatments for patients. The 2022 symposium is entitled Modifying Progression – From Molecules to Trials and will include presentations, poster sessions and addresses by global leaders in the field of Parkinson’s disease research.

Interested in sponsoring Grand Challenges in Parkinson’s Disease? Please reach out to Kim Cousineau at [email protected].

About Grand Challenges

Grand Challenges in Parkinson’s Disease is an annual scientific symposium that brings together scientists, clinicians, advocates and people with Parkinson’s to explore the latest innovative Parkinson’s disease research.

Since it was established in 2012, Grand Challenges has grown into a multi-faceted symposium that draws attendees from across the globe. Previous themes have explored the role of non-motor symptoms, genes and pathways, disease-modifying therapies, inflammation, clinical trials and drug development.

Programs from previous years

2022 Scientific Program Committee

Patrik Brundin, M.D., Ph.D. (co-chair) – Van Andel Institute
Simon Stott, Ph.D. (co-chair) – Cure Parkinson’s
Richard Wyse, M.D. (co-chair) – Cure Parkinson’s
David Devos, Ph.D., – University of Lille Nord de France
Caroline Williams-Gray, MRCP, Ph.D. – University of Cambridge
Karl Kieburtz, M.D., M.P.H – University of Rochester Medical Center
Dimitri Krainc, M.D., Ph.D. – Northwestern University
Gary Rafaloff – Patient Advocate
Clemens Scherzer, M.D. – Harvard Medical School
Tanya Simuni, M.D. FAAN – Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine
Malu Tansey, Ph.D. – University of Florida

Local Planning Committee

Kim Cousineau — Event manager and executive assistant, Van Andel Institute
Kayla Habermehl — Science communications specialist III, Van Andel Institute

For more information, please contact Kim Cousineau at [email protected].

About Rallying to the Challenge

In 2014, VAI and U.K.-based research charity The Cure Parkinson’s Trust held the first Rallying to the Challenge meeting in conjunction with Grand Challenges in Parkinson’s DiseaseRallying to the Challenge drew more than 100 influential advocates, people with Parkinson’s, and caregivers to the Institute to discuss how people with Parkinson’s can improve the clinical trial process. Over two days of talks, discussions and working groups, Rallying attendees laid the foundation for the beginnings of a patient charter and comprehensive toolkit to improve patient involvement in trials and to ensure their voices are heard.

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 www.vai.org.

Event Details

Venue: Van Andel Institute 333 Bostwick Ave. NE Grand Rapids

Contact Info:

Email: Kim Cousineau

Thanks to our wonderful sponsors!

Session Sponsor

Discovery Sponsor

Supporting Sponsors

  • Acorda logo
  • Michigan State University College of Human Medicine

  • Trinity Health Logo