Sep. 27  —  Sep. 28, 2023

2023 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 2023 symposium, Pathophysiological Mechanisms to Therapeutics, will highlight recent research that advances our understanding of the disease and our path toward developing disease-modifying treatments. A diverse group of speakers in the Parkinson’s field will describe the latest developments in topics including the endolysosomal pathway, protein aggregation and pathologies, neural circuits affected by Parkinson’s, and brain-body interactions in disease initiation and progression.

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.

Registration opens in spring 2023. For questions, please contact Courtney Zirkle at courtney.zirkle@vai.org.

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 27-28, 2023. Registration will open in spring 2023 and close in September 2023.

What if I need or other accommodations?

Please contact Courtney Zirkle at courtney.zirkle@vai.org to discuss any special accommodation needs.

How do I become a sponsor?

Please contact Courtney Zirkle at courtney.zirkle@vai.org for more information on sponsorship opportunities.

What is the refund policy?

Refund requests must be made in writing to the Grand Challenges in Parkinson’s Disease by Sept. 23, 2023. 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 Courtney Zirkle at courtney.zirkle@vai.org prior to Sept. 23, 2023.

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 Courtney Zirkle at courtney.zirkle@vai.org. 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

2022 — Anthony E. Lang, O.C., M.D., FRCPC, FAAN, FCAHS, FRSC
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 registration, which will open in spring 2023. For questions or to be added to our email list, please contact Courtney Zirkle.

Eligibility

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?

Questions regarding abstract submission, posters, or the poster session can be directed to Courtney Zirkle.

TITLE OF ABSTRACT IN ALL CAPS (STYLE = TITLE)

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)

EXAMPLE

THE ROLE OF A-SYNUCLEIN IN PARKINSON’S DISEASE PATHOLOGY

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…

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. 27–28, 2023.

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 2023 symposium, Pathophysiological Mechanisms to Therapeutics, will highlight recent research that advances our understanding of the disease and our path toward developing disease-modifying treatments. A diverse group of speakers in the Parkinson’s field will describe the latest developments in topics including the endolysosomal pathway, protein aggregation and pathologies, neural circuits affected by Parkinson’s, and brain-body interactions in disease initiation and progression.

Interested in sponsoring Grand Challenges in Parkinson’s Disease? Please reach out to Courtney Zirkle at courtney.zirkle@vai.org.

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

2023 Scientific Program Committee

Darren Moore, Ph.D. (Co-Chair) – Van Andel Institute
Michael Henderson, Ph.D. (Co-Chair) – Van Andel Institute
Hong-yuan Chu, Ph.D. (Co-Chair) – Van Andel Institute
Laura Volpicelli-Daley, Ph.D., – University of Alabama at Birmingham
Anastasia Henry, Ph.D. – Denali Therapeutics
Mark Cookson, Ph.D. – National Institute of Aging
Sonia Gandhi, Ph.D. – Francis Crick Institute, London
George Huntley, Ph.D. – Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai
Soania Mathur, B.Sc., M.D., CCFP – Patient Advocate

Local Planning Committee

Kim Cousineau — Project Manager I, Van Andel Institute
Kayla Habermehl — Science Communications Specialist III, Van Andel Institute
Courtney Zirkle — Events and Meeting Specialist II, Van Andel Institute

For more information, please contact Courtney Zirkle at courtney.zirkle@vai.org.

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.