Support The World's Smartest Network

Help the New York Academy of Sciences bring late-breaking scientific information about the COVID-19 pandemic to global audiences. Please make a tax-deductible gift today.

This site uses cookies.
Learn more.


This website uses cookies. Some of the cookies we use are essential for parts of the website to operate while others offer you a better browsing experience. You give us your permission to use cookies, by continuing to use our website after you have received the cookie notification. To find out more about cookies on this website and how to change your cookie settings, see our Privacy policy and Terms of Use.

We encourage you to learn more about cookies on our site in our Privacy policy and Terms of Use.

Parkinson's Disease Therapeutics Conference

Parkinson's Disease Therapeutics Conference

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

The New York Academy of Sciences

Presented By

Presented by the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson's Research and the New York Academy of Sciences


The fourth annual Parkinson's Disease Therapeutics conference, chaired by Franz Hefti, PhD - Scientific Advisory Board member of the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson's Research and Chief Scientific Officer of Avid Radiopharmaceuticals in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania - will highlight novel advances in basic and translational research that impact our understanding of Parkinson's Disease and its treatment. Select Michael J. Fox Foundation­-funded investigators will present research on a variety of topics, including novel therapeutic targets, biomarkers for early detection and assessment of disease progression and strategies to alleviate symptoms and/or to slow disease progression. In addition, a small poster session on innovative PD targets and critical research tools will take place.

    Presented by

  • Michael J. Fox Foundation


October 6, 2010

8:30 AM


9:00 AM

Welcome by Katie Hood and Franz Hefti, PhD

9:30 AM

Novel Therapeutic Targets


Optimization of MOR Antagonists for the Treatment of L-DOPA-Induced Dyskinesias in Parkinson's Disease
Patrick Little, PhD, Adolor Corporation


Functional Inhibition of RasGRF1 in the MPTP-lesioned NHP Model for Treating Levodopa-induced Dyskinesia
Erwan Bezard, PhD, Université de Bordeaux

10:20 AM

Networking Break / Poster Viewing

10:50 AM

Novel Therapeutic Targets (continued)


Pharmacodynamics of ReS9-S7, A First-in-class, Disease-modifying Drug Candidate for Treatment of Parkinson's Disease
Gerard Griffioen, PhD, reMYND NV


Specific Inhibition of Nucleation of Alpha-Synuclein Aggregation as a Therapeutic Strategy
Gregory A. Petsko, PhD, Brandeis University


Identification of Substrates and Development of a Cell-Based Assay for LRRK2
R. Jeremy Nichols, PhD, The Parkinson's Institute


A Clinical Trial of Neurturin (NTN) Gene Therapy for Parkinson's Disease
Gene Johnson, PhD, Washington University

12:30 PM

Lunch / Poster Viewing

1:45 PM

Research Tools and Resources


The Parkinson's Progression Markers Initiative
Kenneth Marek, MD, Institute for Neurodegenerative Disorders


Assessing Heart Rate Variability (HRV) in the Parkinson's-Associated Risk Study (PARS) Cohort
Samuel M. Goldman, MD, MPH, The Parkinson's Institute


High-Resolution Diffusion Tensor Imaging in Parkinson's Disease and Parkinson Plus Syndromes
David E. Vaillancourt, PhD, University of Illinois at Chicago

3:00 PM

Networking Break / Poster Viewing

3:30 PM

Hot Topics in Parkinson's Disease Research


Animal Models of PD: Are they Translational Enough to Aid Drug Discovery?
Kalpana Merchant, PhD, Eli Lilly & Co.


FDA Requirements for Disease-Modification
Russell Katz, MD, US Food & Drug Administration

4:45 PM

Closing Remarks

5:00 PM

Cocktail Reception / Poster Viewing

7:00 PM


Poster Presenters

Brian Fiske, PhD, The Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research
PD Online Research: A Professional Collaborative Community for Rapid-Fire Problem Solving in Parkinson’s Disease Science

Mark Frasier, PhD, The Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research
Creating and Disseminating Critical Research Tools

Alfred L. Goldberg, PhD, Harvard University
Enzymes that Catalyze for Alpha-Synuclein Ubiquitination and Degradation

Denis G. Kay, PhD, Neurodyn, Inc.
Assessment of the Therapeutic Efficacy of Progranulin in a Sub-chronic Animal Model of Parkinson's Disease

Hilal A. Lashuel, PhD, Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL)
Polo-Like Kinases as Therapeutic Targets for Parkinson's Disease

Joshua Salafsky, PhD, Biodesy, LLC
Development of Modulators of Alpha-Synuclein Conformation for Parkinson's Disease Therapeutics

Michael R. Sierks, PhD, Arizona State University
Specific Intracellular Targeting of Oligomeric Alpha-Synuclein as a Potential Therapeutic for Parkinson's Disease

Peggy Taylor, Sc.D., Covance
Optimization of Alpha-Synuclein and DJ-1 Assays



Franz Hefti, PhD

Avid Radiopharmaceuticals

In addition to his role as Chief Scientific Officer at Avid Radiopharmaceuticals, a biotech company developing imaging agents for neurodegenerative diseases, Dr. Franz F. Hefti serves as advisor to several biotech companies developing therapeutics for neurological diseases. Previously, he was executive vice president of drug development at Rinat Neuroscience Corporation, a company acquired by Pfizer Inc. and developing antibody therapeutics for Alzheimer’s disease and chronic pain. Before joining Rinat, Dr. Hefti was senior vice president of Neuroscience Research at Merck & Co., where he coordinated the company's neuroscience research worldwide and served as site head for the neuroscience research centers in the U.K. and San Diego. During his tenure, small-molecule drug candidates covering several diverse drug targets in the neuroscience area were taken into clinical studies. Prior to Merck & Co., Dr. Hefti was director of the Neuroscience Research Department at Genentech. Prior to Genentech, he spent more than a decade in academia as a Professor at the University of Southern California and Associate Professor at the University of Miami, where he carried out seminal research on therapeutic applications of neurotrophic factors. Dr. Hefti has published over 250 papers on neurotrophic factors and topics in neuropharmacology, as well as the textbook Drug Discovery for Nervous System Diseases. He received his PhD from the University of Zurich and completed postdoctoral research at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the Max Planck Institute in Munich.


Erwan Bezard, PhD

Université de Bordeaux

Dr. Bezard has authored or co-authored over 120 professional publications in the field of neurobiology, most of which are on Parkinson's disease and related disorders. He is best known for his work on the compensatory mechanisms that mask the progression of Parkinson's disease and on the pathophysiology of levodopa-induced dyskinesia. His current research interests include the study of the compensatory mechanisms, the levodopa-induced dyskinesia, the basic pathophysiology of basal ganglia circuitry, and the development of new strategies to alleviate symptoms and/or to slow disease progression. Dr. Bezard is the director of a new CNRS research unit located in Bordeaux, the Neurodegenerative Disorders Institute, that features preclinical and clinical researchers working towards development of therapeutic solutions. He is also a Visiting Professor at the China Academy of Medical Sciences (Beijing, China) where he has set-up and manages a non-human primate facility dedicated to Movement Disorders. He serves on the board of international organizations such as the International Basal Ganglia Society and The Michael J. Fox Foundation. He is associate editor of Neurobiology of Disease and Movement Disorders, two leading journals in the field. He serves on the editorial boards of several neurobiology journals. Besides consulting for several drug companies in the field of movement disorders, he is a non-executive director of Plenitudes Sarl (France), Motac Neuroscience (UK) and Motac Cognition (USA).

Samuel M. Goldman, MD, MPH

The Parkinson's Institute

Samuel M. Goldman received his BS in Psychology from the University of Michigan, earned his MD at the University of Texas, Houston, and his MPH in Environmental Health Science from the University of California at Berkeley. He is a board-certified physician in preventive medicine and public health, and has practiced extensively in Occupational and Environmental Medicine.

Dr. Goldman joined the Parkinson's Institute in 1993, working with Drs. Caroline Tanner and J. William Langston to design and implement many large epidemiologic studies of Parkinson's disease, atypical parkinsonisms, essential tremor and dystonia. Dr. Goldman has published numerous scientific papers on environmental risk factors for Parkinson's disease, and has coauthored textbook chapters on the etiology of Parkinson's disease. Dr. Goldman's current research interests focus on the further elucidation of environmental and genetic risk factors for parkinsonism.

Gerard Griffioen, PhD


Dr. Griffioen holds a PhD degree from the Free University of Amsterdam, where his studies focused on nutritional signalling pathways in yeast. He then held a position as post-doctoral fellow at the University of Vienna (Austria), where he investigated molecular mechanisms regulating subcellular localization of cAMP-dependent protein kinase. From Vienna, Dr. Griffioen went to the University of Leuven (Belgium) where he held a 2-year research position during which he studied the physiological significance of subcellular localisation of signalling pathways. Since 2002 he has held the position of Chief Scientific Officer at reMYND, a biotech spin-off of the University of Leuven. At reMYND he has set-up an innovative technology platform for pre-clinical development (from assay development to proof-of-concept in animal models) of novel, disease-modifying therapeutics in the fields of Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases. Currently, a rich pipeline of promising programs in both disease areas is actively pursued. A first drug candidate is expected to enter the clinic in early 2010. Dr. Griffioen has been awarded several personal research grants, has published original research papers and reviews in peer-reviewed journals and is inventor on several patents. In 2004, reMYND was awarded most innovative start up company in Flanders.

Gene Johnson, PhD

Washington University

Russell Katz, MD

US Food and Drug Administration

Dr. Katz joined the FDA as a medical officer in 1983, where he is currently the Director of the Division of Neurology Products (previously called the Division of Neuropharmacological Drug Products). He has lectured extensively on various aspects of neurologic drug development as well as written numerous articles on the same issues. He received his BA in mathematics from Queens College in New York City and his medical degree from Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York City, and completed his residency in Neurology in 1982 at the Einstein affiliated hospitals in New York.

Patrick Little, PhD

Adolor Corporation

Dr. Little received his BS in psychology from the College of William and Mary in 1981 and his PhD in pharmacology and toxicology from the Medical College of Virginia in 1989. His doctoral research focused on the behavioral and neurochemical effects of cannabinoids with the goal of trying to identify cannabinoid analogs that had distinct behavioral and neurochemical profiles. He was a postdoctoral fellow from 1989 – 1990 in the Psychiatry Department at Washington University Medical School and from 1990 – 1997 in the Pharmacology Department at Duke University Medical School. The focus of his postdoctoral research was studying the effects of a number of drugs of abuse on endocrine function. He joined the Pharmacology Department at Adolor Corporation in 1997 as part of the in vivo Pharmacology group and now serves as Principal Research Investigator.

Kenneth Marek, MD

Institute for Neurodegenerative Disorders

Kenneth L. Marek graduated from Princeton University with a degree in biochemistry, and received his MD from Yale University. He was trained in internal medicine and neurology at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine and is board certified in both of these specialties. He received further training as a post-doctoral fellow in neurochemistry at the Institute of Neurology, Queens Square, London. He was a faculty member at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine and then at Yale University School of Medicine before starting the Institute for Neurodegenerative Disorders. Marek has been a recipient of the National Parkinson's Foundation Richard E. Heikkala Research Scholar Award. His major research interests include identification of biomarkers for early detection, assessment of disease progression and development of new treatments for Parkinson's disease and related neurodegenerative disorders, including Huntington's disease and dystonia. His specific interest has been in in vivo neuroreceptor imaging in Parkinson's disease and related disorders. He has authored numerous neurology and neuroscience publications on these topics. Marek is the principal investigator of several multi-center international studies investigating the use of imaging to assess the onset, progression, and effect of treatment in Parkinson's disease.

Kalpana Merchant, PhD

Eli Lilly and Company

Dr. Merchant received her doctorate in neuropharmacology from the University of Utah in 1989. Following a postdoctoral research fellowship at the University of Washington, she was appointed Assistant Professor of Psychiatry at the University of Washington. She was recruited to Lilly in 2003 from a position of Senior Research Advisor and Fellow at Pharmacia Corp., where she had contributed to CNS drug discovery efforts for 10 years. Dr. Merchant is an expert in translational approaches for the discovery and development of drugs for neuropsychiatric and neurodegenerative disorders. The Integrative Biology group under her leadership is accountable for target and biomarker discovery and validation as well as enabling reagent support for all discovery teams, translational medicine and toxicology. Her own current laboratory focus is on new target discovery and validation approaches for Parkinson’s disease. She is engaged in the wider scientific community via her service on the Scientific Advisory Board for Michael J Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research, NIH Study Sections, workshops and Advisory Panels as well as membership in several national and international professional societies.

R. Jeremy Nichols, PhD

The Parkinson’s Institute

R. Jeremy Nichols obtained a BS degree with honors from Austin Peay State University where he was involved in field biology studies. He then obtained a PhD. in the laboratory of Paula Traktman at the Medical College of Wisconsin. While there, he studied a novel family of protein kinases and found that they are required for meiotic cell division. He also studied proteins involved in the infectious cycle of the small pox vaccine agent-vaccinia virus. He pursued his interest in cellular signaling to the United Kingdom Medical Research Council Protein Phosphorylation Unit to unravel the role of LRRK2 in cells and how disease associated mutations cause Parkinson’s disease.

Gregory A. Petsko, PhD

Brandeis University

Greg Petsko is one of the world’s leading biochemists. For over 30 years he has used protein crystallography, molecular biology and genetics to probe the relationship between protein structure and function. Starting his college career as a major in classical literature, Prof. Petsko eventually completed a D. Phil. in Molecular Biophysics as a Rhodes Scholar at the University of Oxford, England, and a postdoc in biochemistry at the Sorbonne in Paris. Following a stint as a junior faculty member of the Department of Biochemistry at Wayne State University School of Medicine, he moved to MIT, becoming Professor of Chemistry in 1985. In 1990 he moved to Brandeis, where in 1995 he was named the third Director of the Rosenstiel Basic Medical Sciences Research Center, a position he held until 2008, when he stepped down to become Chair of the Department of Biochemistry. He is also Adjunct Professor of Neurology at Harvard Medical School and the Brigham & Women’s Hospital. In 2007 he was elected President of the American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, and in 2009 he became President-elect of the International Union of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, the largest federation of scientific societies in the world. He has been elected to the National Academy of Sciences, the Institute of Medicine, and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and is one of only a handful of foreigners ever elected honorary member of the Biochemical Society of Japan. For ten years he has written a widely quoted monthly column on science and society for the journal Genome Biology. His scientific interests remain grounded in questions of macromolecular structure and function, but for the last six years he and his scientific partner, Professor Dagmar Ringe, have largely focused their research on the prevention and treatment of neurodegenerative diseases.

David E. Vaillancourt, PhD

University of Illinois at Chicago

Dr. Vaillancourt earned his masters and PhD from Pennsylvania State University. He then completed a post-doctoral fellowship at the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC) in neurophysiology and neuroimaging. He has been supported by NIH at each level of his academic career. He directs a laboratory that studies health and pathological motor control using structural and functional brain imaging. He is currently an associate professor in kinesiology and nutrition at UIC. He holds secondary appointments in bioengineering, neurology, and the interdisciplinary training program in neuroscience at UIC.

Travel & Lodging

Our Location

The New York Academy of Sciences

7 World Trade Center
250 Greenwich Street, 40th floor
New York, NY 10007-2157

Click here for directions.

A small number of rooms have been blocked for Conference participants at:

Club Quarters, World Trade Center
140 Washington Street
New York, NY 10006
Phone: (212) 577-1133

To secure a room at the reduced group rate of $246 + tax, please email using the code MJF105 when making your booking. Alternatively, you can call 1-212-575-0006 and request a room using the same code.

Other hotels located near 7 WTC:

Embassy Suites Hotel


Millenium Hilton


Marriott Financial Center


Club Quarters, Wall Street


Eurostars Wall Street Hotel


Wall Street District Hotel


Wall Street Inn


Ritz-Carlton New York, Battery Park


Special Needs and Additional Information

For any additional information and for special needs, including child/family care resources available to conference attendees, please e-mail Sherryl Usmani or call Sherryl Usmani 212.298.8620.