NEWYORK, NY — The Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research announced the launch of PD Online Research (pdonlineresearch.org), a resource-rich virtual workplace that MJFF hopes will become a vibrant Web-based community of PD researchers and funders collaborating and conversing across the globe. MJFF’s goal in developing the site is simple: quicker knowledge turns and therefore faster progress in developing transformative new therapies for people with Parkinson’s disease.
PD Online is a direct outgrowth of MJFF’s awareness that its own convening power — which brings together hundreds of research professionals at scores of in-person meetings every year — is in many ways as important to research progress as is its funding. “Extending the incredibly productive and efficient interactions we see at our meetings to the Web via a scientific social/professional network will provide a platform for thousands of research professionals across the world. It will let them engage daily on key hurdles and hot topics, hopefully accelerating progress and breakthroughs in PD drug development,” said Katie Hood, CEO of MJFF.
The site, which has been conceptualized and built by MJFF in collaboration with Massachusetts General Hospital and the Initiative in Innovative Computing at Harvard University, is a one-stop shop for both an overview of the state of Parkinson’s disease research as well as deep dives into top therapeutic targets and technical issues. The Foundation also hopes PDOR will help drive even better decision-making about PD research investment, helping public, nonprofit and private PD investors access a larger pool of experts than ever before, and in the process make smart and timely decisions about the research paths they choose to pursue.
Key content elements of PDOR include:
- PD Guide — a continuously updated Parkinson’s disease information model that seamlessly delivers all relevant information contained within the site based on users’ paths through the content
- PD Biblio — a compendium of PD papers in the scientific literature annotated with members’ commentary and debate on the authors’ assumptions, arguments, and outcomes
- Virtual Workspaces — members are free to form or join groups that serve as virtual collaboration hubs within a laboratory or institution, or beyond institutional borders with PD Online members around the world interested in a particular topic
- Comprehensive listings of funding opportunities and scientific events in PD research and related fields
PD Online Research content is offered as a free resource to the general public. But since MJFF’s primary focus is on building a technical hub for Parkinson’s research, only scientists, clinicians, allied healthcare professionals directly engaged in scientific research, and investment decision-makers interested in Parkinson’s disease in the public, nonprofit, and private sectors will have the ability to post directly to the site. Other interested parties, including people with Parkinson’s and their families and members of the general public, will have the ability to read content and discussions and are invited to submit ideas and questions about PD science and therapeutic development to the PD Online team, who will add this input to the PD Online mix where it can help drive discussion and debate forward.
“PD Online will be successful if we can develop a committed and active community all tied to the same goal of accelerating a cure,” said Gene Johnson, PhD, chief scientific advisor to MJFF. “But community members really need to believe in the value of the site not only for the greater good, but for their own work. We believe this is possible given the quality of the platform we’ve developed, and we’re excited to see how the community evolves and speeds progress going forward.”
To learn more, visit www.pdonlineresearch.org.