NEW YORK (November 15, 2016) -- The Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson's Research (MJFF) announces that Susan Bressman, MD, chair of the Department of Neurology at Mount Sinai Beth Israel, and Laurie Ozelius, PhD, associate neuroscientist and associate professor of neurology at Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School, are recipients of the second annual Bachmann-Strauss Prize for Excellence in Dystonia Research. The researchers, who have collaborated for 30 years, were chosen for their work in dystonia genetics.
"Drs. Bressman and Ozelius have made invaluable contributions to the field of dystonia research, an under-funded movement disorder and an under-recognized symptom of Parkinson's disease," said Bonnie Strauss, who founded The Bachmann-Strauss Dystonia & Parkinson Foundation, which launched a collaborative research alliance with MJFF in 2015.
Michael J. Fox and MJFF senior vice president of research programs Brian Fiske, PhD, presented the prizes to Drs. Bressman and Ozelius at a ceremony in New York City on November 12, 2016. Learn more about the contributions of these researchers in a video on our website.
The Bachmann-Strauss Prize for Excellence in Dystonia Research acknowledges dystonia researchers for key scientific discoveries and incentivizes the next generation of investigators to continue making inroads toward cures.
Drs. Bressman and Ozelius's research has led to the identification of three primary or isolated dystonia genes, and they have built a repository of thousands of genes associated with dystonia. Their work also has yielded innovative imaging studies in families with these genetic associations.
"Dystonia is the third most common movement disorder and has significant impact on the lives of those diagnosed and their families," said Dr. Bressman. "Dr. Ozelius and I are honored to be recognized with the Bachmann-Strauss Prize and even more so to be able to add to our understanding of this condition and, hopefully, its treatment."
Dr. Ozelius said, "We look forward to continuing our research serving this patient population with the support of the Prize. The complexities of neurological conditions require much unraveling but also present many opportunities to intervene and stop the process."
The award is accompanied by an unrestricted research grant of $100,000 to support a joint research effort. Drs. Bressman and Ozelius plan to build upon their genetic findings to understand dystonia pathophysiology and inform the development of new therapeutics.
The Prize committee was chaired by Mitchell Brin, MD, senior vice president of global drug development and chief scientific officer for BOTOX® at Allergan, and included Bonnie Strauss and experts in neuroscience research.
Learn more about the Bachmann-Strauss Prize for Excellence in Dystonia Research and the contributions of its recipients on the MJFF website.
About the Bachmann-Strauss Prize for Excellence in Dystonia Research
The Bachmann-Strauss Prize for Excellence in Dystonia Research was established in September 2014 with a leadership commitment from the Bachmann-Strauss Dystonia and Parkinson Foundation (BSDPF). The alliance between MJFF and BSDPF builds on a 10-year working relationship between the foundations. This major dystonia research prize broadens public awareness and recognizes key scientific discoveries in dystonia. The Prize is awarded annually to a researcher who has made profound contributions to dystonia research and is accompanied by an unrestricted research grant of $100,000 to support further research in the awardee's laboratory.
About The Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson's Research
As the world's largest nonprofit funder of Parkinson's research, The Michael J. Fox Foundation is dedicated to accelerating a cure for Parkinson's disease and improved therapies for those living with the condition today. The Foundation pursues its goals through an aggressively funded, highly targeted research program coupled with active global engagement of scientists, Parkinson's patients, business leaders, clinical trial participants, donors and volunteers. In addition to funding more than $650 million in research to date, the Foundation has fundamentally altered the trajectory of progress toward a cure. Operating at the hub of worldwide Parkinson's research, the Foundation forges groundbreaking collaborations with industry leaders, academic scientists and government research funders; increases the flow of participants into Parkinson's disease clinical trials with its online tool, Fox Trial Finder; promotes Parkinson's awareness through high-profile advocacy, events and outreach; and coordinates the grassroots involvement of thousands of Team Fox members around the world.