NEW YORK (November 12, 2018) -- The Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson's Research (MJFF) announced David Eidelberg, MD, professor and head of the Feinstein Institute for Medical Research's Center for Neurosciences and professor of Molecular Medicine and Neurology at the Donald and Barbara Zucker School of Medicine at Hofstra/Northwell, as the recipient of the fourth annual Bachmann-Strauss Prize for Excellence in Dystonia Research. The prize honors dystonia researchers for key scientific discoveries and provides incentive for the next generation of investigators to continue forging paths toward cures. Michael J. Fox and Todd Sherer, PhD, MJFF CEO, presented the prize to Eidelberg at a Foundation event in New York City on November 10, 2018.
"Dr. Eidelberg has transformed our understanding of how abnormal brain networks are associated with different dystonia symptoms," said Bonnie Strauss, who in 1995 founded The Bachmann-Strauss Dystonia & Parkinson Foundation, which launched a collaborative research alliance with MJFF in 2015. "It is our privilege to honor him for his leadership and fundamental discoveries, which lay the groundwork for developing tailored therapies that hold the potential to improve the lives of those impacted by dystonia." Ms. Strauss, who currently sits on MJFF's Board of Directors, was diagnosed with dystonia in 1984.
Eidelberg was selected in recognition of his pioneering work in brain imaging that has revealed dysfunctional brain circuits in people with dystonia, a movement disorder characterized by painful, prolonged muscle contractions that result in abnormal movements and postures. Dystonia is both a movement disorder in its own right and a common symptom of Parkinson's disease. Eidelberg has served on MJFF's Scientific Advisory Board, helping to advance research into both diseases.
Using computer algorithms to analyze images of brain function, Eidelberg has found ways to precisely measure abnormalities associated with not only dystonia, but also Parkinson's and other brain diseases. With these techniques, he unraveled the influence of a genetic mutation on brain circuits involved in dystonia, leading to a better understanding of why some people with the mutation have dystonia and others do not, and why dystonia symptoms manifest in different parts of the body. Already, Eidelberg's research has led to new image-based methods to assess dystonia progression and response to treatment, and to help clinicians diagnose dystonia.
The Bachmann-Strauss Prize for Excellence in Dystonia Research is accompanied by a research grant of $100,000. Eidelberg will use these funds to support more detailed reconstructions of dystonia networks in the brain, as well as research comparing these networks in individual patients to understand why symptoms differ from one person to the next. In addition, Eidelberg will investigate techniques, including transcranial magnetic stimulation, to potentially correct the abnormal brain networks and alleviate dystonia.
"The Bachmann-Strauss Prize has great significance both on a personal level and to the field of movement disorder research," said Eidelberg. "This prestigious award will allow the field to accelerate forward and explore new ways to treat people with dystonia. I'm honored that our discoveries have been accepted by the community as a basis for going forward with new research."
Read 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 $800 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.
The Michael J. Fox Foundation