NEW YORK (November 1, 2022) -- The Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson's Research (MJFF) has awarded the 2022 Robert A. Pritzker Prize for Leadership in Parkinson's Research to J. Timothy Greenamyre, MD, PhD, Professor and Vice-Chair of Neurology and Director of the Pittsburgh Institute for Neurodegenerative Diseases at the University of Pittsburgh. The prize recognizes researchers who make exceptional contributions to Parkinson's disease (PD) research and are committed to mentoring the next generation of Parkinson's scientists.
“Dr. Greenamyre stands out for his expansive research in Parkinson’s disease, especially on the intersection of genetics and environment. This science has and will continue to resonate through the field,” said MJFF’s Executive Vice President, Research Strategy Todd Sherer, PhD. “Beyond that, there's a broad network of people that he has mentored who are continuing to make significant impact in Parkinson's. He always treated that group as a family and empowered them to make meaningful progress in the field.”
Sherer, a mentee of Greenamyre’s who worked in his lab at Emory University before starting at The Michael J. Fox Foundation in 2004, is part of that family. He presented the prize to Greenamyre at the Foundation’s Research Roundtable event in New York City on October 29, 2022.
Greenamyre’s research trailblazed areas of science that are key to our understanding of genetic and environmental factors in Parkinson’s disease. For example, Greenamyre’s work helped specifically provide evidence that pesticides like rotenone and paraquat contribute to the disease. His work in developing a rotenone model continues to have far-reaching impacts on the field, enabling the work of other researchers studying causes and treatments of PD.
Research on cell biological pathways also stands out among his efforts, particularly the role of mitochondria in Parkinson's disease. Mitochondria are the energy producers within cells, and evidence — including from Greenamyre’s research — suggests that their function could go awry in Parkinson's.
Together, Greenamyre’s research informs preventative efforts to ban potential causes of PD, while also informing potential targets for PD treatments. After all, Greenamyre remains dedicated to the clinical impact of his work, balancing treating his own patients with conducting research.
The Robert A. Pritzker Prize for Leadership in Parkinson's Research, awarded annually by MJFF since 2011, was established by Karen Pritzker, daughter of Robert A. Pritzker, and her late husband, investor Michael Vlock. Their gift provides a $100,000 research grant to the Pritzker Prize winner each year, and Pritzker and Vlock have been generous donors to MJFF.
“The Robert A. Pritzker Prize for Leadership in Parkinson's Research has recognized, annually, some of the most amazing Parkinson's scientists around the world. To be among those who have been recognized is humbling,” said Greenamyre. “My relationship with my patients is what motivates me. Working with these families over many years and seeing the impact of the disease drives my dedication to identify causal factors and biological contributors toward therapies and policies to stop Parkinson’s. To have those efforts recognized with this prize is an honor.”
Watch the "Robert A. Pritzker Prize for Leadership in Parkinson's Research: Inspiring Hope for a World Free from Parkinson's" video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WcebhDnwP_o
About the Robert A. Pritzker Prize for Leadership in Parkinson's Research
The Robert A. Pritzker Prize for Leadership in Parkinson's Research is named in honor of the late Robert A. Pritzker, a renowned industrialist, entrepreneur and philanthropist. Pritzker was founder of The Marmon Group and president of Colson Associates, Inc., holding companies for a variety of manufacturing and medical businesses. Additionally, he was an early promoter of the field of medical engineering at his alma mater, the Illinois Institute of Technology (IIT) in Chicago, where he also played a key role in expanding the biomedical research community through his support of The Pritzker Institute for Biomedical Science and Engineering at IIT.
The MJFF Scientific Advisory Board serves as the jury panel. Selection criteria include the nominee's complete body of work in the PD field with an emphasis on its impact on accelerating drug development; field-wide impact of the nominee's work; dedication to patient-relevant science; and influence on and encouragement of the next generation of PD investigators. The award itself is designed by renowned artist and Parkinson's patient Tom Shannon.
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 $1.5 billion 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; creates a robust open-access data set and biosample library to speed scientific breakthroughs and treatment with its landmark clinical study, PPMI; 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. For more information, visit us at www.michaeljfox.org, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn.
The Michael J. Fox Foundation