Skip to main content
Funded Studies

Ian Irwin, PhD

Director of Translational Drug Development at The Parkinson's Institute and Clinical Center

Location: Sunnyvale, CA United States

Ian Irwin is a scientist with over 25 years of experience in Parkinson’s research, drug discovery and drug development. As head of the Drug Assay Lab at Stanford University (1978-1983), he was the chemist on the team who originally identified MPTP as the agent responsible for the outbreak of Parkinsonism in heroin addicts in 1982. As the Director of Neurochemistry at the Parkinson’s Institute (1984-1998), his research with MPTP was key to establishing the MPTP-model of Parkinson’s disease in pre-clinical models. This pioneering work on MPTP was critical to understanding how exposure to this toxin re-created the signs and symptoms of PD and led to the development of one of the most widely used models to study PD. Key insights from this research have produced significant advances in the treatment of Parkinson’s disease including the use of MAO inhibitors (Selegiline, Azilect), dopamine agonists (Mirapax, Requip) and deep brain stimulation (DBS). As a Research leader at Centaur Pharmaceuticals (1999-2003) and Senior Director of metabolism at ARYx therapeutics (2003-2008), he has worked in the pharmaceutical industry on discovery, pre-clinical, and clinical development programs for Parkinson’s disease and other disorders, with five drugs moving from discovery through phase 2 clinical trials. He is currently the director of translational drug development at the Parkinson’s Institute. His research focuses on discovery and development of new treatments for Parkinson’s disease.

Associated Grants

  • The Effects of Memantine on Levodopa Induced Dyskinesias (LIDs) in MPTP-treated Pre-clinical Models


  • Pharmacokinetics and Cognitive Side Effects of the Antidyskinetic Drug Fenobam in MPTP-treated Pre-clinical Models


We use cookies to ensure that you get the best experience. By continuing to use this website, you indicate that you have read our Terms of Service and Privacy Policy.