Michael A. Schwarzschild, MD, PhD, is a neurologist at Massachusetts General Hospital and Julieanne Dorn Professor of Neurology at Harvard Medical School. Dr. Schwarzschild’s research investigates genetic and environmental factors linked to Parkinson’s disease and translates insights gained from laboratory models to clinical trials. His group discovered neuroprotective properties of adenosine A2A receptor blockers including caffeine in mouse models of Parkinson’s. His leadership of international academic-industry conferences on brain A2A receptors helped foster further development of A2A blockers, one of which received FDA approval in 2019 to treat Parkinson’s. Through cross-disciplinary collaboration, his team demonstrated that the antioxidant urate can serve as a predictor of Parkinson’s progression as well as risk, and that it confers protection in lab models. Based on these findings they pursued urate-elevating drug therapy strategy culminating in a major Phase III trial, which unfortunately found no evidence of disease modification in early Parkinson’s.
Since 2012 he has co-led the Parkinson Study Group (PSG), a network of North American Parkinson’s trialists dedicated to improving therapy for people with Parkinson’s.