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International funding for register-based research on neurodegenerative diseases

Researchers at the University of Eastern Finland School of Pharmacy have received an award of 100,000 dollars from The Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research for the first part of a translational research project aiming to identify pharmacological interventions that could potentially be repurposed to alleviate the symptoms of Parkinson’s disease. The project will use a systematic approach to identify medications that are associated with a lower risk of Parkinson’s disease in the nationwide FINPARK study consisting of 21,683 persons with a clinically confirmed diagnosis of Parkinson’s disease and their matched controls. In the second part, the most consistent findings will be verified in an animal model of Parkinson’s disease.  The project will provide promising candidates for clinical trials, where the efficacy of these drugs in delaying the symptoms of Parkinson’s disease can be fully evaluated.

The research is conducted at the School of Pharmacy in collaboration between Associate Professor Anna-Maija Tolppanen’s and Professor Markus Forsberg’s research groups.

The Michael J. Fox Foundation is dedicated to finding a cure for Parkinson’s disease through an aggressively funded research agenda. Since 2000, the foundation has invested over 800 million dollars in high-risk, high-reward research projects.

In addition, doctoral student Mai Vu from Tolppanen’s group received a one-year renewal for her grant from the Schlumberger Foundation Faculty for the Future program. Through her research she investigates the use and effectiveness of cardiovascular drugs in persons with Alzheimer’s disease in a nationwide study of persons with Alzheimer’s disease (the MEDALZ study).

The Schlumberger Foundation supports education, strengthens university faculties, and mitigates obstacles faced by women scientists. The program’s long-term goal is to generate conditions that result in more women pursuing academic careers in scientific disciplines, thereby reducing the gender gap in STEM. Faculty for the Future Fellows are expected to return to their home countries after completion of their studies to contribute to economic, social and technological advancement by
strengthening the STEM research faculties of their home institutions, and to pursue positions in the public sector where their newly acquired technical and scientific skills can help provide evidence-based support for STEM policy making. In so doing, they become powerful role models and help to inspire other girls and women to pursue scientific careers.

For further information, please contact:

Anna-Maija Tolppanen

Academy Research Fellow, Associate Professor (tenure track), School of Pharmacy, University of Eastern Finland

tel. +358 50 575 9530, anna-maija.tolppanen (a) uef.fi