A mark of excellence in Parkinson's disease research

The University of Minnesota has been named a Udall Center of Excellence for Parkinson's Disease Research. The honor, which comes with $9.07 million in National Institutes of Health grant funding over five years, charges a U team with defining changes in brain circuitry that cause Parkinson’s and using that information to improve deep brain stimulation and develop new treatments for the disease. 

“At the University of Minnesota, we have a world-class, multidisciplinary team to treat patients with Parkinson’s disease,” says Jerrold Vitek, M.D., Ph.D., head of the Medical School’s Department of Neurology, who will lead the effort. “And because of our significant experience and expertise, we are able to take on this complex and often debilitating movement disorder with a goal of improving patients’ lives.”

The University will use the grant to: 

  • Study changes in brain circuitry that affect people who have Parkinson’s disease using brain imaging and intraoperative techniques that Vitek pioneered; 
  • Develop new approaches for stimulating the pallidum, a region of the brain that’s important for controlling voluntary movement; and
  • Explore the effects of stimulation on brain circuitry that mediates movement problems associated with Parkinson’s.

The University of Minnesota shares the elite Udall Center status with Harvard University, Johns Hopkins University, and six other institutions.  

Published on October 24, 2016

Web extra

Watch a video about how the University of Minnesota is a national front-runner in Parkinson's research.