Hot Topics
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The following abstracts have been selected for Hot Topics presentations. Authors of these selected abstracts will present to the broader audience each morning, just before the opening plenary session. 

Press Release: The 4th World Parkinson Congress Announces Its 12 Hot Topics in Research 

Presenter Schedule


Wednesday, September 21

Hot Topics Panel (8-9AM)
Moderator: A. Jon Stoessl (Canada)

Influenza vaccine or Oseltamivir (Tamiflu®) can protect against microglial activation and a subsequent increase in oxidative stress susceptibility of dopaminergic neurons in the substantia nigra following infection with the non-neurotropic H1N1 influenza virus.
Author: Richard Smeyne (USA)

Neuroinflammation In Prediagnostic Parkinson Disease: A Multitracer PET Study of Idiopathic REM Sleep Behaviour Disorder Patients
Author: Morten Gersel Stokholm (Denmark)

Moving Through Glass: Exploring augmented reality technology for people with Parkinson's
Author: David Leventhal (USA)

Neuroprotective potential of transcription factors Lmx1a and Lmx1b in mouse models of Parkinson's disease
Author: Hélène Doucet-Beaupré (Canada)

Thursday, September 22

Hot Topics Panel (8-9AM)
Moderator: Serge Przedborski (USA)

Large-scale Exploratory Analysis of Genetic Risk Factors for Cognitive Impairment in Parkinson’s Disease
Ignacio Mata (USA)

Investigation of exercise vs. repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation induced dopamine release: [11C]Raclopride PET study
Author: Matthew Sacheli (Canada)

Diffuse Brain Injury in Swine causes Plasmalemmal Dysruption and α-Synuclein Over-expression in the Substantia Nigra
Author: Carolyn Keating (USA)

Can Living Micro-Tissue Engineered Axonal Tracts Reconstruct the Nigrostriatal Pathway in PD?
Author: John Duda (USA)


Friday, September 23

Hot Topics Panel (8-9AM)
Moderator: Marie-Francoise Chesselet 

Understanding the Pathogenesis of Parkinson's Disease Through Genetic Modifiers
Author: Marie Davis (USA)

Exosome-associated oligomeric alpha-synuclein transmission in vitro
Author: Marion Delenclos (USA)

Inhibition of glucosylceramide synthase alleviates aberrations in synucleinopathy models: Link to GBA-related Parkinson's disease
Author: S. Pablo Sardi (USA) 

How are we going to tell the children? An overview and review of the Children's literature about Parkinson's disease.
Author: Adele Hensley (USA) 

About the Presenters


Marie Davis, MD, PhD
Acting Instructor, Department of Neurology, University of Washington, Seattle, Wash.

Marie Davis (USA): is currently Acting Instructor at the University of Washington Department of Neurology in Seattle, Washington.  She received a M.D. and Ph.D. in Developmental Genetics at New York University, where she completed her doctorate work with Dr. Ruth Lehmann (2008). She completed Internal Medicine Internship (2009) and Neurology Residency (2012) at the University of Washington, and Movement Disorder Fellowship (2015) at the VA Puget Sound PADRECC.  She is a movement disorder physician at the University of Washington and the VA Puget Sound, with a special interest in genetic movement disorders such as familial parkinsonism and dystonias, Huntington’s disease, spinocerebellar ataxias, and hereditary spastic paraplegias. She is also a basic science and translational researcher, investigating the cause of Parkinson’s disease through a genetic fruit fly model based on glucocerebrosidase deficiency in her post-doctoral work with Dr. Leo Pallanck, and investigating the genetic factors influencing Parkinson’s disease through collaboration with Dr. Cyrus Zabetian.  Her research has been supported by the Veteran Affairs Administration and the National Institutes of Health.


Marion Delenclos, PhD
Instructor, Neuroscience, Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville, Fla.

Dr. Marion Delenclos
is an instructor in neuroscience at the Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville, Florida. She obtained her BSc and MSc degree in physiology and cellular biology at Strasbourg University (France) before relocating to Denmark to pursue her graduate studies. During her PhD at Aarhus University, her research focused on characterizing non-motor features and especially depression in animal models of Parkinson’s disease (PD) in collaboration with the laboratory of Marina Romero-Ramos. Delenclos’ strong interest in pre-clinical models of PD led her to join the laboratory of Pamela McLean at the Mayo Clinic in 2012 as a post-doctoral fellow. Her main focus is to investigate in vivo the role of alpha-synuclein oligomers in Parkinson’s disease pathogenesis. She recently developed a new rodent model with the unique ability to rapidly track alpha-synuclein oligomers using a bioluminescent protein complementation strategy. In parallel, she uses state-of-the-art cell-based assays to better understand the transfer of alpha-synuclein between cells, an important mechanism involved in the disease propagation.


Hélène Doucet-Beaupré
Post Doctoral Fellow, Laval University, Quebec, Canada


Hélène Doucet-Beaupré has focused her research as a postdoctoral fellow over the last four years in integrative neurosciences, which directed her toward the understanding of the neurodegenerative mechanisms associated with the development of Parkinson's disease. 

Trained as an evolutionary biologist, Doucet-Beaupré studied the mechanism and process underlying mitochondrial evolution to understand its adaptation from the molecular level to the level of whole organism function. Always trying to unravel the mechanisms behind the observations, Doucet-Beaupré says that her best ideas are born in this space.

Although still early in her academic career, Doucet-Beaupré has already received several prestigious scholarships and fellowships awarded to Canada's elite students. Looking to the future, Doucet-Beaupré plans to establish her own laboratory with independent research.

John Duda, MD
Associate Professor of Neurology at the Veteran's Administration Medical Center
Director, Parkinson’s Disease Research, Education & Clinical Center, Philadelphia Veterans Affairs Medical Center

John Duda is the Director of the Parkinson's Disease Research, Education and Clinical Center (PADRECC) of the Cpl. Michael J. Crescenz VA Medical Center and an Associate Professor of Neurology at the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania. For the past 15 years, he has worked with his colleagues in Philadelphia to provide state-of-the-art care for thousands of Veterans with PD and related disorders. In collaboration with the other 5 PADRECCs in the VA system, they have advanced care for all Veterans by helping to develop national guidelines for care, and by developing the National VA PD Consortium, which serves as a model for providing access to expert-level care across the nation’s largest integrated healthcare network. His research activities have included basic science investigations into the role of Lewy pathology in the pathophysiology of Parkinson’s disease and related disorders as well as investigations into the mechanisms involved in the development of chronic traumatic encephalopathy. He has also conducted clinical research in Parkinson’s disease with studies of deep brain stimulation therapy, transcranial magnetic stimulation, the benefits of a plant-based, whole food diet, and the use of olfaction as a biomarker of disease diagnosis and progression. He has received research grants from the Department of Veterans Affairs, NIH, the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson Research, the Samueli Foundation and the Pennsylvania State Department of Health. He is a founding and current member of the Scientific Advisory Board for the Lewy Body Dementia Association. He has served on the Editorial Boards of Movement Disorders and npj Parkinson’s Disease and has been a peer reviewer for over 30 journals. He has authored more than 100 scientific publications including articles in JAMA, Science, Neuron, The New England Journal of Medicine and Neurology.

Adele Hensley
Book Author; Person with Young Onset Parkinson’s Disease;
Expert On Writing About Parkinson’s For Children To Better Understand This Disease

Diagnosed with Parkinson's disease at the age of 38, Adele Hensley is the author of a new book of poetry, and three books written for children about different aspects of Parkinson's disease. The children's books are Monica, Mama, and the Ocotillo's Leaves, about the process of diagnosis, How Marty's Mom Became A Cyborg, about Deep Brain Stimulation (DBS) therapy, and Face It: Making Peace With Fear, about the anxiety associated with Parkinson's. The new book of poetry is just out in September 2016 and is called Twelve Years and Counting. It is about living with Parkinson's disease and the feelings that it causes.  Adele Hensley lives in Clinton, Mississippi, with her husband Frank who is a biology professor, her sixteen year-old son Clark, and their Labrador retriever, Gryff.


Carolyn Keating
PhD Candidate, Cullen Lab, Neuroscience Graduate Group, University of Pennsylvania


Carolyn Keating (USA) is a graduate student at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, PA and works in the laboratory of Dr. D. Kacy Cullen, where she is studying the connection between traumatic brain injury (TBI) and chronic neurodegeneration. More specifically, she is examining the relationship between repetitive TBI and the aggregation and cell-to-cell transmission of proteins such as alpha-synuclein.  Prior to joining the Neuroscience Graduate Group at Penn, Keating received her Bachelor of Arts in Neuroscience from Colgate University and spent two years at the National Institutes of Health as a post baccalaureate fellow. 

David Leventhal
Dance for PD®

David Leventhal is a
 former dancer with the Mark Morris Dance Group (MMDG). Leventhal is currently the program director and one of the founding teachers of MMDG’s Dance for PD® (Parkinson's Disease) program, which was originally conceived by Olie Westheimer. Begun in 2001 as a small monthly class for the Brooklyn Parkinson Group, the program has expanded to include weekly classes throughout New York City, training workshops for teachers in cities around the US and abroad, and a network of affiliated classes in more than 100 cities in 16 countries around the world. With a vision for increasing access to the joys and benefits of dance, he’s co-produced three volumes of a successful At Home DVD series for the program and has been instrumental in initiating and designing innovative projects involving live streaming and Moving Through Glass, a dance-based Google Glass App for people with Parkinson’s. Along with Westheimer, he is the co-recipient of the 2013 Alan Bonander Humanitarian Award from the Parkinson's Unity Walk. He has written about dance and Parkinson's for such publications as Dance Gazette and Room 217, and has a chapters about the program in two books: Multimodal Learning in Communities and Schools (Peter Lang) and Creating Dance: A Traveler's Guide (Hampton Press). He’s a passionate ambassador and spokesperson for the value of dance for people with Parkinson’s at such forums as the Lincoln Center Global Exchange and the Edinburgh International Culture Summit.

Ignacio F. Mata, PhD
Research Biologist, Veterans Affairs Puget Sound Health Care System, Seattle, Wash.; Acting Assistant Professor of Neurology at the University of Washington, Seattle, Wash.

Ignacio F. Mata, PhD is a Research Biologist at the Veterans Affairs Puget Sound Health Care System (Seattle, WA) and an Acting Assistant Professor of Neurology at the University of Washington (Seattle, WA). He has been working in the field of Parkinson's disease (PD) genetics for nearly 15 years. He is a co-investigator on Project 1 of the Pacific Northwest Udall Center (PANUC) seeking to identify genetic risk factors for cognitive impairment in PD. He has recently showed how APOE-ɛ4 APOE-ɛ4 was primarily associated with lower performance on semantic verbal fluency (animals) and word-list learning (40), similar to the cognitive profile in early AD, in comparison to variants in GBA which are associated with impairment in working memory/executive function and visuospatial abilities. He is also co-director of the Latin American Research Consortium on the Genetics of Parkinson’s Disease (LARGE-PD), a rapidly expanding collaboration among six institutions in five countries across South America aimed at generating a unique resource to study the genetics of PD in admixed and Latino populations. Just recently, he was awarded one of the first 3 Stanley Fahn Junior Faculty Awards by the Parkinson’s Disease Foundation to use the LARGE-PD cohort to perform the first large-scale genetic study in Latinos with PD to date. He is also involved in the Parkinson’s Genetic Research Study (PaGeR) helping analyze multi-generational PD families using Next Generation Sequencing, to identify novel PD genes. He has authored more than 55 peer-reviewed articles and often reviews for over 10 journals.

Matthew A. Sacheli, MSc., CSEP-CEP
University of British Columbia

Matthew Sacheli is a PhD Candidate at the University of British Columbia (UBC) in Vancouver, BC, Canada. He is under the supervision of Dr. A Jon Stoessl at the Pacific Parkinson’s Research Center (PPRC) and the Djavad Mowafaghian Centre for Brain Health. Prior to UBC, Matt completed a BSc. (Hons) at the University of Ottawa, obtained his certification in exercise physiology (CSEP-CEP) and completed his MSc. at Wilfrid Laurier University. The focus of Matt’s research is investigating the therapeutic mechanisms of exercise in Parkinson’s disease using PET and fMRI neuroimaging. 

S. Pablo Sardi, PharmD, PhD
R&D Director, Neuroscience, Sanofi

Dr. Pablo Sardi is currently a Director of Neuroscience at Sanofi Genzyme. Dr. Sardi holds an MS in Biochemistry and a PharmD from the University of Buenos Aires, Argentina; and a PhD in Pharmacology. Pablo currently leads a team studying the roles of genetic mutations in Parkinson’s pathology from cellular and animal models to identification and validation of therapeutic targets and biomarkers of disease. His team has made several original discoveries including the validation of modulation of various targets within the GBA pathway as disease-modifying approaches for Parkinson’s disease. 


Richard Jay Smeyne, PhD
Professor, Department of Neuroscience
Director, Jefferson Comprehensive Parkinson’s Center
Vickie & Jack Farber Institute for Neuroscience
Thomas Jefferson University

Richard Smeyne, Ph.D. currently holds the title of Professor in the Department of Neurosciences and Director of the Jefferson Comprehensive Parkinson’s Center at Thomas Jefferson University. Dr. Smeyne’s multidisciplinary research program focuses on the cell biology of Parkinson’s disease.

Smeyne earned his Bachelors of Science degree in Biology from St. Joseph’s University and his Ph.D. in Anatomy from Thomas Jefferson University (both in Philadelphia). Following his Ph.D., Smeyne did postdoctoral research at the Roche Institute of Molecular Biology in Nutley, NJ, where he studied with Jim Morgan and Tom Curran and generated the first transgenic mouse carrying an inducible gene (fos-lacZ).  Following his postdoctoral work, he started his own lab at the Bristol Myers Squibb Pharmaceutical Research Center where he became recognized for his analysis of mice carrying mutations of the neurotrophin receptors TrkA, TrkB and TrkC.  Smeyne was subsequently recruited to become the Head of the Neurogenetics Program in the Department of CNS Research at Hoffmann-LaRoche, where he lead a program examining the molecular and cellular mechanisms underlying neurodegeneration as well as those in obesity signaling. In 1996, Smeyne was recruited as a founding member of the Department of Developmental Neurobiology at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis TN. 

At St. Jude and now at Thomas Jefferson, Smeyne is continuing his long-standing interest in the cell biology of Parkinson’s disease, examining both environmental and genetic models of the disease.  Smeyne’s lab is recognized for several major breakthroughs in Parkinson’s disease. His lab was one of the first to experimentally demonstrate that exercise can be neuroprotective in models of Parkinson’s disease, which has led to the use of exercise as standard therapy in the treatment of Parkinson’s disease. Recently, Smeyne has identified an early molecular switch that underlies the neuroprotective influences of exercise.

In addition, Smeyne’s lab has become a leader in the field of neuroimmunology, where he has shown that viruses can be a predisposing factor in the etiology of Parkinson’s disease.  Smeyne’s lab also examines mouse models of Parkinson's disease that result from known genetic mutations. In particular, the lab has been examining mice that carry mutations in the alpha-synuclein or LRRK2 genes to inquire how alterations in these genes may interact with other environmental stressors as modifiers of disease complexity.

Morten Gersel Stokholm, MD
Researcher, Department of Clinical Medicine, Aarhus University and the Department of Nuclear Medicine & PET-Centre, Aarhus University Hospital, Denmark

Morten Gersel Stokholm, MD has obtained his medical degree at Aarhus University, Denmark. During his medical studies he has worked at the Department of Neurology, Vejle Hospital, Denmark and he has been actively involved in research projects at the Department of Nuclear Medicine & PET-Centre and the Institute of Pathology, Aarhus University Hospital. Since February 2015 he has been employed as a PhD student at the Department of Clinical Medicine, Aarhus University and he carries out his clinical research at the Department of Nuclear Medicine & PET-Centre, Aarhus University Hospital.  His PhD project is funded by a grant from the Danish Council for Independent Research which was given to his main supervisor Professor Nicola Pavese.  Additionally, he was awarded a personal grant by the Aarhus University Research Foundation for the whole duration of his PhD.

The project is an international collaboration between researchers at Aarhus University and Hospital Clínic de Barcelona. By the use of Positron Emission Tomography (PET) scans they investigate the presence of neuroinflammation and changes in neurotransmitter systems in the brain of patients with idiopathic rapid-eye-movement sleep behaviour disorder, a condition that is now considered a prodromal state of neurodegenerative diseases such as Parkinson disease, dementia with Lewy bodies or multiple system atrophy. The main aim of the research is to elucidate pathological mechanisms involved in the early phases of development of these disorders and to identify possible therapeutic targets. 


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