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Edmond J. Safra Foundation to fund three new positions in Parkinson's research

Posted on 29/07/2019
Marios Safra lecture

A £980,000 gift from the Edmond J. Safra Foundation will fund the creation of three new posts for early career research professionals in neurodegenerative disorders at King’s College London.

Under the guidance of Professor Marios Politis, the Lily Safra Professor of Neurology & Neuroimaging at the Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology and Neuroscience (IoPPN), the new positions will connect three research programmes together, creating a unique opportunity to open further avenues of research on Parkinson’s disease.

The objective is to better coordinate the data and information from current studies looking into the causes and cure for Parkinson’s disease. This should accelerate ongoing research for Parkinson’s, which afflicts an estimated 10 million people with long-term nervous system degeneration.

The three research programmes will study the molecular pathology and neuronal networks of a genetic variant of Parkinson’s; interrogate the role of the glymphatic system in neurodegeneration; and investigate the roles of mitochondria, proteins and synapses in neurodegeneration (which is part of a joint pharmaceutical/academic grant).

The three research professionals will link findings from the three projects, identifying research questions and working collaboratively with the Neurodegeneration Imaging Group (http://nig-politis.com). In addition, the postholders will have the opportunity to combine knowledge and data-sharing, improve and develop research methods, provide strategic and logistical support for data collection and patient recruitment, and will have the opportunity to attract additional research funding.

As well as working alongside Professor Politis’ group, the new Clinical Research Fellow, Methodologies Senior Research Associate, and Research Manager will benefit from the nearly £12m worth of funding for Parkinson’s disease research programmes at King’s. The creation of these posts aligns with our commitment to nurture young talent and provide excellent opportunities to early career researchers.

This gift comes at a pivotal point in research into Parkinson’s and other neurodegenerative diseases at King’s. In June, research from Professor Politis’ group uncovered the earliest signs of Parkinson’s disease in the brain, many years before patients show any symptoms. This study enhances the IoPPN’s premier status as a world leader in research, which is complemented by our partnership with King’s Health Partners. With one of the largest neurological centres in the UK, serving around four million people, we are best placed to solve the world’s most challenging medical problems. 

Mrs. Lily Safra said: ‘The extraordinary researchers at King’s College London, notably Prof. Politis and his remarkable group, represent hope for all of us, and particularly for those whose families have been touched by diseases like Parkinson’s. The Edmond J. Safra Foundation is privileged to provide this further support for their work.’

Professor Politis, Lily Safra Professor of Neurology & Neuroimaging, said of this gift:

These new early career research posts will provide King’s College London with a unique opportunity to attract global talent and help develop the new generation of leaders in the field of Parkinson’s research. King’s and the Neurodegeneration Imaging Group are currently at the forefront of answering translational questions aiming to help Parkinson’s sufferers and deliver better treatments. I am looking forward to welcoming the new researchers to join our efforts.’

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