The Michael J. Fox Foundation Announces Kenneth Marek, MD, Has Joined Staff as Scientific Advisor

Tuesday, February 27, 2018 General News
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-Role designed to build on Marek's track record of shaping research strategy to benefit patients faster

NEW YORK, Feb. 27, 2018 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson's Research (MJFF) announces

Kenneth Marek, MD, has joined the Foundation as Scientific Advisor. Marek is principal investigator of the Parkinson Associated Risk Syndrome (PARS) study and the Foundation-sponsored Parkinson's Progression Markers Initiative (PPMI). In 2017, Marek was the seventh recipient of the Robert A. Pritzker Prize for Leadership in Parkinson's Research. 

"Ken brings a wealth of vision, passion and scientific acumen to The Michael J. Fox Foundation. His research expertise in brain imaging and clinical research has been critical in our work for more than a decade, and we are fortunate for his involvement in key Foundation initiatives over the years," said Todd Sherer, PhD, chief executive officer of MJFF. "The expertise and experience he brings are tremendous assets to our mission to deliver breakthrough treatments faster to the millions living with Parkinson's disease."

As scientific advisor, Marek will provide more direct counsel to MJFF, working closely with the Foundation's Research team of on-staff PhDs, business-trained project managers and one MD on its clinical research portfolio, imaging portfolio and its industry engagement strategy, among other activities. 

Marek is currently president and senior scientist at the Institute for Neurodegenerative Disorders, which he co-founded in 2001. His major research interests include identification of biomarkers of Parkinson's disease and Alzheimer's disease and related neurodegenerative disorders. Biomarkers (objective measures of disease, such as cholesterol for heart disease) remain an unmet need in Parkinson's and Alzheimer's and are critical for early detection, assessment of disease progression and faster development of new treatments. Marek's specific interest has been in vivo imaging biomarkers, and he has authored more than 100 neurology and neuroscience publications on these topics.

Marek is a founding member of the scientific advisory board of The Michael J. Fox Foundation. He has served on the executive committee of the Parkinson's Study Group and in leadership roles in the Huntington Study group. An alumnus of Yale University and Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, Marek also was a co-founder of Molecular NeuroImaging, LLC (MNI), a company providing clinical neuroimaging research services, and currently continues in a leadership role in invicro LLC, which acquired MNI in 2016.

Marek will continue to serve as principal investigator of PPMI — the landmark biomarker clinical study sponsored by MJFF since 2010, now following more than 1,500 volunteers at 33 global sites with support from 21 pharmaceutical industry partners. Andrew Siderowf, MD, director of the Parkinson's Disease and Movement Disorders Center and chief of the Movement Disorders Division at the University of Pennsylvania, has been named co-principal investigator of PPMI, working with Marek to lead the study.

"The Michael J. Fox Foundation has been a dynamic and visionary leader in Parkinson's research since its inception," said Marek. "I look forward to building on my longstanding partnership with the Foundation and continuing to contribute to its efforts to improve understanding, establish more sensitive assessment tools and develop more effective treatments for people with Parkinson's and in those at risk for developing Parkinson's."

About The Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson's ResearchAs the world's largest nonprofit funder of Parkinson's research, The Michael J. Fox Foundation is dedicated to accelerating a cure for Parkinson's disease and improved therapies for those living with the condition today. The Foundation pursues its goals through an aggressively funded, highly targeted research program coupled with active global engagement of scientists, Parkinson's patients, business leaders, clinical trial participants, donors and volunteers. In addition to funding more than $750 million in research to date, the Foundation has fundamentally altered the trajectory of progress toward a cure. Operating at the hub of worldwide Parkinson's research, the Foundation forges groundbreaking collaborations with industry leaders, academic scientists and government research funders; increases the flow of participants into Parkinson's disease clinical trials with its online tool, Fox Trial Finder; promotes Parkinson's awareness through high-profile advocacy, events and outreach; and coordinates the grassroots involvement of thousands of Team Fox members around the world.

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SOURCE The Michael J. Fox Foundation

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