Grand Challenges in Parkinson’s Disease is an annual scientific symposium that brings together scientists, clinicians, advocates and people with Parkinson’s to explore the latest innovative Parkinson’s disease research.

Since it was established in 2012, Grand Challenges has grown into a multi-faceted symposium that draws attendees from across the globe. Previous themes have explored the role of non-motor symptoms, genes and pathways, disease-modifying therapies, inflammation, clinical trials and drug development.

Programs from previous years
2020 Grand Challenges in Parkinson’s Disease
2019 Grand Challenges in Parkinson’s Disease
2018 Grand Challenges in Parkinson’s Disease
2017 Grand Challenges in Parkinson’s Disease
2016 Grand Challenges in Parkinson’s Disease
2015 Grand Challenges in Parkinson’s Disease

2021 Scientific Program Committee

Michael Henderson, Ph.D. (co-chair) – Van Andel Institute
Darren Moore, Ph.D. (co-chair)– Van Andel Institute
Roy N. Alcalay, M.D. – Columbia University
Warren Hirst, Ph.D. – Biogen
Penny Hallett, Ph.D. – Harvard Medical School
Elisa Greggio, Ph.D. – University of Padova, Italy
Dimitri Krainc, M.D., Ph.D. – Northwestern University
Soania Mathur, BSc, M.D., CCFP – Patient Advocate
Shalin Padmanabhan, Ph.D. – The Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research
Richard Wade-Martins, MA, DPhil – University of Oxford

Local Planning Committee
Kim Cousineau — Event coordinator and executive assistant, Van Andel Institute
Ashley Douglass — Senior administrative assistant I, Van Andel Institute
Kayla Habermehl — Science communications specialist III, Van Andel Institute

For more information, please contact Kim Cousineau at Kim.Cousineau@vai.org.

In 2014, VAI and U.K.-based research charity The Cure Parkinson’s Trust held the first Rallying to the Challenge meeting in conjunction with Grand Challenges in Parkinson’s Disease. Rallying to the Challenge drew more than 100 influential advocates, people with Parkinson’s, and caregivers to the Institute to discuss how people with Parkinson’s can improve the clinical trial process. Over two days of talks, discussions and working groups, Rallying attendees laid the foundation for the beginnings of a patient charter and comprehensive toolkit to improve patient involvement in trials and to ensure their voices are heard.

Van Andel Institute (VAI)
is committed to improving the health and enhancing the lives of current and future generations through cutting edge biomedical research and innovative educational offerings. Established in Grand Rapids, Michigan, in 1996 by the Van Andel family, VAI is now home to more than 400 scientists, educators and support staff, who work with a growing number of national and international collaborators to foster discovery. The Institute’s scientists study the origins of cancer, Parkinson’s and other diseases and translate their findings into breakthrough prevention and treatment strategies. Our educators develop inquiry-based approaches for K-12 education to help students and teachers prepare the next generation of problem-solvers, while our Graduate School offers a rigorous, research-intensive Ph.D. program in molecular and cellular biology. Learn more at www.vai.org.