Shalini Padmanabhan, Ph.D.

Director of Research Programs
Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research

Shalini Padmanabhan is Director of Research Programs at the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research.  

She joined the Foundation in 2016 and leads the Foundation’s biology efforts in identifying and validating targets and pathways that play a role in PD pathogenesis and progression. She also leads the Foundation’s strategy on Parkin and PINK1, two genetic targets implicated in early-onset PD and manages the Foundation’s biomarker programs on LRRK2, Parkin, PINK1 and mitochondrial pathways. 

Shalini stays closely linked with the Parkinson’s research community to maintain a current view of the PD drug development landscape and ensure that MJFF research priorities reflect and best serve the ultimate needs of patients. This includes regularly meeting with academic and industry researchers at Foundation-hosted workshops and conferences as well as traveling to Parkinson’s/neuroscience congresses and symposia around the world. Prior to joining the Foundation, Shalini trained as a postdoctoral research scientist at Columbia University where she worked on validating novel targets to treat Parkinson’s disease using a gene therapy approach. She received her Ph.D. in Neuroscience from the Medical College of Georgia where she studied the regulation of the dopamine transporter in primary midbrain dopamine neurons. With several years of research experience, she has developed a strong understanding of the dopaminergic system in the healthy brain and its dysfunction in patients with Parkinson’s disease. 


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