Wednesday, July 09, 2014
Eugenia Brin knows first-hand the challenges of Parkinson’s disease. She is a Parkinson’s patient herself who was treated at the University of Maryland Parkinson’s Disease Center. That’s why she generously pledged $1.0 million this year to fund a new Parkinson’s Disease Genetics Research Study at the University of Maryland School of Medicine. The donation will support research conducted by Lisa Shulman, MD, The Eugenia Brin Professor in Parkinson’s Disease and Movement Disorders in the Department of Neurology.
"Parkinson’s has touched me and my family very personally," says Mrs. Brin. “I made this gift because progress in understanding the causes of Parkinson's through genetic research is very promising, and Dr. Shulman and the Movement Disorder Center have proven the quality of their research."
The research project will investigate genes that play a role in determining individual differences in Parkinson’s disease— why some people with Parkinson’s have more tremor than others and why some people experience a somewhat more rapid or slower disease progression.
“We now understand that genetics plays an important role in Parkinson’s disease,” explains Dr. Shulman. “The generosity of the Brin family will enable us to discover the connections between genes and disease profiles in our large patient database. In this way, our work will advance our understanding of the mechanism of Parkinson’s disease.”
Dr. Shulman is the first recipient of the Eugenia Brin Professorship in Parkinson’s Disease and Movement Disorders at the University of Maryland School of Medicine. The professorship, established in 2008, is the result of a generous gift from Eugenia Brin, Michael Brin, PhD, and their son, Google co-founder, Sergey Brin.
The Parkinson’s Disease and Movement Disorders Center is partnering with Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, Texas to conduct the genetic analyses. Dr. Shulman has assembled one of the most comprehensive data repositories for patients with Parkinson’s disease with data on over 1,500 patients with Parkinson’s disease from over 10,000 office visits. In an effort to answer many questions about the mechanism of Parkinson’s disease, this study will link analyses of patients’ genetic samples with ten years of longitudinal data in the database. “This gift will enable us to develop a genetics data library that we will use for years to come to answer our many scientific questions about Parkinson’s disease,” says Dr. Shulman.
Mrs. Brin adds, “I hope that good genetic information comes out of this study that helps delineate different forms of Parkinson's disease and give us more tools for combating the disease.”
For information about making a gift to support research, please contact the University of Maryland School of Medicine Office of Development at 410-706-8503.