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Family of Google Co-Founder Creates Professorship to Support Parkinson's Disease Research

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

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 Lisa Shulman, MD, is the first recipient of the Eugenia Brin Professorship in Parkinson’s Disease and Movement Disorders.
 

Generous Gift from Google Co-Founder and Family Creates Professorship

Lisa M. Shulman, MD, has been named 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 is the result of a generous $1.5 million gift from Eugenia Brin, Michael Brin, PhD, and their son, Google co-founder Sergey Brin. Dr. Shulman, a professor of neurology at the School of Medicine and a researcher in the University of Maryland Parkinson’s Disease and Movement Disorders Center, will be invested in her new position in a ceremony Tuesday, September 16, at the School of Medicine campus in Baltimore.

The Brins know first-hand the challenges Parkinson’s patients face. Mrs. Brin is a Parkinson’s patient herself, and for years she has been treated at the University of Maryland Parkinson’s Disease and Movement Disorders Center."Parkinson’s has touched me and my family very personally," says Mrs. Brin.

"By supporting research into new treatments and diagnostic tools, we hope to help other patients like me, and possibly even find a cure," Mrs. Brin continues. "I have seen the research and the clinical work that goes on in the Movement Disorders Center. I decided to endow this professorship to help the faculty there continue their extraordinary work."

The new endowed professorship will support Dr. Shulman’s studies at the University of Maryland Parkinson’s Disease and Movement Disorders Center. Dr. Shulman, also a neurologist at the University of Maryland Medical Center, uses data collection and analysis to examine how to maximize the quality of life Parkinson’s patients experience. As an endowment, the Brins’ gift will support such research at the School of Medicine in perpetuity. The original amount of the gift will be invested, and the return on that investment will go to support Parkinson’s research conducted by Dr. Shulman and, subsequently, other faculty members in this area of research.

"The Brins’ gift will support the groundbreaking discoveries at the University of Maryland Parkinson’s Disease and Movement Disorders Center long into the future, creating hope for patients like Mrs. Brin and their families. Academic medicine relies on the generosity of donors such as the Brins in order to make the scientific advances that can change and save lives," says E. Albert Reece, MD, PhD, MBA, Vice President for Medical Affairs, University of Maryland, and John Z. and Akiko K. Bowers Distinguished Professor and Dean, University of Maryland School of Medicine.
 
Dr. Shulman will use the funds to support the infrastructure and personnel required to maintain and grow the comprehensive database the Center has compiled, including information collected over the past five years on more than 1,000 Parkinson’s patients. "We hope to begin the collection of genetic samples from our patients," Dr. Shulman said. "The combination of large comprehensive datasets and exciting new methods of genetic analysis is one of the most powerful new avenues of medical discovery. We’re trying to learn how health care can promote adaptation to a chronic condition, and help our patients feel confident and in control."

The gift was a natural step for the Brins. Mrs. Brin, an analyst at the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, says she particularly respects Dr. Shulman as a fellow female scientist. The family feels loyalty toward the University of Maryland as well. Dr. Brin is a professor of mathematics at the University of Maryland, College Park, and both sons, Sergey and Sam, attended the University of Maryland, College Park. Sam Brin, 21, is a senior there now. "We have strong ties to the institution. That is one of the reasons we are making this gift," Mrs. Brin says.

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 Eugenia Brin's own struggles with Parkinson's disease led her and husband Michael to endow this professorship.
 
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 Dean Reece, Michael Brin and William "Brit" Kirwan, Chancellor of the University System of Maryland, catch up at the investiture ceremony for Dr. Shulman.
 




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 Dr. William Weiner, Chair of the Department of Neurology, spoke highly of Dr. Shulman's work and the potential that can be reached with this endowed professorship.
 


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 A sign welcoming guests to the investiture featured the same artwork that's on the medals presented to Dr. Shulman and the Brins acknowledging the endowed professorship.