Aligning Science Across Parkinson's

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Our Collaborators

Thanks to our network of collaborators who help us promote open science.

Browse Research Outputs

Open Access Policy

By supporting an open access policy, we facilitate the rapid and free exchange of scientific ideas, ensuring that the research we fund can be leveraged for future discoveries.

Read the Policy

Our Mission

The Aligning Science Across Parkinson’s (ASAP) initiative is devoted to accelerating the pace of discovery and informing the path to a cure for Parkinson’s disease through collaboration, research-enabling resources, and data sharing.

Support Collaboration

Fund international multidisciplinary teams to encourage the exchange of ideas, foster innovation, and catalyze new experimental approaches.

Generate Resources

Build infrastructure to support the next generation of Parkinson’s research through genetic analysis efforts, training support, natural history studies, and other research tools.

Share Data

Implement open science policies to ensure that ASAP-funded research, outputs, and tools can be leveraged by the broader community.

Explore the Grantees

Learn about the work of the fourteen awarded teams.

Learn about the work of the fourteen awarded teams.

Learn about the work of the seven awarded teams.

Guiding Principles

ASAP is guided by the belief that research outcomes will be improved through the following principles:

Collaboration

Given the multifactorial nature of Parkinson’s disease, charting a new path will require multidisciplinary cooperation from investigators with and without a previous record of PD research.

Creativity

Philanthropic capital has the most impact in areas that are deemed unpopular, high-risk, or out-of-scope for government funding, requiring creative and thoughtful consideration of research.

Flexibility

As roadmap goals are implemented, we will be responsive to the evolving nature of research and adjust focus as deemed appropriate.

Transparency

To accelerate research, we’ll support the free flow of data and resources within our collaborative network and make findings available to the broader community.

Be a part of a global initiative to influence the culture of the way we do science.

Since the first identification of a causal genetic mutation in Parkinson’s disease (PD), genetic discoveries have expanded our understanding of PD heredity and broadened insights into spontaneous disease. The focus across these teams will be to unravel the biology underlying these genetic mutations.

Be a Part of Our Mission

We’re enabling science to go further, faster, and at a greater scale. Follow @ASAP_Research across our social media channels and join our mailing list for exciting updates as our work matures. 

Sign up for updates here.

results.
CRN_Logo_White_RGB

The ASAP Collaborative Research Network is an international, multidisciplinary, and multi-institutional network of 35 teams working to address research and knowledge gaps in the development and progression of PD.

“Parkinson’s Disease presents a challenging scientific problem as well as a major unmet medical need. The ASAP Initiative offers an opportunity for major innovative impact on both fronts in this important area.”

35 Teams Funded

$290M+ in Grant Funding Awarded Over Four Years

163 Investigators Total as Team Leaders

Uncovering the roots of Parkinson's disease, together

A global basic research initiative

Announcing the Newest Members of the CRN

The ASAP Collaborative Research Network (CRN) continues to expand, attracting new investigators across multiple disciplines, institutions, career stages, and geographies. Working together, the CRN addresses gaps in the development and progression of Parkinson’s disease. This year, we welcome 14 new research teams who will focus their work on circuitry and brain-body interactions.

Scientific Themes

Biology of PD-Associated Genetics

The effect of genetic alterations on disease biology

Neuro-Immune Interactions

The molecular and cellular contributions of the neuro-immune system

Circuitry and Brain-Body Interactions

The underlying neuronal circuit dynamics and interface with the periphery

Progression: A Cross-Cutting Theme

The role of heredity, neuro-immune factors, and circuit-level alterations on disease progression

What causes it?

The cause is unknown; however, there are a number of known risk factors. Men are 50 percent more likely than women to develop Parkinson’s disease; exposure to pesticides and other toxins increases risk. Head trauma and depression are also thought to increase a person’s chances of developing Parkinson’s disease. A number of recently discovered genetic risk variants are reported to increase a person’s risk as well – these may prove scientifically useful in identifying the underlying mechanisms of Parkinson’s disease.

How is it treated today?

Although there are some therapies that help with the symptoms of Parkinson’s disease, none can address the underlying cause of the disease. Levodopa is a drug that replaces dopamine, the main chemical produced by the neurons that Parkinson’s disease attacks. However, its effect tends to wear off after four to seven years and can cause unwanted side effects. Other drug treatments try to mimic the action of dopamine, protect it from breakdown or preserve motor function through other molecular pathways. And for some people with Parkinson’s disease, surgically implanted electrodes can relieve symptoms.

Can we develop more effective treatments?

Because we currently have little understanding of how Parkinson’s disease starts and progresses, the challenge of developing a disease-modifying drug is formidable. Researchers and clinicians lack a reliable diagnostic or biomarkers that can be used to determine whether a candidate drug affects disease progression at a cellular level.

ASAP is a coordinated research initiative to advance targeted basic research for Parkinson’s disease. Led by Nobel Laureate Dr. Randy Schekman and Dr. Ekemini Riley, ASAP is managed by the Coalition for Aligning Science and is working with The Michael J. Fox Foundation to implement its programs. The initiative was incubated at the Milken Institute Center for Strategic Philanthropy with support from the Sergey Brin Family Foundation.

Aligning Science Across Parkinson’s (ASAP) is fostering collaboration and resources to better understand the underlying causes of Parkinson’s disease. With scale, transparency, and open access data sharing, we believe we can accelerate the pace of discovery, and inform the path to a cure.

Latest News

Congratulations to the 2022 COSA Prize Recipients

ASAP’s second annual Celebration of Scientific Achievement (COSA) showcased the outstanding contributions of young investigators across our Collaborative Research Network (CRN). This year’s event attracted over 400 participants, with 140 abstracts being showcased from across the network.

Learn More

First ASAP In-Person Meeting

It was a reunion for some and a first union for many as members of ASAP’s Collaborative Research Network (CRN) gathered for their inaugural in-person meeting in early April.

Learn More

With Thanks to Our Collaborators

Meet ASAP’s 2020 Grantees

Meet the new members of ASAP’s Collaborative Research Network. Multidisciplinary investigators in 21 teams from 60 institutions across 11 countries, seek to accelerate targeted basic research and move us toward more meaningful advancements for Parkinson’s Disease. Get to know these talented scientists, their projects and how their outcomes will contribute to the field of PD.

GP2 Launches Training Platform

GP2’s new online learning platform makes development opportunities accessible and enables learners from around the world to explore courses on topics related to Parkinson’s disease genetics and a range of related areas. It is easy to register and available to everyone interested.

Increasing Hispanic Representation in Parkinson's and Genomic Research

Human genetics and epidemiological studies are valuable tools for understanding Parkinson’s disease, but research has found that known genetic factors identified in European populations play an insignificant role in the development of PD in Latinos. LARGE-PD, an ASAP partner and multicenter collaboration across Latin America, is working to increase Latino and Hispanic representation in this field of research. Read GP2’s latest blog post. 

In 2021 we announced the second round—and the third group—of the ASAP CRN grantees focused on circuitry and brain-body interactions, to complete our network.
We also kicked off the production phase for teams undertaking PD functional genomics and neuro-immune reactions and marked the beginning of the fully operational phase for our network.
All grantees have access to the ASAP Hub where they interact and work in partnership with others in the network. 

Current Scientific Advisory Board

Paola Arlotta, PhD
Biography

Paola Arlotta, PhD

Harvard University | USA
David Ginsburg, MD
Biography

David Ginsburg, MD

University of Michigan Medical School | USA
William J. Marks, Jr., MD, MS-HCM
Biography
Kelsey Martin, MD, PhD
Biography

Kelsey Martin, MD, PhD

Director, SFARI; Director, Simons Foundation Neuroscience Collaborations | USA
Bernardo Sabatini, MD, PhD
Biography

Bernardo Sabatini, MD, PhD

Harvard Medical School | USA
Carla Shatz, PhD
Biography

Carla Shatz, PhD

Stanford University | USA

We’re enabling science to go further, faster, and at a greater scale. Join us to receive updates.

Parkinson’s disease is the second most common neurodegenerative disease after Alzheimer’s.

For too long, people with Parkinson’s disease have suffered without a meaningful therapy to treat its underlying cause.

With rapid advances in areas like genomics, single-cell technologies, and data analytics, we’re at a tipping point to better understand this devastating disease – but we can’t do it alone.

ASAP builds on the significant strides made by the research community, funders, other experts and strategists around the world. With input across sectors and disciplines, we’ve developed a strategic roadmap to collectively tackle field-wide challenges together.

Guiding Principles

ASAP is guided by the belief that research outcomes will be improved through the following principles:

Collaboration

Given the multifactorial nature of Parkinson’s disease, charting a new path will require multidisciplinary cooperation from investigators with and without a previous record of PD research.

Creativity

Philanthropic capital has the most impact in areas that are deemed unpopular, high-risk, or out-of-scope for government funding, requiring creative and thoughtful consideration of research.

Flexibility

As roadmap goals are implemented, we will be responsive to the evolving nature of research and adjust focus as deemed appropriate.

Transparency

To accelerate research, we’ll support the free flow of data and resources within our collaborative network and make findings available to the broader community.

Building the Roadmap

For the last two years, we’ve engaged more than 100 multidisciplinary experts and strategists to inform our strategic roadmap and thoughtfully guide future investments in scientific discovery.

2017

Planning

This meeting brought the ASAP Planning Advisory Council together to kick off the two-year planning process. The Planning Council comprised both PD and non-PD experts from academia, industry, government, and the patient community to guide strategic roadmap development through a multi-disciplinary and multi-stakeholder lens. We focused on candidate scientific themes, as well as opportunities, challenges, and considerations for the path ahead.

Attendees

James Beck, Parkinson’s Foundation

Patrik Brundin, Van Andel Research Institute (VARI)

Marie-Francoise Chesselet, University of California, Los Angeles

Martin Citron, UCB Pharma

Ted Dawson, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine

Pietro De Camilli, Yale School of Medicine

David Dexter, Imperial College London

Thomas Gasser, German Center for Neurodegenerative Diseases

Magali Haas, Cohen Veterans Bioscience

Karl Kieburtz, University of Rochester Medical Center

Walter Koroshetz, National Institute of Neurological Disease and Stroke

Kelsey Martin, University of California, Los Angeles

Karoly Nikolich, Alkahest

C. Warren Olanow, Mount Sinai School of Medicine

Bernardo Sabatini, Harvard Medical School

Darryle Schoepp, Merck and Company

Todd Sherer, The Micheal J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research

Andrew Singleton, National Institute on Aging, NIH

Beth Stevens, Harvard Medical School

David Sulzer, Columbia University Medical Center

Development

This meeting convened the ASAP Planning Advisory Council to discuss a framework by which key knowledge gaps within the candidate scientific themes could be addressed. Strategically, it was recommended that we build on known areas (i.e., candidate scientific themes) by filling in the gaps left by public funding and uncover unknown areas through large, unbiased data collection and analysis.

Attendees

James Beck, Parkinson’s Foundation

Patrik Brundin, Van Andel Research Institute (VARI)

Marie-Francoise Chesselet, University of California, Los Angeles

Ted Dawson, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine

David Dexter, Imperial College London

Thomas Gasser, German Center for Neurodegnerative Diseases

Magali Haas, Cohen Veterans Bioscience

Karl Kieburtz, University of Rochester Medical Center

Walter Koroshetz, National Institute of Neurological Disease and Stroke

Robert Malenka, Stanford University School of Medicine

Kelsey Martin, University of California, Los Angeles

Karoly Nikolich, Alkahest

C. Warren Olanow, Mount Sinai School of Medicine

Bernardo Sabatini, Harvard Medical School

Randy Schekman, University Of California, Berkeley

Darryle Schoepp, Merck and Company

Todd Sherer, The Micheal J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research

Andrew Singleton, National Institute on Aging, NIH

David Sulzer, Columbia University Medical Center

Huda Zoghbi, Baylor College of Medicine

We hosted over 100 attendees during this reception held at the Society for Neuroscience Annual Meeting. A feature fireside chat between Melissa Stevens of the Milken Institute Center for Strategic Philanthropy, and George Pavlov of the Sergey Brin Family Foundation, publicly introduced the ASAP initiative to the broader neuroscience community, discussed intent and the role that philanthropy can play to propel discovery, and sought feedback from attendees.

2018

Primed with months of advance preparation in working groups, this international workshop brought together over 70 academic and industry investigators, public and private funders, as well as patients and advocates from across disciplines to design conceptual research programs that addressed a prioritized list of knowledge gaps within the selected scientific themes. A discussion of resource and infrastructure needs was a key component of each program.

Attendees

Matthew Ackerman, MBA

Dario Alessi, University of Dundee

James Beck, Parkinson’s Foundation

Elizabeth Bradshaw, Columbia University

Latese Briggs, Milken Institute Center For Stragetig Philanthropy

Katja Brose, Chan Zuckerberg Initiative (CZI)

Patrik Brundin, Van Andel Research Institute (VARI)

Edward Callaway, The Salk Institute

Paul Cannon, 23andMe, Inc.

Honglei Chen, Michigan State University

Joanne Chory, The Salk Institute

Martin Citron, UCB Pharma

Mark Cookson, National Inistitute on Aging (NIA)

Ted Dawson, John Hopkins University School of Medicine

Pietro De Camilli, Yale School of Medicine

Michel Desjardins, University of Montreal

Steve Finkbeiner, University of California San Francisco

Thomas Gasser, German Center of Neurodegenerative Diseases

Viviana Gardinaru, Caltech

Tim Greenamyre, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine

Magali Haas, Cohen Veterans Bioscience

Erika Holzbaur-Howland, University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine

Elaine Hsiao, University of California, Los Angeles

Anthony Hyman, Max Planck Institute of Molecular Cell Biology and Genetics

H. Shawn Je, Duke-National University of Singapore Medical School

Kirstie Keller, Milken Institute Center For Strategic Philanthropy

Johnathan Kipnis, University of Virginia Medical School

Jeffrey Kordower, Rush Medical College

Dimitri Krainc, Feinberg School of Medicine at Northwestern University

Anatol Kreitzer, University of California, San Francisco

Arnold Kriegstein, University of California, San Francisco

Thomas Kukar, Emory University School of Medicine

Jin Hyung Lee, Stanford University School of Medicine

Shane Liddlelow, New York University Neurosciences Institute

Byungkook Lim, University of California, San Diego

Robert Malenka, Stanford University School of Medicine

Kenneth Marek, Institute of Neurodegenerative Disorders

Kelsey Martin, University of California, Los Angeles

Sarkis Mazmanian, Caltech

Heidi McBride, McGill University

K. Kimberly McCleary, Center of the Milken Institute

Miratul Muqit, University of Dundee

Karoly Nikolich, Alkahest

Alastair Reith, GlaxoSmithKline Pharmaceuticals

Ekemini Riley, Milken Institute Center of Strategic Philanthropy

Randy Schekman, University of California, Berkeley

Clemens Scherzer, Harvard Medical School

John Siebyl, inviCRO, LLC.

Alessandro Sette, La Jolla Institute for Allergy and Immunology

Todd Sherer, The Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research

Andrew Singleton, National Insititute on Aging, NIH

Frank Soldner, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)

Benjamin Stecher, Tomorrow Edition Blog

Melissa Stevens, Milken Institute Center for Strategic Philanthropy

David Sulzer, Columbia University Medical Center

D. James Surmeier, Northwestern University

Margaret Sutherland, National Institute for Neurological Disease and Stroke (NINDS)

Caroline Tanner, University of California, San Francisco School of Medicine

Malú Tansey, Emory University School of Medicine

Daniel Wesson, University of Florida College of Medicine

Su-Chun Zhang, Duke-National University of Singapore Medical School

This forum sought to cultivate a learning community of peer funders and program leaders in neuroscience to explore ways that we can all work together to address this neurological disease. We discussed funding priorities and gleaned lessons learned to avoid unnecessary duplication of efforts.

Attendees

James Beck, Parkinson’s Foundation

Niranjan Bose, Gates Ventures

Patrick Brannelly, Rainwater Charitable Foundation

Latese Briggs, Milken Institute Center For Strategic Philanthropy

Katja Brose, Chan Zuckerberg Initiative (CZI)

Rosa Canet-Avilés, Foundation for the NIH

Valerie Conn, Science Philanthropy Alliance

Jonah Cool, Chan Zuckerberg Initiative

Rick Howitz, Allen Institute for Cell Science

Brett Holleman, Van Andel Research Institute

Ehud Isacoff, University of California, Berkeley

John Lehr, Parkinson’s Foundation

Karoly Nikolich, Alkahest

George Pavlov, Bayshore Global Management

Louis Reichardt, Simons Foundation for Autism Research Initiative (SFARI)

Ekemini Riley, Milken Institute Center For Strategic Philanthropy

Amy Rommel, Rainwater Charitable Foundation

Randy Schekman, University of California, Berkeley

Todd Sherer, The Micheal J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research

Thomas Snyder, Verily Life Sciences

Melissa Stevens, Milken Institute Center For Strategic Philanthropy

Margaret Sutherland, National Institute for Neurological Disease and Stroke (NINDS)

Jason Tung, Science Philanthropy Alliance

2019

Launch ASAP Initative