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The Next Generation of PD Researchers
Learn what is happening in the science area related to PD. Our West Michigan community has some of the greatest minds working on solving PD. Hear what they have to say and what is coming soon.

The Parkinson's Association of West Michigan is holding a series of three (3) VIRTUAL events in April 2021 to commemorate Parkinson's Awareness Month. Attendance is FREE. Advance registration is required. Contact our President, Kim Cousineau at pawmboard@gmail.com or 616-954-8077 for any questions. This event registration link is for the April 21 event only.

Please visit our website (www.parkinsonswm.org) for links to the other virtual webinars.

Apr 21, 2021 06:00 PM in Eastern Time (US and Canada)

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Rushna Ali, M.D.
Neurosurgeon @Spectrum Health
Dr. Rushna Ali is a fellowship-trained functional neurosurgeon with a clinical specialty interest in stereotactic and functional neurosurgery including DBS, epilepsy surgery, and advanced surgical treatments for chronic and cancer-related pain. She is a member of several national and international neurosurgical societies and geared towards educating the next generation of neurosurgeons. Her research interests include studying the association of genetic variations in patients with Parkinson’s Disease and their role in responsiveness to DBS. She is a passionate patient advocate and strongly believes in empowering patients with the knowledge they need to make the best decisions for their treatment plan.
Matthew Benskey, Ph.D.
Research Assistant Professor @Michigan State University
Matt Benskey is a Research Assistant Professor in the Department of Translational Neuroscience at Michigan State University. Dr. Benskey investigates the molecular neurobiology of Parkinson’s disease and Alzheimer’s disease, with a specific focus on the neuroinflammatory response to protein aggregation in the nervous system. Dr. Benskey’s research has been funded by the Parkinson’s Foundation and the National Institutes of Health. Outside of the lab Dr. Benskey has a wife and daughter, loves painting, playing the guitar, and all things art, nature and music. Dr. Benskey hopes that by providing a better understanding of what goes wrong in disease, we can develop targeted therapeutics to improve the quality of life of the millions affected by these devastating disorders.
Xi Chen, Ph.D.
Research Scientist @Van Andel Research Institute
Xi Chen is a Research Scientist at the Van Andel Research Institute. Her research focuses on the inherited form of Parkinson’s disease and how genetic mutations and faulty molecular interactions may transform healthy, functioning neurons into diseased ones and contribute to Parkinson’s disease. Dr. Chen’s research has been funded by the American Parkinson Disease Association and Parkinson’s Foundation. Outside the lab, she enjoys art, yoga, kickboxing, hiking, travelling, and reading. Most recently Dr. Chen was selected to be a Science Ambassador for the World Parkinson’s Congress. Dr. Chen is eager to pass along her knowledge and encouragement to others and hoping her skills and experience from a scientific perspective will intersect help to smash global barriers in terms of reducing the stigma and raising awareness of Parkinson’s disease.