Feinstein Institute, Thomas Hartman Foundation for Parkinson’s Research, Sign Affiliation Agreement

MANHASSET, NY – Monsignor Thomas Hartman knows better than anyone that the key to spreading messages is through partnership. And that is why his organization – the Thomas Hartman Foundation for Parkinson’s Research – has teamed up with The Feinstein Institute for Medical Research in a shared goal of understanding Parkinson’s disease.

The Feinstein Institute and the Hartman Foundation announced an affiliation agreement Thursday at a scientific symposium held at the Feinstein Institute in Manhasset, NY. The symposium celebrates some of the recent Hartman Foundation grant recipients, including David Eidelberg, MD, head of the Feinstein’s Susan and Leonard Feinstein Center for Neurosciences and a leading Parkinson’s researcher. Dr. Eidelberg is also chief scientific advisor to the Hartman Foundation. The foundation awards $1 million annually to Parkinson’s researchers in an effort to identify new insights into disease mechanisms and treatment. Father Tom, as he is known throughout the New York area, was diagnosed with the neurodegenerative disorder in 2001.

In addition, Andrew Feigin, MD, a scientist at the Feinstein Institute, received a grant from the foundation to study mechanisms of cognitive impairment in Parkinson’s disease. The Eidelberg laboratory has shown that the brains of Parkinson’s patients activate abnormal brain circuits – one that mediates the motor symptoms of Parkinson’s and another underlying cognitive impairment in more advanced patients.

On September 29, the Feinstein Institute was endowed by the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke as one of 11 Morris K. Udall Centers of Excellence in Parkinson’s Disease Research.

At Thursday’s Feinstein-Hartman symposium, four world-renowned scientists who have received Hartman Foundation funding will discuss some of the latest Parkinson’s research findings. “This meeting brings together the scientific leaders in the Parkinson’s field,” Dr. Eidelberg said. “Many outstanding Parkinson’s scientists have been recipients of support from the Hartman Foundation. The Feinstein Institute’s new alliance with the Hartman Foundation will seek to continue and grow its enthusiastic support of cutting edge research in the field.”

Dr. Eidelberg and his colleagues have spent decades using imaging to capture the diseased brain. The images have allowed them to identify discrete large-scale networks damaged in the disease process. By developing a non-invasive method to measure the activity of abnormal networks in brain images from living patients, Dr. Eidelberg’s approach has led to new insights into the natural history of Parkinson’s disease and its treatment.

At the symposium, State Senator Kemp Hannon, the ranking minority member of the State Senate Health Committee and former committee chairman, will speak about the importance of research. D. James Surmeier, PhD, of the Feinberg School of Medicine at Northwestern University, Clifford Saper, MD, PhD, of Harvard’s Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center and Serge Przedborski, MD, PhD, of Columbia University Medical Center, also shared their latest research.

“We share the same common goal to advance science for Parkinson’s Research,” said Kathy Scarpinella, Hartman Foundation president and John Danzi, the Foundation’s chairman. “It has been our mission since Father Tom founded the organization that we want to get the help to the people who need it the most.”

About The Feinstein Institute for Medical Research

Headquartered in Manhasset, NY, The Feinstein Institute for Medical Research is home to international scientific leaders in cancer, leukemia, lymphoma, Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease, psychiatric disorders, rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, sepsis, inflammatory bowel disease, diabetes, human genetics, neuroimmunology, and medicinal chemistry. Feinstein researchers are developing new drugs and drug targets, and producing results where science meets the patient, annually enrolling some 10,000 subjects into clinical research programs.