The Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research (MJFF) announces a new training program to grow the global base of researchers studying the movement disorder dystonia.

The Bachmann-Strauss Fellowship in Dystonia Research will support specialized training for a next generation of dystonia researchers elucidating the causes of and contributors to dystonia, a common movement disorder and a symptom of Parkinson’s disease (PD). Such insights could accelerate the development of novel approaches to prevent and alleviate this condition.

Thanks to a lead gift from MJFF Board member Bonnie Strauss and her husband Tom Strauss, the Fellowship awarded grants to both the University of Lübeck in Germany and Yale University in Connecticut to support this training.

“The remarkable scientists chosen as the first fellows of the Bachmann-Strauss Fellowship in Dystonia Research represent the future of research in dystonia and movement disorders, and I am exceptionally proud to be supporting this initiative, which will impact patients today and those living with the disease tomorrow. With The Michael J. Fox Foundation’s leadership, this program is set to make astonishing scientific achievements in the field of dystonia.”

— Bonnie Strauss, Founder of the Bachmann-Strauss Dystonia and Parkinson Foundation

“Bonnie and Tom Strauss have long shown their unwavering support and dedication to people living with dystonia and Parkinson’s, both through their personal generosity and their partnership with MJFF. This fellowship program has the ability to benefit not only people and families living with dystonia, but also the millions living with Parkinson’s and other movement disorders. We need the brightest minds in research to help move scientific breakthroughs forward from the lab to the clinic.”

— Deborah W. Brooks, MJFF Co-Founder and CEO

Pilot Program

A review committee of MJFF staff and external scientific advisors selected two centers from a highly competitive group of applicants to host the inaugural Bachmann-Strauss Fellowships in Dystonia Research. It is the Foundation’s hope that this pilot program will seed interest from other trainees in this important area of study as well as connect more families living with dystonia to available resources and breed optimism on the pace of research toward cures.

The two centers selected and matched fellows; one began her fellowship in 2021, and one will start in 2022:

  • 2021: Lara Mariah Lange, MD; University of Lübeck, Germany
    Fellowship Mentor: Christine Klein, MD
  • 2022: Els Kuiper, MSc; Yale University, Connecticut
    Fellowship Mentor: Christian Schlieker, PhD

[Source(s): The Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research, PR Newswire]