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Saturday, April 8, 2017

World-renowned Parkinson's researcher speaks at UTSA on slowing disease progression April 10

April 7, 2017

D. James Surmeier is the director of Northwestern University's Parkinson's Disease research center.

The UTSA Neurosciences Institute will host a distinguished public lecture, "A Strategy for Slowing the Progression of Parkinson's Disease," by D. James Surmeier, director of Northwestern University's Morris K. Udall Center for Excellence in Parkinson's Disease Research, at 5:30 p.m. on Monday, April 10, in the H-E-B University Center Ballroom (1.104) on the UTSA Main Campus. A half-hour reception will precede the lecture. Both are free and open to the public.
Parkinson's Disease is the second most common neurodegenerative disorder in the U.S. It affects up to one million people in the country, and thousands of new cases are diagnosed each year. At present, there are no proven strategies for preventing or slowing its progression.
Surmeier is a researcher of the mechanisms underlying Parkinson's Disease and schizophrenia. His lecture will explore a new treatment strategy on the horizon—outlining the rational for a large phase 3 clinical neuroprotection trial for early stage Parkinson's Disease patients sponsored by the National Institutes of Health.
The drug therapy trial—which uses the calcium channel blocker Isradipine—is based on the core idea that some neurons in the brain act as "look-outs," watching for events that can help or hurt patients, and that this constant vigilance causes them to wear out as humans age. The goal of the new therapy is to remodel the neurons in a way that allows them to rest without threatening their ability to do their job.
Surmeier is the Nathan Smith Davis Professor and Chair of Physiology at the Feinberg School of Medicine at Northwestern University. Born in Glendale, Calif., he is a graduate of the University of Washington, where he received his doctorate degree in physiology-psychology in 1983. He was awarded his Master of Science in mathematics from the University of Oregon in 1976, and his Bachelor of Science degrees in mathematics and psychology from the University of Idaho in 1975. He received post-graduate training at the Marine Biomedical Institute and the Department of Anatomy at the University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston and later with the Department of Anatomy and Neurobiology at the University of Tennessee. As director of the Morris K. Udall Center for Excellence in Parkinson's Disease Research, he oversees one of nine elite centers funded by the National Institutes of Health focusing on causes and cures for Parkinson's Disease.
Surmeier is a member of the Center for Rare and Neurological Diseases, the Cognitive Neurology and Alzheimer's Disease Center, the Northwestern University Clinical and Translational Sciences Institute and the Northwestern University Institute of Neuroscience. He is a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and has received countless academic honors for his decades of scientific research and accomplishments, including the Javits Neuroscience Investigator Award from the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke.
Each year, the UTSA Neurosciences Institute's Distinguished Public Lecture series brings an internationally recognized neuroscientist to UTSA to engage and educate a wide and varied audience from across the San Antonio region to discuss current research findings on neuroscience topics that offer a fundamental understanding of the human experience.
The UTSA Neurosciences Institute is a top-tier multidisciplinary research organization for integrated brain studies. The institute's mission is to foster a collaborative community of scientists committed to studying the biological basis of human experience and behavior, and the origin and treatment of nervous system diseases. It is one of five centers—which includes the San Antonio Cellular Therapeutics Institute, the South Texas Center for Emerging Infectious Diseases, the Center for Innovative Drug Discovery and the Institute for Health Disparities Research—across UTSA conducting groundbreaking brain health research.
Parking for the lecture is available in the Ximenes Ave. Garage at a rate of $2 per hour. Click here to see a UTSA Main Campus map.
UTSA is ranked among the top 400 universities in the world and among the top 100 in the nation, according to Times Higher Education.

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