Dr. Michael Schlossmacher was recently awarded the Canada Research Chair in Parkinson Disease

January 1, 2007

On December 7, 2006, Dr. Michael Schlossmacher was awarded a prestigious Canada Research Chair in Parkinson Disease. Dr. Schlossmacher joined the Ottawa Hospital Research Institute as a Scientist in the Neuroscience Program in August 2006. He is also an Associate Professor at the University of Ottawa (Division of Neurology, cross-appointed to the Department of Cellular and Molecular Medicine), and a neurologist at The Ottawa Hospital.

The goal of Dr. Schlossmacher's work as a physician-scientist is to contribute to the improved care of patients with neurodegenerative diseases. In 1988, a Fulbright Commission scholarship enabled Dr. Schlossmacher to visit Harvard University and undergo scientific training in Alzheimer disease under Dr. Dennis Selkoe. In 1992, he discovered the constitutive generation and release of the amyloid beta-protein, a physiological event that became the cornerstone of the ‘amyloid hypothesis of Alzheimer disease’. After residency training in medicine in Vienna, Dr. Schlossmacher returned to Boston to become a neurologist. As of 2000, he focused his clinical practice and his research on Parkinson disease (at the Department of Neurology of Massachusetts General Hospital and at the Center for Neurologic Diseases at Brigham & Women's Hospital).

At the OHRI, Dr. Schlossmacher will be working closely with Dr. David Grimes, Dr. David Park, and other members of the Parkinson Research Consortium. Guided by clues provided by the genetics of Parkinson disease, his team is exploring the unresolved issues of pathogenesis, disease markers, and neuroprotection. From a diagnostic perspective, he examines alpha-synuclein quantification by ELISA in blood and cerebrospinal fluid as a biomarker candidate, as a simple and inexpensive laboratory-based diagnosis is not yet available. From a therapeutic perspective, one research goal is to decrease the levels of alpha-synuclein, which promotes intracellular aggregates and neuronal death. A second goal is to first understand and then increase the expression of the Parkin gene, which prevents the death of at-risk nerve cells. These efforts have been funded by the Michael J Fox Foundation, the National Institutes of Health, and industry awards, and will be moved from his former laboratory in Boston to Ottawa over the coming months.

For more information:
• Dr. Schlossmacher’s OHRI profile
• Dr. Schlossmacher’s Canada Research Chair profile
• Dr. Schlossmacher’s recently published review of the implications of Parkinson disease genetics
• Ottawa’s Parkinson Research Consortium