The proposed conference project, centered on the annual clinical research symposium of the Parkinson Study Group (PSG) and associated annual meeting activities, will foster the education and training of early stage investigators to ensure that the highest quality translational and clinical research continues to be conducted toward improved therapy for Parkinson's and related neurological diseases. This project goal will be achieved through two specific aims (SAs). In SA #1, the PSG will present the "28th Annual Symposium on Etiology, Pathogenesis, and Treatment of Parkinson's Disease and Other Movement Disorders" in collaboration with the Huntington Study Group (HSG), Dystonia Study Group (DSG), Tourette Syndrome Study Group (TSSG), Cooperative Ataxia Group (CAG), and Tremor Research Group (TRG) on Friday, September 19, 2014 in St. Louis, Missouri. The peer-reviewed program includes both platform and poster presentations in a live format with audience participation. The symposium will consist of current issues in movement disorders with keynote talks on disease modification focusing on new therapies and peer-reviewed platform and poster presentations on movement disorders including Parkinson disease (PD), Huntington disease, Dystonia, Ataxia, and Tremor. Topics are designed to communicate recent research advances, including new pharmacological and non-pharmacological treatment options in the field of movement disorders thereby enhancing patient care. The gaps in clinical practice to address are the unmet needs pertaining to the translational and clinical research, along with the care and treatment of patients and families affected by movement disorders. SA #2 is designed to provide early-stage clinical investigators with movement disorders training and a multi-faceted practical orientation to PD clinical research. The selected junior investigators will participate i several novel and interactive, educational research activities in addition to the symposium, including a) direct exchange with experienced patient advocates of the Parkinson's Disease Foundation's PAIR (Parkinson's Advocates in Research) program over collaborative strategies to improve clinical research by incorporating patient perspectives;b) the PSG Mentoring Committee's junior investigator career development workshop;c) the investigator orientation meeting of the NINDS-supported STEADY-PD3 study, a 56-site randomized clinical trial of a candidate disease-modifying neurotherapeutic, offering a valuable introduction to the rationale and mechanics underlying clinical trial development. Junior investigators completing participation in the project will be substantially better prepared and motivated to pursue careers and studies in clinical neurology.
The training of early-stage clinician scientists is a critical investment needed to ensure high quality clinical trials and the therapeutic advances they will produce. Through participation in the research symposium and multi-faceted, patient-centered educational activities of the Parkinson Study Group annual meeting, junior clinical investigators will gain valuable insights and experience in the pursuit of clinical research for Parkinson's and related neurological disease.