The Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson's Research has awarded its 2022 Robert A. Pritzker Prize for Leadership in Parkinson’s Research to J. Timothy Greenamyre, the Love Family Professor of Neurology in Pitt’s School of Medicine. The annual $100,000 award recognizes researchers who make exceptional contributions to understanding Parkinson’s disease and who are outstanding mentors to the next generation of scientists.
Greenamyre’s trailblazing research focuses on the genetic and environmental factors key to understanding Parkinson’s disease. His work helped provide evidence that pesticides like rotenone and paraquat contribute to the disease, and his development of a rotenone model continues to have far-reaching impacts on the field, enabling the work of other researchers studying the causes and treatments of Parkinson’s.
Research on cell biological pathways also stands out among Greenamyre’s contributions, particularly the role of mitochondria in the disease. Mitochondria are the energy producers within cells, and evidence suggests that their function could go awry in Parkinson's.
“My relationship with my patients is what motivates me,” said Greenamyre, who is also the vice chair of neurology and director of the Pittsburgh Institute for Neurodegenerative Diseases at Pitt. “Working with these families over many years and seeing the impact of the disease drives my dedication to identify causal factors and biological contributors toward therapies and policies to stop Parkinson’s. To have those efforts recognized with this prize is an honor.”