The Creation of the Udall Centers
In 1998, several US Congress members rallied in honor of a beloved former colleague, House of Representatives Congressman from Arizona, Morris K. Udall. Udall had been stricken with Parkinson's disease and died. His fellow Congressmen wanted to create a bill to fund laboratory studies to find a cure for this devastating condition.
As the appeal passed, the National Institute of Health handpicked three sites around the country where the Parkinson's research would begin. The selection of Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine as one of those sites underscored the promise of studies already underway here by a small group of neuroscientists.
Since then, as national awareness of Parkinson’s disease has increased, the Johns Hopkins Morris K. Udall Parkinson's Disease Research Center of Excellence has led the world in explaining fundamental aspects of this neurodegenerative disease.
The true strength of this unusual research center lies in the caliber of its scientists and clinicians. Collaborating here are some of the best and brightest minds in the world, all working to defeat Parkinson’s disease. Under the direction of Ted M. Dawson, MD, PhD, the Center has made many important discoveries that are leading to the development of new drugs, some of which may be used in the future to treat and even cure Parkinson’s disease. The Center uses animal and cellular models of Parkinson’s disease to develop innovative therapies, which have led to several human trials of drugs for Parkinson’s disease and other neurodegenerative diseases.
Thanks to its location at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, the Center has the institutional machinery in place to run conclusive studies. Its scientists also study mechanisms of neuroprotection, regeneration and repair, including stem cell research.
The Center investigators are leaders in their fields. Many are recognized world-wide for their expertise in such fields as neuronal injury, stem cells, protein interactions, neuropathology and the development of animal models of human neurodegenerative diseases.