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A Gift in Support of
Parkinson’s Disease Research

By Jennifer M. Bonck

 

After reading the article, Robert Onderdunk, a board member of the Consolidated Anti-Aging Foundation, alerted the university of his interest in the research on Parkinson’s disease and sought more information. Onderdunk stated he wanted to take this information to the foundation’s next board meeting. He felt confident that his organization would want to support the promising research.

 

Jan. 10, 2003 (Lexington, Ky.) -- A famous English dramatist once said, “The pen is mightier than the sword.” The written word is indeed a powerful form of communication. A recent article in Business Week magazine inspired a gift in support of research at the University of Kentucky Morris K. Udall Parkinson’s Disease Research Center of Excellence.

The article features the university’s research involving an investigational treatment for Parkinson's disease that may directly influence the degenerative disease process rather than just improve the symptoms. Greg Gerhardt, Ph.D., professor of anatomy, neurobiology and neurology, UK College of Medicine; director of the Morris K. Udall Parkinson's Disease Research Center of Excellence, and director of the Center for Sensor Technology, discusses the surgically implantable, programmable pump - developed by Medtronic Inc. and pre-clinically tested at UK - that delivers a growth factor directly to the brain.

After reading the article, Robert Onderdunk, a board member of the Consolidated Anti-Aging Foundation, alerted the university of his interest in the research on Parkinson’s disease and sought more information. Onderdunk stated he wanted to take this information to the foundation’s next board meeting. He felt confident that his organization would want to support the promising research.

Onderdunk was correct. After his presentation, foundation trustees Robin and Cheryl Ross of Deerfield, Ill., sent a $55,000 check to Gerhardt to use for research at the center.

Gerhardt is excited about the future of the project and is grateful and impressed with Onderdunk’s initiative. “Now the Consolidated Anti-Aging Foundation is part of our research mission,” he said.

In addition to Gerhardt, the research team is composed of: Don Gash, Ph.D., Alumni Chair in Anatomy and Neurobiology and professor of anatomy and neurobiology, UK College of Medicine; Byron Young, M.D., professor of surgery, and chief, division of neurosurgery, UK College of Medicine; and principal investigator John Slevin, M.D., professor of neurology and pharmacology, UK College of Medicine, and director of the Movement Disorders Clinic at UK.


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