Journal of Parkinson’s Disease Awards 2022 Parkinson Prize

16 December 2022

Recipients are Thomas G. Beach, MD, PhD, FRCPC, Charles H. Adler, MD, PhD, FAAN, and Simon Stott, PhD, for their outstanding contributions to Parkinson’s disease research.

Amsterdam – The Journal of Parkinson’s Disease and its publisher IOS Press are proud to announce the two articles that have won the 2022 Parkinson Prize. The authors of these articles are being recognized for their outstanding contributions to the advancement of Parkinson’s disease (PD) research. Recipients of the award are co-authors Thomas G. Beach, MD, PhD, FRCPC, Banner Sun Health Research Institute, and Charles H. Adler, MD, PhD, FAAN, Mayo Clinic Arizona (basic research article), and Simon Stott, PhD, Cure Parkinson’s (clinical research article).

The award-winning papers are:

Beach, Thomas G.; Adler, Charles H.; Sue, Lucia, I; Shill, Holly A.; Driver-Dunckley, Erika; Mehta, Shyamal H.; Intorcia, Anthony J.; Glass, Michael J.; Walker, Jessica E.; Arce, Richard; Nelson, Courtney M.; Serrano, Geidy E. (2021) Vagus Nerve and Stomach Synucleinopathy in Parkinson's Disease, Incidental Lewy Body Disease, and Normal Elderly Subjects: Evidence Against the Body-First Hypothesis J Parkinsons Dis, 11, 1833-1843.

McFarthing, Kevin; Buff, Susan; Rafaloff, Gary; Dominey, Thea; Wyse, Richard K.; Stott, Simon R. W. (2020) Parkinson's Disease Drug Therapies in the Clinical Trial Pipeline: 2020 J Parkinsons Dis, 10, 757-774.

These papers were selected by members of the Journal of Parkinson’s Disease’s Editorial Board from among 392 articles published in the 2020 and 2021 volumes. Awardees will receive a commemorative trophy and a cash award of $1,000 (per article). The Parkinson Prize will continue as an annual award.

“On behalf of the entire Editorial Board, we wholeheartedly congratulate the authors of the winning papers. We are honored to have the opportunity to publish these important contributions to the field  in the Journal of Parkinson’s Disease,” state Editors-in-Chief Bastiaan Bloem, MD, PhD, FRCPE, and Lorraine Kalia, MD, PhD, FRCPC.


The study by Beach, Adler and their colleagues builds on findings from over the past 15 years on the systemic nature of PD. There is much debate on whether PD begins with alpha-synuclein spread from the CNS to the periphery or from the periphery to the CNS. The data presented provide very strong evidence that the majority of patients with PD likely have a CNS synucleinopathy at the onset with spread in a rostro-caudal fashion to the periphery. Most other research in this field has not used autopsy confirmed cases of PD and rarely has peripheral synuclein been found without CNS alpha-synuclein. This study should help move the field forward with greater emphasis placed on PD being, in many cases, a “brain-first” disorder. The question remains whether the “body-first” hypothesis remains viable alongside the now well grounded “brain-first” hypothesis; there is certainly supportive epidemiological and animal model evidence for the “body-first” hypothesis, but human autopsies have failed to find more than isolated cases where synucleinopathy is restricted to the periphery. 

“This work has only been possible through the skilled assistance of many vital individuals over the years, particularly our Pathology Technicians, headed by Mr. Anthony Intorcia, our Coordinator, Lucia Sue, and our Neuropathology Laboratory Director, Dr. Geidy Serrano,” commented Prof. Beach. Prof. Adler added, “It is an honor to receive this award and I would like to thank the many collaborators I have in the Arizona Study of Aging and Neurodegenerative Disorders as well as the support of the Michael J. Fox Foundation, Mayo Clinic, and Banner Health.”

The clinical article by Dr. Stott and colleagues is a recurring annual report, with patient researcher Kevin McFarthing as the lead author for the Journal of Parkinson’s Disease’s special section “Clinical Trial Highlights.” This report provides the Parkinson's community (patients, clinicians and researchers alike) with an overview of the drug development pipeline for new therapies for PD. It is among the most widely downloaded and read papers published by the journal. The team of authors, which includes people living with Parkinson's and care partners, hopes that this will stimulate further engagement and interest in the clinical trial process, resulting in greater patient involvement and faster future developments.

"My co-authors and I are extremely proud to have won the Parkinson Prize,” commented Dr. Stott, “and we would like to thank the editorial team at the Journal of Parkinson’s Disease for this honor. We are very pleased that the drug development pipeline report has garnered the attention that it has. It is a very exciting time for Parkinson’s research, and we look forward to producing future versions of the report as the pipeline develops.” 


Thomas G. Beach, MD, PhD, FRCPC, is Director of Neuroscience at Banner Sun Health Research Institute (BSHRI) in Sun City, Arizona. He was trained in neuroscience and neuropathology at the University of British Columbia (UBC) and did clinical training at UBC, New York Medical College and St. Louis University. He was appointed Assistant Professor at UBC in 1993, moving to Phoenix, Arizona in 1997, when he assumed directorship of the Civin Laboratory for Neuropathology and AZSAND. Dr. Beach has been the recipient of multiple grants and awards from agencies including the National Institutes of Health, Alzheimer’s Association, the state of Arizona and the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research. He has been an author on more than 400 publications listed by the US National Library of Medicine. Additionally, he has served industry as a consultant and as a neuropathology core leader for several imaging-to-autopsy FDA-licensing clinical trials. His research is focused on elucidating early neuropathological stages and biomarkers of normal human aging, PD, Alzheimer’s disease and other neurodegenerative diseases. His studies center on the structural and neurochemical changes of the human central and peripheral nervous system, through autopsy, biopsy and neuroimaging.  

Charles H. Adler, MD, PhD, FAAN, received his PhD in pharmacology and his MD from the New York University School of Medicine. He did his neurology residency at the University of Pennsylvania and a fellowship in movement disorders at the Graduate Hospital/University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia. He then joined the staff at Mayo Clinic in Scottsdale, Arizona.

Dr. Adler has received numerous grants to investigate the diagnosis and treatment of movement disorders, such as PD, essential tremor, dystonia, restless leg syndrome, as well as chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE). He currently serves as Secretary of the International Parkinson and Movement Disorder Society (MDS) and Chair of the MDS Industry Education and Services Committee and is the former Chair of the MDS Education Committee. He has previously served as the Vice-Chair of Research (Head of Human Subjects Research) at Mayo Clinic Arizona. 

Dr. Adler’s main research interests are investigating tissue diagnostic tests for PD, biomarkers for early diagnosis of PD and PD with dementia, and identification of new treatments for PD and PD with dementia. Dr. Adler has also led research in two areas of sports neurology: golfers with golfer’s cramp, a task-specific dystonia, and repetitive head injuries in football players looking for clinical and neuroimaging biomarkers for CTE. He has published over 500 research papers and reviews, and edited a book entitled Parkinson's Disease and Movement Disorders: Diagnosis and Treatment Guidelines for the Practicing Physician. In 2006, Dr. Adler was awarded the Mayo Clinic Distinguished Investigator of the Year Award, and in 2022 he received the American Academy of Neurology Movement Disorders Research Award. 

Simon Stott, PhD, is a Kiwi by birth. He first developed an interest in Parkinson’s while working for an Auckland-based biotech firm called NeuronZ Ltd. At the time, Parkinson’s struck him as a very solvable problem. That interest took him to Lund (Sweden) in 2002 where he did a PhD with Profs. Deniz Kirik and Anders Bjorklund. After completing his thesis, he took up an MRC Career Development Fellowship at the National Institute for Medical Research (London). And then in 2011, he joined Prof. Roger Barker’s lab in Cambridge, where he worked on models of Parkinson’s and also volunteered to help in the weekly Parkinson’s clinics. Those clinical interactions exposed him to the patient community for the first time. The human side of the condition opened his eyes to the true complexities of Parkinson’s, but also made him aware of the lack of information being communicated about research to the patient community. In 2015, he started a blog called the “Science of Parkinson’s,” devoted to explaining interesting pieces of research news in plain English. He joined the research charity Cure Parkinson’s as their deputy director of research in 2018 and assumed the role of director of research in 2022. 

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Parkinson’s Prize 2022 papers (openly available):

Basic Research
Shyamal H.; Intorcia, Anthony J.; Glass, Michael J.; Walker, Jessica E.; Arce, Richard; Nelson, Courtney M.; Serrano, Geidy E. (2021) Vagus Nerve and Stomach Synucleinopathy in Parkinson's Disease, Incidental Lewy Body Disease, and Normal Elderly Subjects: Evidence Against the Body-First Hypothesis J Parkinsons Dis, 11, 1833-1843.

Clinical Research
McFarthing, Kevin; Buff, Susan; Rafaloff, Gary; Dominey, Thea; Wyse, Richard K.; Stott, Simon R. W. (2020) Parkinson's Disease Drug Therapies in the Clinical Trial Pipeline: 2020 J Parkinsons Dis, 10, 757-774.

Now in its 12th volume, The Journal of Parkinson’s Disease (JPD) is dedicated to providing an open forum for original research in basic science, translational research and clinical medicine that will expedite our fundamental understanding and improve treatment of Parkinson’s disease. The journal is international and multidisciplinary and aims to promote progress in the epidemiology, etiology, genetics, molecular correlates, pathogenesis, pharmacology, psychology, diagnosis, and treatment of Parkinson’s disease. It publishes research reports, reviews, short communications, and letters-to-the-editor and offers very rapid publication and an affordable open access option. JPD has a 2021 Journal Impact Factor of 5.520 according to Journal Citation Reports (Clarivate, 2022) and is published by IOS Press.  

IOS Press is an independent international scientific, technical, medical (STM) publishing house established in 1987 in Amsterdam. We produce around 90 journals and 70 books annually in a broad range of subject categories, primarily specializing in health and life sciences (including neurosciences, medical informatics, cancer research, and rehabilitation) and computer sciences (including artificial intelligence, data science, and semantic web). In addition, we offer specialized services that support scientific advancement.