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Irish scientists receive grant from Michael J Fox Foundation for Parkinson's research

“We hope this implant will tackle Parkinson's disease at its source in the brain and give people back their quality of life,” she said.

Senior associate director at the Michael J Fox Foundation, Dr Liliana Menalled, said cell replacement therapy was a "promising approach" to restoring cell function and easing symptoms of Parkinson's disease.

"This approach of enhancing cell survival with collagen is an innovative way to overcome a persistent challenge and may significantly advance these therapeutics for the many people living with the disease," said Dr Menalled.

The research will be led by Dr Dowd, together with colleagues from the Galway Neuroscience Centre and CÚRAM, the Science Foundation Ireland Centre for Research in Medical Devices at NUI Galway, and the University of Edinburgh.

Dr Dowd's research featured in the short documentary Feats of Modest Valour which won the coveted Scientist Award at the Imagine Science Film Festival in New York, as well as the Professional Documentary Award at the Raw Science Festival in California.

A native of Connemara, Co Galway, Dr Dowd has been working in the field of pre-clinical Parkinson's research for almost 20 years.

Her research focuses on understanding the cause of the condition and on developing novel pharmacological, cell, gene and biomaterial therapies for it.

Dr Dowd is president of Neuroscience Ireland and sits on the governing councils of both the Federation of European Neuroscience Societies and the International Brain Research Organisation.