Parkinson Society Canada is pleased to welcome Dr. Matthew Farrer to the Scientific Advisory Board. A world expert in the genetic aspects of Parkinson’s disease and molecular neuroscience, Dr. Farrer was appointed, in August 2011, as the Dr. Donald Rix B.C. Leadership Chair in Genetic Medicine at the University of British Columbia (UBC). He also holds the position of Canada Excellence Research Chair in Neurogenetics and Translational Neuroscience at UBC. Dr. Farrer is a Professor in the university’s Department of Medical Genetics and directs the Centre for Applied Neurogenetics (www.can.ubc.ca) in the Brain Research Centre.
Dr. Farrer and his team have helped identify several genes involved in Parkinson’s, by analyzing DNA from families in more than 20 countries on five continents and collaborating with the doctors who work directly with the patients. His most recent gene discoveries, published in the American Journal of Human Genetics in July and September 2011, include the identification of genetic mutations that cause late-onset Parkinson’s disease in Swiss and French families in which many relatives had the disease. The discoveries have been extended and independently validated in many families worldwide.
Dr. Farrar was formerly a Professor of Molecular Neuroscience and Director of the Division of Neurogenetics and the Transgenic Core Facility at the Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville, Florida. In 2008, he was named a Mayo Clinic Distinguished Investigator, the clinic’s highest award for research excellence. He is a founding member and Scientific Director of the Genetic Epidemiology of Parkinson’s Disease Consortium (GEO-PD). Dr. Farrer is a new member of the Parkinson Society Canada Scientific Advisory Board and also presently serves on the Executive Scientific Advisory Board of the Michael J. Fox Foundation.
Dr. Farrer received his PhD in human genetics from St. Mary’s Hospital Medical School, Imperial College, London, UK. He was a Postdoctoral Fellow in Medical and Community Genetics at the Kennedy-Galton Centre, St. Mark’s National Health Service Trust, Harrow, UK and held a Senior Postdoctoral Fellowship at the Mayo Clinic, Jacksonville, Florida.