Michael J. Fox Foundation announces grant funding to MapLight Therapeutics

The Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research (MJFF) announces 19 new grant awards totaling more than $16.5 million to projects that serve our mission to find a cure for Parkinson’s and improved treatments for those living with the disease today.

MJFF is funding as many projects as possible, collaborating with the Parkinson’s research community to continue to accelerate research. Support from our donors allows us to advance research to better define the biology and experience of Parkinson’s; measure disease risk, onset and progression; and treat the underlying disease and its symptoms. We also work with partners to enable progress across the field with important tools and resources. For more information on recent MJFF-supported projects, visit our Funded Studies page.


Better understanding the cascade of dysfunction that leads to Parkinson’s onset and progression can point to new ways to measure and treat it. We recently issued two new grants in this area at a total of $8.2 million. The highlighted project follows:

Kimberly Thomson, PhD, and her team at MapLight Therapeutics is using optogenetics, a tool that controls genetically modified brain cells through light, to identify brain circuits associated with anxiety and depression in Parkinson’s. Once identified, such circuits could become targets for therapies to reduce these non-motor symptoms. Anxiety and depression are common non-motor symptoms that can significantly affect quality of life for people with Parkinson’s.