Foundation for Mitochondrial Medicine


Foundation for Mitochondrial Medicine

Hope Flies Health Series Webinar—Research Connecting Parkinson’s and Mitochondrial Disease

HF Health Series 2016 web banner2March 24, 2016, ATLANTA – The Foundation for Mitochondrial Medicine (FMM) hosts its next Hope Flies Health Series Webinar: Research Connecting Parkinson’s Disease and Mitochondrial Disease on Wednesday, April 6, 2016 at 1:00 pm EST. The Foundation developed the webinar with partners including the Michael J. Fox Foundation (MJFF), Wilkins Parkinson’s Foundation and Sharecare to particularly bring greater awareness to mitochondrial disease and its connection to Parkinson’s disease. The webinar is free; however registration is requested in advance at

During the webinar, participants can learn more about the scientific connection and interest Parkinson’s researchers have in mitochondria and mitochondrial function.  Experts on the call will share the latest developments from a specific research project the FMM and MJFF co-funded exploring this link to activate and stabilize the Parkin protein, which may allow it to break down damaged mitochondria and thereby prevent cell death in some Parkinson’s patients. Stabilizing Parkin will be a positive strike for Parkinson’s disease and for mitochondrial disease.

Panelists for the webinar include Wolfdieter Springer, PhD, Assistant Professor of Neuroscience, Mayo Clinic; Laura Stanley, Executive Director, FMM; Bill Wilkins, Founder of the Wilkins Parkinson’s Foundation, and the moderator will be Darria Gillespie, MD MBA FACEP, SVP Clinical Strategy of Sharecare.

Additional topics planned for discussion include an overview of Parkinson’s and the challenges and progress today surrounding research of Parkinson’s and mitochondrial function; an overview of mitochondrial disease today and progress being made; and a discussion of how patients and caregivers can manage both mitochondrial disease and Parkinson’s disease.

Webinar Panelists

Wolfdieter Springer, PhD, Assistant Professor of Neuroscience, Mayo Clinic
The research interests of Wolfdieter Springer, Ph.D., revolve around cell biology in aging and age-dependent disorders. His primary research focus is on the molecular and cellular mechanisms underlying the pathogenesis of Parkinson’s disease and other related neurodegenerative disorders.

Dr. Springer’s lab takes a combinatorial approach using biochemistry, cell biology and advanced imaging techniques, such as multicolor live cell and high-content microscopy. His lab aims to identify novel genetic and chemical modifiers in cell-based assays, as well as in vivo using C. elegans as a screening tool.Functional insights gained through Dr. Springer’s research will provide the basis to address unmet medical needs, such as identifying faithful biomarkers and developing novel therapeutic strategies that halt or prevent devastating neurodegenerative diseases.

Laura Stanley, Executive Director, Foundation for Mitochondrial Medicine
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Laura joined the Foundation for Mitochondrial Medicine in January 2010 as FMM’s first Executive Director. Laura’s professional experience is in corporate human resources, sales and marketing, yet when her eldest son was diagnosed in 2009 with a mitochondrial disease, she was eager for a way to accelerate action. She has transferred her corporate business skills to non-profit leadership. Formerly, Laura served in senior human resources leadership roles at EarthLink and an Atlanta based technology start-up, EzGov, Inc.  Her early career experience evolved in executive search with Korn/Ferry International and sales and marketing in the paper and packaging industries both in Paris, France and the southeastern U.S. FMM website:

Bill Wilkins, Co-Founder, Wilkins Parkinson’s Foundation
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Diagnosed with Parkinson’s in 2006, Bill Wilkins, Co-Founder of the Wilkins Parkinson’s Foundation knows firsthand about the disease and has worked tirelessly for treatment every since his diagnosis. In addition to his fundraising and advocacy efforts through the Wilkins Parkinson’s Foundation, he is also a charter member of Emory University’s Udall Parkinson’s Disease Research Center’s Community Outreach Board and serves on the Patient Advisory Council for the Michael J. Fox Foundation. The Wilkins Parkinson’s Foundation (WPF) is a 501(c)(3) charity dedicated to funding programs to raise awareness of Parkinson’s disease (PD). It is the Foundation’s belief that increased awareness creates a general groundswell of support for the entire PD community, from research to patient care to education and support groups. The Foundation works to build awareness through local, regional and national marketing efforts. To find out more, please visit

Moderator: Dr. Darria Long Gillespie, MD MBA FACEP, SVP Clinical Strategy Sharecare
Darria Long Gillespie, MD MBA, FACEP, is Sharecare’s Senior Vice President of Clinical Strategy, an Emergency Department physician at Emory University, and national spokesperson for the American College of Emergency Physicians. Dr. Long Gillespie is a frequent health expert on national TV and has appeared on CNN, CNBC, FoxNews Network, and The Dr. Oz show. … MoreOn Sharecare, she contributes and authors articles on health topics and health news, writes “The Busy Woman’s Guide to Health…and Sanity”, and also hosts Sharecare Radio, an international radio show on iHeart Radio’s RadioMD. Sharecare website is

About the Foundation for Mitochondrial Medicine
The Foundation for Mitochondrial Medicine is a 501(c) (3) non-profit organization dedicated to supporting the development of the most promising research and treatments of the many forms of mitochondrial disease. Visit for more information.


For more information: Foundation for Mitochondrial Medicine: Jennifer Grizzle, 770.409.1152 or


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