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Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson's Research awards major dystonia research prize

The Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research (MJFF) awarded two researchers the second annual Bachmann-Strauss Prize for Excellence in Dystonia Research. The award recipients are Susan Bressman, MD, Mount Sinai Beth Israel chair of the Department of Neurology, and Laurie Ozelius, PhD, Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School associate neuroscientist and associate professor of neurology. Drs. Bressman and Ozelius have collaborated on their work in dystonia genetics research for 30 years.

The researchers have made numerous contributions to the fields of Parkinson’s Disease and dystonia research, including the identification of three primary dystonia genes. They have built a library of thousands of genes associated with dystonia and led innovative imaging studies in families with these genes.

"Dystonia is the third most common movement disorder and has significant impact on the lives of those diagnosed and their families," said Dr. Bressman in a statement. "Dr. Ozelius and I are honored to be recognized with the Bachmann-Strauss Prize and even more so to be able to add to our understanding of this condition and, hopefully, its treatment."

Dr. Ozelius said, "We look forward to continuing our research serving this patient population with the support of the Prize. The complexities of neurological conditions require much unraveling but also present many opportunities to intervene and stop the process."


Dystonia is a disorder characterized by involuntary muscle contractions that cause slow, repetitive movements or abnormal posture. These movement may cause pain, and those with dystonia may have tremors or other neurologic conditions. Although there are clear genetic associations in individuals with dystonia, the cause of the condition is not known in most cases.

The award includes a $100,00 unrestricted research grant that will be used to further the researchers’ work.

The Bachmann-Strauss Prize for Excellence in Dystonia Research was established in 2014 as a collaboration between the MJFF and the Bachmann-Strauss Dystonia and Parkinson Foundation (BSDPF). The MJFF and BSDPF have a 10-year alliance to broaden public awareness of Parkinson’s Disease and dystonia and support research efforts in those fields.

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