GP2 Visits India
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GP2 Visits India

By Sumit Dey, Alastair Noyce, Maria Teresa Periñan Tocino, Justin C. Solle, Mary B. Makarious, Brian Fiske, Kishore Raj Kumar, Ai Huey Tan, and Huw Morris | , , |
  • Co-lead, Training, Networking, and Communication

    Sumit Dey, MSc

    Queen Mary University of London | United Kingdom

    Sumit is the Co-lead for the Training, Networking, and Communication working group. He contributes and supports all aspects of the TNC group’s work delivering milestones for the GP2 project. Sumit completed his postgraduate study on Clinical Neuroscience at UCL. He has an undergraduate degree in Neuropsychology from the University of Central Lancashire.

  • Lead, Training, Networking, and Communication

    Alastair Noyce, MRCP, PhD

    Queen Mary University of London | United Kingdom

    Alastair is a Reader in Neurology and Neuroepidemiology at the Preventive Neurology Unit in the Wolfson Institute of Preventive Medicine, Queen Mary University of London, and consultant neurologist at Barts Health NHS Trust, in the United Kingdom. Alastair graduated from Barts and the London School of Medicine and Dentistry in 2007. He pursued integrated training via the Founda... Read More

  • Working Group Participant

    Maria Teresa Periñan Tocino, MSc

    University of Seville | Spain

    María Teresa is the GP2 Training, Outreach and Research Fellow for the Training, Networking, and Communication working group. She completed her bachelor’s degree in Biotechnology at the University of Cadiz, Spain, then enrolled in a master’s program to specialize in bioinformatics. Her research interests are primarily focused on understanding the genetics that lead to the ... Read More

  • Justin Solle
    Co-lead, Operations and Compliance

    Justin C. Solle, MBA

    The Michael J. Fox Foundation | USA

    Justin joined The Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research in 2021 as Senior Associate Director. He focuses on leading the Global Parkinson’s Genetics Program and also supports operations and recruitment for the Parkinson’s Progression Markers Initiative.

  • Co-lead, Data and Code Dissemination

    Mary B. Makarious, BSc

    National Institutes of Health | USA

    Mary is a graduate student at the Laboratory of Neurogenetics (LNG) at the National Institutes of Health, National Institute on Aging under Drs. Andrew Singleton and Mike Nalls. She studied Bioinformatics and Neuroscience at Loyola University in Chicago, IL, USA before coming to work at LNG, where she has been for the past 2 years. Her work involves applying machine learning an... Read More

  • Brian Fiske
    Working Group Participant

    Brian Fiske, PhD

    The Michael J. Fox Foundation | USA

    Brian joined The Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research (MJFF) in 2004. As one of its first internal science experts, Brian worked with other early staff to shape the strategic research framework and philosophy at the heart of the Foundation’s mission. In his current role as senior vice president, research programs, Brian co-manages a team of professionals who a... Read More

  • Co-lead, Monogenic Sample Prioritization

    Kishore Raj Kumar, MBBS, PhD, FRACP

    University of Sydney | Australia

    Kishore completed his medical degree at the University of Adelaide and attained accreditation in Neurology from the Royal Australasian College of Physicians. He undertook his PhD studies into the genetics of movement disorders with Prof. Carolyn Sue (Kolling Institute of Medical Research) and Prof. Christine Klein (Luebeck University, Germany). He then completed an NHMRC Early ... Read More

  • Working Group Participant

    Ai Huey Tan, MD, FRCP

    University of Malaya | Malaysia

    Ai Huey is an Associate Professor and Consultant Neurologist at the University of Malaya, specializing in Parkinson’s disease (PD) and movement disorders. She serves in several committees in the International Parkinson and Movement Disorder Society (MDS) including the MDS Education Committee and Evidence-based Medicine Working Groups. She is the current President of the Malay... Read More

  • Huw Morris
    Lead, Complex Disease Cohort Integration

    Huw Morris, FRCP, PhD

    University College London | United Kingdom

    Huw is a professor of clinical neuroscience at UCL Institute of Neurology and honorary consultant neurologist at the Royal Free Hospital and the National Hospital, Queen Square. From 2003-2013, he was senior lecturer and then professor in neurology and neurogenetics at Cardiff University, the Royal Gwent Hospital, and the University Hospital of Wales. He received clinical and r... Read More

GP2 recently visited India where study team members took advantage of the 8th Asian and Oceanian Parkinson’s Disease and Movement Disorders Congress (AOPMC) held in Kolkata, along with a few select site visits, to build more meaningful interactions with GP2 collaborators and trainees from the region. In addition, we delivered our first in-person training workshop in India and met with physicians who came from all across Asia, amongst other exciting interactions we talk about below.

GP2 Bioinformatics Training Workshop

Attendees of the GP2 Bioinformatics Training Workshop stand together

“I believe programs like this are crucial for advancing research and promoting inclusivity by shining a light on underrepresented populations and their research progress.” said Arti Saini, a GP2 trainee from India. “The program created a great environment for sharing ideas and collaborating with people from a range of different backgrounds.”

In addition to its important scientific outcomes, a big focus of GP2 is to build research capacity globally for Parkinson’s disease (PD) genetics research. Our goal is to set up training opportunities that will build and expand local capabilities. In support of this goal, 12 clinicians, scientists and researchers from India, Kyrgyzstan, Malaysia and Bangladesh attended a GP2 Bioinformatics Training Workshop held in Kolkata alongside the MDS AOPMC on March 16. This workshop was delivered by Mary Makarious and María Teresa Periñán Tocino.

The event, open to all levels of experience and career stages, provided an overview of GP2’s goals, existing training materials, explored raw and imputed genotype data, as well as clinical data. In addition, the workshop provided investigators the opportunity to gain data analysis skills. They were introduced to the Terra platform, an analysis platform that allows interaction with cloud-managed data such as GP2. Attendees were taught how to access, upload, and manage data as well as run practical, interactive analyses using Jupyter notebooks.

GP2 & LUX-GIANT Luncheon

Attendees of the GP2 & LUX-GIANT Luncheon stand together, with three men kneeling in front

The next day, we hosted a lunch meeting between the LUX-GIANT consortium, led by Manu Sharma and Asha Kishore, and the GP2 team including Alastair Noyce, Huw Morris, Brian Fiske, and Justin Solle. With over 30 attendees from across India, the group got the opportunity to learn about the expansion phase of LUX-GIANT and how GP2 is poised to redefine the underlying biology of the Parkinson’s spectrum in a global context.

GP2 Return of Results Workshop

Attendees of the GP2 Return of Results Workshop sit around a table while three presenters stand and lead

We also organised the GP2 Return of Results Workshop, led by Ai Huey Tan and Kishore Kumar, with approximately 20 attendees from over 10 countries in Asia. We canvassed opinions on return of results (RoR) back to patients, and what we can do to increase recruitment efforts and facilitate discussions in these regions. We discussed the range of existing approaches, from no return of research results to full return of clinically relevant findings, and how each region had different priorities. There was diversity in terms of investigator experience with genetic testing, and accessibility to genetic counsellors and clinically accredited testing. We found that a ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach to RoR may not work and highlight the need to accommodate regional diversity.

GP2 Stand at MDS AOPMC

7 GP2 representatives stand behind the GP2 Stand at MDS AOPMC

GP2 had a non-profit stand at the MDS AOPMC, March 18-19. We had several meaningful interactions, particularly with clinicians with potential access to samples that could be submitted to GP2 and trainees who were interested in upcoming training opportunities. It was wonderful to meet in person and discuss future plans and the positive impact of our work.

GP2/MJFF Site Visits

The Michael J. Fox Foundation (MJFF) representatives Brian Fiske and Justin Solle made additional trips across India to meet with collaborators of the LUX-GIANT cohort, an initially MJFF-supported effort and now a key partner to GP2. Meeting with Dr. Asha Kishore in Kochi’s Aster MedCity and with Dr. Roopa Rajan and colleagues at All India Institute of Medical Sciences in Delhi, we were able to speak directly with team members, hear more about ongoing research activities and learn about challenges and opportunities our colleagues in India see as we make progress in a shared mission to increase a globally relevant understanding of PD genetics.

Michael J. Fox representatives meet with members of the LUX-GIANT cohort          MJFF reps meet with cohort leads in Delhi

Final thoughts

This GP2 visit was a great opportunity to build meaningful interactions with collaborators and trainees from the region. We hope this will contribute to expanding local capacity and cultivating locally-led change to achieve transformational impact in the understanding of PD genetics.