The Next Generation of PD Researchers


6:00 pm - 8:00 pm
Zoom Webinar

The Parkinson’s Association of West Michigan is holding a series of VIRTUAL events in April 2021 to commemorate Parkinson’s Awareness MonthAttendance is FREEAdvance registration is required.  Contact our President, Kim Cousineau at or 616-954-8077 for any questions.

This event registration link is for the April 21 event only.  (Please use the individual respective links provided to register for each event.)

This is the third of three (3) in the 2021 PAWM webinar series:  April 21, 6:00 pm: “The Next Generation of Parkinson’s Researchers”

(CLICK HERE for the list of other webinars in this series.)

Join us to hear from new local talent making a difference in Parkinson’s research and treatment today and who will help continue to lead the way in the future. This exciting research that is impacting the world is taking place right here in our West Michigan community!  Join us to hear from new local talent making a difference in Parkinson’s research and treatment today and who will help continue to lead the way in the future.


Rushna Ali, M.D. – Spectrum Health
Surgical Management of Parkinson’s Disease

Dr. Rushna Ali is a fellowship-trained functional neurosurgeon with a clinical specialty interest in stereotactic and functional neurosurgery including DBS, epilepsy surgery, and advanced surgical treatments for chronic and cancer-related pain. She is a member of several national and international neurosurgical societies and geared towards educating the next generation of neurosurgeons. Her research interests include studying the association of genetic variations in patients with Parkinson’s Disease and their role in responsiveness to DBS. She is a passionate patient advocate and strongly believes in empowering patients with the knowledge they need to make the best decisions for their treatment plan.



Matthew Benskey, Ph.D. – Michigan State University
“Neuroinflammation in Parkinson’s Disease”

Matt Benskey is a Research Assistant Professor in the Department of Translational Neuroscience at Michigan State University. Dr. Benskey investigates the molecular neurobiology of Parkinson’s disease and Alzheimer’s disease, with a specific focus on the neuroinflammatory response to protein aggregation in the nervous system. Dr. Benskey’s research has been funded by the Parkinson’s Foundation and the National Institutes of Health. Outside of the lab Dr. Benskey has a wife and daughter, loves painting, playing the guitar, and all things art, nature and music. Dr. Benskey hopes that by providing a better understanding of what goes wrong in disease, we can develop targeted therapeutics to improve the quality of life of the millions affected by these devastating disorders.



Xi Chen, Ph.D. – Van Andel Research Institute
Understanding the genetics of Parkinson’s disease

Xi Chen is a Research Scientist at the Van Andel Research Institute. Her research focuses on the inherited form of Parkinson’s disease and how genetic mutations and faulty molecular interactions may transform healthy, functioning neurons into diseased ones and contribute to Parkinson’s disease. Dr. Chen’s research has been funded by the American Parkinson Disease Association and Parkinson’s Foundation. Outside the lab, she enjoys art, yoga, kickboxing, hiking, travelling, and reading. Most recently Dr. Chen was selected to be a Science Ambassador for the World Parkinson’s Congress. Dr. Chen is eager to pass along her knowledge and encouragement to others and hoping her skills and experience from a scientific perspective will intersect help to smash global barriers in terms of reducing the stigma and raising awareness of Parkinson’s disease.

Bookings are closed for this event.