PARKIE: Parkinson's community Awareness of Research; emphasis on Knowledge and Information Exchange.

Our lab is studying the role of our immune system in the development of Parkinson's. Our immune system protects the body against attacks from viruses and bacteria but, when we look at blood samples of people with Parkinson's, we can see they have an increased amount of one immune cell type, namely a type of T-cell called Th17 cells. In the lab, we can see that Th17 cells can cause damage to dopamine nerve cells which we need for all kinds of reasons in our nervous system. We are investigating if these Th17 cells can affect the function of the main cell type in the brain, the astrocyte, whose job is one of protection and support to nerve cells.

With this grant, we want to discover how much people with Parkinson's know about their condition, particularly the potential role played by the immune system. We also want to discover what areas of research into Parkinson’s they consider important to them. We will do this by co-creating a survey to answers these questions. We also want to discover where people with Parkinson's get their information from, who do they listen to and who do they discuss their condition with. Furthermore, the survey will also determine what activities help them deal with their condition and increase their quality of life.

We will then co-create an event that will be built around the answers provided in the survey. If a particular topic, such as sleep, is highlighted by the survey, a speaker will address this topic. In addition, we will incorporate an arts activity from the Parkinson's community, like for example the Move 4 Parkinson’s Choir or a céilí with the Parkinson's group who do Irish dancing.

Award Date
12 September 2022
Award Value
Principal Investigator
Professor Maeve Caldwell
Host Institution
Trinity College Dublin
Knowledge Translation Awards