Our research

Our research

Parkinson’s disease researchers
Parkinson’s disease researchers: L-R Associate Professor Antony Cooper, Dr Dr Yuxi Zhang, Dr Daniel Hesselson and PhD student Brigitte Phillips.

The Garvan Institute recently became one of the first in the world to acquire technology that can sequence a whole human genome at high throughput and low cost. This gives the Parkinson’s disease research teams an unparalleled ability to undertake whole genome sequencing of patient DNA and animal models of PD, vastly increasing our understanding and leading to better, safer, more effective personalised medicine. Garvan’s Parkinson Disease research program is multidisciplinary, focusing on translating basic scientific discoveries into the clinic where people can be helped.

Clinical trials

In a partnership with Cure-Parkinson’s Trust’s (UK) Linked Clinical Trials program, Garvan is committed to holding clinical trials to provide Australians with the opportunity to trial potential neuroprotective drugs that may slow or stop disease progression and the associated worsening of symptoms and the development of new symptoms.

Key areas of investigation

Associate Professor Cooper
Associate Professor Cooper

Catching Parkinson's early

Associate Professor Antony Cooper, Head of Garvan’s Neuroscience Division and of the Parkinson’s Disease and Neurogenomics Laboratory, is conducting groundbreaking work on finding the cause(s) of PD for earlier diagnoses and identification of treatments to halt PD progression. This would mean that people are not only diagnosed before experiencing symptoms, but can get early treatment, so they never do.

“Identifying early changes allows us to identify treatments to restore pathways and halt disease progression.”

Dr Daniel Hesselson
Dr Daniel Hesselson

Repurposing existing drugs to halt progression

Dr Daniel Hesselson, Head of the Beta Cell Regeneration Laboratory, and his team are focused on protecting the neurons damaged by PD, on the prevention of progression by repurposing existing clinical drugs, and why diabetes is linked to a higher risk of PD.

“We have identified five possible drugs that could provide neuron protection in PD and slow or halt progression.”


National & international collaborators

  • Eskitis Institute, Griffith University, Queensland, Australia
  • Flinders University, SA, Australia
  • Harvard Medical School, Parkinson Personalized Medicine Program, Massachusetts, USA
  • Oxford University, Oxford, UK
  • Neuroscience Research Australia, NSW, Australia
  • Stanford University, California, USA
  • St Vincent’s Hospital, Neurology Department, NSW, Australia
  • University of Saskatchewan, Saskatchewan, Canada
  • University of Sydney, NSW, Australia
  • UNSW School of Medicine, NSW, Australia