Dr. J. William Langston is the Founder and Chief Scientific Officer of the Parkinson’s Institute and Clinical Center. A graduate of the University of Missouri School of Medicine, he served as faculty member at Stanford University Medical School and Chairman of Neurology at Santa Clara Valley Medical Center in San Jose, California before founding the Parkinson’s Institute. Dr. Langston gained national and international recognition in 1980s for the discovery of the link between a tainted “synthetic heroin” and parkinsonism. The bad batch of heroin proved to contain a substance known as MPTP, which is selectively toxic to the same nerve cells in the brain that die in Parkinson’s disease. The discovery of the biologic effects of this compound led to a renaissance of the basic and clinical research in Parkinson’s disease.
He authored or co-authored 360 publications in the field of neurology, most of which are on Parkinson’s disease and related disorders. Dr. Langston’s current research interests include the study of mechanisms of neuronal degeneration, the etiology of Parkinson’s disease, the development of new strategies to slow or halt disease progression, and ways to identify the disease in its earliest “pre-motor” stages. He has received numerous awards, including the Distinguished Achievement Award from Modern Medicine, the Sarah M. Poiley Award from the New York Academy of Sciences, the James Parkinson 30th Anniversary Award from the Parkinson’s Disease Foundation, the Distinguished Clinical Investigator Award from Roche Pharmaceuticals, and Movement Disorders Research Award from the American Academy of Neurology. He is the founding member of the Scientific Advisory Board for The Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research, which he continues to serve on.
Dr. Langston’s work has been featured in both print and broadcast media including major network newscasts, the BBC Evening News, Prime Time Live, 20/20, Good Morning America, the Today Show, and the McNeil-Lehrer Report. His work has been profiled in both Time and Newsweek and has been the subject of two NOVA programs on PBS: “The Case of the Frozen Addicts” and “Brain Transplants”. He published a book, which is also titled “The Case of the Frozen Addicts” as well as editing numerous scientific texts. Dr. Langston and his work were profiled on the 2009 PBS Frontline “Special Report on Parkinson’s: My Father, My Brother, and Me”.
Michelle Knapik joined the Parkinson’s Institute and Clinical Center in 2012. She has been promoted twice in her tenure, culminating in the role of Chief Financial Officer. She brings a commitment to continuous improvement and bottom-line results. Ms. Knapik’s contributions have centered on clinical operational program improvements, research operational improvements including rework of the support provided to the researchers, development and delivery of user friendly financial reports. But more importantly, they focused on building lasting, loyal relationships with team members, and developing capabilities of staff, program, and processes to meet the demands of the Institute’s strategic plan. Ms. Knapik is highly respected by her peers.
Ms. Knapik is a former Executive Director for both the Respite and Research for Alzheimer ’s disease from 2010 to 2012 and the Peninsula Volunteers Properties, Inc., from 2004 to 2010. A believer in using her knowledge and skills for the betterment of others Ms. Knapik has held financial leadership roles at several other not-for-profit organizations including Eastern Virginia Medical School Department of OB/GYN, University Medical Services Association, Benevolent Society of NSW in Australia, and EMQ Children and Family Services. She earned her B.S. in Accounting at Virginia Polytechnic Institute in 1988, and her CPA license in 1991. She spent the early years of her career gaining valuable experience in not-for-profit and healthcare financial reporting, grants management, budgeting and more.
Dr. Tetrud is a graduate of NYU school of Medicine, trained in neurology at UCLA and Wadsworth VA Medical Centers, and completed a fellowship in movement disorders at Stanford Medical Center. He is one of the Institute’s senior clinicians, was involved in the original description of MPTP-induced parkinsonism with Dr. Langston and has since been an investigator in a number of clinical drug trials. Dr. Tetrud has a special interest in quantification of neurological function, particularly tremor, dyskinesias, and gait. Not only is Dr.Tetrud a nationally recognized physician but he is also a renowned scientist with research involving numerous clinical trials.