Explore Our Next Frontier

In his office at the University of Cincinnati Gardner Neuroscience Institute, Alberto Espay, MD, keeps a map of the world. It reminds him of where he’s been and where he’s going, but the map, he says, serves a much larger purpose.

Espay“It reminds me that we are here for the world,” he shares. “We really want to make it a better place.”

Dr. Espay brings that difference-making determination to understanding and treating neurodegenerative diseases—particularly Parkinson’s disease—at the UC James J. and Joan A. Gardner Family Center for Parkinson’s Disease and Movement Disorders.

Dr. Espay with UCGNI staffAs director and endowed chair for the center, Dr. Espay’s internationally renowned research is fundamentally shifting how the scientific community defines and approaches Parkinson’s. He focuses his work on understanding Parkinson’s as not one disease, but rather several molecular diseases in order to create more targeted therapies.

He says this innovative research would not be possible without the forward-thinking generosity of others.

“We couldn’t do the work we’re doing if it weren’t for philanthropy,” Dr. Espay explains. “From small to large amounts, so many individuals have contributed. The community has been wonderful.”

Notable among those philanthropic partners is the James J. and Joan A. Gardner Family Foundation. The foundation supported the endowed chair Dr. Espay holds, and is actively accelerating his research through its continued support.

“The Gardner family in many ways represents Cincinnati in their selflessness and sense of purpose,” he says. “They are acutely aware that there is a finite time where each of us can contribute something meaningful to this city and to the world. They really do what they do because they care.”

With the attention and support of the Gardner family and others, Dr. Espay sees a bright future for further discoveries and, eventually, treatments of Parkinson’s and other neurodegenerative diseases.

“Cincinnati will change the world in terms of how we view these diseases and how we treat them,” he says. “Meaningful research and the value that comes with it can only come from the concerted efforts of all of us, together.”

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