Johnson and Ennerfelt’s gift for Parkinson’s research creates meaningful connections
“It’s so rewarding to invest in this international collaboration and bring together top experts from Sweden and the U.S. to advance science for patients on a global level.” —GÖRAN ENNERFELT
Antonia Johnson and Göran Ennerfelt believe that if researchers can solve the molecular mysteries of Parkinson’s disease, effective treatments will follow, and so too will a broader understanding of nervous system function and, ultimately, a greater understanding of the human experience.
“We were first drawn to support Parkinson’s research because of my husband Göran’s diagnosis,” says Antonia. “However, we also believe—as the researchers do—that medical discovery is vital to making better sense of the world around us. For example, new findings for Parkinson’s would likely influence better care for other neurologic conditions.”
In this spirit of connection, Antonia, Göran, and their company, the Axel Johnson Group, are supporting an international partnership between two luminaries in Parkinson’s disease research: Dennis Selkoe, MD, co-director of the Ann Romney Center for Neurologic Diseases at the Brigham, and Per Svenningsson, MD, PhD, a lead neurology investigator in the Department of Clinical Neuroscience at Karolinska Institutet, the largest medical academic research center in the couple’s home country of Sweden. Their gift is shared evenly between the two institutions, with the Brigham receiving $3.8 million.
“Parkinson’s is the second most common neurodegenerative disease, and while there are treatments to help control symptoms, there aren’t treatments available to slow its progression,” Selkoe says. “With Antonia and Göran’s generous support, I am working with Dr. Svenningsson and his team to seek new ways to slow or prevent Parkinson’s disease.”
Göran says, “It’s so rewarding to invest in this international collaboration and bring together top experts from Sweden and the U.S. to advance science for patients on a global level.”
The partnership includes six projects aimed at increasing scientific understanding of Parkinson’s disease and creating new paths to prevent, treat, and cure it.
“On behalf of the Brigham’s neurology community, I thank Antonia, Göran, and the Axel Johnson Group for their desire to solve Parkinson’s disease,” says Tracy Batchelor, MD, MPH, chair of the Department of Neurology.
“Through their giving, they want to help countless patients and their loved ones—and to find greater connection in the human experience. Indeed, that’s the very essence of medicine.”