Morna Bell whose mother died of Parkinson’s recently, has donated £600, raised by family and friends of the late Margaret, to Parkinson’s research at the Gartner Lab. Mrs. Bell was motivated by her mother’s Parkinson’s and dementia, and her demise from what she herself has described as “a terrible, terrible illness.”

Her family wished to keep the funds locally and contacted Dr. Anton Gartner at the College of Life Sciences upon hearing about the ‘worm project’, his research into nematodes – a very simple model system to try to find out about the very basic mechanisms that go wrong and cause this disease.

Dr. Gartner was deeply grateful for the offer and suggested a way that the generous contribution could directly help Parkinson’s research. The donation will help fund the first month’s work of a very promising student Sarah-Lena Offenburger who will officially by starting her PhD in October 2012.  Sarah was interested in working on Parkinson’s disease related projects, and Anton suggested that she could start working earlier, by using the donation to support her research in April this year.

“Knowing that her first month is actually funded by a local family and in memory of a local Parkinson’s patient, will ensure that she understands, just how important this research is to real people,” said Dr. Gartner “While this is important to make fundamental progress it is equally important to keep trying to use this knowledge towards an eventual cure to this disease. Engraining this notion in a young and promising researcher is a most important contribution.”

Morna Bell presented the cheque to Dr. Gartner during a visit to his lab on 23 February this year. The family were given a tour of the lab and shown the research that their very generous contribution will be funding.

The family is pictured here with Anton Gartner (left):