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NIH researcher Andrew B. Singleton receives 2024 Breakthrough Prize in Life Sciences

Prize recognizes Singleton’s groundbreaking research into the genetics of Parkinson’s disease

The Breakthrough Prize Foundation has announced Andrew B. Singleton, Ph.D., a distinguished investigator at NIH as one of three recipients of the 2024 Breakthrough Prize in Life Sciences. Started in 2012, the Breakthrough Prizes “honor important, primarily recent, achievements in the categories of Fundamental Physics, Life Sciences and Mathematics.”

Head shot of Andrew B. Singleton, Director of NIH's Center for Alzheimer's Disease
​Andrew B. Singleton, Ph.D. Winner of the 2024 Breakthrough Prize in Life Sciences for his groundbreaking research into the genetics of Parkinson’s disease.

Singleton will share the $3 million award with two other researchers “for identifying GBA1 and LRRK2 as risk genes for Parkinson’s disease, implicating autophagy and lysosomal biology as critical contributors to the pathogenesis of the disease.” The other two recipients are Ellen Sidransky, M.D., principal investigator at NIH, and Thomas Gasser, M.D., Ph.D., director of the Hertie Institute for Clinical Brain Research at the University of Tübingen and German Center for Neurodegenerative Diseases.

Singleton is director of the NIH Center for Alzheimer’s Related Dementias (CARD). In addition to his work at CARD, he leads a worldwide team of researchers who study the genetics behind Parkinson’s disease and other neurodegenerative disorders. About 500,000 Americans are currently diagnosed with Parkinson’s. The Breakthrough Prize honors discoveries made by Singleton’s team that identified pathogenic variants in the gene LRRK2 as a significant cause of the disease. Their findings have helped researchers understand the role that LRRK2 may play in the healthy and diseased brain, as well as develop several potential treatments for Parkinson’s.

Singleton has served at NIH since 2001. Over the years, he has also studied the genetics behind a variety of other neurodegenerative disorders, including Alzheimer’s disease, dystonia, and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. Before arriving at NIH, he earned a B.Sc. from the University of Sunderland, U.K., and a Ph.D. from Newcastle University, also in the U.K. He has trained dozens of scientists, published more than 700 peer-reviewed research articles, and has been broadly recognized for his work, including with two NIH Director’s Awards.

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