Senator Al Franken Visits with University of Minnesota Neuromodulation Researchers

On April 18, 2017, Senator Al Franken visited the University to learn about the impact of federal funding on discovery and innovation in the health sciences. He spent time with neuromodulation researchers whose research receives federal funding from the National Institutes of Health (NIH). Each said that NIH funding is essential, and funds the majority of their research programs. Cuts to NIH, they said, would negatively affect progress toward discovering new treatments for health conditions, including Parkinson's disease, addiction, epilepsy and others.

Al Franken

Back row (L-R). Colum MacKinnon, PhD and Jerrold Vitek, MD, PhD. Both conduct research on Parkinson’s/movement disorders. Vitek is the Head of the Neurology Department, and directs the University’s Udall Center of Excellence for Parkinson’s Disease Research. MacKinnon is an associate professor of Neurology and a principal investigator at the Udall Center.

Front row (L-R). Mark Thomas, PhD, Senator Al Franken and Esther Krook-Magnuson, PhD. Thomas is an associate professor in the Neuroscience department with research interests in addiction. He is also the director of the University’s Center for Addiction Neuroscience. Krook-Magnuson is an assistant professor in the Neuroscience Department. Her research program focuses on epilepsy. She is also a MnDRIVE Neuromodulation Scholar.