Public Release: 

GVSU researcher earns grant to study biomarkers, advancement of Parkinson's

Grand Valley State University

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. -- A researcher at Grand Valley State University has received a grant to continue studying if molecular biomarkers can be used to monitor the advancement of Parkinson's disease.

Sok Kean Khoo, distinguished associate professor of molecular genomics, received a $110,000 grant from the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson's Research.

Khoo joined Grand Valley's cell and molecular biology faculty one year ago, after working for 13 years at the Van Andel Institute in Grand Rapids, studying cancers and Parkinson's disease. She earned a doctoral degree in molecular genetics from the Tokyo University of Marine Science and Technology.

While at Van Andel Institute, Khoo led a pilot project to identify biomarkers that could one day be used to develop a blood test for early detection of Parkinson's disease. That project was funded by a grant from the MJFF and in collaboration with Mercy Health Saint Mary's Hauenstein Neuroscience Center, University of Colorado Denver and Umeå University.

About 1 million Americans suffer from Parkinson's disease, an incurable and degenerative neurological disorder, with 50,000-60,000 new patients diagnosed annually. Most patients diagnosed with Parkinson's disease have already entered its advanced stages.


Sok Kean Khoo, left, and graduate student Ghada Mohsen extract microRNAs in a lab at the Cook-DeVos Center for Health Sciences. Khoo earned a grant from the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson's Research to study molecular biomarkers for Parkinson's disease.

Contact: Michele Coffill, GVSU University Communications, (616) 331-2221

Media note: A high-resolution photo of Professor Khoo and a graduate student (caption below) is available via this Dropbox link:

Photo by Amanda Pitts/GVSU University Communications

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