About the Queensland Parkinson’s Project

The vision of the Queensland Parkinson’s Project (QPP) is to find out what causes Parkinson’s disease so that we can better treat, cure and ultimately prevent the disease from occurring. We are doing this by studying people who are living with Parkinson’s disease as well as neurologically healthy individuals.

The challenges of Parkinson’s disease research

The greatest challenge for those wanting to “cure” Parkinson’s disease today is the inability to easily observe and monitor the progression of the disease process in a living individual’s brain and to follow how this process changes as the symptoms progress.

Given that people live for many years with the disease before they develop the movement symptoms, this means we can’t currently identify those at greatest risk or those with early disease. To do this we need biological markers or biomarkers of the disease process.


The research that is linked to the QPP is addressing the critical need for Parkinson’s disease biological markers, or biomarkers for short, and we have unique resources at the Griffith Institute for Drug Discovery (GRIDD) to help us do this.

Firstly, we have blood samples, DNA and extensive clinical and lifestyle information from our QPP participants. This is being used to identify genetic and environmental factors contributing to the causes of the disease.


We have also created a bank of human cell lines (NeuroBank) from biopsies of the olfactory mucosa (cells from the nose). The olfactory system is a direct connection between the outside environment (via the nose) and the brain and has been described as a “mirror into the brain”. The sense of smell is an early and sensitive symptom of Parkinson’s disease and we have identified important differences in the function of the olfactory cells that we obtain from Parkinson’s patients compared to healthy individuals.


We have also discovered some compounds (drugs) that come from nature (extracted from natural products stored in the GRIDD NatureBank), that may help to create biomarker tests to monitor the disease differences in the cell function.

Any questions?

Get in touch with the Queensland Parkinson's Project