About the PUW > Dr. J. William Langston

Dr. J. William Langston is the Scientific Director, Chief Executive Officer and Founder of the Parkinson’s Institute in Sunnyvale, CA. A graduate of the University of Missouri School of Medicine, he served as faculty member at Stanford University Medical School and Chairman of Neurology at Santa Clara Valley Medical Center in San Jose, CA before founding The Parkinson’s Institute.

Dr. Langston gained national and international recognition in the 1980s for the discovery of the link between a tainted “synthetic heroin” and parkinsonism, which contained a substance known as MTPT, which is selectively toxic to the same nerve cells in the brain that die in Parkinson’s disease. The discovery of the biologic effects of this compound led to a renaissance of the basic and clinical research in Parkinson’s disease. Dr. Langston’s current research interests include the study of mechanisms of neuronal degeneration, the etiology of Parkinson’s disease, the development of new strategies to slow or halt disease progression, and ways to identify the disease in its earliest “pre-motor” stages. He is the founding member and continues to serve on the Scientific Advisory Board for the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research.