NINDS Senior Investigator, Richard Youle, Ph.D., receives Silicon Valley Award

IRP senior investigator, Richard Youle, Ph.D., received the Breakthrough Prize in Life Sciences for his discoveries about the biological roots of Parkinson’s disease. This award is given to someone who makes “transformative advances toward understanding living systems and extending human life.” The award was started by tech company CEOs and founders, garnering the label of being Silicon Valley’s answer to the Nobel Prize.

Dr. Youle is the head of the Biochemistry section at the NIH’s National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS). Youle and his lab made discoveries on how the the PINK1 gene and the Parkin protein are linked and lead to mitochondrial turn over. This discovery has led to pharmaceutical companies developing methods of treating Parkinson’s disease by increasing the rate of disposal of damaged mitochondria. Dr. Youle has stated that this discovery, and resulting award, is a result of the freedom that NIH has given him in his research and a reflection on the NIH intramural program.

NINDS has many technologies available to license in the area of Parkinson’s research and beyond. There are also many cell lines that are available for licensing. If you are interested in licensing a technology developed by NINDS, you can find them on the licensing opportunities page. If you are interested in neurodegenerative research, you can find available opportunities here.

If you are interested in collaborating with Dr. Youle, contact Lola Olufemi Ph.D., NINDS Technology Portfolio Manager, by email at or by phone at 301-451-3748.