Published: Dec. 9, 2013

College of Human Medicine raffling new car for fundraiser

Contact(s): Sarina Gleason Media Communications office: (517) 355-9742, Geri Kelley College of Human Medicine office: (616) 233-1678 cell: (616) 350-7976

The MSU College of Human Medicine is raffling a 2013 MINI Cooper to fundraise for new research equipment used to study Parkinson’s and other neurological diseases.

The two-door sedan, imported from England and painted green and white, will be raffled off at $100 a ticket. All proceeds will go toward purchasing the new equipment, a laser scanning confocal microscope.

“The confocal microscope uses a laser beam to focus on cells, giving a much clearer image than less-advanced devices, as well as three-dimensional images,” said Jack Lipton, chairman of the College of Human Medicine’s Translational Science and Molecular Medicine Department. “It will allow researchers to look at proteins in brain cells and understand how they interact and thereby target the proteins involved in causing degeneration. Such information not only can hold clues to better treatments for Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s, but for many other diseases, including cancer, as well as traumatic brain injuries,” he said.

George Sharpe, owner of four Grand Rapids auto dealerships, offered to finance the cost of purchasing the vehicle. Sharpe is a member of MSU’s Translational Science and Molecular Medicine Department’s Community Engagement Board and was diagnosed with Parkinson’s four years ago.

Sharpe, diagnosed four years ago with Parkinson’s, is a member of the Translational Science and Molecular Medicine Department’s Community Engagement Board. He said he offered to support the raffle because the laser scanning confocal microscope can help MSU’s researchers develop better treatments for the nearly one million Americans and seven million worldwide afflicted with Parkinson’s, as well as those who will be diagnosed in the future.

Raffle tickets are $100 each and may be purchased at MINI of Grand Rapids or online here. The raffle will end April 14, and the drawing will take place at 7 p.m. on that day. The College of Human Medicine is limiting ticket sales to 2,500, enough to cover the cost of the microscope.

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