SEVERAL YEARS AGO, Tim Greenamyre, a neuroscientist and physician who directs the Pittsburgh Institute for Neurodegenerative Diseases at the University of Pittsburgh (Pitt), began to notice unsettling symptoms in his own body. He couldn’t smell things. He was constipated. He was shouting and kicking in his sleep. His left arm didn’t swing when he walked.
In July 2021, Greenamyre turned to a neurologist colleague to confirm the diagnosis he already suspected. He had Parkinson’s disease, an illness he has devoted himself to treating and trying to cure. Over the course of his long and productive career, the 67-year-old has not only won the admiration of his patients and clinical colleagues, but also developed a widely used animal model of Parkinson’s and contributed key insights into environmental triggers. That work exposed him to chemicals that induce the disease in rodents, a possible factor in his own illness.