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The Michael J. Fox Foundation and Sage Bionetworks Announce Winners of the $25,000 BEAT-PD DREAM Challenge

NEW YORK (June 17, 2020) – The Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research (MJFF) and Sage Bionetworks announce the winners of the BEAT-PD DREAM Challenge. BEAT-PD (Biomarker and Endpoint Assessment to Track Parkinson’s Disease) is a data challenge designed to benchmark new methods to predict Parkinson’s disease severity in patients in their homes. MJFF and Sage partnered with Evidation Health, Northwestern University, Radboud University Medical Center, and the BRAINCommons to host the BEAT-PD Challenge.

Forty-three teams participated in the Challenge with data hosted by the BRAINCommons. The teams received access to raw sensor (accelerometer and gyroscope) time-series data, which they used to predict individual medication state and symptom severity. Winners from the Challenge share a $25,000 prize.

The winners of the BEAT-PD Challenge are:

  • dbmi (Yidi Huang, Brett Beaulieu-Jones, Mark Keller, Mohammed Saqib) from Harvard Medical School, Department of Biomedical Informatics
  • ROC BEATPD (Alex Page, Monica Javidnia, Greta Smith, Robbie Zielinski, and Charles Venuto) from the University of Rochester Medical Center
  • Yuanfang Guan from University of Michigan
  • HaProzdor (Ayala Matzner, Yuval El-Hanany, Izhar Bar-Gad) from the Gonda Brain Research Center at Bar Ilan University

“We congratulate all the winners. The Foundation has supported research into sensors and other digital tools for Parkinson’s for many years,” says Mark Frasier, PhD, Senior Vice President, Research Programs at MJFF. “The BEAT-PD projects are unlocking the potential of data collected by digital devices to help people with Parkinson’s, their physicians, and researchers. Now, more than ever, we understand the critical importance of remote monitoring for the safe and effective delivery of healthcare and the progress of clinical research.”

In a previous data challenge, teams proved that disease status and symptom severity could be predicted using data collected during the completion of specific tasks while monitored by a physician. The BEAT-PD Challenge built on this to determine whether disease severity can be assessed from passive sensor data from consumer electronics, collected during daily life, not pre-set tasks, which will bring us closer to the promise of at-home monitoring of disease progression.

Three of the teams (dbmi, ROC BEATPD and HaProzdor) approached the problem by applying signal processing methods to the smartwatch and smartphone sensor data, the results of which were then used in machine learning models which allowed for patient-specific characteristics. The fourth solution, by Yuanfang Guan, applied a deep-learning model incorporating spatial and temporal data augmentation of the sensor data.

BEAT-PD data used in the DREAM Challenge is available on the BRAINCommons. For more information and to apply for access to these data, please visit:

The winning teams have been invited to collaborate to improve upon their individual models, as well as to test them against clinician-validated symptom severity ratings and to co-author a manuscript based on their findings.

Learn more about the BEAT-PD Challenge:


Kristina Magana
The Michael J. Fox Foundation

Hsiao-Ching Chou
Sage Bionetworks


As the world’s largest nonprofit funder of Parkinson’s research, The Michael J. Fox Foundation is dedicated to accelerating a cure for Parkinson’s disease and improved therapies for those living with the condition today. The Foundation pursues its goals through an aggressively funded, highly targeted research program coupled with active global engagement of scientists, Parkinson’s patients, business leaders, clinical trial participants, donors and volunteers. In addition to funding more than $900 million in research to date, the Foundation has fundamentally altered the trajectory of progress toward a cure. Operating at the hub of worldwide Parkinson’s research, the Foundation forges groundbreaking collaborations with industry leaders, academic scientists and government research funders; increases the flow of participants into Parkinson’s disease clinical trials with its online tool, Fox Trial Finder; promotes Parkinson’s awareness through high-profile advocacy, events and outreach; and coordinates the grassroots involvement of thousands of Team Fox members around the world. For more information, visit us at, on Facebook or Twitter.


Sage Bionetworks is a nonprofit biomedical research and technology development organization that was founded in Seattle in 2009. Our focus is to develop and apply open practices to data-driven research for the advancement of human health. Our interdisciplinary team of scientists and engineers work together to provide researchers access to technology tools and scientific approaches to share data, benchmark methods, and explore collective insights, all backed by Sage’s gold-standard governance protocols and commitment to user-centered design. Sage is a 501c3 and is supported through a portfolio of competitive research grants, commercial partnerships, and philanthropic contributions.


DREAM (Dialogue on Reverse Engineering and Assessment Methods) Challenges emerged in 2006 to leverage the wisdom of the multidisciplinary scientific community to solve fundamental and difficult questions in biomedical research. DREAM’s methodology is based on crowd-sourcing scientific Challenges, fostering open and collaborative research, and promoting data sharing. In 2013, DREAM partnered with Sage Bionetworks, which developed and administers the technology platform that underpins DREAM Challenges.


The BRAINCommons is a scalable cloud based platform for computational discovery designed for the brain health community. The BRAINCommons empowers the global research community by providing access to multi-modal data, state-of-the-art analytic tools and a secure interoperable system for data sharing. The BRAINCommons is spearheaded by Cohen Veterans Bioscience, a non-profit research biotech dedicated to advancing brain health through data driven science. In partnership with The Michael J. Fox Foundation, the BRAINCommons hosts the DREAM challenge data.