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2020 Annual Ataxia Conference

As interest from the pharmaceutical industry in developing drugs to treat Ataxia continues to grow, we at the National Ataxia Foundation believe that collaboration among researchers, clinicians, pharmaceutical companies, and Ataxia patients has reached a critical moment. Each of these groups must work together, as partners, to advance progress toward better patient care and more effective treatments for Ataxia. The time is now!

Our 2020 Annual Ataxia conference was cancelled because of the coronavirus pandemic. However, many of our scheduled speakers agreed to host virtual presentations on their topics. 

Virtual Presentations

Your Voice In Drug and Therapy Development
Jeremy Schmahmann, MD

Ataxia Research Comes Full Circle
Harry Orr, PhD

Drug Development: Ataxia Drug Discovery Pipeline
Susan Perlman, MD and Vikram Shakkottai, MD, PhD

Patients as Research Collaborators
Pravin Khemani, MD, David Brunnert, Sandy Read, and Julie Geye

A Wholehearted Life: One Step at a Time
Terry Chase, ND, MA, RN

Mobility and Exercise: Strategies to Keep Moving While “Sheltering in Place”
Jennifer Millar, MSPT and Jennifer Keller, PT, MS

Genetic Testing
Emily Todd, MS, CGC

Living and Coping with Ataxia
Charlotte DePew, Destinee Juarez, and Deserae Anderson

Clinical Care for Ataxia
Abigail Collins, MD, Trevor Hawkins, MD, and Lauren Seeberger, MD

Living Will with Ataxia – A Palliative Care Approach
Christina Vaughan, MD, MHS

Strategies for Home Management of Speech, Swallowing, and Cognitive Deficits
Amanda Gallagher, MA, CCC-SLP

10 Basic Financial Steps for Special Needs Caregivers
Kelly Piacenti and Jerry Hulick, CLU, ChFC, ChSNC, CLTC

Adaptive Recreation
Linda Snider, Chelsea Elder, Michael Cammer, and David Thomson

Pharmaceutical Industry Panel
Facilitator: George (Chip) Wilmot, MD, PhD
Panelists: Melissa Beiner, MD, and Michael Curtis, PhD


We invite world-leading Ataxia researchers and physicians to present at AAC. The 2020 Annual Ataxia Conference keynote speaker will be Dr. Jeremy Schmahmann. Other speakers to be announced. 

Jeremy Schmahmann, MD

KEYNOTE SPEAKER. Professor of Neurology at Harvard Medical School and Neurologist at the Massachusetts General Hospital.

Susan Perlman, MD

Clinical Professor of Neurology and Director of the Ataxia Center at UCLA Medical Center

Harry Orr, PhD

NAF Research Director, Director of Institute for Translational Neuroscience, and Tulloch Professor of Genetics in the Department of Laboratory Medicine and Pathology at University of Minnesota

Pravin Khemani, MD

Neurologist at Swedish Neuroscience Institute Movement Disorders Center.

Al La Spada, PhD

Director of the Duke Center for Neurodegeneration & Neurotherapies

Vikram Shakkottai, MD, PhD

Associate Professor of Neurology, Molecular and Integrative Physiology at the University of Michigan

Amanda Gallagher, MA, CCC-SLP

Speech-Language Pathologist with the Johns Hopkins Outpatient Brain and Stroke Rehabilitation Program and the Johns Hopkins Ataxia Center.

Emily Todd, MS, CGC

Genetic Counselor at the Adult Medical Genetics Program, University of Colorado Health system

Jennifer Millar, MSPT

Research Physical Therapist at Johns Hopkins Laboratory of Vestibular Neuro Adaptation.

George "Chip" Wilmot, MD, PhD

Professor of Neurology at Emory University.

Tim Piser, PhD

Chief Scientific Officer at Cadent Therapeutics.

Melissa Beiner, MD

Director of Research and Development at Biohaven Pharmaceuticals.

Lauren Seeberger, MD

Neurologist specializing in Movement Disorders.

Trevor Hawkins, MD

Assistant Professor at the University of Colorado and Co-Director of the University of Colorado Ataxia Clinic.

Abigail Collins, MD

Pediatric Movement Disorders Neurologist at Children's Hospital Colorado.

Christina Vaughan, MD, MHS

Chief of the Section of Neuro-Palliative Care at the University of Colorado.

Questions about speaking opportunities?

Contact Lori Shogren, Community Program and Services Director at 763-231-2743 or


Thanks to all sponsors of the 2020 Annual Ataxia Conference for helping make this incredible program available to our community.

Interested in becoming an exhibitor or sponsor?

Contact Joel Sutherland, Development Director at 763-231-2748 or

Get Involved

Our event volunteers contribute to the success of the Annual Ataxia Conference. There are many opportunities to participate. To learn about volunteer opportunities, contact Mollie Utting, Communications Coordinator, at 763-553-0020 or

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