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National Ataxia Foundation

Accelerate!

Researchers Explain the Impact of an NAF Grant

You know that we ask for your donations to help us fund more Ataxia research. You know that research grants are only possible because of generous gifts from people like you. You know that research is the key to finding effective treatments and a cure. But do you know why NAF’s research grant program is so important?

Gifts to NAF have impacted the Ataxia research field in big ways! NAF grants have often been the start-up funding needed for research that went on to make huge changes in what we know about Ataxia. Most of the biggest discoveries can be traced back to NAF and support from donors like you. Your gifts have funded projects that led to identification of gene mutations in Ataxia and given a start to projects that went on to receive funding from NIH (one study received more than $1 million!). We couldn’t do it without you!

We asked some of our recent research grant recipients how the grant from NAF impacted their work. Here is what they had to say...

“The grant has been supporting our efforts to develop novel biomarkers for spinocerebellar ataxias. The studies are still ongoing but we may have a clue for a new biomarker.”
 
-Gal Bitan, PhD
 
(Pictured above: Dr. Bitan’s children, ages 1 & 3)
“It increased my engagement toward finding novel small molecules that can potentially alleviate Ataxia disease phenotypes.”
 
-Raphael Isaac Benhamou, PhD
 

“Funding from NAF has had an immense impact on my lab’s research. First, it has allowed us to generate pilot data to obtain future funding from the NIH. Importantly, it has provided some surprising results on the emergence of ataxia in GHS. For example, using our transgenic mouse model for GHS, we have found that there is a difference in the progression of motor impairments in males and females and that this change may be due to disruptions in ubiquitin pathways found in cell types in the brain called astrocytes.”

-Angela Mabb, PhD

“With the fellowship I obtained from the NAF I was able to take my very basic research in redox signaling and stress response pathways one step further and see their effect in an ataxia disease model, which will hopefully help to better understand some of the underlying mechanisms involved in SCA3.”

-Franzi Pohl, PhD

“The grant has been providing funds to improve our imaging technique and allowing us to produce new data. The broader impact of the grant, as now in no-cost extension because of the pandemic-related factors slowing the progress, has been evolving.”

-Taner Akkin, PhD

“It permits more financial resources to do more experiments and have more research assistants or graduate students working on the project. Lots of experiments have to be done. Each month, I receive a bill of at least $1,000 just for keeping these animals in the facility…therefore the financial support from the National Ataxia Foundation is essential for supporting the research.”
 
-Jacques P. Tremblay, PhD

Thank you for your impact on Ataxia research! Whether you donate, participate in research studies, or both, it helps the Ataxia community further down our path toward effective treatments and a cure.

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