University of South Florida

USF Health and FARA to host patient-focused scientific symposium Sept. 15 [Video]

International experts from academia and industry will gather to discuss advances in Friedreich’s ataxia from the laboratory to the clinic.

Tampa, FL (Sept. 12, 2016) — The University of South Florida (USF) will bring together leading researchers and patients searching for a treatment for Friedreich’s ataxia (FA) and related disorders at the eighth annual scientific symposium “Understanding Energy for A Cure.” The symposium will be held 5 to 8:30 p.m., Thursday, Sept. 15, at the USF Sam and Martha Gibbons Alumni Center, 11810 USF Alumni Drive, Tampa, FL 33620.

The event, free and open to the public, is hosted by the Friedreich’s Ataxia Research Alliance (FARA) and the USF Ataxia Research Center.

The symposium will include four scientific panel discussions moderated by FARA spokesperson Kyle Bryant. The topics will be:

  • Basic and Discovery Science
  • Drug Development and Advancing Treatments
  • FA Biomarkers
  • Clinical Trials and Translating Treatments to Improved Care

Before the scientific panel discussions, Dr. Theresa Zesiewicz, professor of neurology and director of the USF Ataxia Research Center, will update attendees on the Friedreich’s ataxia initiatives at the center. USF is one of 10 sites in the international FARA Collaborative Clinical Research Network.

Patients will share their experiences about living with FA in a discussion moderated by Jen Farmer, executive director of FARA.

Each year, the Friedreich’s Ataxia Scientific Symposium draws patients and their families to USF from across the country to share their thoughts and perspectives about energizing the search for a cure.  The event will also be attended by supporters of the FARA Energy Ball gala, held on Saturday, Sept. 17.

For the first time this year, on Friday Sept. 16, USF will also host FARA’s 4th Biomarkers Meeting, which attracts international scientists to focus on measurable metabolic, neurological and cardiac indicators of Friedreich’s ataxia as well as endpoints for the disease.

FARA symposium 2016 graphic_600x400

Thursday’s “Understanding Energy For A Cure” symposium will be broadcast through the Ustream’s CureFA channel, with opportunities for visitors to join the conversation long distance. To watch the presentations in real-time, visit on Sept. 15 at 6 p.m. EST. A Ustream account/membership is not needed to join.

Friedreich’s ataxia is a rare, progressive neurodegenerative disease affecting children and adults for which there is currently no approved therapy. Symptoms include neurologic, cardiac, orthopedic, and endocrine dysfunction.

For more information or to RSVP, please visit, or call (813) 974-5909.
                                                                                           – About USF Health –

USF Health’s mission is to envision and implement the future of health. It is the partnership of the USF Health Morsani College of Medicine, the College of Nursing, the College of Public Health, the College of Pharmacy, the School of Physical Therapy and Rehabilitation Sciences, the Biomedical Sciences Graduate and Postdoctoral Programs, and the USF Physicians Group. The University of South Florida is a Top 50 research university in total research expenditures among both public and private institutions nationwide, according to the National Science Foundation. For more information, visit

                                                – About The Friedreich’s Ataxia Research Alliance (FARA) –

FARA is a non-profit organization dedicated to curing FA through research. FARA grants and activities provide support for basic and translational FA research, pharmaceutical/biotech drug development, clinical trials, and scientific conferences. For more information, go to

Media contact:
Anne DeLotto Baier, USF Health Communications or (813) 974-3303

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