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Featured Scientists

Every few months, FARA will introduce one of our researchers to you.

Feature articles include their area of research, the focus of their work and how they are helping us to achieve our goal- an effective therapy, and eventually a cure for FA.


 

Arnulf H. Koeppen, M.D.

ArnulfName: Arnulf H. Koeppen, M.D

Where do you work? VA Medical Center, Albany NY, and Albany Medical College

How long have you been working on FA and who was the first fellow FA researcher you met? 40 years. Dr. Massimo Pandalfo

What got you interested in FA research? The complex clinical and pathological phenotype.

What question or challenge were you setting out to address when you started this work? The pathological process in FA.

What research topics or questions are you currently focused on? Proteins of the nervous system in FA.

Dr. Barbara Tate

Barbara TateName Barbara Tate

Title Chief Scientific Officer

Tell us a little about your background. I came to FARA from the venture world, where I was part of a mission-focused venture fund developing therapeutics for neurological diseases. I have previous experience in company creation and biotech startups, as well as large pharma drug discovery experience. I also spent time in academia. I have a Ph.D. in biology and lots of experience in neuroscience.

Dr. Hélène Puccio

HeleneName: Hélène Puccio

Where do you work? Since 1998, I have been working at the IGBMC, an academic institution right outside of Strasbourg, in the east region of France. I am currently moving my laboratory to a new institute, l'Institut Neuromyogène (INMG) located in Lyon, south of France.

How long have you been working on FA and who was the first fellow FA researcher you met? I have been working on FA since 1998 when I started as a postdoctoral fellow in Michel Koenig's laboratory at the IGBMC. In 2001, I got a permanent governmental research position through INSERM with an FA based project and was able to build my own team. Michel Koenig was the first fellow I met working on FA in 1992 (before the identification of the gene). He was working with his team, and in collaboration with Massimo Pandolfo, on positional cloning (that is trying to identify the gene responsible for FA). At that time, I was a Master's student at the University of Strasbourg, working in Dr. Jean-Louis Mandel team on Adrenoleukodystrophy.

Jane Larkindale

Jane LarkindaleName: Jane Larkindale

Where do you work? I work for the Critical Path Institute, a nonprofit organization that works to develop tools to accelerate drug development and works towards regulatory acceptance of those tools (i.e., getting FDA, EMA and other worldwide regulatory authorities to accept them). We are based in Tucson, Arizona.

How long have you been working on FA and who was the first fellow FA researcher you met? I have been working on FA for about 12 years now, including time at FARA and at MDA, and now at C-Path. The first FA researcher I met was actually even earlier when a woman started in my lab and gave a talk about her previous work as a post-doc in a lab at the Mayo Clinic working on FA. Given I was working in a lab that focused on plant biochemistry, this is quite a coincidence! Her talk was really interesting, but it became much more interesting a couple of months later when I started looking at a job at MDA, and I realized FA was one of the diseases that MDA covered.

Sanjay Bidichandani

SanjayName: Sanjay Bidichandani

Where do you work? I work at the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center in Oklahoma City, where I am the head of Pediatric Genetics and I run a research lab that is entirely focused on FA.

How long have you been working on FA and who was the first fellow FA researcher you met? I have been working on FA for the past 25 years. The first FA researcher I met was Dr. Massimo Pandolfo when I was a postdoctoral fellow, and he was an Assistant Professor at the Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, Texas. At the time, Dr. Pandolfo was leading an effort to identify the gene for FA. I was fortunate to work with him and contribute to the discovery effort.

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