Name 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.
How did you become interested in FARA and FA research? After learning about its mission, its team, and its history, I was thrilled to have the opportunity to join FARA. I believe the decades of work that preceded my joining has enabled the FA community to move into clinical trials that may lead to meaningful treatments for people with FA. The relationships FARA has built with the biotech and pharmaceutical industries that are sponsoring these clinical trials allows us to learn as much as we possibly can from these trials, and improve on the first wave of potential treatments.
What do you see as your primary responsibility as the Chief Scientific Officer? Primarily I am here to help the rest of the team evaluate the scientific underpinnings of all the work that FARA does, with the goal of prioritizing resources on the best approaches as we continue to support the development of meaningful therapeutics.
What research topics or questions are you currently focused on? I am working across the scientific landscape. I have joined several of the working groups at FARA and now participate in review of grants, internal research programs, and high priority projects.
What do you hope to achieve or what excites you in FA research? I am very excited to see the very solid foundation FARA has created to enable clinical trials, including the natural history study, the focus on biomarker development and the commitment to develop and share a deep understanding of the genetics that underpin the disease and how the disease unfolds over time.
Have you met anyone living with FA? If so, please tell us about that interaction. Did it have an impact on your work? I have not met anyone in person yet, as I joined FARA during COVID. I have met several community members via email and Zoom calls. Yes, understanding FA from the people living with it has helped me to think about the most important things I should focus on. I look forward to continuing to seek out and receive input from people living with FA.
Please tell us what you see as FARA's key role in the research process. FARA represents skilled, knowledgeable, and dedicated professionals across a spectrum of scientific expertise that have as a primary role bringing together the disparate resources and enterprises needed to find and deliver effective treatments for FA. FARA has been, and I know will continue to be one of the most effective organizations focused on achieving this mission for a disease.
Tell us more about yourself (interests/ hobbies etc). I love spending time with my family, and am lucky to have one daughter living nearby. I have a second daughter living in TN. My husband and I are avid marathon runners; we have completed three marathons and one-half marathon so far this year, some of them as "virtual" races. I also enjoy riding my horse and training my dog.