Foundation for Mitochondrial Medicine


Foundation for Mitochondrial Medicine

SE Mitochondrial Medicine Symposium Highlights Ground-Breaking Research

Southeast Mitochondrial Medicine Symposium Highlights Ground-Breaking Research for Neurologic Diseases

In early April, The Foundation for Mitochondrial Medicine paired with the other leading mitochondrial disease research/educational organizations, the United Mitochondrial Disease Foundation (UMDF), to jointly sponsor the Southeast Regional Symposium on Mitochondrial Medicine in Birmingham, Ala. The symposium: “Understanding Mitochondrial Disease and Mitochondrial Dysfunction:  Opportunities and Impacts in the Clinic and Laboratory,” focused on mitochondrial disease and mitochondrial dysfunction, which are at the root of familiar diseases and conditions that affect individuals of all ages, from Autism to Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s, even cancer.

More than 100 physicians, clinicians and scientists attended the full-day CME session on Friday, April 7 for clinicians and practitioners. On Saturday, April 8, families and patients dealing with mitochondrial disease attended the free half-day educational program which focused on current therapies, day-to-day disease management and opportunities for clinical trials. The symposium showcased information on cutting-edge research developments in bioenergetics, including a non-invasive mitochondrial function blood test, being studied at the University of Alabama at Birmingham’s Mitochondrial Medicine Laboratory, in conjunction with Seahorse Bioscience/Agilent Technologies.

“FMM was delighted to partner with the UMDF for this educational program for both clinicians and families,” said Laura Stanley, Executive Director of FMM. “The scientists and physicians that presented during the clinical sessions were truly united in moving forward together towards a cure with collaborative efforts surrounding mitochondrial disease and mitochondrial dysfunction in their specialty areas. Programs, such as ours, give hope to families dealing with mitochondrial disease on a daily basis, and offer even greater hope to solving problems with a common cause for those with related diseases.”

Top experts in mitochondrial disease, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, Cancer, Autism and others presented clinical sessions in the CME on Friday, including:

  • Bruce H. Cohen, MD of Akron Children’s Hospital;–Mitochondrial Disease
  • Victor Darley-Usmar, PhD, of the University of Alabama at Birmingham;–Bioenergetics
  • David Ferrick, PhD—Agilent Technologies/Seahorse Bioscience
  • Matt Goldberg, PhD of the University of Alabama at Birmingham;–Parkinson’s
  • Shilpa Iyer, PhD, from University of Arkansas;–Leigh’s Syndrome
  • Amel Karaa, MD, Massachusetts General Hospital;–Mitochondrial Disease
  • Robin Morris, PhD, of Georgia State University;–Autism
  • Alex Sherman, PhD, of Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School–ALS
  • Diana Shineman of the Alzheimer’s Drug Discovery Foundation;–Alzheimer’s
  • Keshav Singh, PhD of University of Alabama at Birmingham—Cancer

During a lively lunchtime panel, biopharma companies Stealth Biotherapeutics, Anavex Pharma, Morley Research Consortium, and Bioelectron Corporation/Edison Pharma shared exciting opportunities for clinical trials in development to address mitochondrial disease and dysfunction.

The event’s evening keynote featured Andrew Deutscher, SVP for The Energy Project who shared an enlightening discussion centered on “Human Energy and Performance: Transforming the Way We Work and Live.”  Linking human energy to current challenges in the workplace, the keynote correlated the role of burnout in the workplace to mitochondrial dysfunction and how it impacts and contributes to chronic and life threatening diseases.

All presentations can be accessed on this link at:

The Symposium was a tremendous success and FMM looks forward to upcoming partnership opportunities with the UMDF.


Mitochondrial disease is an energy production problem. Mitochondria are responsible for creating more than 90% of the energy needed to sustain life and support growth. When mitochondria fail, less energy is produced causing cell injury or cell death in major organ systems, primarily brain, heart and muscle systems. 1 in 2,500 are affected by mitochondrial disease.  Adults, teenagers and children are all impacted and onset can be at any age. Every 30 minutes, a child is born who will develop a mitochondrial disease by age 10, although the actual number of children born with the disease is thought to be much higher.  Mitochondrial diseases have many causes and will need many cures.


The Foundation for Mitochondrial Medicine’s mission is to support the development of the most promising research and treatments for the many forms of mitochondrial disease.  Treatments for mitochondrial disease could impact cures for Autism, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, muscular dystrophy and more. For more information on FMM funded research such as functional MRI studies on cognitive fatigue and testing of new drug compounds, visit


Founded in 1996, the United Mitochondrial Disease Foundation (UMDF) works to promote research and education for the diagnosis, treatment and cure of mitochondrial diseases and to provide support for affected individuals and families. Since its inception, the UMDF has funded nearly $13 million in research, making it the leading non-governmental contributor of grants focused solely on mitochondrial disease. The UMDF, based in Pittsburgh, PA, is a national organization, represented around the world by thousands of members. For more information about mitochondrial disease or the UMDF, visit

Thought leaders in mitochondrial disease & science in Birmingham #SEmitosymposium

Thought leaders in mitochondrial disease, science and organizational leadership meet together in Birmingham April on April 7th  for the Mitochondrial Medicine Southeast Symposium. On April 8th, patient families and advocates come together for learning and resource sharing. FMM and UMDF are proud to partner together to provide this opportunity for learning and sharing.

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