TAMPA, Fla., Sept. 14, 2015 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The University of South Florida (USF) will bring together leading researchers and patients searching for a treatment for Friedreich's ataxia and related disorders at the seventh annual scientific symposium "Understanding Energy for A Cure." The symposium will be held 5 to 8:30 p.m., Thursday, Sept. 17,at the USF Marshall Student Center Ballroom, USF Cedar Circle, Tampa, FL 33620.

The symposium will be hosted by Dr. Judy Genshaft, President of USF, and Clifton Gooch, MD, professor and chair of the Department of Neurology in the USF Health Morsani College of Medicine. Theresa Zesiewicz, MD, professor of neurology and director of the USF Ataxia Research Center, will update attendees on the Friedreich's ataxia initiatives at USF, one of 10 sites in the international FARA Collaborative Clinical Research Network.

Featured speaker Sanjay Bidichandani, MBBS, PhD, professor of pediatrics and biochemistry and molecular biology at the University of Oklahoma College of Medicine and member of the FARA Board of Directors, will talk about the pipeline of investigational treatments for Friedreich's ataxia. He was part of the group that discovered the gene for Friedreich's ataxia and, over the last 15 years, his research has helped characterize the disease's genetic and epigenetic defect.

For the first time, the symposium will include a panel discussion with several biotechnology and pharmaceutical industry leaders about new clinical trials testing drugs and gene therapy for Friedreich's ataxia. The panelists include representatives from Agilis Biotherapeutics, LLC; Horizon Pharma, plc; Reata Pharmaceuticals Inc; and Retrotope, Inc. The companies collaborate with FARA and academic institutions to focus on research that will improve the quality and length of life for those diagnosed with Friedreich's ataxia and lead to treatments that eliminate symptoms.

To watch the presentations in real-time, visit: http://www.ustream.tv/channel/curefa on Sept. 17 at 6 p.m. EST. A Ustream account/membership is not needed to join.

For more information, please visit http://www.curefa.org/energyball, 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, and the USF Physicians Group. USF Health is an integral part of the University of South Florida, a high-impact, global research university dedicated to student success. www.health.usf.edu

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

FARA is a non-profit organization dedicated to curing FA through research. www.curefa.org.

Media contact:
Felicia DeRosa
FARA Program Director
(484) 879 6160
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