Ataxia

Many of the ataxias are inherited, most commonly due to toxic proteins made by specific defective genes. Investigators in the Ataxia Research Program study different aspects of disease mechanisms in order to develop treatment strategies for what are now largely untreatable disorders. Three clinician-researchers within the department of Neurology form the core of ataxia research: Hank Paulson’s group studies proteotoxicity; Peter Todd’s group studies RNA mediated mechanisms of disease; and Vikram Shakkottai’s group uses electrophysiologic methods to study perturbations in neuronal function in ataxia. Margit Burmeister in the department of Human Genetics,collaborates with Drs. Todd, Paulson and Shakkottai using the latest approaches to identify novel disease causing ataxia genes. Three other investigators at the University of Michigan are dedicated to understanding gait disorders and speech disturbance, both of which are closely linked to ataxia. The University of the Michigan is now recognized by academic leaders across the country as a "go-to" place for ataxia care and research.