Strength, Science & Stories of Inspiration at MIT to Help Muscular Dystrophy

Margarida Azevedo, MSc avatar

by Margarida Azevedo, MSc |

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Strength, Science & Stories of Inspiration 2014A group of investigators from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) recently joined forces with the Myotonic Dystrophy Foundation (MDF) and Parent Project Muscular Dystrophy (PPMD) to host the second annual “Strength, Science, & Stories of Inspiration” event, which took place last Friday, November 7 at the MIT Museum in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Gathering people from the neuromuscular community, the event aims to connect stakeholders in the area of Boston who are working on diseases such as muscular dystrophy.

Eric Wang, Sharif Bordbar and Albert Almada are all researchers at MIT, where they met and came to realize that all of their families suffered with the burden of muscular dystrophy in one way or another. What they also realized was that it was not so common for people from the muscular dystrophy community to meet in the way that they all did, and decided they wanted to do something to help stakeholders interested in muscular dystrophy meet and interact.

Therefore, in 2013, the three young investigators decided to invite patients, families, scientists, medical professionals, entrepreneurs, pharmaceutical leaders, venture capitalists, and non-profits to the first “Strength, Science, & Stories of Inspiration” event, as they thought the best way to connect them was through a networking event. “We are elated to be hosting our second annual event at MIT with MDF and PPMD, both leaders in muscular dystrophy research and advocacy,” said Eric Wang.

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In addition to improving communication among stakeholders, the event is also designed to foster the creation of new relationships and partnerships, in order to accelerate the creation and development of therapies for neuromuscular diseases. “We are thrilled to once again be part of such a novel event with a remarkable group of partners,” the Executive Director of the Myotonic Dystrophy Foundation, Molly White, stated about the event, which featured a series of speakers including patient associations, researchers, and industry groups that are taking action against muscle disease.

The PPMD’s Founding President and CEO, Pat Furlong also added that, “the story of these young researchers bringing together people from all aspects of muscle disease is truly remarkable. As a rare disease community, we are most successful when we collaborate and share ideas.” In addition to Wang, Bordbar, and Almada, Chris Anselmo, who is a researcher at Boston College, also joined this year’s organizing team.