Quick facts about BAARC

  • The Bob Allison Ataxia Research Center (BAARC) at the University of Minnesota is a comprehensive program for basic science research, clinical studies, and education in the disease of the nervous system that causes ataxia and related disorders.
  • Currently as many as 150,000 Americans suffer from some form of ataxia—three times the number of individuals who suffer from Lou Gehrig’s disease (ALS).
  • Fifty percent of ataxias are hereditary. To date there is no known cure.
  • Bob Allison may be the most identifiable casualty of ataxia. Read his story.
  • In 1990, Bob Allison helped found the Bob Allison Ataxia Research Center at the University of Minnesota. Bob’s efforts were joined by his wife, Betty; sons Mark, Kirk, and Kyle; and former teammates Jim Kaat and Frank Quilici. This group founded BAARC, determined its mission and course, and both planned and implemented fundraising efforts, in cooperation with researchers at the University of Minnesota.
  • In 1993, Harry Orr, Ph.D., of the University of Minnesota and Huba Zoghbi, M.D., at the Baylor College of Medicine identified the gene (SCA1) responsible for a hereditary form of ataxia. They also discovered that the gene has a mutation consisting of an abnormal repetition of three-letter segments of the genetic code. They further discovered that this type of mutation is common to other inherited neurological disorders as well as some cancers.
  • Orr has genetically engineered a mouse model of ataxia to study how a specific gene produces a protein that kills brain cells.
  • Today, largely because of BAARC’s support, Orr’s renowned ataxia research team is making strides toward a gene therapy that could become the first-ever ataxia treatment.

Contact us

Sarah Janson
Development Officer

To support ataxia research

Give online or a send check with “Bob Allison Ataxia Research Center Fund” in the memo to:

University of Minnesota Foundation
PO Box 860266
Minneapolis, MN 55486-0266

For medical appointments

To make an appointment or for medical information, please visit the University of Minnesota Ataxia Center or call 612-626-6688.