About Our Research

About Our Research

The Beginning of Ataxia Research

The history of ataxia research within the National Ataxia Foundation began with Dr. John W. Schut, the brilliant physician and researcher whose determination to find the cause and cure for ataxia led to the formation of the Foundation in 1957. Dr. Schut did not know then that he had inherited the ataxia-causing gene when he started his ataxia research, but he was eventually challenged by the progressively debilitating symptoms of spinocerebellar ataxia as he struggled to continue his research and hoped that his dream to find a cure would not die.


His dream has not died! Now 60 years later, the National Ataxia Foundation is leading the fight to end ataxia and is a driving force behind breakthroughs to find treatments to stop the disease progression, restore function, and end ataxia forever. We have been and will continue to be relentless in achieving Dr. Schut’s dream.


We continue to fund the best, most relevant ataxia research, both in the U.S. and internationally, aimed at moving us closer to a world free of ataxia. This commitment has resulted in important progress that has contributed to an understanding of the disease mechanism, gene identification, development of rating scales, and translational research. Our global research efforts have increased the number of scientists working on ataxia, advancing new discoveries and treatments around the world. The National Ataxia Foundation will continue to be on the forefront of the fight to prevent, treat, and cure ataxia. You can join us in the fight by donating to research now.