How It Works

UMDF earmarks the accelerators prize
($50,000 in 2019)

Grant applications submitted by promising post-doctoral fellows

Applications reviewed and finalists selected by UMDF Scientific and Medical Advisory Board

3-5 finalists prepare “fast pitches” to be broadcast live at UMDF Symposium

Each accelerator casts one vote for the project they feel most passionate about

Prize awarded to winner

Right Now

Right now… a researcher in a lab believes her theory could cure mitochondrial myopathy.

Right now… a scientist believes his innovation may bring about an end to Leigh’s Syndrome.

Right now… people affected by mitochondrial disease need energy…and YOUR energy can help….but we need to go fast.

It could be an innovation that will find the cause of mitochondrial disease.  Or, it may be the research that develops  an effective treatment.  Now is the time to accelerate that science from bench to bedside. Our patients and families are counting on your energy to help UMDF move faster toward a cure.


Your gift = Your vote

Our accelerators are engaged philanthropists.  Through our annual livestream-pitch event, our members have the opportunity to cast their vote for the project they feel the most passionate about, and ultimately see the difference their contribution makes.

In addition to the opportunity to jumpstart discovery for the next generation of mitochondrial disease researchers, our accelerators receive:

  • Name listing on
  • Name listing in UMDF annual impact report
  • Name recognition at the annual Symposium
  • accelerators lapel pin

  • accelerators social media badge

Join Us

Your involvement matters

Innovation, speed and agility are key to finding effective treatments for mitochondrial disease. Your support is the beginning. Accelerating the research could lead to a cure.

Become an accelerator

When you give $500 or more (cumulatively in a year) you unlock your accelerators benefits! No matter how you give – through a special event, to a designated fund or as a tribute to a patient – when you reach the accelerators level you join a group of engaged philanthropists. You will get a first-hand look at the promising ideas being developed in mitochondrial disease research.

Join Us

Our Mission

To promote research and education for the
diagnosis, treatment and cure of mitochondrial disorders
and to provide support to affected individuals and families.

2019 accelerators Prize Winner

Dr. Gao was awarded a $50,000 prize for her project entitled Identification of Novel Compounds to Treat Rare Mitochondrial Diseases. The goal of this research project is to identify novel compounds that increase the amount of mitochondria and/or activate the identified pathway in lab-based cell models. The compounds that work best in the cell models will be subsequently tested in animal models of mitochondrial disease. Future work with top compound candidates have the potential to pave the way towards the development of novel drugs targeting rare mitochondrial diseases.

2019 accelerators Finalists

Two generous donor families stepped up to underwrite the runners-up. Inspired by these young scientists and their projects presented during the Big Pitch, Sherri and Alan Breslow, through the Logan Sloane Aronson Research Fund, and Dan Wright, through the Wright Family Foundation, committed to providing each runner up with a $50,000 research award. Dr. Gao’s prize was increased to $75,000.

Funding the Next Generation

Innovative treatments and cures are on the horizon.
We’re jumpstarting their discoveries – right now…

With your generous support, UMDF continues
our promise of accelerating the work of scientists
who are working fast toward a cure.

Ready To Join Us?

Become an Accelerator