Cultivating the Best Science is Our Best Hope

Our Roadmap to a Cure

The Roadmap to a Cure initiative guides the UMDF mission and focuses on three pillars: Diagnosis, Therapeutic Development and Patient Care. We aim to fast-track science, fund infrastructure and push progress across each pillar.

“UMDF is the largest funder of mitochondrial research outside of the federal government.  In the last few years, discovery has streamlined the diagnosis for many and allowed designer therapies to be developed for several rare diseases that may be translatable to mitochondrial diseases.  The Roadmap to a Cure provides direction for obtaining a diagnosis, developing care pathways for patients and finding therapies to alleviate symptoms.”


Dr. Bruce H. Cohen

Chair, UMDF Scientific & Medical Advisory Board


The Challenge

The pathway to a mitochondrial disease diagnosis is not standardized.

Our Commitment

Create a better diagnostic scenario to identify and characterize mitochondrial disease patients based on health information, genetic testing and bio samples.

Our Strategy

  • Increasing Awareness
  • Improving Diagnoses
  • Developing Tools to Measure Mitochondrial Health/Disease


The Challenge

There is an absence of well-controlled studies within the field and no licensed therapies for mitochondrial disease in the United States.

Our Commitment

Coordinate stakeholders in academia, government and the drug development industry to address validated outcome measures, patient-report outcomes and regulatory guidance to gain treatments more efficiently and quickly.

Our Strategy

  • Facilitating Drug Development
  • Identifying and Funding Gaps from Basic Science to Clinical Trials


The Challenge

Clinical care for mitochondrial disease patients is often inconsistent, and insurance reimbursement for rare disease care is challenging.

Our Commitment

Leverage the national focus on personalized medicine to develop programs and tools that will advance, optimize and lead to standards of patient care for the mitochondrial disease community. 

Our Strategy

  • Personalized Medicine
  • Patient/Clinical Education
  • Developing Coordinated Care Models
  • Establishing Centers of Excellence

Clinical Trial Opportunities for Patients

Our best hope for finding treatments and cures is clinical trials. For research studies to be effective, a large amount of data from a large pool of participants is essential. We urge patients to join the fight and engage in clinical trials to help make a difference for future generations.

Stay up-to-date on the latest news and updates on clinical trials. Visit the UMDF Clinical Trials page.

Learn More About UMDF’s

Research Grant Program

The UMDF Research Grant Program was established in 1996 at a time when no other organization existed to fund mitochondrial disease research. Today, UMDF is the largest, non-governmental funder of basic and translational research designed to bring the best science from the bench to bedside.

Annual UMDF Grant Prize Winners

The UMDF Research Grant Program proudly funds clinicians at every stage of their professional career to cultivate the most promising science.  All submitted research projects are peer reviewed by the top global scientific and medical experts in the mitochondrial research field.

2021 accelerators Big Pitch Winner

Lia Mayorga, MD, PhD
IHEM, Mendoza, Argentina

Project: Modulation of the nuclear epigenome as a new strategy for mitochondrial DNA heteroplasmy shift.

Award: $50,000

Interested in applying for a UMDF Research Grant?   

Your Dollars at Work

Your donations power our ability to support science dedicated to mitochondrial disease research.

million in grants awarded

million stimulated in government grant follow on funding

labs funded and launched

million dedicated to Leigh Syndrome Roadmap Initiative

Making an Impact in Drug Development

UMDF recognizes industry as an essential partner in developing treatments and cures for mitochondrial disease.

Industry Advisory Council

Our Industry Advisory Council (IAC) is organized to optimize collaboration with global pharmaceutical companies, diagnostic centers, supplement manufacturers and assisted device services to help move our mission forward.


Facilitating Drug Development

There is a need to generate more urgency within the drug industry to invest and develop therapeutic treatments focused on mitochondrial disease.


A National Organization with a

Global Reach

No single organization can take on mitochondrial disease alone. UMDF has gathered the leading mitochondrial disease patient advocacy groups from around the globe to form and fund The Leigh Syndrome International Consortium. This Roadmap to a Cure project showcases our active dedication to find the best science wherever it is located in the world.


UMDF interacts with multiple organizations and is the nucleus of many infrastructure projects dedicated to mitochondrial disease clinical research and patient care. UMDF is collaborating with key stakeholders to create a single hub essential for sharing and dispersing critical information to benefit the entire mitochondrial disease community.

UMDF stewards the Mitochondrial Disease Community Registry, a collection of patient health data and symptoms to study diagnosis.

UMDF is an executive committee member of the North American Mitochondrial Disease Consortium, a clinical research network funded by NIH.

UMDF plays an active role and co-funds the Mitochondrial Care Network to optimize clinical care.

UMDF collaborates with the Mitochondrial Disease Sequence Data Resource Consortium, a partnership with Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia to consolidate research data.

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