What We've Done

Prevention and Diagnosis Strategy

Accomplishment Timeline

When the foundation was created in 2008, there was very little known about juvenile Batten disease. With no known treatment and no cure, we had a long and uphill battle ahead of us. Thanks to the continued support of the community and generous donors, the foundation has made great progress towards our goal of eradicating Batten disease. Here are just a few of our proudest accomplishments.

The foundation is established

The foundation is established by Charlotte and Craig Benson in August after their then five-year-old daughter, Christiane, is diagnosed with juvenile Batten disease.
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Genetic program discovered

World-renowned Italian researches Andrea Ballabio, MD, PhD, and Marco Sardiello, PhD, discover a genetic program that controls the functions of lysosomes, the cells recycling centers damaged in JNCL.
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Batten and Rare Disease Day named in Texas

Governor Rick Perry names February 28, 2009 Batten and Rare Disease Day in Texas.
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Missy and Wayne Herndon establish the Will Herndon Fund

Missy and Wayne Herndon establish the Will Herndon Fund of the Beyond Batten Disease Foundation to join forces in raising funds for a cure after their son, Will, is diagnosed with JNCL.
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Craig Benson joins BDSRA board

Craig Benson joins the board of Batten Disease Research and Support Association (BDSRA) to promote partnerships and further collaboration efforts with affected Batten families.
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The foundation hires Danielle M Kerkovich, PhD

The foundation hires Danielle M Kerkovich, PhD, a trained neurobiologist with extensive experience building research programs in the federal funding and nonprofit sectors. Dr. Kerkovich determins the “State of Science” in JNCL and identifies gaps in our understanding to design plans to drive therapeutically relevant discovery to its necessary conclusion: clinical trials in JNCL.
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Cherie and Jim Flores give largest gift in Batten disease history

Cherie and Jim Flores donate $2 million and BBDF contributes $500,000 to establish laboratories for Drs. Ballabio, Sardiello and their colleagues at the Jan and Dan Duncan Neurological Research Institute of Texas Children’s Hospital.
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BBDF co-sponsors a conference for drug discovery in Batten disease

The foundation, in partnership with the Alzheimer’s Drug Discovery Foundation, Batten Disease Support and Research Association, and NCL-Stiftung sponsors a conference focused exclusively on drug discovery in Batten disease. This meeting forges new collaborations between academic scientists and drug discovery experts who turn research findings into therapy.
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BBDF co-funds the National Center for Genome Resources

BBDF co-funds the National Center for Genome Resources to develop a rare disease genetic test panel to prevent and diagnose JNCL and hundreds of other devastating genetic illnesses in children.
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BBDF supports the Cell Biology of the Neuron Gordon Research Conference

BBDF supports the Cell Biology of the Neuron Gordon Research Conference (GRC), where leading investigators from around the globe discuss their latest work. BBDF’s support contributes to the critical evaluation of data on cells affected by juvenile Batten disease.
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BBDF hosts the inaugural Run to the Sun Relay

BBDF hosts the inaugural Run to the Sun Relay. The event was inspired by Lance Thompson, who continues to chair the relay annually. His dedication and support allow the event to be an ongoing fundraising success.
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The foundation delivers a grant to King’s College, London

The foundation delivers a grant to King’s College London researchers Drs Jonathan Cooper and Brenda Williams to explore glial brain cells as novel drug targets in JNCL.
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Clinical trial for carrier screening test completed

Dr. Kingsmore and colleagues at Children’s Mercy Hospital in Kansas City complete a clinical trial to validate the sequencing-based carrier screening test developed through BBDF funding. The number of childhood diseases the test can screen has grown from 448 to 620.
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Craig Benson is interviewed on NPR

Craig Benson, founder of BBDF and initiator of the recently published rare disease genetic test, is interviewed on nationally syndicated NPR, a network of 900 public radio stations. Listen to the Story »
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The foundation co-hosts its first scientific conference

Beyond Batten Disease Foundation hosts its first scientific conference on Feb. 9, 2011, in San Diego, California, in partnership with the Alzheimer’s Drug Discovery Foundation, the Batten Disease Support and Research Association, and NCL-Stiftung.
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BBDF co-hosts a symposium in Germany for doctoral students around the world studying JNCL

Beyond Batten Disease Foundation and NCL-Stiftung host a symposium in Hamburg, Germany, that brings together doctoral students studying juvenile Batten disease from around the globe.
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The DNA sequencing carrier screening test developed

The DNA sequencing carrier screening test developed by BBDF and the National Center for Genome Research is launched as an in-house diagnostic tool. Further development of the test as a commercial product will provide royalties to the foundation to fund more juvenile Batten disease research.
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The Will Herndon Fund Raises over $1 Million

The Will Herndon Fund and their community in The Woodlands, Texas raises over $1 million for Batten disease research.
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BBDF and BDSRA design state of the art merit review process

BBDF, in partnership with Batten Disease Support and Research Association, designs a state of the art scientific merit review process that will serve as a guide to get research discoveries translated into treatment as quickly as possible.
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The foundation hosts Date Night with Keith Urban

The foundation hosts Date Night with Keith Urban, bringing international exposure and raising over $800,000.
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Carrier screening test makes cover of TIME magazine

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Almost $1 million in grants announced to develop treatment and cure for Batten disease

Beyond Batten Disease Foundation and Batten Disease Support and Research Association (BDSRA), working together in close partnership with more than 20 other nonprofits around the world, announces grants totaling almost $1 million for research to develop treatments and a cure for Batten disease.
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BBDF announces collaboration to co-fund the creation of the Collaborative CNS Screening Initiative (CCSI)

Beyond Batten Disease Foundation, the Alzheimer’s Drug Discovery Foundation (ADDF), and the National Multiple Sclerosis Society announces a funding collaboration to support the creation of the Collaborative CNS Screening Initiative (CCSI), a central repository of chemical compounds that have shown significant Central Nervous System (CNS) activity.
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The foundation awards postdoctoral fellowship to Dr. Matthew Miscsenyi of Albert Einstein College of Medicine

Beyond Batten Disease Foundation awards a postdoctoral fellowship to Matthew Micsenyi, PhD of the Albert Einstein College of Medicine, New York.
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BBDF develops a milestone-driven timeline for clinical trials and FDA approval

Beyond Batten Disease Foundation develops a milestone-driven, "go/no-go" decision point timeline for clinical trials and FDA approval.
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BBDF co-supports to expansion of ADDF ACCESS

Beyond Batten Disease Foundation, together with Bright Focus, a foundation dedicated to the fight against brain disease and vision loss, supports the expansion of ADDF ACCESS.
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Preliminary data made possible by BBDF funding leads to additional grant support

Preliminary data made possible by BBDF funding leads to additional grant support from the Collaborative Research Fund of the Virginia and LE Simmons Family Foundation, two grants from the March of Dimes, and two grants from the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS) of the National Institutes of Health totaling over $3.2 million.
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The foundation's scientific merit and review processes lead to almost $2.1 million in funding

The foundation’s scientific merit and translational review processes lead to almost $2 million in collaborative research funding from Ireland, Great Britain, Germany, Finland and the US.
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BBDF collaborates with 11 drug discovery centers around the world

The foundation begins collaborating with 11 drug discovery centers around the world to share promising compounds with other neurodegenerative diseases. By doing this together, we are saving millions of dollars and accelerating the screening process. In addition, we are leveraging funds with major partners like the Alzheimer’s Association and the MS Society.
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Charter members join the BBDF Development Board

127 charter members join the BBDF Development Board for a two year term. These active volunteers will serve as ambassadors to help the foundation grow and accomplish its mission by extending the reach of BBDF’s community, and raising awareness and funds for research to find a cure for juvenile Batten disease.
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Luke and Rachel Batten Foundation donates $40,000

BBDF collaborates with the Luke and Rachel Batten Foundation (LRBF) to provide funding to support the continuation of the promising research of Marco Sardiello, Ph.D., at the Jan and Dan Neurological Research Institute at Texas Children’s Hospital. LRBF and BBDF worked together to initiate and fund the first phrase of this project in 2012.
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BBDF's 5 Year Report

BBDF commemorates its 5 year anniversary with The Jenyis Report.
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The foundation co-funds expansion of European Batten patient registry, DEM Child

Beyond Batten Disease Foundation, together with Biomarin Pharmaceutical, LLC, Batten Disease Support and Research Association, and Noah’s Hope supports expansion of the European Commission-funded project DEM-CHILD (Germany, UK, Finland, Italy, India).
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Beyond Batten makes the Innovator Spotlight from FasterCures

Beyond Batten makes the Innovator Spotlight from FasterCures. FasterCures, a center of the Milken Institute, is an “action tank” that works to speed up and improve the medical research system.
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BBDF awards a $1.7 million grant to the Jan and Dan Duncan Neurological Research Institute

Beyond Batten Disease Foundation awards a $1.7 million grant to the Jan and Dan Duncan Neurological Research Institute at Texas Children’s Hospital in Houston, Texas to explore whether the pharmacological activation of TFEB can be used to activate the lysosomal system and to promote cellular clearance in JNCL, which in turn will ameliorate disease progression.
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BBDF funds the creation of the largest and first, genetically diverse, collection of induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cells in juvenile Batten disease

Beyond Batten Disease Foundation is funding the creation of the largest and first, genetically diverse, collection of induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cells in juvenile Batten disease. IPS cells are produced by artificially “turning back the clock” of skin cells to a time when they were stem cell-like and capable of becoming any cell in the body. With a pharmaceutical nudge, the embryonic cells will be pushed to become, not the skin cells they once were, but brain cells.
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Beyond Batten Year in Review, by Christiane Benson

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BBDF selected for Innovator presentation at FasterCures Partnering for Cures

Beyond Batten Disease Foundation (BBDF) is selected for one of 30 Innovator presentations at the 6th annual FasterCures Partnering for Cures meeting held November 17, 2014 in New York City. Selected through a competitive proposal process, these partnerships are aimed at reducing the time and cost of getting new medical solutions from discovery to patients.
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BBDF partners with the New York Academy of Sciences to host

Beyond Batten Disease Foundation (BBDF), together with the New York Academy of Sciences (NYAS) hosted a “Drug Targeting the Lysosome Workshop” at the NYAS Conference Center at 7 World Trade Center.
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Youth Leadership Committee founded

Recognizing the young philanthropists in the community, BBDF founds the Youth Leadership Committee.
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BBDF partners with NCL-Stiftung to award $344,742 to research team of Dr. Marco Sardiello, Baylor College of Medicine, Houston

Beyond Batten Disease Foundation partners with NCL-Stiftung (Foundation) of Germany to award $344,742 to the research team of Dr. Marco Sardiello, Neurological Research Institute at Texas Children's Hospital and Baylor College of Medicine in Houston.
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BBDF co-sponsors the 14th International Conference on Neuronal Ceroid Lipofuscinoses (Batten Disease) & Patient Organisation meeting

Beyond Batten Disease Foundation, together with the NCL-Stiftung, BDSRA, Batten Disease Family Association of the UK and Bee for Batten, co-sponsors the 14th International Conference on Neuronal Ceroid Lipofuscinoses (Batten Disease) & Patient Organisation meeting.
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BBDF and Evotec sign agreement to validate emerging drug target and translate the findings across the

Beyond Batten Disease Foundation and Evotec AG have signed an agreement to validate emerging drug targets in juvenile Batten disease and translate promising findings across the drug discovery “Valley of Death” between fundamental discovery and applied medicine.
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BBDF selected as awardee for Platform for Engaging Everyone Responsibly

Genetic Alliance announced the fifteen awardees for Phase I of its initiative to create a ‘white label’ of the Platform for Engaging Everyone Responsibly (PEER). PEER enables individuals to share health information with researchers and each other on their own terms to advance an understanding of health and disease, and to accelerate the development of cohorts for clinical trials.
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5th and Final Run to the Sun raises over $322,000

The Fifth and Final Run to the Sun brought the event's total fundraising over the past 5 years to $1.6 million. Over 320 runners and 250 volunteers stayed up overnight for the run from Enchanted Rock to Austin.
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BBDF and the New York Academy of Sciences release a new podcast.

Beyond Batten Disease Foundation and the New York Academy of Sciences release a new podcast: “Curing Human Diseases: Targeting the Lysosome”
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BBDF and Brain Canada announce a new partnership to promote large-scale, high-quality research in juvenile Batten disease across Canadian institutions

Beyond Batten Disease Foundation and Brain Canada announce a new partnership to promote large-scale, high-quality research in juvenile Batten disease across Canadian institutions.
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BBDF renowned Italian researcher publishes groundbreaking research in top international scientific publication

Published by BBDF-funded investigators Andrea Ballabio, Diego Medina and Carmine Settembre, investigators show that lysosomal calcium signaling regulates cellular recycling processes shown to be dysfunctional in juvenile Batten disease.
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BBDF delivers a grant to Cardiff University to Dr. Emyr Lloyd-Evans to explore a new hypothesis that has implications for juvenile Batten (CLN3)

Beyond Batten Disease Foundation delivers a grant to Cardiff University to Dr. Emyr Lloyd-Evans to explore a new hypothesis that has implications for juvenile Batten (CLN3). Based upon findings in genetically-engineered juvenile Batten disease mice, investigators hypothesize that children and young adults exhibit toxic levels of Ca,2+ suggesting that CLN3 protein plays a role in Ca2+ regulation.
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Beyond Batten Disease Foundation delivers a grant to Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School funding Susan Cotman, PhD to determine the cellular location and function of the CLN3 protein

Beyond Batten Disease Foundation delivers a grant to Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School funding Susan Cotman, PhD to determine the cellular location and function of the CLN3 protein.
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Craig Benson, co-founder of Beyond Batten Disease Foundation, is appointed to the Jan and Dan Duncan Neurological Research Institute (NRI) International Advisory Board at Texas Children’s Hospital in Houston

Craig Benson, co-founder of Beyond Batten Disease Foundation, is appointed to the Jan and Dan Duncan Neurological Research Institute (NRI) International Advisory Board at Texas Children’s Hospital in Houston.
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Joseph Glyksys, MD, PhD, publishes, “Diazepam effect during early neonatal development correlates with neuronal Cl”

Joseph Glyksys, MD, PhD, recipient of the American Brain Foundation/Beyond Batten Disease Foundation Clinical Research Training Fellowship in juvenile Batten disease publishes, “Diazepam effect during early neonatal development correlates with neuronal Cl” in the Annals of Clinical and Translational Neurology. These results lay the groundwork for Dr. Glykys’ work understanding why seizures occur in juvenile Batten disease.
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BBDF partners with Evotec to execute a 24-month plan

BBDF partners with Evotec to execute a 24-month plan to validate two lead compounds and to prepare an FDA Investigational New Drug application for approval to conduct clinical trials. To advance Beyond Batten Disease Foundation-funded discoveries beyond publication and into treatments, BBDF contracts with Evotec™, a broad range target-identification to preclinical neuroscience and metabolic disease company, for $2.2 million to put discoveries through their paces.
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BBDF co-sponsors the 13th Annual National NCL Congress

Beyond Batten Disease Foundation co-sponsors the 13th annual National NCL Congress hosted on November 2, 2015 in Hamburg, Germany. This year’s focus is on imaging techniques and calcium regulation in juvenile Batten disease-- two timely areas of investigation in our quest to learn more about the CLN3 protein and to identify biomarkers marking disease progression and eventually, response to treatment.
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To date, BBDF-funded research has resulted in 18 publications, cited 1,836 times

Over 40% of all peer-reviewed publications in 28,000 science and technology journals are never cited beyond a single publication. To date, funding from Beyond Batten Disease Foundation has resulted in 18 publication cited 1,835 times as the basis for or in support of additional investigations into juvenile Batten and other diseases in laboratories around the world.
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BBDF hosts first Family Night at Schlitterbahn Waterpark

BBDF hosts first Family Night: splashin' for a passion at Schlitterbahn Waterpark. With over 400 in attendance, families enjoyed private access to the park while benefitting BBDF.
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First Annual

Jessica Curran hosts the first annual "A Cure in the Nick of Time" Run/Walk in Duxbury, MA, in honor of her brother, Nick, who is diagnosed with juvenile Batten disease. The inaugural run raised over $25,000, showing the immense community support for the Curran Family.
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Youth Leadership Committee grows to over 60 Austin-area students

In its second year, the Youth Leadership Committee includes over 60 students from 9 high schools.
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Beyond Batten Disease Foundation grantee, Andrea Ballabio, MD, is awarded the 2016 Louis-Jeantet Prize for Medicine

Dr. Andrea Ballabio, MD, Beyond Batten Disease Foundation grantee at the Jan and Dan Duncan Neurological Research Institute (NRI) at Texas Children’s Hospital in Houston Texas and founder and director of the Telethon Institute of Genetics and Medicine (TIGEM) in Naples Italy, is awarded the 2016 Louis-Jeantet Prize for Medicine. Established in Geneva, Switzerland. Read more here.
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Hugs for Hudson and BBDF Join Forces

For Immediate Release Contact: Mary Beth Kiser - 512-275-2600 - mbkiser@beyondbatten.org Amy Phill...
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Austin BE First Party featured in Austin 360!

Beyond Batten. First, there’s the house. None other like it in Austin. Dimensional Fund head Da...
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BBDF Research Featured in Houston Chronicle

Six years ago, doctors told Missy and Wayne Herndon their 6-year-old son had a rare genetic disorder...
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Beyond Batten Disease Foundation, Noah’s Hope, Hope 4 Bridget and Batten Disease Research and Support Association Partner to Support the World’s Largest and most Comprehensive Batten Patient Registry

For Immediate Release Contact: Angela Hale Red Media Group Beyond Batten Disease Foundation, ...
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Introducing the BE Project

Beyond Batten Disease Foundation is proud to introduce the BE Project! The BE Project is a 24 month,...
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Believe! The 2015-2016 Annual Report

It's HERE! Click to see the 2015/2016 Annual Report....
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Battling Batten Disease: Baton Rouge Parent's Magazine

Published November 30, 2016 By Madeline Rathle Christiane Benson, 14, loves snow skiing, walking...
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Beyond Batten Disease Foundation Announces New Funding for Metabolomics to Drive Biomarker Discovery in juvenile Batten disease

Beyond Batten Disease Foundation Announces New Funding for Metabolomics to Drive Biomarker Discovery...
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BBDF Welcomes Lauren Trice as Director of The Will Herndon Research Fund

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Contact: Missy Herndon Founder, The Will Herndon Research Fund hope@will...
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BBDF Funded Research Featured in Nature Communications

BBDF is very proud of the research we have funded over the last 8 years.  We are especially honored...
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