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Muscular Dystrophy Association Virtual Conference to Feature Latest Advances in Neuromuscular Therapy and Clinical Care

More Than 1,200 Attendees and 100 Speakers Are Expected to Participate in 2021 MDA Virtual Clinical and Scientific Conference, March 15-18

New York, NY -- March 8, 2021 — The Muscular Dystrophy Association (MDA) announced today the schedule for the 2021 MDA Virtual Clinical and Scientific Conference, which will be held March 15-18. More than 1,200 neuromuscular clinicians and researchers from throughout the United States are expected to gather virtually to hear from more than 100 presenters on the latest clinical care and research advances for more than 40 neuromuscular diseases such as Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD), amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) and spinal muscular atrophy (SMA).

“MDA is the one organization that can bring together leading scientists from academia and industry, as well as clinicians who are working in the field, to learn the latest developments that will improve the lives of members of the neuromuscular community,” said MDA’s president & CEO, Donald S. Wood, PhD. “Our conference is the most comprehensive neuromuscular disease meeting in the U.S., attended by the most influential researchers, health care professionals and decision makers.”

Dr. Wood will kick off the conference with a keynote address on the promise of gene therapy for neuromuscular diseases and MDA’s role in supporting this research—present, past, and future.

Muscular Dystrophy Association Virtual Conference to Feature Latest Advances in Neuromuscular Therapy and Clinical Care
Muscular Dystrophy Association Virtual Conference to Feature Latest Advances in Neuromuscular Therapy and Clinical Care

The conference will feature 29 clinical and scientific sessions, each with multiple renowned experts as presenters, as well as poster sessions each day that will highlight basic, translational, and clinical research. The entire fourth day will be devoted to oral presentations from selected abstracts submitted by scientific and clinical researchers.

“This is a time of great promise and rapid advances in neuromuscular research and treatment, and our conference has become a prime destination for academic researchers, pharmaceutical and biotech companies to report on their latest clinical trial findings,” said Sharon Hesterlee, PhD, executive vice president & chief research officer for MDA. “The MDA conference is also an important venue for sharing insights from preclinical studies.”

The conference will include scheduled live-broadcast sessions, on-demand videos, and virtual networking sessions. Ten translational and preclinical research sessions will be held, as will 10 clinical sessions that provide CME credits. Dozens of virtual exhibits will be available for attendees to visit throughout the conference.

Among the session highlights are:

  • “Impact of COVID on Neuromuscular Disease Care” – Chair: Nicholas Johnson, MD, MS-CI, Virginia Commonwealth University
  • “Telehealth in Neuromuscular Disease Care” — Chair: Mario Saporta, MD, PhD, MDSA, FAAN, Associate Professor of Neurology and Human Genetics and Director, CMT Center of Excellence, Neuromuscular Division, University of Miami Miller School of Medicine
  • “Therapeutic Considerations for Dominant Neuromuscular Diseases” — Chair: Beth Barton, PhD, Applied Physiology & Kinesiology and Acting Associate Dean for Faculty & Staff Affairs, University of Florida
  • “Clinical Trials in the Age of COVID-19” — Chair: Jeffrey Statland, MD, PhD, Assistant Professor of Neurology and Director, MDA Care Center, University of Kansas Medical Center
  • “New Biomarkers in Neuromuscular Disease Research” — Chair: Elizabeth McNally, MD, PhD, Director Center for Genetic Medicine and Elizabeth J. Ward Professor of Genetic Medicine, Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine
  • “MOVR and Real World Evidence” — Chair: Rayne Rodgers, MPH, Vice President and Executive Director of MOVR, Muscular Dystrophy Association
  • “Ethical Considerations in Gene Therapy Trials” — Chair: Kevin Flanigan, MD, Attending Neurologist at Nationwide Children’s and Robert F. and Edgar T. Wolfe Foundation Endowed Chair in Neuromuscular Research and Professor of Pediatrics and Neurology, The Ohio State University College of Medicine

For the conference agenda, click here. Research abstracts are available on the conference website. Oral presentations of select abstracts will take place March 18.

Journalists wishing to attend the conference should send an email, including their name, media affiliation and contact information to:

About the Muscular Dystrophy Association

For 70 years, the Muscular Dystrophy Association (MDA) has been committed to transforming the lives of people living with muscular dystrophy, ALS, and related neuromuscular diseases. We do this through innovations in science and innovations in care. As the largest source of funding for neuromuscular disease research outside of the federal government, MDA has committed more than $1 billion since our inception to accelerate the discovery of therapies and cures. Research we have supported is directly linked to life-changing therapies across multiple neuromuscular diseases. MDA's MOVR is the first and only data hub that aggregates clinical, genetic, and patient-reported data for multiple neuromuscular diseases to improve health outcomes and accelerate drug development. MDA supports the largest network of multidisciplinary clinics providing best-in-class care at more than 150 of the nation's top medical institutions. Our Resource Center serves the community with one-on-one specialized support, and we offer educational conferences, events, and materials for families and healthcare providers. MDA Advocacy supports equal access for our community, and each year thousands of children and young adults learn vital life skills and gain independence at summer camp and through recreational programs, at no cost to families. During the COVID-19 pandemic, MDA continues to produce virtual events and programming to support our community when in-person events and activities are not possible. MDA’s COVID-19 guidelines and virtual events are posted at For more information, visit