The CMT Research Foundation Adds Erich Fasnacht as Chief Operating Officer and Keith Fargo as Chief Scientific Officer
Reinforces CMTRF’s Reputation as Preeminent Experts in CMT Research
ATLANTA (August 17, 2020) The CMT Research Foundation (CMTRF), a nonprofit focused solely on delivering treatments and cures for Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease during our lifetime, today announced that it has hired Erich Fasnacht to be its first chief operating officer and Keith N. Fargo, Ph.D., as its new chief scientific officer. Dr. Fargo replaces Grace Pavlath who recently left to work in gene therapy.
Charcot-Marie-Tooth is a genetic disease involving the peripheral nerves that branch out from the brain and spinal cord to other parts of the body, including the arms, hands, legs and feet. Patients suffer from progressive muscle weakness and deterioration, making walking, running and balance a challenge. CMT affects 1 in 2,500 people (more than those with ALS or cystic fibrosis), including 150,000 Americans and nearly three million people worldwide.
“At a moment in time when all nonprofits are suffering from the economic downturn, CMTRF is expanding efforts and moving full speed ahead to find treatments for CMT,” says Patrick Livney, co-founder and chairman of CMTRF’s Board of Directors. “Erich is a nonprofit veteran with 25 years of professional experience managing annual budgets up to $35 million. Keith has spent nearly 25 years in medical research, including clinical trials, academia and the nonprofit sector. They are valuable additions to what is already the best team in CMT research.”
Meet Erich Fasnacht, Chief Operating Officer
Mr. Fasnacht will oversee development activities, including fundraising strategy, donor cultivation and stewardship, corporate and foundation philanthropy, marketing and events, and will manage the overall finances of the research foundation.
Before joining CMTRF, Mr. Fasnacht was in leadership roles with both the Multiple Sclerosis Association of America and the ALS Association. From 2008 to 2015, Mr. Fasnacht founded and led a strategy and marketing consultancy working directly with boards, CEOs and presidents of national and regional nonprofit organizations. Earlier in his career, Mr. Fasnacht held positions of increasing responsibility with CARE-USA concluding with director of direct marketing. He began his career in marketing for a number of major corporations, such as BELLSOUTH and Cigna Corporation.
Mr. Fasnacht holds a bachelor’s degree in economics from Drexel University and a master’s in business administration (MBA) from the Goizueta Business School at Emory University. Fluent in Spanish, he was named one of the Most Influential and Effective Fundraisers nationally by the Nonprofit Times in 2009.
“The CMT Research Foundation is planning to expand into new exciting areas of research. In a short time, the Foundation has become the preeminent organization focused on cutting-edge science in CMT,” says Mr. Fasnacht. “It is a tremendous honor to join the team, and I am excited to help accelerate the pace of much-needed progress.”
Meet Keith Fargo, Ph.D., Chief Scientific Officer
Dr. Fargo will oversee the CMTRF’s research program, including managing currently funded research projects and exploring new projects that seek creative and unconventional ways to advance CMT drug development. Dr. Fargo comes to the CMTRF from the Alzheimer’s Association where he served as the director of scientific programs and outreach. Before that, he was a research professor at Loyola University Chicago’s Stritch School of Medicine in the Department of Molecular Pharmacology and Therapeutics, and a health research scientist studying peripheral nerve biology at the Edward Hines Jr. VA Hospital in the Rehabilitation Research & Development Service.
Dr. Fargo earned his bachelor’s in behavioral science from Indiana University East, where he was recognized with the Distinguished Alumni Award, and holds his Ph.D. in neuroscience from Indiana University Bloomington, where he received the Irving J. Saltzman Award for Outstanding Graduate Achievement.
“It is unacceptable that there are no effective treatments or cures for CMT,” says Dr. Fargo. “We know the answers will come through biomedical research, and I look forward to working with the medical, pharmaceutical and academic communities to help speed progress toward ending CMT for future generations.”
The CMT Research Foundation is a nonprofit dedicated to delivering treatments and cures for CMT during our lifetime. We invest in research exclusively focused on drug development, pursue creative and unconventional strategies to advance scientific discovery, and partner with leading experts and patients to speed urgently needed answers to families. Learn more and join us to end CMT at cmtrf.org.
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