Bob Allison Ataxia Research Center

The Bob Allison Ataxia Research Center (BAARC) at the University of Minnesota supports award-winning clinicians and researchers searching for viable treatments for ataxia.

What is ataxia?

Ataxia is a brain disease of the cerebellum (along with its connections with other parts of the brain and spinal cord).

Ataxia is the broad description of a perplexing, sometimes fatal, condition that robs its victims of their ability to coordinate movement, the critical work of the cerebellum. Walking, talking, holding objects, eye contact, even swallowing become monumental and, eventually, insurmountable tasks. Cerebellar disease does not produce ataxia by making muscles weak, but rather by destroying muscle coordination and by making it difficult, and eventually impossible, to move any part of the body accurately.

Ataxia affects at least 150,000 Americans—three times the number of individuals affected by Lou Gehrig’s disease (ALS).

Who is at risk?

There is currently no prevention or cure for the most prevalent forms of ataxia. There are several different types of ataxia. One-third of ataxias acquired after the age of 20 are hereditary. Ataxia strikes people from all walks of life. For some it appears as early as infancy. Certain forms develop during the adolescent years. Other forms of ataxia may suddenly affect individuals during the prime of life.

BAARC Board of Directors

The Bob Allison Ataxia Research Center (BAARC) Board of Directors is an advisory board; BAARC is an affiliate of the University of Minnesota Foundation and is subject to its overall authority.


Mark Allison, Chair
Bill Rice, Vice Chair/Treasurer
Patrick Bradley, Secretary


Khalaf Bushara, M.D.
Jerrold Vitek, M.D.


Harry T. Orr, Ph.D.


Kirk Allison
Kyle Allison


Elizabeth Allison Kaplan
Patrick J. Bradley
Kevin Burkart
Jennifer Crowder
Todd Frigstad
Christopher M. Gomez, M.D., Ph.D.
Bill Gray
Ryan Green
Jeff Jarnes
Brian Kraft
John Marcotte
David Plimpton


Tracy Ketchem
Abigail Loyd


Contact us

For medical information

For medical information or patient appointments, please contact the University of Minnesota Ataxia Center at 612-626-6688.

For information on how you can support ataxia research

Bob Allison Ataxia Research Center
200 Oak Street SE, Suite 300
Minneapolis, MN 55455-2030
Toll free: 1-800-922-1663
Fax: 612-625-5673

Tracy B. Ketchem
Director of Development, Neurosciences