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  • Cure VCP Disease, Inc.

PRESS RELEASE: Cure VCP Disease, Inc. & Uplifting Athletes Present Gene Therapy Fellow Dr. Eleonora D’Ambrosio With $20,000 Research Grant

Collaboration Raises Awareness & Research Funding for Rare Diseases

(JAN. 11, 2024 – WARNER ROBINS, GA) – Uplifting Athletes, a nonprofit organization dedicated to serving the rare disease community, and Cure VCP Disease, Inc., a patient advocacy organization dedicated to finding a cure for VCP disease, announce that Dr. Eleonora D’Ambrosio, a Gene Therapy Fellow at Nationwide Children’s Hospital, will receive a $20,000 research grant as a member of Uplifting Athletes’ 2024 Young Investigator Draft Class.


Dr. D’Ambrosio is among a group of 10 researchers who will each receive an unrestricted grant for medical research at Uplifting Athletes’ Young Investigator Draft February 3, 2024 at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia.


Uplifting Athletes is a nonprofit organization that connects student-athletes across the country as well as professional athlete ambassadors with their local rare disease community to raise awareness and funds, and bring inspiration and hope to those impacted by rare diseases, which is approximately one in 10 Americans.


The Young Investigator Draft is inspired by the NFL Draft, but shifts the focus from the selection of potential talent on the football field to recognizing the next generation of promising young medical researchers in the rare disease space. It is one of several signature initiatives created by Uplifting Athletes to raise awareness and research funding for rare diseases, which affect approximately 30 million individuals in the United States.


This year’s Young Investigator Draft marks a significant milestone as Uplifting Athletes will cross over the 1 million dollar threshold of total grants awarded throughout the history of the program.


“The members of our 2024 Young Investigator Draft Class are adding tremendous potential to the rare disease community,” said Rob Long, Executive Director of Uplifting Athletes. “We are thrilled to celebrate these scientists with the same spirit and fanfare that elite athletes receive and the college and pro athletes who join us every year in this effort love sharing the stage with these deserving researchers who represent so much promise for the future.”


Grant submissions for the Young Investigator Draft are evaluated by an expert panel of scientific advisors prior to the selection of each year’s Draft Class. Every researcher is nominated by a patient advocacy organization (PAO) recognized by Uplifting Athletes as a priority partner, with grants equally co-funded by Uplifting Athletes and the nominating PAO. Cure VCP Disease, Inc. co-funded and nominated Dr. D’Ambrosio for the 2024 Draft Class.


Dr. Eleonora D’Ambrosio was born and raised in Italy where she attended medical school at Sapienza University in Rome. Following her graduation and move to the United States, Dr. D’Ambrosio began her research career in the laboratory of Dr. Sena-Esteves at the University of Massachusetts, followed by a neurology residency at the University of Massachusetts, and a Neuromuscular fellowship at Massachusetts General Brigham. Currently, she is pursuing a second fellowship in gene therapy at Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus, Ohio, where she is focusing on developing a CRISPR-gene editing strategy for Valosin Containing Protein (VCP) disease. In 2023, she became a co-investigator for Cure VCP Disease’s Natural History Study, building a strong collaboration with the organization through a shared commitment to advance gene therapies for rare diseases.


"I am thrilled to work with Cure VCP Disease and deeply grateful for their support of my research. The organization's commitment to advancing research while providing compassionate care for patients is truly inspirational! I look forward to our collaboration now and in the future."


The audience at the 2024 Young Investigator Draft will include student-athlete leaders from Uplifting Athletes’ collegiate chapters across the country, notable professional athletes, biopharmaceutical representatives, healthcare professionals, and those directly impacted by rare disease and their families. The Young Investigator Draft is family-friendly and VIP tickets include a special behind the scenes tour of Eagles stadium.


For more information or to purchase tickets for the Uplifting Athletes 2024 Young Investigator Draft, please visit


About Uplifting Athletes

Uplifting Athletes is a nonprofit organization founded in 2007 that harnesses the power of sport to build a community that invests in the lives of the more than 30 million people impacted by rare diseases in America. Since its inception, Uplifting Athletes has raised more than $9 million by engaging athletes in order to positively impact the rare disease community through driving action, awareness, and funding research. To learn more about Uplifting Athletes visit


About Cure VCP Disease, Inc.

Cure VCP Disease, Inc., is a patient advocacy organization founded in 2018 to drive the development of a cure for diseases caused by valosin-containing protein (VCP), including muscle disease, bone disease, and the neurodegenerative diseases ALS, FTD, Parkinson’s, and CMT. We provide global education and awareness of VCP diseases to doctors, researchers, investors, patients, caregivers and the general public; develop and maintain a global patient registry of VCP disease patients; and collaborate with other global organizations and entities that are promoting a cure for diseases with symptoms similar to VCP disease. Visit for more information.




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