About the Ataxia Research Fund

The Ataxia Research Fund is a 501(c)(3) charitable organization based in Denver and registered in the State of Colorado.

Its mission is to raise funds for distribution to institutions engaged in research into the various identified types of Spinocerebellar Ataxia.

Meet the Ataxia Research Fund team…


Sam Smith - Ataxia Research Fund Tamara Bishop - Ataxia Research Fund
Samuel Smith, PhD
Executive Director; Member of the Board

Dr. Smith is a career Marketing and Corporate Communications professional who has worked with a deep roster of Fortune and mid-market leaders through the years.

He found his career pursuits increasingly challenged, though, beginning in 2007. That’s when he began developing a range of symptoms, including vertigo and movement difficulties, that specialists at University of Colorado Health would eventually diagnose as Spinocerebellar Ataxia.

In late 2018 he was persuaded by friends and colleagues to apply his skills to the challenge of finding a cure for Ataxia. Along with a dedicated team of volunteers Smith launched the Ataxia Research Fund in January 2019.

Dr. Smith holds a BA from Wake Forest University, an MA from Iowa State University, and a PhD from the University of Colorado. He lives in the greater Denver area.

Tamara Bishop
Chief Financial Officer; Member of the Board

Compelled by Sam’s battle against Spinocerebellar Ataxia, Tami Bishop stepped up to be the Ataxia Research Fund’s Chief Financial Officer. Tami brings a strong friendship with Sam, deep passion for charitable work, a BS in accounting, an MBA, and 25+ years of experience in finance and accounting to the role.

She’s determined to help shine a light on Ataxia and raise money for research to find a cure.

When she’s not working on ARF projects, Tami volunteers at a local Denver hospital, teaches inner city kids to mountain bike, travels, snowboards, cooks, and walks dogs.