The Martha Olson-Fernandez Foundation Philanthropic Investment Portfolio is comprised of two specific research categories: basic science and potential therapies. Thank you to our donors for making this possible.

Initial Donation to the Forbes Norris MDA/ALS Research and Treatment Center

The first $100,000.00 the Martha Olson-Fernandez Foundation raised was donated to The Forbes Norris MDA/ALS Center in San Francisco on September 2, 2014 in fulfillment of Martha’s wish to fund research until a cure is found. Martha participated in clinical trials for NP001 at the center from 2011-2012. The Forbes Norris Center is an example of an interdisciplinary ALS center which is key to ALS patient comfort. There are now multiple interdisciplinary centers in CA that help patients get all the information and medical attention they need in one location. 

(Pictured above from left to right: Dallas Forshew, Dr. Katz, Bob Osborn, Mrs. Dee Norris Dr. Miller)


What is the ALS Research Grant Sponsorship?

After the 2018 Martha Olson-Fernandez Foundation Golf Tournament raised an incredible $125,000.00, the MOFF directors recognized an opportunity. The opportunity was to create a $10,000.00 ALS Research Grant Sponsorship. This sponsorship would pair a specific donor with an ALS research project. The ALS research project will be selected prior to the October golf tournament each year. MOFF is very excited to see this sponsorship spur ALS therapy development.


Lab Details

ALS Research Project

ALS Research Grant Sponsor


USC Ichida Lab

PIKFYVE kinase inhibitor antisense oligonucleotide ALS therapy

Larry Fernandez Family

Thank you to The Larry Fernandez Family, for being the ALS Research Grant Sponsor at the 2019 MOFF Golf Tournament!! This was the first year the ALS Research Grant Sponsorship was implemented. We are very excited to see what happens next year.

Researcher Commentary

 Dr. Justin Ichida at the USC Lab for Stem Cell Research (2019):

“Over the past 10 years, researchers have learned that ALS has many different genetic causes. Therefore, one reason that therapeutic development for ALS has been difficult is because many therapeutics may work well for a small number of patients, but not for most patients. It has been difficult to identify therapeutics that work for most patients because the genetic causes for most cases are not known. To enable the discovery of therapeutics that can slow or reverse neurodegeneration in most ALS patients, we developed a new technology that allows the production of motor nerve cells from blood. In this approach, the genetics of each ALS patient is maintained in the motor nerve cells derived from him/her. Using these cells in a dish, we tested all approved FDA drugs and thousands of other drug-like chemicals to find those that show the greatest ability to prevent the degeneration of motor nerve cells from a diverse collection of ALS patients. We identified rare drug-like chemicals that showed much better efficacy than riluzole or Radicava, and slow degeneration of most patients’ motor nerve cells. We are currently developing one of the drug-like chemicals for clinical testing, and any donations from the Martha Olson-Fernandez Foundations will help to accelerate these efforts.”

Collaborative Research Efforts With ALS TDI

The Martha Olson-Fernandez Foundation donates money each year to fund specific research efforts at the ALS Therapy Development Institute (ALS TDI) in Cambridge, Massachusetts.


ALS TDI is driven by a single mission — to discover and develop treatments for ALS. It is the world’s first and largest nonprofit biotech focused 100 percent on ALS research. Led by people with ALS and drug development experts, it is funded by a global network of supporters unified to ending ALS.

Year Amount Purpose
2016 $20,000 C9orF72 research
2017 $25,000 AT-1501 development
2018 $25,000 Biomarker database collection (CSF and tissue sample library)


$25,000 ALS animal model development
2020 $10,000 Profilin 1 mouse model development
USC School of Medicine Logo

(From left to right) Scientists Gabriel, Dr. Justin Ichida, and Manuel posing with the MOFF check in their stem cell lab at USC.

Companies Involved In ALS Research & Therapy Development