UCF Associate Professor Cristina Fernandez-Valle landed two federal grants worth $2 million to research a disease that can leave children and young adults deaf, partially paralyzed or brain damaged.

Fernandez-Valle’s efforts to fight Neurofibromatosis type 2 (NF2), which affects one in 50,000 people, go beyond the laboratory. She regularly volunteers with a nonprofit organization dedicated to improving the health of children with the disease, and she also helped to establish two nationally affiliated clinics in Florida that bring together physicians with the best expertise.

“It’s a devastating disease,” Fernandez-Valle said. “It makes a big difference to my research and daily motivation to meet individuals who live every day with NF2. When the research results are discouraging, you think of your NF2 friends and how much they need you to succeed and you keep going.” Continue