Imagine & Believe

Connection, Collaboration, and Community

On Thursday, November 10, 2022, the NTSAD Community gathered at the Royal Sonesta in Boston for the first in-person Imagine & Believe event in three years to commemorate NTSAD’s 65th Anniversary. At the event, which raised funds for family services, programs, and research, NTSAD honored research pioneer Guangping Gao, PhD, for revitalizing gene therapy and potential treatments for rare diseases, including his research toward treatments for Canavan Disease.

Guangping Gao, PhD

2022 NTSAD Imagine & Believe Honoree

Guangping Gao, PhD, Was Honored at the 65th Anniversary Imagine & Believe Event on November 10, 2022

Dr. Guangping Gao is the Co-Director, Li Weibo Institute for Rare Diseases Research, Director, Horae Gene Therapy Center and Viral Vector Core, Professor of Microbiology and Physiological Systems, Penelope Booth Rockwell Professor in Biomedical Research, University of Massachusetts Medical School. Dr. Gao started studying Canavan disease in 1989 and discovered the gene and its mutations in 1993. He discovered the vector (AAV9) for efficient delivering the therapeutic gene to the brain via intravenous injection in 2004 and developed an optimized effective Canavan gene therapy in 2017. His work was licensed by Aspa Therapeutics where clinical trials have begun.

His dedication and compassion are unparalleled as many families can attest. NTSAD remains grateful to Dr. Gao for his many contributions benefitting the NTSAD Community – from establishing the Gao Lab at the Horae Gene Therapy Center at UMASS, to mentoring the next generation of researchers, and serving as a trusted expert for families.


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*NTSAD Board Member

Imagine & Believe 2022 Photo Gallery

Imagine & Believe 2021 Videos

Full Event Video

Family Video

Tribute to Former Executive Director Sue Kahn