Meet the BREATHE Directors

Program Director:
Gordon S. Mitchell, PhD is a Preeminence Professor of Neuroscience in the Department of Physical Therapy. Dr. Mitchell was among the first to recognize the importance of neuroplasticity in respiratory motor control. Current research focuses on fundamental mechanisms of spinal respiratory motor plasticity induced by intermittent hypoxia, and attempts to harness that plasticity to treat clinical disorders that compromise breathing and non-respiratory limb movements, such as spinal injury and ALS. Dr. Mitchell has run an active research laboratory with continuous federal funding since 1983, has won institutional teaching awards and national research awards, has served as a departmental chair for 17 years, and has contributed extensively to the field through University, National and International service.





Program Co- Director:
Barry J. Byrne, MD/Ph.D. is a clinician scientist specializing inherited neuromuscular disorders; his goal is to develop gene therapies to treat these catastrophic clinical disorders. His group has made significant contributions towards a treatment of Pompe Disease. His team developed new AAV-based gene therapy approaches to restore muscle function in Pompe and other inherited myopathies, including Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy. He has sustained NIH funding for >20 years and is currently PI of a Program Grant to develop new therapies for the cardiopulmonary disease. He has extensive experience with clinical trials focused on innovative treatment strategies, including the first trial of gene therapy to improve diaphragm function in humans He has mentored pre-doctoral, medical and postdoctoral fellows, with >20 basic science and clinically qualified trainees throughout his career. Dr. Byrne edits two journals and chaired the Skeletal Muscle and Exercise Physiology NIH study section. He has extensive administrative experience as Associate Chair of Pediatrics and as Director of the UF Powell Center for Gene Therapy (