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Management Team

The Development Team of The Miami Project to Cure Paralysis, a designated Center of Excellence at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine, are focused on fundraising to support the international multi-disciplinary team of over 300 Miami Project scientists, technicians, and clinicians who are directed at protecting and repairing the injured spinal cord, developing new rehabilitation therapies, and restoring function to those living with spinal cord injury paralysis.

The Team secures private philanthropy donations, conducts annual fund drives, write grant proposals to foundations and corporations, and host many informative scientific seminars.  Housed in the 7-story Lois Pope LIFE Center for Neuroscience Research, The Miami Project, the world’s most comprehensive spinal cord injury research center, was established in 1985 to develop novel therapies to improve function in paralyzed individuals.  The Team work to establish strong relationships with the Center’s friends, colleagues at the University of Miami, and research participants for their long-term support and commitment to our research.  The Miami Project’s Christine E. Lynn Human Clinical Trials Initiative is designed to take discoveries found to be successful in laboratory studies and fast track them to human studies.

The Miami Project has obtained 5 FDA (Food and Drug Administration) approved clinical trials targeting spinal cord injury.  Our Phase 1 safety trial to test the safety and efficacy of human Schwann cell transplantation in patients with subacute (recent) injury is ongoing.  The first 8 participants have been transplanted without any safety issues.  These participants are doing well and the team is moving forward with the trial.  The Miami Project also received permission in 2015 to test this therapy in chronically injured individuals (those paralyzed for a year or more).  The selection process has begun.

The Buoniconti family works tirelessly to raise incredible funds and awareness for The Miami Project’s groundbreaking spinal cord injury research.  Nick Buoniconti co-founded The Miami Project in 1985, after his son Marc became a quadriplegic after suffering a paralyzing injury in a college football game.  Marc Buoniconti, President of the Buoniconti Fund (founded in 1992), as well as The Buoniconti Fund’s dedicated Board of Directors, selflessly give much time and energy to support The Miami Project’s mission to find a cure for paralysis.

Through the Team, The Buoniconti Fund has hosted for 30 years The Great Sports Legends Dinner at the Waldorf Astoria in New York City to raise much needed funds for The Miami Project’s groundbreaking research programs.  The Great Sports Legends, Honorees, and Dinner attendees, have all helped in this incredible and inspirational endeavor.  The Development Team also organizes and produces events, such as Destination Fashion at Bal Harbour Shops highlighting a couture fashion show, world renowned entertainment and 2,000 supporters enjoying an incredible evening of fun and fabulous fare.  The Celebrity Golf Invitational at The Bear’s Club, which is hosted by Jack Nicklaus, has included Dan Marino, Joe Namath, Don Shula, and many other tournament celebrities.

In addition, The Buoniconti Fund’s National Chapters host fundraising events and awareness campaigns to help reach the goal of finding a cure for paralysis.

Management Team

President Marc A. Buoniconti
Co-Founder Nicholas A. Buoniconti
Co-Founder and Chairman Barth A. Green, M.D.
Scientific Director W. Dalton Dietrich, Ph.D.
Executive Director Suzanne M. Sayfie
Senior Director, Major Gifts, Corporate Relations and Marketing/Events Stephanie Sayfie Aagaard
Director, Web, Auction and Database Management Teri I. Bendell
Assistant Secretary and Treasurer Diana C. Berning
Center Administrator Randy Carlson
Director, Annual Giving and Government Relations Randy L. Medenwald
Director, Communications Scott P. Roy
Director, National Chapters Kristin Wherry