Breaking News
April 23, 2019 - Sensory Sensitivity Tied to Constipation in Young Children
April 23, 2019 - More than half of internal medicine graduates choosing primary care
April 22, 2019 - Researchers discover good news for fish populations living on bleached coral reefs
April 22, 2019 - Plant-based diets associated with lower risk of heart failure
April 22, 2019 - Food Allergies Can Strike at Any Age
April 22, 2019 - Cerebro-facio-thoracic dysplasia – Genetics Home Reference
April 22, 2019 - Poverty leaves a mark on our genes
April 22, 2019 - Countdown to Big Data in Precision Health: When industry and academia converge
April 22, 2019 - The U.S government may account for up to $37.8 billion due to opioid epidemic
April 22, 2019 - Improving ACA’s Insurance Coverage Provisions will lead to better care for patients
April 22, 2019 - Study identifies possible therapeutic effects of curcumin on stomach cancer
April 22, 2019 - Hyaline fibromatosis syndrome – Genetics Home Reference
April 22, 2019 - Scientists use CRISPR for possible ‘bubble boy’ therapy
April 22, 2019 - Hematologist (and a mom, singer, actress and much more) stands up for diversity
April 22, 2019 - Novel AI voice tool can help diagnose PTSD
April 22, 2019 - Overlooked part of cell’s internal machinery may hold key to treating acute myeloid leukemia
April 22, 2019 - Soft bedding responsible for majority of sleep-related infant deaths, study reveals
April 22, 2019 - Study finds worse health-related quality of life among transgender adults
April 22, 2019 - MIT scientists reverse some behavioral symptoms of rare neurodevelopmental disorder
April 22, 2019 - Scientists find new therapy target for drug-induced liver failure
April 22, 2019 - Opioid dose variability could lead to increased risk of overdose, study suggests
April 22, 2019 - Newly developed model predicts salmonella outbreaks several months in advance
April 22, 2019 - Deep-learning model better predicts survival outcomes for lung cancer
April 22, 2019 - One in Three U.S. Adults Aged 35 to 44 May Have Drinking Problem
April 22, 2019 - Why the measles virus is so contagious
April 22, 2019 - Magnet ‘Zap’ to the Brain Might Jumpstart Aging Memory
April 22, 2019 - Immune response to gut microbes may be early indicator of type 1 diabetes
April 22, 2019 - Destination Limbo: Health Suffers Among Asylum Seekers In Crowded Border Shelter
April 22, 2019 - Research shows how dopamine contributes to sex differences in worms
April 22, 2019 - Marijuana users weigh less compared to non-users
April 22, 2019 - Research uncovers critical RNA processing aberrations in ALS and FTD
April 22, 2019 - Many cancer patients use marijuana and prescription opioids, study reveals
April 22, 2019 - Frailty may up fracture risk in patients with type 2 diabetes
April 22, 2019 - Study provides new insight into how obesity, insulin resistance can affect cognition
April 22, 2019 - Study seeks to better understand the genetic causes for hypospadias
April 22, 2019 - FDA grants approval of first generic naloxone nasal spray to treat opioid overdose
April 22, 2019 - FDA authorizes marketing of first medical device to treat ADHD
April 22, 2019 - Vanderbilt researchers to develop and test ‘safe harbor’ standards of care
April 22, 2019 - You’re probably brushing your teeth wrong – here are four tips for better dental health
April 22, 2019 - Pharmacy closures contribute to medication non-adherence among heart patients
April 22, 2019 - Using Edge AI technology to observe behavior of cattle
April 22, 2019 - Bacteria play a role in the development of stomach ulcers in pigs
April 22, 2019 - Hand Hygiene Compliance Poor in Task Transitions
April 22, 2019 - smoking could harm your baby
April 22, 2019 - Scientists identify rare, paradoxical response to antiretroviral therapy
April 21, 2019 - More TV, Tablets, More Attention Issues at Age 5
April 21, 2019 - Drug reduces risk of kidney failure in people with diabetes, study finds
April 21, 2019 - New research identifies novel link between antibiotic resistance and climate change
April 21, 2019 - Simple intervention can provide lasting protection for teens against junk food marketing
April 21, 2019 - The protein p38-gamma identified as a new therapeutic target in liver cancer
April 21, 2019 - Novel system enables researchers to study bacteria within mini-tissues in a dish
April 21, 2019 - Discovery of oral cancer biomarkers could save thousands of lives
April 21, 2019 - Geneva Exhibition committee gives gold medals to two medications developed by Kazan
April 21, 2019 - Scientists aim to minimize or eliminate hair loss during cancer treatment
April 21, 2019 - WiFi interacts with signaling pathways in the human brain
April 21, 2019 - Stroke Hospitalizations Down in Black, White Medicare Enrollees
April 21, 2019 - First common risk genes discovered for autism
April 21, 2019 - Researchers map auditory sensory system of the mouse brain
April 21, 2019 - Scientists Bring Pig’s Brain, Dead 4 Hours, Back to ‘Cellular Activity’
April 21, 2019 - Virtual reality a promising tool for reducing fears and phobia in autism
April 21, 2019 - New analysis lists out opportunities for U.S. medical schools to advance population health
April 21, 2019 - More sleep may help teens with ADHD focus and organize
April 21, 2019 - Breakthrough antibody treatment suppresses HIV without antivirals
April 21, 2019 - AveXis Data Reinforce Effectiveness of Zolgensma in Treating Spinal Muscular Atrophy (SMA) Type 1
April 21, 2019 - Is your hand pain arthritis, carpal tunnel or something else?
April 21, 2019 - Measles outbreaks may become more frequent if vaccination rates continue to decline
April 21, 2019 - Researchers succeed in accelerating process of creating 3D images
April 21, 2019 - Tiny worm mimics key genetic risk for Alzheimer’s
April 21, 2019 - Angry dreams explained by brain waves
April 20, 2019 - Parenteral Antimicrobial Tx at Home Burdens Children’s Caregivers
April 20, 2019 - Diabetes treatment may keep dementia, Alzheimer’s at bay
April 20, 2019 - New bandage-like biosensor collects and analyzes sweat
April 20, 2019 - A comprehensive, centralized database of bovine milk compounds
April 20, 2019 - Two new epigenetic regulators maintain self-renewal of embryonic stem cells
April 20, 2019 - New Evidence That Veggies Beat Steak for Heart Health
April 20, 2019 - Study reveals genes associated with heavy drinking and alcoholism
April 20, 2019 - Texas A&M AgriLife becomes the newest member of NutriRECS international consortium
April 20, 2019 - In most states, insurance won’t cover addiction treatments
April 20, 2019 - Computer-based memory games may be beneficial for individuals with fragile X syndrome
April 20, 2019 - Timing of food intake influences molecular clock in the liver of mice
MIT announces creation of the Alana Down Syndrome Center

MIT announces creation of the Alana Down Syndrome Center

image_pdfDownload PDFimage_print

As part of MIT’s continued mission to help build a better world, the Institute announced the creation of the Alana Down Syndrome Center, an innovative new research endeavor, technology development initiative, and fellowship program launched with a $28.6 million gift from Alana Foundation, a nonprofit organization started by Ana Lucia Villela of São Paulo, Brazil.

In addition to multidisciplinary research across neuroscience, biology, engineering, and computer science labs, the gift will fund a four-year program with MIT’s Deshpande Center for Technological Innovation called “Technology to Improve Ability,” in which creative minds around MIT will be encouraged and supported in designing and developing technologies that can improve life for people with different intellectual abilities or other challenges.

The Alana Down Syndrome Center, hosted out of MIT’s Picower Institute for Learning and Memory, will engage the expertise of scientists and engineers in a research effort to increase understanding of the biology and neuroscience of Down syndrome. The center will also provide new training and educational opportunities for early career scientists and students to become involved in Down syndrome research. Together, the center and technology program will work to accelerate the generation, development, and clinical testing of novel interventions and technologies to improve the quality of life for people with Down syndrome.

“At MIT, we value frontier research, particularly when it is aimed at making a better world,” says MIT President L. Rafael Reif. “The Alana Foundation’s inspiring gift will position MIT’s researchers to investigate new pathways to enhance and extend the lives of those with Down syndrome. We are grateful to the Foundation’s leadership–President Ana Lucia Villela and Co-President Marcos Nisti–for entrusting our community with this critical challenge.”

With a $1.7 million gift to MIT in 2015, Alana funded studies to create new laboratory models of Down syndrome and to improve understanding of the mechanisms of the disorder and potential therapies. In creating the new center, MIT and the Alana Foundation officials said they are building on that partnership to promote discovery and technology development aimed at helping people with different abilities gain greater social and practical skills to enhance their participation in the educational system, in the workforce, and in community life.

“We couldn’t be happier and more hopeful as to the size of the impact this Center can generate,” Villela said. “It’s an innovative approach that doesn’t focus on the disability but, instead, focuses on the barriers that can prevent people with Down Syndrome from thriving in life in their own way.”

Marcos Nisti, co-president of Alana, added, “This gift represents all the trust we have in MIT especially because the values our family hold are so aligned with MIT’s own values and its mission.”

Villela and Nisti have two daughters, one with Down syndrome. MIT Executive Vice President and Treasurer Israel Ruiz has had a personal connection to the Foundation.

“It is an extraordinary day,” Ruiz said. “It has been a pleasure getting to know Ana Lucia, Marcos and their family over the past few years. Their work to advance the needs of the Down Syndrome community is truly exemplary, and I look forward to future collaborations. Today, MIT celebrates their generosity in recognizing all abilities and working to provide opportunities to all.”

Down syndrome, also known as trisomy 21, is characterized by extra genetic material from some or all of chromosome 21 in many or all of an individual’s cells and occurs in one out of every 700 babies in the United States. Though the chromosomal hallmark of Down syndrome has been well known for decades, and advances in research, health care and social services have doubled lifespans over the past 25 years, significant challenges remain for individuals with different abilities and their families because the underlying neurobiology of the disorder is complex.

The center will be co-directed by Angelika Amon, the Kathleen and Curtis Marble Professor in Cancer Research, and Li-Huei Tsai, the Picower Professor of Neuroscience. Amon is an expert in understanding the health impacts of chromosomal instability and aneuploidy, the presence of an abnormal chromosome number, while Tsai is renowned for her work in the field of neurodegenerative disorders, including Alzheimer’s disease, which shares important underlying similarities with Down syndrome. In the first four years, the new center will employ cutting-edge techniques to study Down syndrome in the brain with two main focuses: systems and circuits as well as genes and cells.

With the support of the previous Alana Foundation gift, Hiruy Meharena, senior fellow in Tsai’s neuroscience lab, has already been deeply engaged in studying Down syndrome’s impact in the brain at the cellular and genomic level, examining key differences in gene expression in cultures of neurons and glia created from patient-derived induced pluripotent stem cells.

To further advance research at that molecular scale, Tsai’s lab will collaborate with computer science Professor Manolis Kellis, director of MIT’s Computational Biology Group and a leader in creating sophisticated methods for big-data integration and analysis of genomic and gene expression data.

At the systems and circuits level, Ed Boyden, the Y. Eva Tan Professor in Neurotechnology will lead efforts to conduct high-resolution 3D brain mapping and will collaborate with Tsai to examine the potential of using her emerging non-invasive, sensory-based therapy for Alzheimer’s in Down syndrome.

Amon’s lab will bring its deep expertise from their study of cancer to the new center. They have made important discoveries about how aneuploidy may undermine overall health, for instance by causing stresses within cells. It is their hope that identifying genetic alterations that suppress the stresses associated with trisomy 21 could lead to the development of therapeutics that improve cell function in individuals with Down syndrome.

To further support these research endeavors and to increase the long-term global pipeline of scientists trained in the study of Down syndrome, the Alana Down Syndrome Center will fund postdoctoral Alana Fellowships and graduate fellowships.

The Alana Center will also convene an annual symposium on Down syndrome research, the first of which is tentatively scheduled for this fall.​

Source:

https://picower.mit.edu/news/alana-gift-mit-launches-down-syndrome-research-center-technology-program-disabilities

Tagged with:

About author

Related Articles