The Jerome Lejeune Foundation USA Awards Grants to Four US Researchers to Investigate Cognition in People Living with Down Syndrome
$1.83 million in total grants given by Jerome Lejeune Foundation during 2013
PHILADELPHIA, Dec. 13, 2013 /PRNewswire/ — The Scientific Advisory Board of the Jerome Lejeune Foundation USA has recommended 4 U.S. researchers to receive grants from the Foundation for its second funding cycle of 2013. The U.S. and French Foundations will fund a total of 16 projects in this cycle from labs in 5 countries. Total international funding from the Jerome Lejeune Foundation during the call for grants in 2013 amounts to approximately $1.83 million.
All projects funded by the U.S. Foundation during this cycle will investigate ways to improve cognition in individuals living with Down syndrome.
U.S. researchers funded in this cycle include:
-- Dr. Alexander Kleschevnikov a researcher at the University of California, San Diego who will further define the mechanisms responsible for neural and cognitive abnormalities in Down syndrome by investigating Synaptic plasticity and cognition in the Ts65Dn:Kcnj6++- mouse model. Ts65DN is a mouse that has been genetically engineered to genetically mimic Down syndrome in humans and is one of the most widely used mouse models for studying Down syndrome. -- Dr. Zhiping Pang from the Child Health Institute of New Jersey, Rutgers University will also attempt to clarify the specific mechanisms or genetic components that lead to intellectual disability in Down syndrome by studying the regulation of MeCP2 by chromosome21-microRNAs and their implications in intellectual disability. Mutations on the MeCP2 gene has also been implicated in Rett syndrome and fragile X. -- Dr. Tomo Tarui, principle investigator collaborating with Dr. Diana Bianchi at the Mother Infant Research Institute at Tufts University will implement two state-of-the-art, extremely sensitive fetal neuroimaging technologies to measure volumes, surface areas and shapes of the fetal brain in living untreated fetuses with Down syndrome in order to better understand baseline brain anatomy. This project is complementary to Dr. Bianchi's investigations into prenatal treatments to improve the birth outcomes of babies born with Down syndrome. -- Dr. Kristy Welshhans at Kent State believes that a dysregulated of the Down Syndrome Cell Adhesion Molecule, a protein encoded on the Down syndrome critical region of chromosome 21 during embryonic development results in inappropriate neuronal connectivity, and contributes to Down syndrome. She will also use the Ts65Dn mouse as a model system for her investigations with the aim of attempting to identify early intervention treatments for Down syndrome.
The Jerome Lejeune Foundation congratulates these investigators and grant recipients for their outstanding contributions to a greater understanding of the cognitive disability associated with Down syndrome.
The next call for grants will open in January 2014 with a particular interest in funding projects studying accelerated brain processes in individuals living with Down syndrome.
The Jerome Lejeune Foundation awards grants in two funding cycles each year and favors unique projects that will significantly advance progress toward therapeutic interventions to improve the lives of those living with genetic intellectual disabilities. The Jerome Lejeune Foundation is the world’s largest funder of research, committing approximately $5 million annually to support clinical trials, research conducted at its own labs in Paris, and its call for grants to researchers working world-wide to improve the lives of those living with genetic intellectual disabilities.
Founded in 1996 by the Lejeune family to carry on the work of Professor Jerome Lejeune, the “Father of Modern Genetics,” the Jerome Lejeune Foundation is committed to research, care, and advocacy for those with Down syndrome and other genetic intellectual disabilities.
The Jerome Lejeune Foundation, USA
Mark Bradford, President
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