LuMind RDS Awards $1.64 Million to Fund Ten Ground-breaking Down Syndrome Research Projects at Top Institutions

Categories: News, Other, Why Support Research?

New Awards Broaden Funding to New Academic Research Partners

Marlborough, MA – July 17, 2017 – LuMind Research Down Syndrome Foundation (LuMind RDS) awards $1,639,000 through 2018 to fund ten Down syndrome research projects in world-renowned Down syndrome research centers and to further develop a research pipeline in Four Scientific Research Categories: 1) Prevent Alzheimer onset; 2) Improve cognition; 3) Develop gene therapies; and 4) Advance understanding. LuMind RDS has provided nearly $17M to Down syndrome research to date.

“We are very excited by the potential these research projects have to further our mission and meaningfully improve memory, cognition and independence in individuals with Down syndrome,” exclaims Hampus Hillerstrom, LuMind RDS Board Vice Chair, “The truly difficult task was narrowing the proposals to the final ten. LuMind RDS received many worthy research proposals and received input from the Scientific Advisory Board and from independent drug development experts. It is our goal to continue to galvanize financial support from philanthropic leaders to continue to advance the most promising Down syndrome research.” These grants provide much-needed funding at a time when the National Institutes of Health (NIH) may incur budget cuts for Down syndrome research next year.

According to Hillerstrom, this year’s grant awards build on the successes of the critical work done by many highly dedicated investigators that LuMind RDS has been funding and by the overall research community. Their research has led to many important discoveries in brain development, sleep and cognition and to a lot of translational work, including the clinical testing of several promising therapeutic approaches in individuals with Down syndrome. In addition, three of the awards this year were given to investigators not previously funded by LuMind RDS in rapidly evolving areas, including studying learning in infants and toddlers, exploring enabling projects to silence the third chromosome 21, and better understanding through cutting-edge work on pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) the aberrant effects of the extra chromosome on the gene expression patterns on the other chromosomes.

The projects and institutions receiving awards include:

  1. Learning Through Objects in Infants and Toddlers with Down Syndrome: Vanderbilt University, Principal Investigator Amy Needham, PhD
  2. Disomic and trisomic pluripotent stem cell (iPSC) to study pharmacologic intervention affecting gene expression patterns in other chromosomes: MIT – Tsai Laboratory, Principal Investigator Hiruy Meharena, PhD
  3. Trisomy 21 Dosage Correction and Mapping Resource (T21DoCoMap) and XIST silencing in mature neurons: U Conn Health, Principal Investigator Stefan Pinter, PhD
  4. A Phase Ib Multi-Center, Double-Blind, Randomized, Placebo-Controlled Dose Escalation Study of the Safety, Tolerability and Immunogenicity of ACI-24 in Adults with Down Syndrome: AC Immune and UC San Diego School of Medicine,
    Principal Investigators Wolgang Barth, PhD and Michael Raffi, MD, PhD
  5. Defining genes, mechanisms and treatments for neurodevelopmental and neurodegenerative causes of cognitive dysfunction in Down syndrome: UC San Diego School of Medicine, Principal Investigator William Mobley, MD, PhD
  6. Brain development, sleep and learning in Down syndrome: University of Arizona, Principal Investigator Jamie Edgin, PhD
  7. A next generation mouse model for trisomy 21 that mimics findings from human brain and CSF: Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Principal Investigator Roger Reeves, PhD
  8. The Down Syndrome Cognition Project: Emory University, Principal Investigator Stephanie Sherman, PhD
  9. Sleep, Circadian, and Stem Cell Renewal Factors in the Learning Disability of Down Syndrome: Stanford University, Principal Investigators H. Craig Heller, PhD and Maddalena Adorno, PhD
  10. Key Opinion Leader (KOL) Meetings on Latest Advances in LuMind RDS’ Four Scientific Research Categories – Many participants, from a range of universities, organizations, government, industry players and institutes.

“At LuMind RDS, we believe Cognition And Research Empowers Success,” said Marla Murasko, Interim Executive Director, “and that every person living with Down syndrome deserves a bright future, filled with limitless possibilities and the ability to become more independent. That is why our sole focus is to develop and accelerate innovative Down syndrome research.” Individuals with Down syndrome — a genetic condition caused by a third copy of chromosome 21 — face challenges with cognitive development, autoimmune disorders and early-onset of Alzheimer’s. To learn more about the LuMind RDS grants program and research approach visit, to support funding for more research visit

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About LuMind Research Down Syndrome Foundation

LuMind RDS Foundation is an international nonprofit organization founded in 2004 that has provided to date nearly $17M to Down syndrome research. The foundation’s sole focus is to discover and develop groundbreaking Down syndrome research by identifying and funding critical biomedical cognition research for children and adults with Down syndrome. The foundation’s mission is to stimulate biomedical research that will accelerate the development of treatments to significantly improve cognition, including memory, learning and speech, for individuals with Down syndrome that will allow people with Down syndrome to:


  • lead more active and independent lives,
  • participate more successfully in school and at work, and
  • prevent additional earlier cognitive decline associated with Alzheimer’s disease.


Please contact Marly Chevrette at or call 603-828-8857 for interviews with LuMind RDS Foundation Board Vice Chair, Hampus Hillerstrom, or a principal investigator.