The Jérôme Lejeune Foundation USA Announces Its First Grants Awarded to U.S. Researchers Working in Genetic Intellectual Disability

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Three researchers are the first to receive funding from the new U.S. Foundation

The Jérôme Lejeune Foundation, USA announces the first grants awarded by the U.S. Foundation to 3 researchers working in the area of genetic intellectual disability. The Jérôme Lejeune Foundation was established in Paris France in 1996 to continue the legacy of Dr. Jérôme Lejeune, the geneticist who discovered the genetic cause of Down syndrome. The U.S. branch of the Foundation was established in late 2011.

Kathleen Gardiner a researcher at the University of Colorado, Denver, has received funding to organization a workshop on Cognition in individuals with Down syndrome. The event will draw researchers from a variety of specialties and focus on the molecular, cellular and behavioral features of the disability and the promise of therapeutics to improve cognitive function.

Two other researchers were given awards to investigate intellectual disability linked to X chromosome abnormalities.

Emily Brookes, a researcher at Boston Children’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School, will generate a model of brain development using induced pluripotent stem cells derived from the skin cells of individuals with X-linked intellectual disability. This model will be used to investigate the neurological and molecular mechanisms behind cognition that she hopes will then lead to novel diagnostic and therapeutic avenues.

Aurore Curie, a research fellow at the Martinos Center for Biomedical Imaging at Massachusetts General Hospital, Harvard Medical School, obtained high quality structural images and functional MRI images during performance of cognitive tasks in three carefully characterized groups of patients. Dr. Curie will apply the newest technical advances in neuroimaging analysis to better understand X-linked intellectual deficiency. She hopes that her research will guide the development of specific training, education and vocational support for these populations and suggest novel treatment modalities that will lead to improved cognitive function.

The Jérôme Lejeune Foundation awards grants in two funding cycles each year. During this first funding cycle of 2012 the Foundation received 59 requests from researchers across the world. 20 projects were selected by the Foundation’s U.S. and French Scientific Advisory Boards and received combined awards of just over $800,000. The Foundation favors unique projects that it believes will significantly advance knowledge leading to therapeutic interventions intended 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 Jérôme Lejeune, the Jérôme Lejeune Foundation is committed to research, care, and advocacy for those with Down syndrome and other genetic intellectual disabilities. The Foundation is the world’s oldest and largest private funder of research into Down syndrome and other genetic intellectual disabilities. Over $22 million has been provided to researchers working throughout the world. Historically, about one-fifth of the Foundation’s funding has been provided to researchers in the United States. The Foundation also funds the Lejeune Institute in Paris, a medical clinic, which provides specialized health care services and support to over 5,000 patients.

Contact Information:
For additional information, contact:
The Jérôme Lejeune Foundation, USA
Mark Bradford, President
267-403-2910
Email:    mbradford(at)lejeuneusa(dot)org
Website: LejeuneUSA.org

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Mark Bradford, President