Monday, February 25, 2013

UMass scientist gets $1M grant for Down syndrome research

by Lisa Eckelbecker from

A University of Massachusetts Medical School scientist has won a $1 million grant for research into Down syndrome.

Jeanne B. Lawrence, professor of cell and developmental biology, was one of three researchers nationally to receive a grant from the John Merck Fund for efforts to translate research into treatments for people with developmental disabilities, the fund reported today.

Based in Boston, the fund holds $75 million in assets and aims to spend all its money over the next nine years on work in developmental disabilities, clean energy, environmental health and the development of a New England regional food system.

The UMass project was one of 100 proposals seeking support from the John Merck Fund.
Down syndrome is a genetic disorder. Genes, the code for life, sit on chromosomes in the body's cells. Generally, people carry 23 pairs of chromosomes. In Down syndrome, individuals carry three copies of chromosome 21 instead of two.
The John Merck Fund said the UMass project will pursue research based on deactivating one of the three copies of chromosome 21.

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