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Prestigious Symposia Focuses on Down Syndrome Research

Researchers from the UK, China, and the US include Drs. Jeanne Lawrence, Tom Blumenthal, Huntington Potter, Angelika Amon, Michael Yeager and more.

“Biology of Down Syndrome: Impacts Across the Biomedical Spectrum,” the first national Keystone Symposia conference focused on Down syndrome research, will be held this January 24-27 in Santa Fe, New Mexico. The conference will examine every aspect of current Down syndrome research, as well as help promote the translation of research to therapeutic solutions. Over 130 scientists working on Down syndrome research from around the world will be presenting or attending the conference.

In a rare occurrence at a Keystone Symposia, a non-scientist will provide a keynote speech during the opening session. Down syndrome self-advocate, public speaker, and restaurateur Tim Harris will provide the conference’s opening remarks. Tim is the owner of Tim’s Place, one of the first restaurants owned by a person with Down syndrome. Tim’s Place is famous for serving hugs with their food, and Tim has given out more than 60,000 hugs to everyone from Stevie Wonder to the President of the United States.

Researchers associated with the Linda Crnic Institute for Down Syndrome have prominent leadership roles at the conference. Dr. Tom Blumenthal, Executive Director, Linda Crnic Institute for Down Syndrome and Professor, Molecular, Cellular and Developmental Biology, University of Colorado is co-organizing the conference along with Dr. Jeanne Lawrence, Professor and Interim Chair of the Department of Cell and Developmental Biology at the University of Massachusetts Medical School and a Crnic Scientific Advisory Board member. Drs. Victor Tybulewicz of the Francis Crick Institute and Elizabeth Fisher of the University College London Institute of Neurology are also co-organizing the event.

Dr. Blumenthal will be presenting his research Protein Level Changes in the Blood Reveal Altered Cell Signaling Pathways in Down Syndrome. Dr. Lawrence will Chair the Dysregulation of Cellular Pathways in Down Syndrome session.

Dr. Huntington Potter, Professor of Neurology and Director of Alzheimer’s Disease Research in the Department of Neurology and the Linda Crnic Center for Down Syndrome at the University of Colorado, Denver will be presenting his research Trisomy 21 and Other Aneuploidy in Multiple Neurodegenerative Diseases. Dr. Angelika Amon, another Crnic Scientific Advisory Board member, will be presenting her research Effects of Aneuploidy on Hematopoiesis and Blood Malignancies. Dr. Michael Yeager, Assistant Professor, Pediatric Critical Care, University of Colorado School of Medicine and Crnic Grand Challenge Grant recipient in 2015 and 2013, will be presenting his research Phenotypic and Functional Disturbances in White Blood Cell Subsets in Down Syndrome.

The Global Down Syndrome Foundation raises funds for the Linda Crnic Institute for Down Syndrome to underwrite critical research benefiting people with Down syndrome. $5.7 million in research grants have been awarded to 33 investigators to date, with $3.5 million going to Crnic Grand Challenge Grant recipients. Dr. Tom Blumenthal established the Crnic Grand Challenge Grants program in 2013; the grants are available to scientists from the University of Colorado system. This support is critical to advance Down syndrome research, since Down syndrome is the least funded genetic condition by the National Institutes of Health (NIH). The research sponsored by the Crnic Institute also has the potential to not only benefit people with Down syndrome, but also the millions of typical people who suffer from a wide variety of ailments like cancer, Alzheimer’s disease, and autoimmune disorders.

For nearly 44 years, the Keystone Symposia has helped advance biomedical and life sciences by creating interdisciplinary connections between scientists at conferences that facilitate the generation and exchange of ideas.


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