CAMBRIDGE (CBS/AP) — The Massachusetts Institute of Technology has a received a nearly $29 million gift the university says will be used to enhance research and improve the lives of people with Down syndrome.

MIT in an announcement Wednesday said the $28.6 million gift from the Brazil-based Alana Foundation to establish the Alana Down Syndrome Center will combine the expertise of scientists and engineers in an effort to increase understanding of the biology and neuroscience of Down syndrome.

The center and an associated technology-development program will work to accelerate the generation, development, and clinical testing of novel interventions and technologies into the disorder.

An annual symposium on Down syndrome research is also planned, with the first tentatively scheduled for the fall.

The Alana Foundation is a nonprofit started by Ana Lucia Villela and Marcos Nisti, of Sao Paulo, Brazil, who have a daughter with Down syndrome.

“We couldn’t be happier and more hopeful as to the size of the impact this center can generate,” Villela said in a statement. “It’s an innovative approach that doesn’t focus on the disability but, instead, focuses on the barriers that can prevent people with Down syndrome from thriving in life in their own way.”

(© Copyright 2019 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

 

 

 

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