The research projects of the 5 laureates are presented below:
After working on neuro-immune mechanisms of Alzheimer’s disease (AD) in DS during her PhD thesis at McGill University (Canada), Dr Lisi Flores-Aguilar will study the cerebrovascular diseases and biomarkers expression of AD in DS persons. Within the team of Pr Elizabeth Head at the University of California (Irvine, USA), her purpose is to decipher the origins of cerebrovascular modifications observed in these people and identify potential biomarkers, useful for early diagnosis and follow-up.
Within the team of Pr Juan Fortea from the Sant Pau hospital (Barcelona, Spain), Dr Oriol Dols-Icardo will be investigating the peripheral immune cell compartment alongside AD’s preclinical development using scRNAseq. In the continuity of his PhD, this study aims at bringing knowledge on the role of immune cells in AD. Correlating AD biomarkers with immune gene expression could lead to new therapeutic strategies.
Dr Tomer Illouz’s project is to better understand cerebral interactions in DS, to identify those that are modified before and alongide AD in DS. Working in the lab of Pr Quintana at Harvard (USA), his work aims at deciphering abnormal brain connexions, characterizing cell-cell interactions and thus will improve the knowledge of brain physiology and mechanisms leading to AD in DS.
Working in the lab of Pr Bardoni at the Institut de pharmacologie moléculaire et cellulaire in Valbonne (France), Dr Aurore Thomazeau will study synaptic pathophysiology, involved in DS and co-occurring autism spectrum disorders (ASD). Mechanisms of brain plasticity are still to be deciphered. Using animal models of DS and ASD, she will study synaptic plasticity and determine how it is compromised in AD and ASD, showing its involvement in these troubles.
People with DS show special features as well as upper respiratory tract problems. However, the link with intellectual deficiency has not been clearly defined. Dr Sergi Llambrich Ferré, working in the lab of Pr Martinez-Abadias at the University of Barcelona (Spain), will study the consequences of the upper airways dysmorphology on DS murine models.
Since 2017, 25 researchers have been able to benefit from a salary to work on a strategic topic approved by a jury. During 2 years, each winner works 100% on their research project. These calls for projects enable us to explore avenues that either improve diagnosis or open up new therapeutic possibilities. They also maintain the attractiveness of research into Down’s Syndrome.