Alana Down Syndrome Center: na imagem, uma criança negra com síndrome de Down desenha em uma folha sulfite. Ao fundo, uma mulher negra o observa.

Alana Down Syndrome Center

New technologies and interventions for health, autonomy and inclusion.

Launched in 2019, the Alana Down Syndrome Center (ADSC) aims to promote studies that improve the quality of life and the autonomy and inclusion of people with Down Syndrome.

ADSC is a multidisciplinary research center, at MIT, encompassing laboratories and programs in the fields of neuroscience, biology, engineering, and computer science.

ADSC works to generate and develop new technologies to improve the quality of life for people with Down Syndrome. It also provides training and educational opportunities for scientists and early-career students to engage in Down Syndrome research.

Its main mission is to produce research and technologies to give people with Down Syndrome the opportunity to develop greater social and practical skills, enabling their participation in the educational system, the workforce, and community life.


Through research on mechanisms and potential therapeutic interventions, the Alana Down Syndrome Center expands the understanding of the functional differences experienced by individuals with Down Syndrome, and the best ways to address them.

Its primary objective is to discover new clinical treatments for individuals with Down Syndrome. In 2022, a study sponsored by the Alana Foundation was published in The Lancet Neurology, indicating the use of memantine as a potential treatment to improve cognition in individuals with Down Syndome. This collaborative investigation was led by Dr. Alberto Costa (Case Western University – United States) in partnership with Dr. Ana Claudia Brandão (Hospital Israelita Albert Einstein – Brazil).


Inclusive education enables students with and without disabilities to pursue their educational journeys side by side in the same classroom. Inclusive education is the recommended practice reaffirmed in numerous international declarations, national laws, and education policies.

The study, “The Benefits of Inclusive Education for Students with and without Disabilities,” released in 2016, identifies research that demonstrates the benefits of inclusive education, not only for students with disabilities, but also for students without disabilities.


In partnership with the Alana Institute, consulting firm McKinsey & Company launched the study “The Value that Employees with Down Syndrome Can Add to Organizations” in 2015. This groundbreaking research explores the positive impacts of individuals with Down syndrome in the workforce. The study, conducted in Brazilian and international companies, also demonstrates that employees with Down Syndrome can enhance the organizational health of companies in five out of nine dimensions.


With the sponsorship of the Alana Foundation, Lumind, based in Boston, has created the Down Syndrome Clinical Trials Network (DS-CTN) with the goal of facilitating the recruitment of people with Down Syndrome for future large-scale clinical trials.


Through the “Technology to Improve Ability” program, the Alana Down Syndrome Center supports the development of technologies that can improve the lives of people with different intellectual abilities and other challenges, as well as the lives of their families.


The Alana Down Syndrome Center offers fellowship programs for graduate and undergraduate students at MIT to develop research projects at the Alana Down Syndrome Center. The goal is to invest in young scientists to stimulate the creation of advanced and innovative techniques in Down Syndrome studies.