According to MIT News, The Massachusetts Institute of Technology has received a gift of nearly $29 million from the Brazil-based Alana Foundation to establish the Alana Down Syndrome Center. As part of MIT's continued mission to help build a better world, this research center “will fund science, innovation, and education to advance understanding, ability, and inclusion.”

The Alana Foundation is a nonprofit organization started by Ana Lucia Villela of São Paulo, Brazil back in 2012. Villela and co-president of Alana, Marcos Nisti have two children together, one daughter having Down Syndrome.

“We couldn’t be happier and more hopeful as to the size of the impact this center can generate,” says. “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.” - Ana Lucia Villela to MIT News


“This grant represents all the trust we have in MIT especially because the values our family hold are so aligned with MIT’s own values and its mission.” - Marcos Nisti to MIT News

The Alana Down Syndrome Center opened on Wednesday, March 20 and is based out of MIT’s Picower Institute for Learning and Memory. It is their hope to blend scientists and engineers in a “research effort to increase understanding of the biology and neuroscience of Down syndrome.”

Some great news just in time for World Down Syndrome Day, which is today, March 21.

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