Press Releases

Seattle, WA - Oct 13, 2022

Benaroya Research Institute Awarded $3.4 Million NIH R01 Grant to Continue Studying Why Immune Responses Are Altered in those with Down Syndrome

Today, the Benaroya Research Institute (BRI) announced a new $3.4 million-dollar five-year Research Project Grant (R01) by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to study why immune response are altered in those with Down syndrome (DS).

Principal Investigator Bernard Khor, MD, PhD, will lead the R01 grant that builds on prior findings of advanced immune aging in people with DS. Dr. Khor and his team had previously shown that any given person with DS has an immune system that resembles that of a significantly older individual without DS. It illustrated one of the most comprehensive analyses in research of how and why immune systems age faster in those with DS. With this grant, BRI will begin to dissect the mechanisms driving this advanced immune aging and explore how this impacts clinically relevant responses including the ability to mount an effective response to vaccination.

"We hope to better understand which specific aspects of immune dysregulation predisposes people with DS to adverse health outcomes and begin to set the stage for how these might be addressed," said Dr. Khor. "We further hope to understand how these therapeutic approaches might be used to benefit the broader group of people without DS."

This work is made possible due to BRI’s biorepositories of blood and tissue samples from people with DS. Those interested in joining the study can learn more at the Down Syndrome Biorepository.

"Benaroya Research Institute is one of very few research organizations in the world studying Down syndrome and we see so much potential not only for those living with DS but also for those without DS," said Jane Buckner, MD, President at BRI.

The NIH’s R01 grant is the oldest and most prestigious grant awarded to independent investigators conducting biomedical research. It is often viewed as a catalyst to launching a research career with a competitive application process for many new and early-career investigators. Research reported in this release was supported by the National Institutes of Health under Award Number R01AI166835-01A1. The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the National Institutes of Health.

Blog Main Image - BRI Building Rear

About Benaroya Research Institute

Benaroya Research Institute (BRI) is a world leader in human immune system research. BRI works to advance the science that will predict, prevent, reverse and cure immune system diseases like allergies, asthma, cancer, COVID-19 and autoimmune diseases. BRI accelerates discovery through laboratory breakthroughs in immunology that are then translated to clinical therapies. We believe that a breakthrough in one immune system disease can lead to progress against them all, and work tirelessly toward our vision of a healthy immune system for everyone. BRI is a world-renowned independent nonprofit research institute affiliated with Virginia Mason Franciscan Health and based in Seattle.

To learn more, visit and connect with us on Facebook, Instagram, Threads, LinkedIn, X and YouTube.