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LADDER Lab: Research

Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences

Young, smiling girl with Down Syndrome – Drexel University LADDER Lab

Drexel LADDER Lab is an educational neuropsychology research lab focused on learning and developmental disabilities. Our lab aims to augment knowledge about the causes and correlates of neurodevelopmental disorders through the conduct of both clinical and translational research. By using innovative neuropsychological and neuroimaging technologies, we seek to identify novel targets of treatment for the amelioration of the cognitive weaknesses that characterize intellectual disability and other neurodevelopmental disorders.

Embracing the values of scientific rigor and integrity, we aspire to improve developmental outcomes and quality of life for individuals with neurodevelopmental disorders and their families. Moreover, through the provision of experiential learning opportunities, we are committed to training the next generation of psychologists who will continue our efforts both in the laboratory and the clinic to provide families with tools to optimize outcomes and well-being for individuals with neurodevelopmental disorders.

We invite you to learn more about the LADDER Lab's recent publications and active research studies.

Explore Our Published Work

* Student author | # Co-first authors

Brain Development in Down Syndrome




Contact Us

Nancy Raitano Lee, PhD
Associate Professor of Psychology

Research Coordinator, 215.553.7164

Active Research Studies

The Ladder Lab is actively engaged in the following research studies. Study participants complete one-on-one testing while wearing a simple headband that measures brain function. Family members complete questionnaires about children and young adults regarding behavior and thinking skills. Please click on a picture below to learn more about each study.

WATCH: Brain and Sleep Study Overview

fNIRS as an outcome measure of the prefrontal hemodynamic response in Down syndrome | NIH – 5R21HD100997-027

We received a grant from the National Institutes of Health (NIH – 5R21HD100997-027) to study brain function and how it varies as a function of sleep quality in children with Down syndrome. The proposed research aims to test the use of a patient-friendly neuroimaging technology called functional near infrared spectroscopy (fNIRS) with children with Down syndrome to determine if it can be used to measure the efficacy of treatments aimed at improving cognition and sleep in this group. This research also seeks to understand how sleep influences brain function in children with Down syndrome and those with typical development. Thus, the proposed research has implications for informing efforts to improve health and well-being for individuals with Down syndrome and those in the general population with sleep disturbance.