The original VCID translational workshops provided by the generosity of the Leo and Anne Albert Charitable Trust evolved and resulted in our current focus on “White Matter and Cognition” (i.e., to advance knowledge of white matter pathology and mechanisms of cognitive loss that occurs in cerebrovascular and neurodegenerative disease). We now conduct “Albert Trust White Matter and Cognition” workshops annually and have recently incorporated the “Albert Trust Research Institute for White Matter and Cognition” to facilitate white matter science and communication and to translate white matter disease biology into treatments that can reduce the horrific future projection of dementia in our aging world population. In addition, workshop participants not previously working together submitted novel, collaborative research grant applications. The Albert Trust funded two proposals. Thus, we immediately achieved new research directions and collaboration goals we desired for the institute and VCID science.
Small Scientific Workshop Model
Workshop support and guidance come from the Albert Charitable Trust. Other sources of funding also will be recruited for the future. The workshops, as summarized on the webpages below, resulted in the formation of “The Albert Trust Research Institute for White Matter and Cognition” as described below.
Gene Pranzo and the Trust uses “small scientific workshops” to bring together researchers from all over the world to spend a few days immersed in getting to know one another, discussing research and building collaborations. By bringing together top scientists from many disciplines with talented young investigators in a relaxed, closed knit atmosphere, the Trust had had significant successes in moving science and medicine forward in several areas of disease. The workshops involve intimate and highly interactive meeting groups of about 25 participants. For us, clinical, translational and basic scientists got away together for a few days to advance communication, understanding and new collaborations in the areas of VCID and Alzheimer’s disease.
Shortly after this epiphany at the second workshop, a new scientific program committee was formed, and experts in “white matter and cognition” were identified and invited to be participants in our third workshop, held from February 8-12, 2019 at the Omni Resorts in Carlsbad, California. Here, our Scientific Program Committee assembled translational, clinical and basic scientists with unique expertise in acute and chronic white matter injury associated with cognitive decline related to age and cerebrovascular and neurodegenerative disease. This workshop followed the information gathered from the earlier two workshops with a focus on brain white matter and cognition. Thus, workshop discussions and consensus at this third workshop resulted in action by workshop participants and The Charitable Trust to:
We believe that our newly formed Albert Institute will fill a gap in white matter science, providing white matter and cognition communications, including annual updates from workshops and the literature and interconnecting with other Albert Trust scientific endeavors in cognition and dementia. The new institute will also provide support for newly established collaborations between seasoned investigators and support the development of talented young investigators in the VCID and neurodegenerative disease (including Alzheimer’s disease) white matter-cognition arenas.